There is no alternative to sustainable development. While Indian culture has the ethos for sustainable management of natural resources– namely, reuse, reduce and recycle, we need students who could pick up things fast. An attitude for Natural Resource Management can be built in them during the course of study.
Since India is committed to sustainable development as an agreed goal of UN, every sector is trying to internalise the practice of sustainability. Youngsters should be involved because their future is critically at stake, with global warming and climate change knocking at the door. India is strongly committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (2030), wherein most goals directly or indirectly are linked with natural resources and their sustainable management. In order to understand and implement these goals, there is an increasing need for experts in natural resources and sustainability. India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) has eight missions that can be implemented in a consultative manner by engaging multi-stakeholder groups such as experts from industry, academia and civil society. With the introduction of CSR, corporates are involved in activities such as education, health, environmental sustainability, gender equality, and vocational skills development. So, we need more experts in environmental sustainability,particularly on sustainability reporting.
In view of the increasing demand for experts in the field of sustainability worldwide, institutes are offering MBA in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development. Since it is one of the unconventional sectors, the students need to enrol in articulate programmes.
Education in sustainable solutions provides unparalleled opportunities. Such courses equip students with the knowledge and attitudes necessary for managing issues related to natural resources and sustainable development in a global, regional and local context. Students are exposed to various subjects like climate change, geo-informatics, wildlife, forestry, solid waste management, policy instruments for natural resources, sustainable development, etc. We need constantly evolving curriculum to match pace with the changing requirements. Inputs from students, alumni, course faculty and employers are regularly taken into consideration through curriculum feedback. Regular industry interface gives the idea of new demands and requirements from the industry. Students should pick courses that emphasise on critical thinking and provide interdisciplinary exposure to the range of areas relevant to the study of sustainable development.
India is in the process of internalising National Resource Management (NRM) in every aspect of development. The scope is at local, regional and global level. Global because most of the donor agencies like UN Agencies, World Bank, German Development Bank, GTZ, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), Asian Development Bank needs expertise in sustainable development. Several Indian institutes offer career guidance, internships and placements. All the major corporates and government departments have wings for environment management and sustainability. Under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), there is a huge demand for professionals specialising in natural resources management and sustainable development. Conservation of the natural resources require professionals with right attitude, skill and deep insight to become agents of change. Conservation and sustainable management of natural resources is a gigantic task requiring efforts in multiple directions.
Youngsters must participate in research and plan innovative projects to build a conscientious opinion of various stakeholders on management of natural resources. The sector can be strengthened if we demonstrate strength in training, research, demonstration and evaluation projects.
- TERI School of Advanced Studies, New Delhi- Masters and Doctorate in Env management
- Centre for Environment and Development, Thiruvananthapuram have niche courses such as Land and Water Resources Studies, Forestry and Agriculture and Wetland Ecosystem Studies
- Amity School of Natural Resources and Sustainable Development (ASNRSD), New Delhi offers MBA in Sustainable Development
- University of Queensland (Australia)- Environment management
- University of HongKong- Masters in Environment Policy
(The author is former principal chief conservator of forests (UP), ex- national coordinator, Task Force on Interlinking of Rivers and advisor to Amity School of Natural Resources and Sustainable Development (ASNRSD)