The United Nations’Millenium Development Goals have been an interesting first effort to garner international support for the most pressing issues of our time.
Now that the timeline has expired on the goals, it’s time for the UN to own the progress made so far and then to set new goals for the 15 years ahead.
In September 2015, leaders from nations around the world will gather to set the agenda. There are currently 17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals:
- End poverty in all its forms everywhere
- End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture
- Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages
- Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
- Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
- Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
- Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
- Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all
- Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation
- Reduce inequality within and among countries
- Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
- Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
- Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (taking note of agreements made by the UNFCCC forum)
- Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
- Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss
- Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
- Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development
Undoubtedly, the group will narrow these potential goals to a more manageable 8–10. And climate change will be at the top of the agenda, based on all indications so far.
This kind of meeting of “political and business elites” often gets lambasted in the media. But in reality, you have every chance to influence the final goals. The UN put together a page full of resources for you to get involved with influencing the Sustainable Development agenda.
Sure, take action through all of the official channels. But perhaps more importantly, use the process to develop some conviction about the goals and the causes that drive them.
If you have deep enough convictions about creating change, perhaps you’ll consider making your beliefs the focus of your career. Or, you could make this the focus of your nonprofit work outside of your career.
Regardless of the outcome, it starts with being informed. Go, learn more.