It is an historic time for the international development community as the predominant and overarching framework of recent years- the United Nations Millennium Development Goals- draws to a close. The post-2015 development agenda and the targets therein have long been a subject of consultation and discussion, but now the time has come for action and implementation.
What are the Sustainable Development Goals?
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are a United Nations (UN) initiative comprising a set of aspirational targets to achieve better development for both the people and the environment. They are the successors to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as these are due to expire at the end of 2015. The aim is for the new, broader and universal SDGs to be accomplished over the next fifteen years and sustainably address the common concerns of humanity across the entire world. They encompass 17 broad areas of action that were ratified by the UN at the end of September, with 169 specific targets, that will come into effect from January 2016.
How Will They Work?
The SDGs were created in a joint effort by all UN member states, and civil society, in an effort to make the process more accessible and inclusive, and increase involvement and participation from citizens all around the world. Whereas the Millennium Development Goals were criticized in some quarters for failing to consider the root causes of poverty, the new Global Goals have been designed to address these concerns and ensure through diligent research that appropriate and effective targets were agreed, with no issue overlooked. Whilst in theory, the original MDGs were designed as attainable goals for all countries, in practice they largely reflected targets specific to developing countries. However the new Global Goals recognise that humans are facing worldwide issues together, which require input from all people, everywhere. The new approach will involve efforts from all countries towards achieving sustainable development for both the planet, and everyone upon it.
Why are they important for Determined to Develop?
The three main themes of the Global Goals are ending poverty, tackling inequality and preventing climate change, which all relate to the work that Determined to Develop does. Through our core focus upon Education and Youth Support, we have aimed to empower Malawians with the tools to lift themselves out of poverty, and provide a better opportunity to improve their own life prospects. In our Women’s Empowerment projects, we have again worked hard to address financial insecurity, as well as challenge attitudes to gender and raise the standing of women in society. Our Health and Nutrition projects aim to bring about a fairer chance at life for everyone and ensure basic human rights are met by improving access to healthcare and alleviating hunger. Whilst all of this work also feeds into climate challenges through both improving peoples understanding and decreasing their dependency upon harmful practices, our Environmental projects directly work to improve the local habitat through reforestation programs.
We are very excited about the Global Goals as they provide our projects with a better structure and framework to monitor progress in the work we achieve, increase international solidarity, coherence and support towards our common needs, and enhance the contribution and commitment from those with the most capacity and resources to implement change.
How will we integrate the goals into our work?
D2D has a focus on community led initiatives and relies upon local voices to inform our decision making and direct our efforts, however it is also important to ensure development projects fit into a wider strategic context and contribute to national and international aims.
There are a great many specific targets in the Sustainable Development Goals that directly link with our work, and it is in reference to them that we shall strive for progress. We can use the SDGs to help shape our future so that our activities have a larger impact and ensure that no one is left behind.
With D2D’s initial support, we have witnessed the power of the community to take ownership of projects and implement solutions themselves. We have seen the capacity for the disadvantaged to address their own needs and develop their own environment, and we have confidence that the aspirations of the Global Goals can be met in the future.
Ready for Action!
Leaders have made commitments, but what we now need is action from governments, civil society, corporates and citizens alike in order to meet these new goals and obtain better results than the MDGs. This set of targets will shape and define the next generations’ actions against poverty, inequality and frame their efforts to protect the planet and create a better world for all of us. There remain great challenges to overcome but another world is possible, and we need help from all our supporters around the globe that will enable us to reach the targets set by the U.N. for 2030. Get in touch and share your ideas with us on how we can achieve sustainable development in the next 15 years!
Tawonga chomene (We thank you)