~ Saakshi Sharma
Sustainable development means progressing without damaging or harming the environment. Lester R Brown said, “We have not inherited this land from our forefathers; we have borrowed it from our children”. We as individuals should carry out all developmental activities having Futuristic thinking. The Brundtland Commission in its report Our Common Future defines sustainable development.
It says, “Sustainable Development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
The concept of sustainable development as suggested above could make you think of a few questions. Like: Does sustainable development mean protection of the environment only? Well, it does include the protection of the environment. But in the present scenario, the concept of sustainable development has broadened itself.
What are Sustainable Development Goals?
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also called the Global Goals is a set of 17 goals and 169 targets to be achieved by 2030. A UN Resolution called 2030 Agenda or Agenda 2030 includes them. All United Nations Member States adopted it in 2015 as a call for ‘universal action’. The aim of these SDGs is the eradication of poverty, protection of the planet and ensuring peace and prosperity to each individual by 2030. As is said, these goals provide a ” blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.
The countries have taken the pledge to Leave No One Behind. To achieve the SDGs they have brought together their governments, media houses, businesses, institutions and NGOs. The 17 Global Goals that Agenda 2030 aims to achieve are:
Still, around 700 million people live in extreme levels of poverty. This goal aims at ending poverty in all forms by 2030.
1.3 billion tonnes of food gets wasted every year. But there are 2 billion undernourished people! That’s why the member countries are working on ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition. They are also supporting sustainable agriculture under this agenda.
Good Health and Well-being
Vaccinations between 2000 to 2017 resulted in an 80% drop in deaths due to measles. One of the primary objectives that SDGs hold is ensuring the good health and well being of individuals. It suggests as well implements various measures regarding it. It also plays an important part in creating health awareness among people.
As per the data, 671 million children and adolescents today lack basic and minimum skills in reading and mathematics. The 2030 agenda ensures quality education. It advocates for inclusive education and supports ‘education for all. Along with this, it creates opportunities for everyone to access education throughout their lives.
According to WHO, 1 in 3 women that is 30% women globally experience physical and/or sexual violence. So, this goal focuses on achieving gender equality. It directs itself to the empowerment of women and girls.
Clean Water and Sanitation
Water scarcity is one of the major issues worldwide. At present, 1.5 billion people suffer from severe water scarcity. The Agenda 2030 as one of its goals ensures accessibility and availability of clean and safe water to all. It also ensures proper sanitation for all.
Affordable and Clean Energy
3 billion people are still deprived of clean cooking fuels and technologies. The SDGs ensure access to energy that is reliable, sustainable, affordable and modern. Investment in renewable energy and the development of clean energy technologies also constitute a part of this.
Decent Work and Economic Growth
One-fifth of the youth today are not indulged in education, employment or training. Economic growth is a key factor for the development of the individual as well as the nation. The provision of decent jobs and full employment becomes very important in these terms. The Global Goals hence aim to achieve sustained economic growth and decent work for all.
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Many developing countries in the world lack proper management of roads and electricity. They face adequate water scarcity and fail to provide proper sanitation facilities. The basic demands and necessities of people are not fulfilled. There is a need to build a strong infrastructure, encourage supportive industrialisation and foster innovation.
The poorest 40% of the population in the world today earns less than 25 % of the global income. The member nations work for the upliftment of these marginalized and vulnerable sections of society. They are granted equal opportunities mainly at the social and economic level. By doing so, the inequities within and among the countries can be reduced.
Sustainable Cities and Communities
Another data from WHO shows that 9 out 10 people breathe such air that contains high levels of pollutants. To cope up with this problem, small areas and localities are being strengthened as separate entities. They are made safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable.
Responsible Consumption and Production
A large number of people globally consume very little in comparison to what is required to sustain. They are not even able to fulfil their basic needs. On the other hand, we witness wastage of food and public services like water and electricity. Agenda 2030 aims to balance this variance. There should be a resemblance between the patterns of consumption and production.
In the last 20 years, two-thirds of the extreme climate and weather events were a consequence of human activities. The increased frequency of sudden climatic changes is something of high concern. To deal with this, it’s required to take urgent actions. The main objective of climate action is to overcome the climatic changes and cope up with their impacts.
Life Below Water
More than 3 billion people their livelihoods depend on marine life. However, 30% of the world’s fish stocks are overexploited today. 30% of the carbon dioxide produced by human activities is absorbed by oceans. This leads to acidification and pollution of the ocean water. Ocean waters, marine life and biodiversity being very crucial for the existence of human beings need to be protected and conserved.
Life on Land
More than 80% of terrestrial animals, plants and insects have forests as their home. All that surrounds us; the wildlife, the plants and even humans around us live on land. This very fact makes the conservation of land and terrestrial ecosystems very essential. It is very necessary to combat issues like land degradation, desertification and deforestation.
Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
In 2018, the number of people who were displaced due to wars, persecution and conflict exceeded 70 million. Peace and justice are very important as without them the goals of sustainable development cannot be achieved. Thus, the SDGs work and aim at attaining a non-violent and conflict-ridden world. It stands for human rights and just societies with the help of strong and effective Institutions.
Partnerships to Achieve the Goal
Agenda 2030 and the SDGs are a global effort. To realise them strong and coordinated global partnerships need to come into existence. In this interconnected world, exchanging technology, knowledge, trade and so on would encourage universal development. To turn the vision of Agenda 2030 into reality collaborations and partnerships at the international level should be promoted.
How can we include SDGs in our daily lives?
This is very true that it all starts at home. Now to contribute to the SDGs you need not be the chairman of the UN or the head of the member nations associated! You can do that even being at the position or level that you are. We as human beings hold some responsibilities and duties towards the two S’s i.e. the society and the surroundings that we grow in. These can be performed if we include few things in our daily lives.
- While eating at home or outside take food on your plate as much you need and can eat. Do not waste food.
- Do not let the water taps be open unnecessarily. Switch off fans, lights and other electrical appliances when not in use.
- Do not litter garbage here and there. Differentiate between biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste. Deal with the waste according to its nature.
- Walk or use a cycle for distances that could be covered through these means.
- Include and implement the principle of ‘Each one, teach one in your life.
It may be possible that you came across the above-stated things before also. But did you incorporate them into your daily lives? If not then do now. Don’t be late and start now! Let’s play our part in making this world a better place to live in.