Friday, October 02, 2015

Doubling Up on the Millennium Development Goals

The target year to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals was 2015. So how did the global community do? And what comes next?  In answer to the first question, the results are mixed, with advances made in each of the categories but the targets not fully attained, according to a report from the United Nations.

In answer to the second question, the move toward eradicating hunger and poverty continues with the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which set targets for the next 15 years (2030). Instead of eight goals, there are 17 goals (more than twice as many targets). The 17 goals are actually subsets of three major goals: 1. End extreme poverty. 2.Fight inequality & injustice. 3. Fix climate change.

 A key term is sustainable.  Under the old MDGs, there was only one goal dealing directly with environmental concerns. The new set of goals contains six goals that deal directly with environmental concerns (Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Climate Action, Life Below Water, and Life on land). One could argue that two other goals are also tied to sustainability and the environment: Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Responsible Consumption and Production).

There is an additional goal that was not part of the original eight MDGs. When reviewing the original set of MDGs peace activist Father John Dear noted that the reduction of conflict and the promotion of peace was a missing ingredient to address global poverty. Goal 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, in the new set of targets addresses this concern. Additionally, eradicating hunger and eradicating poverty have been made into separate goals. The old MDGs had the two targets in a single goal.  These goals provide a clear blueprint of the steps that are needed to end hunger and poverty and save our planet. We hope the 2030 report shows significant progress in meeting those targets.  Below are links to each of the 17 goals, including quotes about each target from prominent individuals.

End poverty in all its forms everywhere  
"In this new century, millions of people in the world's poorest countries remain imprisoned, enslaved, and in chains. They are trapped in the prison of poverty. It is time to set them free. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom."   Nelson Mandela

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages 
"The essence of global health equity is the idea that something so precious as health might be viewed as a right."
Dr Paul Farmer

4. Quality Education
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
"In some parts of the world, students are going to school every day. It's their normal life. But in other parts of the world, we are starving for education... it's like a precious gift. It's like a diamond…" Malala Yousafzai

 5. Gender Equality
 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 

 "Women’s status in society has become the standard by which humanity’s progress toward civility and peace can be measured"
Mahnaz Afkhami

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 

 "Although we take it for granted, sanitation is a physical measure that has probably done more to increase human life span than any kind of drug or surgery" Deepak Chopra

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all 
"The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels...
If we succeed, we create booming new industries, wealth, clean secure energy and maybe we prevent the greatest disaster so far in human history, saving millions of lives while improving billions more. If we fail, basically it's business as usual while things slowly get worse all around us"   Al Gore 

 8. Decent Work & Economic Growth
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all 
"People were poor not because they were stupid or lazy. They worked all day long, doing complex physical tasks. They were poor because the financial institution in the country did not help them widen their economic base" Muhammad Yunus

9. Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure 
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation 

"It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us."  Bill Clinton

10. Reduced Inequalities
Reduce inequality within and among countries

 "We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community... Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own"   Cesar Chavez

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

 "In the planning and designing of new communities, housing projects, and urban renewal, the planners both private and public, need to give explicit consideration to the kind of world that is being created for the children who will be growing up in these settings" Urie Bronfenbrenner

 12. Responsible Consumption and Production
 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

"The situation the Earth is in today has been created by unmindful production and unmindful consumption. We consume to forget our worries and our anxieties. Tranquilising ourselves with over-consumption is not the way"  Thich Nhat Hanh

13. Climate Action 
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
"This is not a partisan debate; it is a human one. Clean air and water, and a liveable climate are inalienable human rights. And solving this crisis is not a question of politics. It is our moral obligation."  Leonardo DiCaprio

 14.  Life Below Water
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

"It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself."  Rachel Carson

 15.  Life on Land
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss 
"We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to conserve the environment so that we can bequeath our children a sustainable world that benefits all."  Wangari Maathai

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

"Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted, when we tolerate what we know to be wrong, when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy or too frightened, when we fail to speak up and speak out, we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice."  Robert F. Kennedy

17. Partnerships for the Goals
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

"Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings."  John F. Kennedy


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