• Friday, April 12, 2024
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How you can also help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

United Nations (UN)

This past week, world leaders and stakeholders in both the private and public sector gathered in New York for the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) summit (one of the high-level political forums of the UN general assembly) to appraise progress made so far in the implementation of the 17 SDGs adopted in 2015 against 2030.

These goals, also known as global goals adopted by all UN member states are a call to action to address issues that affect all people. These goals are targeted towards advancing inclusion, ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring that every person on earth enjoys peace and prosperity.

Although favourable trends show that considerable progress has been made so far, the pace is reported to be slow considering the task at hand. Several impediments account for this relaxed progress. For one, frequent conflicts in many parts of the world have led to instability which has consequently inhibited or reversed growth.

The poverty rate is projected to rise against set targets by 2030 with issues of disasters, unemployment, unfavourable economic policies and lack of social protection systems for the vulnerable. In spite of health interventions targeted at increasing life expectancy and promoting general wellbeing, millions of mortality deaths recorded are preventable due to the gap in skillset. Gender-based violence is still prevalent, particularly in developing countries. Billions of people still do not have access to clean water. Global material consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emission, is rising at a rapid rate, posing risks to the environment.

While member states have been challenged to drive these goals with a sense of urgency, the task of creating a sustainable world is both our individual and collective responsibility. So, here are three simple ways you too can assist!

The first step to supporting sustainability is by getting acquainted with the right information, hence, educate yourself. Thankfully, there are official online courses designed to teach the basics of these goals. The SDG Academy, backed by the UN in partnership with accredited online platforms, curates’ free educational courses on sustainable development. These courses are taught in an interactive manner by experts who have both subject matter and field experience. You will be learning alongside other students from all over the world, thereby deepening your insight.

One of these courses is the “Age of Sustainable Development,” offered by Coursera. This course will help you understand the global challenges and what it takes to achieve them. It covers topics from inequality, human rights and education to health, hunger, climate change, and biodiversity. The course is delivered in short videos along with assignments to aid solidify your learning.
There are also books that thoroughly explain the genesis and need for the SDGs. For example, “Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: Global Governance Challenges,” a book by Simon Dalby, Susan Horton and Rianne Mahon is one. You can also gain invaluable information from news sites that cover these goals like devex.com.

Another compelling way you play your own part is by applying what you have learned in your personal space. Our actions and inactions affect the realisation of these goals. When we do not give our voice to issues concerning gender inequality, human trafficking or stand up against injustice as it happens within our social circle, we create a bigger problem.

Our lifestyle choices are also a threat as reflected in the way we litter the environment and do not recycle items. When we do not empower local suppliers by patronising them, thereby helping to fight poverty; or press for policies and favourable conditions to promote quality education so that children who should be in school are not exposed to vulnerabilities, we do more harm.

Also, with your skills, experience, and connections, you may connect with organisations pursuing any sustainable development because that interests you. There are partnerships of the UN here in Nigeria you can work with. There are also notable volunteer-driven non-profits working to realise some of these goals. For instance, Slum to School focuses on the issue of education for underprivileged children in Nigeria while Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) and Pathfinder Justice Initiative targets issues of sexual violence and human trafficking.

E-waste Producer Responsibility organisation Nigeria (EPRON) and Wecyclers, are solving the problems of environmental waste and pollution. Women in Management and Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) and Fate Foundation are tackling issues of women empowerment and economic growth. By engaging with these organisations, you play a very significant role in making the world a better place for all.

The work of individually pursuing SDG is a noble idea that holds valuable rewards. You will gain new skills and eventually tap into your real purpose as you work towards creating lasting change.

 

“Anywhere I see suffering that is where I want to be, doing what I can.” —Princess Diana.

OSAYI ALILE