1000 Days of the SDGs; Are we on Track for Goal?

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-Olasoji Fagbola, Sahara Energy, Lagos

Few weeks ago, the entire globe remembered Martin Luther King (Jr) for his magnanimous positive impact on humanity.

History remembers him for his ‘Dream’, his dogged pursuit of it and how its attainment has impacted humanity for good.

Today, June 21, 2018 marks 1000 days since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals across the world and the recent remembrance made of MLK Jnr caused me to cast my mind forward and think of what reference would be made of the SDGs by the year 2030, the set timeline for their achievement.

And several thoughts flooded my mind, “at the current pace we are progressing with the SDGs, are we on track in achieving them by the year 2030? How about our commitment to it, is it focused enough to see us scoring the sustainable goals by 2030? Will the SDGs end up as the MDGs? Will a new set of goals be conceptualized in 2030? Will another set of goals be introduced till 2045?” These thoughts preoccupied my mind , as opined by former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that ‘’implementation is the litmus test of the new agenda’’.

In September 2015, United Nations (UN) member states adopted an agenda covering a broad range of sustainable development issues globally.

These set of goals were tagged the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs encourage every country to end poverty and enhance social and economic development in a sustainable manner by 2030.

SDGs otherwise known as the Global Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The framework tagged “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ was adopted at the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the 25th of September 2015 by UN Member States.

The Agenda established amongst others, a set of 17 SDGs, 169 Targets and 231 Indicators.

Further to my earlier thoughts, I wondered, what are we doing to ensure that no one is left behind by 2030? Also paramount on my mind is the fact that, despite the third anniversary of the adoption of the goals is approaching, the level of awareness is not encouraging.

Hence ‘‘- a little less conversation, a little more action’’ in the thoughts of Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway.

To address all those concerns, I hereby make a few suggestions to moving the SDGs forward and causing a good remembrance to be made of the goals by the year 2030.

To achieve the level of awareness to drive the SDGs goals across board, I believe there is the need for every public spirited individual to become a SDG Ambassador and our task, along with the member UN states, will be to take deliberate steps in changing our planet to one that will aid prosperity, thereby contributing meaningfully to the attainment of the goals. An approach to achieving this could simply be us creating more awareness about the goals in our neighbourhoods and communities.
Another approach could be the reorientation of our mindset as well as that of the societies we live in, an approach which unarguably is a tough one, but with will and determination it is possible.

Our
mindset is created out of a combination of values, the environment, personal circumstances, what we read, consume etc.

As humans we need to consider our actions and inactions towards our environment.

It’s very expedient for us as nations to build a genuine interest in the planet and people, most importantly to build a strong foundation from a genuine heart that loves to help the planet.

Just as the author, Zig Ziglar once said “you can achieve anything in life you want, so long as you help enough people reach their goals”, to achieve the SDGs agenda within the set time frame, 2030, there is a need for us all as individuals to come together and collaborate towards the attainment of the goals, knowing fully well that ‘‘the road to success is forever under construction’’ according to Lily Tomlin.

Finally, and very importantly, as the world looks to the implementation of the SDGs, it is very important to creatively design a mode of sourcing funds for the goals such that no one is left behind by 2030. This can be achieved through partnerships, crowdfunding, innovative financing, SMEs development or philanthropy. Ultimately, availability of funds translates the goals into action.

The time for us to begin taking the bold steps towards the attainment of the SDGs is now, as in the words of Mother Teresa “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come.

We have only today. Let us begin.’’ Let us create more awareness of the global goals. Let us change the course of humanity between now and 2030, and together we can attain a sustainable world.

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