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The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.
By Bill Miller
June 24, 2016
In September 2015, 193 world leaders convened at United Nations Headquarters in New York City and committed to achieve 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). Following an extensive multi-year deliberation, member states identified the SDGs and 169 targets designed to end poverty and hunger, improve health and education and advance environmental and economic development. The SDGs are:
The SDGs were developed with strong U.S. leadership and using an intensive consultative process, including consultations in 50 U.S. cities that involved elected officials, business leaders and faith-based and civil society leaders. More than 73,000 Americans engaged online with the U.N. and depicted the world they envisioned in 2030.
The goals indicate longstanding, bipartisan foreign policy and development priorities that Republican and Democratic administrations and Congress have championed, including gender equality, hunger and poverty alleviation, transparency and governance, access to safe drinking water and improved education.
These SDGs built on accomplishments made on eight millennium development goals that ranged from eradicating extreme hunger and poverty to achieving universal primary education, from promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment to developing a global partnership for development. At the same time, the SDGs represent a greater comprehension of the linkages among poverty, governance, health, gender, climate and education. They recognize these problems do not exist in isolated silos but are intertwined.
The SDGs involve more key players in the process and go beyond foreign aid alone. They stress the importance of private sector trade and investment to accelerate critical contributions in development, health and economic and social opportunity. Critical to their overall success will be a combination of embracing the rule of law, reducing corruption and strengthening transparency and accountability. As such, the SDGs are not part of a legally binding treat, but provide a blueprint for economic and social development.
With 17 goals and 169 targets, there are a wide range of issues for any group or individual to help achieve. Not everyone will enthusiastically support all of the goals or believe they are important. But, whether one is a public administrator at the local, regional, national or international level, or has any other affiliation or no affiliation, he or she should discuss them critically and identify those with which to become involved to propel the world in a positive direction.
After all, what is more important than to help create a better world?
Author: Longtime ASPA member Bill Miller is an accredited international journalist covering the United Nations. He is producer and moderator of Global Connections Television (www.globalconnectionstelevision.com). He can be reached at [email protected].