Last year I was fortunate enough to go to an event at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York to discuss and learn more about the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. I met a large number of young individuals who had the same passion as me to make a change in the world and to discuss issues and solutions to the problems we are facing currently; from inequality to poverty.
On September 25th 2015, with input form 193 member states, the UN developed the Sustainable Development Goals. These are 17 areas that countries (including governments, businesses and people) can align themselves under and focus their efforts to tackle the biggest challenges we are facing today such as poverty and climate change, so that we might have a better tomorrow. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. However, for the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like us.
What is sustainable development?
Sustainable development can be defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. For sustainable development to be achieved, it is vital to harmonise three core elements: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection.
The 17 UN goals are as follows:
- No Poverty
- Zero Hunger
- Good Health and Well-being
- Quality Education
- Gender Equality
- Clean Water and Sanitation
- Affordable and Clean Energy
- Decent Work and Economic Growth
- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
- Reduced Inequalities
- Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Responsible Consumption and Production
- Climate Action
- Life Below Water
- Life on Land
- Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
- Partnerships for the Goals
The take home message from these goals and the event is that these goals will bring together all countries to mobilise efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change; ensuring that no one is left behind. Strategies are needed to build economic growth, tackle climate change and social issues such as education, job opportunities and health.
ALL OF THIS may sound truly overwhelming to tackle but a small positive change is a change in the right direction. There are lots of things we can do to help regardless of our position in society for example:
- Turn off the lights when you leave a room
- Stay informed of environmental news
- Recycle paper, glass and alumium to prevent landfills from growing
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For more information on the UN goals and to know more about how them: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/
The UN goals to me are a positive strategy to restore the environment and the world that we live in. Little changes will go a long way.