On 25th September later this week in New York, the United Nations will commit to 17 new Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs). Various events and activities have been planned to commemorate the launch of these ambitious goals which build upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which I alluded to in previous posts here and here.
The Millennium Development Goals were established in 2000 and included eight anti-poverty targets to be accomplished by 2015. Although progress was made towards their achievement, the lack of achievement of the MDGs reflected the diverse and challenging nature of global development. It is hoped that the SDGs will be more robustly supported through grass-root integration into the planning and advancement of countries at varying stages of socio-economic development.
The educationist in me was not surprised to see an infographic developed by the Global Partnership for Education illustrating how integral education is to each of the 17 SDGs. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see a recently-released report from the British Council and SEUK, Think Global, Trade Social. The report is a comprehensive account of the significant role that social enterprises and businesses with social purposes have in ensuring sustainable and inclusive development, and in contributing towards the achievement of the SDGs. Although it notes that the SDGs have yet to reflect the critical role of businesses, the report illustrates the rising scale of social enterprises globally and the need to promote and support their development, whilst creating the conditions under which conventional businesses will adopt more environmentally and socially responsible behaviour.
The SGDs will be made official in a few days. It remains to be seen how world leaders will take ownership of these challenging developmental goals. One thing is clear though, even as mere mortal citizens of our countries, we have a collective responsibility to ensure the achievement of these goals. Entrepreneurs have reports such as Think Global, Trade Social. Educationists have presentations on how education influences the SDGs. Those who don’t fall into either category, still have opportunities to ensure that leaders take ambitious decisions to reduce poverty and inequality and protect our planet by taking action in plethora of means and ways. What will you do? How will you have your say in the achievement of the SDGs? What part will you play in the post-2015 Agenda?
Saneeya Qureshi © 2015