Jul 3, 2018


Description: Dr. Ashok Khosla was in Vancouver to discuss his experience promoting conceptual frameworks for a more sustainable future. Dr. Khosla is known internationally as a renowned pioneer in environmental sustainability and leads the Indian-based Development Alternatives Group.

Background: Achieving sustainable livelihood development that respects local environmental constraints poses a multi-generational challenge for India. While urban India has a well-developed technological infrastructure and robust global connections, in rural India (where up to 70% of the population resides) the predominant infrastructure is still human labour. Significant socio-economic disparities, resource gaps, and information asymmetries persist in the most populated areas of the country despite decades of expensive populist programs.       

Host: SFU International

VSIR Thinking Points:

  • The reform of contemporary governance structures within India are creating favourable conditions for sustainable development, both nationally and locally, demonstrating the country’s commitment to the UN-led Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda. Although high-level and system-wide participation of international experts remains important to achieving durable progress in India, the predominant focus should be developing the innovative governance, technological, and service delivery systems that are most responsive to climactic and local environmental conditions.
  • Scaling up next-generation sustainability competencies is both an important human security concern and a national security imperative. Holistic investments in social capital, local economic linkages, and co-operative institutions are key to fostering human agency and to mitigating the risk of climate-induced population displacements. Effective mobilization of alternative development models could stimulate a critical mass of discovery-driven learning about the interrelationship between social innovation and environmental sustainability.  
  • Advancing India’s long-term sustainability goals will also require novel cognitive, organizational, and leadership capabilities. Closing the “knowing-doing” gap at the local level can be supported through an integrated planning process that features mentoring relationships, organizational learning, and multiple feedback loops. Regardless if the strategy involves urban professionals with world-class degrees or enterprising villagers with a basic education, mobilizing India’s mission-critical, hard-to-replicate, knowledge should always be tethered to an interdisciplinary and interactive engagement process.

Agenda and Speaker: