How do you want the world to look like in fifteen years? In September 2015, the United Nations adopted seventeen goals and 169 sub targets that should end poverty, fight inequality and fix climate change by 2030. Five questions and answers about the Global Goals.
What are the Global Goals?
The Global Goals are seventeen sustainable development goals that should make the world a better place by 2030. According to the United Nations, the first and most important goal is ‘ending extreme poverty’. There are goals about health, education, water and sanitation, but there are also goals about sustainable energy, less inequality and fighting climate change.
What happened to the Millennium Development Goals?
The UN initiated the concept of ‘world development goals’ in the year 2000: eight Millennium Development Goals that end in 2015. It is difficult to measure the results of these goals and we don’t know how the world would have looked like without them. The goal to halve the proportion of people who live in extreme poverty has been met, according to the UN. However, without the economic growth of China, this wouldn’t have been possible. Goals about reducing mother and child mortality have been less successful: Each year, still 300.000 women die during their pregnancy, during labour or in the days after giving birth. The Global Goals continue where the Millennium Development Goals end, but are much more ambitious according to the UN.
What is different about these new goals?
The Global Goals do not only address development but also sustainability. And contrary to the Millennium Development Goals, the Global Goals aren’t exclusively developed by the United Nations. Everyone had the opportunity to have his or her say in creating the new agenda. People could vote for their top priorities through an online worldwide survey, MyWorld, UN employees would visit remote areas with the same survey on paper, so people without internet access had the chance to vote for their priorities as well. Worldwide almost 7.8 million people have voted for their top priorities. A special High Level Panel was appointed and a UN-Working Group that consisted of 70 countries, composed a list of seventeen goals on which the 193 Member States of the UN have negotiated during the months up to September 2015. The new sustainable development goals apply to all countries, instead of only to developing countries. Therefore we call them Global Goals. Whereas the Millennium Development Goals were mainly focused on development, these new goals take into account a broader range of topics such as human rights, economic growth, peace and security and climate.
Are the goals expensive? And who will pay the bill?
According to the World Bank, the Global Goals will cost the world trillions of dollars. Estimates go from 2 up to 4,5 trillion dollars each year, or about 4 percent of the global GDP. During the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in July 2015, developed countries promised to spend 0,7 percent of their GDP to development, but few countries actually commit to this amount. But when talking about financing for the goals, we should also take into account money flows such as investments made by companies, fiscal reforms, and tackling problems like tax evasion.
How are the Global Goals linked to me?
Clothes you buy at your local retail store are largely being produced abroad in countries such as Bangladesh or Ethiopia. Because of your t-shirt you are connected to the working conditions in those countries, and for example the amount of water that is being used while producing it. For example, by paying attention to buying fair and sustainable products you contribute to goal 12: responsible consumption and production. And maybe even to goal number 8: decent work and economic growth. So by your choices and actions you too can contribute to achieving the Global Goals.