Action toward Sustainable Global Development in 2015

2015 is here, which means the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are about to meet their deadline. Can global leaders deliver on their promises? Will they commit to more ambitious goals for ensuring a sustainable future for all? This week’s articles look at the newly proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS), reflect on the successes and failures of the MDGs, and take a look at what citizens around the globe have to say. Sustainable development goals: all you need to know by Liz Ford on the Guardian The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a new, universal set of 17 goals, 169 targets and various indicators that follow and expand upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed upon in 2000. The SDGs will be used to frame the UN member states’ agendas and political policies for sustainable global development over the next 15 years. The eight MDGs – reduce poverty and hunger; achieve universal education; promote gender equality; reduce child and maternal deaths; combat HIV, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; develop global partnerships – have been criticized for being too narrow, and not taking into account the root causes of some of the critical issues. As the MDG deadline approaches, there is still a lot of work to do, and it’s important to consider what changes need to be made to ensure that the SDGs push progress forward. To do this, the UN has conducted the largest consultation program in history to gauge opinion on what the SDGs should include and has conducted a series of “global conversations” asking people to prioritize areas that need to be addressed in the goals. The new goals will be voted on at the UN summit in September, and will become applicable in January 2016 if agreed on. Let’s build on our success (video) by Jasmine Whitbread on Huffington Post Jasmine Whitbread, CEO of Save the Children International, believes that the international community has something to celebrate this year. Since 2000, when the Millennium Development Goals were developed, we’ve succeeded in lifting 600 million people out of poverty, helped 56 million more children go to school, and cut the number of children under the age of five dying of preventable causes in half. We have made substantial progress in tackling critical global issues. Unfortunately, the progress in some areas, such as reducing hunger, has stalled. The impact of conflict and natural disasters – think the war in Syria and the Ebola crisis – have acted as major blocks to achieving MDGs. Economically, this stall in progress means that although faster growing countries may appear to be on track, their growth can conceal inequalities. The poorest people benefit the least from growth, and children don’t benefit directly from increased incomes, leaving them hungry. This acts as a reminder that we’re not there yet. The MDGs stand out as a unifying political agreement, and a lot of good has come from their creation. Whitbread closes saying, “We’ve proven we can do it – even in the face of great obstacles and with less than 400 days to go before the MDG deadline we need to redouble our efforts and make good on our promise.” 5 things you said about action in 2015 by Aaron Sherinian on UN Foundation Blog Last Thursday, 21,000 people from over 80 countries came together to participate in Action 2015 to create a better future for people and the planet. The hashtag #action2015 took over twitter and people around the world spoke out as part of a global movement to press for ambitious goal to tackle poverty, inequality, environmental degradation and other pressing challenges. The five key takeaways from the conversation were:

  1. No one left behind
  2. It’s about people and the planet
  3. Data will be key to achieving our goals
  4. Sustained commitment to implementation
  5. Young people will be leading the way

As the UN works with world leaders on the Sustainable Development Goals, citizens around the globe are speaking out to press not only for ambitious goals to be created, but for world leaders to commit seriously to the bold new agenda.