Our guest writer Sheryl Haw, from the Micah Network, shares her perspective on the Sustainable Development Goals.
On 25 September 2015, more than 200 nations gathered in New York at the UN headquarters to launch the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These new SDGs will set the agenda for global development, the environment and international politics for the next 15 years until 2030.
The SDGs build on the previous eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which ran from 2000 to 2015. The MDGs brought about some encouraging successes. Poverty levels went down, and access to clean, safe water improved dramatically. However, there were also a number of missed targets.
The 17 ambitious new Goals, with their 169 targets, can initially feel overwhelming. There are risks and hurdles in each commitment, but there are also inspiring opportunities. We can unite behind a common vision and framework to advocate for our governments to put these commitments into practice.
Micah Global has a vision of seeing communities living life in all its fullness, free from poverty, injustice and conflict. We wholeheartedly embrace the SDGs as an important framework to strive for the common good for all – leaving no one behind.
The 17 goals can be classified into 7 core groupings:
1) Dignity and wellbeing for all: ending poverty and embracing equality for everyone
2) Life in all its fullness for all people: ensuring basic needs are met, and helping people to access services, training and jobs. This goal has a special emphasis on including all people.
3) Just societies: encouraging just and fair institutions and policies that promote justice for all
4) Peace: working towards sustainable peace while embracing diversity
5) Restoring and protecting our planet: living within the limits of the earth’s natural resources, and restoring ecosystems
6) Sustainable development: encouraging fair economic growth, with a commitment towards renewable energy sources and protecting the environment
7) Cooperation and partnerships: joint initiatives that work towards the common good of all.
In John 10:10 Jesus says, ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’
Leaders at all levels who steal resources that were intended to benefit everyone are thieves. Corruption, injustice, violence, greed and poor governance are major barriers we need to face if we are going to fulfil the SDGs together. We cannot address the 17 Goals without raising awareness of selfish, power-hungry and corrupt leaders; unjust policies and laws; biased media and propaganda; and prejudiced actions.
The SDGs will be useless unless we, as global citizens, hold our governments to account. We need to urge our governments to base their economic, social, environmental and political policies on achieving the Goals. It is important to focus on helping people and the environment to flourish and not simply on economic growth.
We need to draw on the biblical mandate issued by our God of justice, and work with the global SDGs to see that no one is left behind. We congratulate the UN and all who took part in the development of the SDGs, and we join in the commitment to seeing these Goals achieved.
To read more about the SDGs, click here.
Sheryl Haw is the Micah Network’s International Director. You can read more about the Micah Network here.