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2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - Is The Power of The Individual Just a Distraction?

An aerial shot of the Earth.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The United Nations and participating countries, banded together in 2015 to develop the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This 15-year pledge of action sought to encourage a shared dedication to the kind of positive action necessary for safeguarding our global futures. But where we are now in 2023, 8 years into the plan, does it really feel like our futures have been protected? In this very moment, the world is sitting in a precarious position on the edge of catastrophe. Issues such as climate change, poverty, famine, war, and natural disasters are spiralling out of our control, and we are now more aware of the fragile state of our planet. Every new law, legislation, and commitment made by countries and leading organisations has the potential to cause massive change in our global destiny. So, what is it that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development pledged to do?

The Sustainable Development Goals

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development rallied united nation participating countries to develop a strategy to assist in positive change in the global future, specifically focusing on tackling poverty and the climate crisis amongst other large societal crises. To address these points of action, within the agenda, there are 17 sustainable development goals that highlight key areas for attention.

The 17 SDGs are:

1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being 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*

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, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt 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 is The Purpose of SDGs?

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are in place to allow for direct social action to be encouraged for each and every member state within the United Nations. This agenda is effectively a promise, a promise for positive change and a promise to global citizens that our governing bodies have our future wellbeing in mind. These promises are huge and certainly not respected fully by our global leaders. When the science is clear and the facts are obvious, how is it that governing bodies around the world continue to prioritise financial profit and economic relations over the chore values set out by something like the SDGs? Simply, money speaks louder than words in the ears of the wealthy.

" Money speaks louder than words in the ears of the wealthy "

Money Speaks Louder than The Individual

Money is the fungible commodity which the world's financially elite and powerful depend upon to remain on top. On top of what exactly? Well, look at it this way – if you have the money to avoid the inconveniences of poverty and famine, and therefore the means to escape natural disasters, war zones, and the effects of the climate crisis, then why would you want to solve these problems? With enough money, it would surely appear an easier solution to avoid the issues yourself than assist in resolving them for the global population. This willful ignorance of responsibility plagues the politicians and billionaires of this world. Money blinds those who have it to the misfortunes of those around them. After all, it is the corporate giants, governments and billionaires that are responsible for the majority of the issues noted in the SDGs, either by causing or continuing them. In this case, when it comes to the big problems of poverty, climate collapse, and war - the blame is rarely placed but the responsibility is always scattered. Of course, it benefits those at the top to have the public believe it is a collective responsibility of the population to resolve these issues when it is them that have the power but no intentions to make the changes necessary.

The Individual Voice

So if the future depends on the action of those who are blind to the effects of the problems then what is the point of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development? Hope - it's as simple as that. Hope is the fire in the belly of the individual, the fuel in the engine of political activism, and the key to change. It may be an uphill battle but with hope for a better future as the driving force, organisations such as the United Nations are holding politicians and corporate giants accountable for the damage that they cause and in turn encouraging individuals to utilise their voice to shout for change. Using your voice is as simple as signing petitions, or following campaign groups on social media. Or you can make moves for change such as voting, writing to your MP, attending protests or even speaking your mind on vital subjects. Whilst organisations such as the united nations make these steps towards implementing goals for a better world, don't forget to to find your voice and echo the values that speak to you most.


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