On August 26th two of our CCNY NGO Youth Representatives visited the exhibit on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the United Nations. The exhibit is titled “A People-powered Agenda – Leave No One Behind” and runs until September 7th, 2016. Emphasis is placed on the inclusive process which was used in order to come up with the 17 SDGs. The SDGs were built on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expired in 2015. In the largest global option survey, My World 2015, over 10 million people expressed their hopes and dreams. The MDGs had demonstrated that sound strategies, adequate resources and political will could bring along change. Additionally, the MDGs also showed that “climate change and environmental degradation undermine progress achieved, and that people from low-income communities suffer the most.” An expansion of the initial MDGs was therefore necessary. The result was the list of 17 SDGs, ratified by 193 countries in September 2015. The 17 goals include 169 targets and 231 indicators.
Find the full list here: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/
The exhibit did not just include background on the SDGs, but videos of SDG advocates from all over the world. The video “Own Your Voice” is introducing the female Change Ambassadors who inspire to raise awareness about the SDGs. 2 billion, 29% of the population, are aware of the SDGs. 700,000 individuals, 0.01% of the population, are serving as advocates. Reality is that everyone is needed in order to increase awareness about the SDGs. Every single action counts. After all, the SDGs are a people-powered agenda, and we are the ones that have to hold leaders and each other accountable. The exhibit also gives each visitor the chance to take the world survey, which lets you report on goals that are important to you and your family. You rate if the situation addressed by these goals has improved, stayed the same, or has gotten worse in the past year. Additionally, you have the chance to take a picture with your favorite goal. No goal is a stand-alone goal. The goals build on each other and are interdependent.
Goal 11 “Sustainable Cities and Communities” and Goal 4 “Quality Education” are of particular interest to CCNY NGO.
Goal 4 aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” The goal has ten targets, one of them being to “ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.” The New York City Department of Education has made free pre-K a success with its campaign “Pre-K for All”. This program is a great example for the path towards achieving one of the targets. Quality education is of course of interest to college students as well. While we may complain of the scarce choice of classes we have at CCNY, we cannot forget that in some countries young adults, especially girls, do not even have the opportunity to go to school.
Goal 11 aims to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” This goal also has ten targets, one of them being to “provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons.” A reliable transportation system is also key for ensuring that individuals can get to their education centers. Someone living in a rural area should not be prevented from attending school, because it would take her hours to walk to her school. Of course this is just one aspect, but it should provide an idea on how these goals and targets are connected.
The agenda is an ambitious one and the goals are supposed to be achieved by 2030. However, we cannot just rely on politicians and leaders to achieve these goals for the global community. We are an integral part of this community, and therefore it is also our responsibility to leave no one behind.