The coming to life of the United Nations Organization is to ensure that countries leave behind the scourge of war and work together to ensure international progress through national engagements. “We the Peoples”; the first three words of the UN charter shows the passionate commitment these leaders had to create a better world.
In furtherance of their allegiance to the world, world leaders came together at the dawn of the millennium in year 2000 to draw a template of global development called The 8 Millennium Development Goals to among other things improve education, reduce child mortality, scale up maternal health, eradicate extreme poverty and guarantee safe water plus sanitation. Between year 2000 and 2015, Millennium Development Goals were a guiding force on issues affecting young children, women and their families all over the world. The MDGs made huge strides in improving education and reducing poverty but much was left undone especially in the areas of maternal/child mortality and sanitation.
For the fact that the MDGs did not totally achieve their goals evenly across all countries, world leaders met again when the time limit set for the MDGs was fast approaching to discuss why it is important to have a post MDGs agenda that will continue from where the MDGs stop. To ensure that this proposed post MDGs agenda fares better, world leaders saw the need to make sure that it was an agenda for the people by the people. The UN therefore came up with the My World Survey. The survey which collated data using online and traditional platforms launched on 17th July, 2014. It asked participants to vote on the development subject that mattered most to them. Over 10 million people from 194 countries participated in the survey that was used to shape the Sustainable Development Goals.
The SDGs was launched at the UN General Assembly in September 2015 with a time limit of year 2030. The Global Goals as they are also called are a set of 17 goals that have come to consolidate and complete the unfinished business of the MDGs. #TheWorldWeWant2030 focuses on five focal areas which are; people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnerships to ensure social, economic and environmental freedom for all regardless of their station or situation in life.
It is pertinent going forward to define the term sustainable development. According to the definition given by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987, development is sustainable if it “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This means meeting the diverse needs of all people in existing and future communities, promoting personal wellbeing, social cohesion and inclusion, and creating equal opportunity. It’s also about ensuring a strong, healthy and just society.
We can therefore summarize the whole essence of the SDGs as an agenda that focuses on finding better ways of doing things; doing more with less.
We all have a part to play in ensuring that these ambitious goals for global development are achieved. Sustainable development provides an approach to making better decisions on the issues that affect all of our lives. Small actions, taken collectively, can add up to real change. The impacts of our decisions as individuals have real consequences for our society and for other people’s lives. Little actions like disposing our waste properly, putting off the lights when they are not needed, planting trees, not printing papers that we don’t need, avoiding food wastage and treating people equally can and will make our world better.