It is a bit strange to read such a title, especially at a time when news feeds are filled with grim articles about the refugee crisis in Europe, climate change, and radical political movements. In this blog as well, almost every piece starts by outlining yet another global problem — deforestation, food waste, inequality. And yet, as fixated as we are on these problems (as we should continue to be), we mustn’t fail to acknowledge that on a global scale, a lot is actually improving — a trend often unnoticed in the Western world, which seems to have developed a strong bias toward negativity, as Hans and Ola Rosling demonstrate in this TED talk.
Fifteen years ago, the United Nations (UN) issued the Millennium Development Goals and since then much has changed for the better. For example, 43 million more kids go to school; new HIV infections are down by 40 percent; over 2 billion more people get clean drinking water; and extreme poverty has been reduced by half.
This year, the UN is ready with its next 15-year global to-do list, a “manifesto of today’s humans for today’s humans and for tomorrow’s humans too” — The Global Goals for sustainable development. On September 25th, 193 world leaders will commit “to 17 Global Goals to achieve three extraordinary things in the next 15 years. End extreme poverty. Fight inequality and injustice. Fix climate change. In all countries. For all people.”
The UN has set one more ambitious goal — to share the Global Goals with 7 billion people in seven days, from September 25 to October 2, 2015. Already, famous musicians, athletes, artists, and organizations are collaborating on an unprecedented global media campaign. You can also become part of it.
Resources on how to spread the word can be found on the Global Goals website — from lesson plans for teachers to a guide on how to take your Global Goals selfie. In addition, The Global Goals campaign invites visual artists from around the world to submit artworks inspired by one of the Global Goals. The prizes for the selected artists include monetary awards as well as mentoring sessions and career opportunities.
Seven billion people need to hear about the goals. “The more people who know about the Global Goals for sustainable development," the website states, "the more successful they’ll be. If we all fight for them, our leaders will make them happen. So they need to be famous.”
Here are the 17 goals. You can read more about them here.
1. No poverty — End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
2. No hunger — End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
3. Good health — Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
4. Quality education — Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
5. Gender equality — Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
6. Clean water and sanitation — Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
7. Renewable energy — Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.
8. Good jobs and economic growth — Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth; full and productive employment; and decent work for all.
9. Innovation and infrastructure — Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.
10. Reduced inequalities — Reduce inequality within and among countries.
11. Sustainable cities and communities — Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.
12. Responsible consumption — Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
13. Climate action — Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
14. Life below water — Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.
15. Life on land — 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. Peace and justice — 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. Partnerships for the goals — Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
Photo: We The People Campaign