What are Sustainable Development Goals and Why Should You Care?

By Ethan McLaughlin


SDG’s 2015: What are they and why should you get involved?

imageIn September this year, a conference will take place in Paris, which will outline the global sustainable development goals every government will link their global aid effort to, until 2030.

Yet despite being an event of such great importance, it appears outside of few interested parties the majority of people have no idea this is going on.

So what are Sustainable Development Goals and where did they come from?

SDG’s 2015 will be follow up guidelines from the millennium development goals which were created in 2000 and run out in 2015. The MDG’s were created as a list of 8 goals for improvement to reduce poverty and hunger; achieve universal education; promote gender equality; reduce child and maternal deaths; combat HIV, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability and develop global partnerships.
According to a report in Foreign Policy for 2013, the world has managed to remove 600 million people from below the 1.25 dollar a day poverty line. Infant Mortailty has halved in global figures.
But as you can tell, their aim was to tackle the inequality between the richest and the poorest countries, as such the only commitment developed countries had to make to these targets was to finance and assist the developing world. This idea was put forward by then Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan to mark the beginning of the 21st century with an example of global goverance coming together to set stratergy, 15 years on it’s now our turn to make sure that the world we want to live in becomes a reality.

So in the changing world, with 2.2 billion people, as off 2011, living below $2 dollars a day line (World Bank), we need to boarden the global development agenda to take into consideration all the issues facing us today. This is why the sustainable development goals for 2015-30 are of such great importance. As these will be the first truly global set of goals which, through their inclusion of the issue of climate change, are applicable to every country.
Currently governments will discuss issues ranging from the development of setting universal climate change targets, to gender and financial equality. This is where we come in, to make sure we have a voice in pushing the UK government to promote development targets and be prepared to be a global leader in the areas of climate change.

A Guardian article in 2015 outlined the path governments are probably going to take as follows: 
1) End poverty in all its forms, everywhere
2) End hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
3) Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all, at all ages
4) Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
5) Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
6) Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
7) Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
8) Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
9) Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation
10) Reduce inequality within and among countries
11) Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
12) Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
13) Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (taking note of agreements made by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate forum)
14) Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
15) Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification; halt and reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss
16) Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
17) Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

What can you do?
Join the discussion online, look around and question what our university is doing to sustainably develop into 2030. A ranking by People and the Planet suggests not a lot. Whilst the Estate Strategy is promising, we as the student body, through the Students Union Council have a duty to hold the university to account.

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Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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