SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS: A UNIVERSAL PUSH TO TRANSFORMING THE WORLD
Since the end of the Second World War in 1945 to the birth of supranationalism and global fora to remedy the inimical effects of the war years cum the surge of arms race, the world has constantly been in a quest for an initiative to foster uniform development and sustain efforts to take global development to the next level bearing in mind the North-South divide. It is against this backdrop the Sustainable Development Goals was promulgated September 25, 2015 at the United Nations Summit in New York.
Sustainable Development Goals represent the monumental platform upon which the success of every nation, every region and every continent is built. It represents the specific areas development as a whole revolves around particularly education, health, gender equality, economics, inter alia. The Sustainable Development Goals lead an ambitious project that will in the long run create tectonic shifts in national governments, companies and civil society while keeping in mind the 2030 deadline. As a matter of fact, a revolution has started attesting to the global urgency with increased level of exchange programs, volunteer missions, projects and papers in circulation to that effect. In fact, I will not be any surprised if the Fundamentals of Sustainable Development Goals become a part of the educational curriculum in many countries before and even after 2030.
So what really makes the Sustainable Development Goals unique?
The world is currently plagued by rife challenges making it difficult to attain any level of development in most countries particularly in Africa and few countries in Latin America and Asia. Poverty remains a clear index and threat to development, inequalities within and among countries as well as social injustices with contribution of global health threats, natural disasters and increasing level of violent conflicts making development more like ploughing a deep ocean. In the face of all these, it is quite impossible to harness natural resources of countries and formulate policies to bring about any reasonable change. Suffice to say, the Millennium Development Goals were able to bridge the gap but not totally rescue the world from present realities. Thus, the Sustainable Development Goals represents our collective and affirmative action towards a better world.
This framework goes beyond the MDGs rather it sets out a wide range of economic, social and environmental objectives. It is not mere policy making but an included approach for implementation, progress monitoring and a reporting mechanism. The Sustainable Development Goals are integrated, indivisible, and global in nature as well as universally applicable taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities.
It is impossible to neglect the role of the Sustainable Development Goals in recognizing the specific challenges facing the least developed countries particularly in Africa in the course of transforming the entire universe. As a matter of fact, each of the 17 Global Goals represents a general consensus and global aspiration for development in our world today.
In transforming the world, the Sustainable Development Goals clearly works at:
- Eradicating extreme poverty by offering social protection through social assistance and social insurance.
- Improving nutrition particularly focusing on childhood nutrition and the nutritional needs of adolescent girls and pregnant women.
- Improving wellbeing and providing health services covering maternal mortality, child mortality, infectious diseases, sexual and reproductive health, mental health and substance abuse.
- Educational proficiency and access to quality education and modern education facilities.
- Reducing gender bias and empowering women by eradicating violence against women and girls, eliminating child marriage and helping women discover new opportunities.
- Ensuring access to an improved water sources and sanitation facilities.
- Access to electricity, increasing energy efficiency and maintaining clean, renewable energy consumption.
- Job creation, enhancing economic productivity and growth in least developed countries with low GDPs.
- Driving economic growth through industrialization, innovation and resilient infrastructure.
- Reducing inequality in every ramification both within and across countries.
- Ensuring safe and sustainable cities and other human settlements by improving the quality of housing and identifying the environmental impact of urbanization.
- Sustainable consumption and production by conserving natural resources and reducing food wastes.
- Addressing climate change.
- Sustainable use of water bodies and conservation of marine resources.
- Sustainable use of terrestrial habitats by preventing desertification, land degradation and loss of various land species.
- Promoting justice and ensuring transparent, strong and accountable institutions.
- Effective public-private partnership and resource mobilization for low and middle income countries.
Fundamentally speaking, the objectives and targets for global development and uniform transformation regardless of exclusive national discrepancies is embedded in the collective drive and general affirmation of every member state to push for the historic achievement and sustainability of the global goals. It is the responsibility of every national government to work towards the 2030 deadline such that the SDGs move beyond mere paper framework like some previous initiatives under the auspices of the United Nations.
On a final note, the world is growing past the age of treaty making but strategic global alliance building and viable partnership all of which are necessary to the ambitious transformation function and orientation of the Sustainable Development Goals.