Day 74 – Furthering Global Development

Wiki: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. The SDGs were set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.

The 17 SDGs are: (1) No Poverty, (2) Zero Hunger, (3) Good Health and Well-being, (4) Quality Education, (5) Gender Equality, (6) Clean Water and Sanitation, (7) Affordable and Clean Energy, (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, (10) Reducing Inequality, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (13) Climate Action, (14) Life Below Water, (15) Life On Land, (16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, (17) Partnerships for the Goals.

Each goal typically has 8-12 targets, and each target has between 1 and 4 indicators used to measure progress toward reaching the targets. The targets are either “outcome” targets (circumstances to be attained) or “means of implementation” targets. Progress summary for SDG targets with a 2020 deadline.

UN 2020 REPORT: The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) demand nothing short of a transformation of the financial, economic and political systems that govern our societies today to guarantee the human rights of all. Everything we do during and after this crisis [COVID-19] must be with a strong focus on building more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change, and the many other global challenges we face. Download the complete report.

No one could argue with the aspiring goals established. However, they are not without challenges and critics. The 17 goals seek to end all forms of poverty everywhere by 2030, by achieving 169 targets. They have been endorsed by celebrities, activists and citizens from around the world. Yet, progress in achieving them does not match the hype. According to the most recent SDG Index, an unofficial but influential barometer on the goals, most countries are struggling to make headway. Four critical questions have emerged from The Conversation:

  1. Are the goals redundant?
  2. Are they unattainable?
  3. Do we know how much the goals will cost?
  4. When will the measurement tools be sorted out?

Some Critics go even further. Quartz Africa reports: The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals undermine democracy. SDGs are pushing an agenda carefully calibrated to avoid upsetting the world’s dictators, kleptocrats, and human rights offenders. Out of thousands of words of text, “human rights” is mentioned merely once (and not as its own category, but as a secondary bullet point). Critically important terms like “anti-corruption,” “civil liberties,” “free expression,” “press freedom,” “independent judiciary,” “separation of powers,” “free and fair elections,” and “civil society” are also absent. In other words, the basic freedoms that underpin and advance human development are missing from the SDG equation.

Foreign Policy Magazine even suggests that the SDGs Should Stand for Senseless, Dreamy, Garbled.

Notwithstanding the criticisms, I believe that the UN’s SDGs are worthy of adoption and support. Global Impact  SDG Funds enables you to provide financial support to a select group of highly respected charities that have direct programs that are tied to many of the SDG themes. The funds are a great choice for individual donors looking to make an impact. Their donation interface allows you to select which of the SDGs you want support, proportioned among the 17 however you designate.