THE FUTURE (S)HE (and WE) WANT
The whole world seemed to have converged in New York at the end of September 2015, from Pope Francis to Barak Obama, from Xi Jimping of China to Narendra Modi of India. Over 150 world leaders gathered at the United Nations building on 1st Avenue to bless the new Sustainable Development Goals, and agenda to transform the world for the better by 2030. Amid much fanfare and in front of thousands of TV cameras, they delivered speech after lofty speech about the new brave world they have agreed to create.
The objective is simply to make her/his life better in 17 different and very important ways. If these promises are fulfilled, when (s)he is 15 years old, (s)he will live in a totally transformed world. Even partially achieving the following 17 SDGs would change her/his life and the planet (s)he will live in.
Will her life be really transformed, from fear and deprivation to happiness and abundance? It is easy to be skeptical after so many unfulfilled promises over the last seven decades of UN summitry.
However, this was the first time in human history that all the countries in the world thoroughly discussed and happily agreed how they would like their societies, economies and environment to be 15 years ahead. This was no imposition from richer or stronger countries on the poorer or weaker ones, no technocratic blueprint from some UN agency, but rather the result of three years of discussions, involving millions of people, from all walks of life, government, academia and civil society.
Extreme poverty has been reduced sharply over the last 30 years, mostly in Asia, and unbelievable as it may seem, it is possible for the first time in human history to eradicate it within a generation. We have the resources and the technology, we only need the political will and the right policies and governance.
With nobody going to bed hungry or having to face chronic malnutrition. Ensuring food security and avoiding food waste.
Living healthy lives, enjoying health care and healthy environments. Swimming in beaches instead of using them as toilets.
Allowing her to study as her brother, from kindergarten to university, receiving quality education.
Avoiding age old divergences between men and women, in access to education opportunities, jobs equally paid and legal protection.
With access to clean water a right and not a luxury, and proper sanitation available to all.
Using renewable energies instead of burning fossil fuels, providing sustainable energy for consumers and producers.
Providing decent jobs and opportunities for all, making economic growth sustainable and inclusive.
And the necessary public and private infrastructure to promote industrial growth and jobs.
Reducing the currently enormous and growing income and opportunity gaps, that are not only morally unacceptable but also economically detrimental and politically explosive.
Making cities more livable, reversing the mushrooming of slums and providing the hard and soft infrastructure to ensure quality of life.
Producing and consuming respecting planetary boundaries, recycling and avoiding waste towards a circular economy.
Reversing global warning to avoid climate catastrophe before it is too late, limiting temperature rises with its impacts on sea levels, failing crops and catastrophic weather phenomena.
Protecting the ocean and seas from growing pollution, reversing the depletion of marine biodiversity and fisheries resources.
Ensuring our nature is respected and not treated as a garbage dump, reversing deforestation and the destruction of biodiversity.
Reducing and preventing conflict, developing transparent, effective and responsive institutions, providing everyone with access to justice.
Working all together to implement this agenda, internationally and in each country. Public institutions, civil society and private sector collaborating and creating partnership for our interconnected world.
Is the world ready to walk the talk?
Are we willing to march together towards a better future?
We now know what needs to be done, we have all committed to it, now we need to move from plan to implementation…
let’s do it!
Otherwise, S(he), and all of us on the planet, will pay the price
It may well be our last opportunity.
Thanks to GMP and Kaigara