What are SDGs?
SDGs are the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals for the years 2015 and beyond. They include:
- The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for the civil sector
- the United Nations Global Compact for the business sector
- the international Sustainability movement for financial, environmental, and social accountability
These are being rolled together into the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). The Goals will include the Least Developed Nations, the Developing Nations, and the Most Developed Nations like the United States and Europe.
Sustainability in Our World - Now
When was the last time you heard in the news about the magnificent success of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)? When did you hear that the goal to reduce poverty by 50%, set in 2000 and scheduled to be attained in 2015 was actually met in 2010 – 5 years early? When have you heard of the various successful programs for empowering women throughout the world? When was the last time you read in the media about the good works of Non Government Organizations (NGOs)? Perhaps never.
That is because our media and our politicians only discuss the United Nation regarding the political sector (the General Assembly and the Security Council), or its peacekeeping efforts in areas of conflict. Because the 8 MDGs were basically geared to alleviate the problems of poverty, and thus were relegated to the Least Developed Countries, they are never reported.
But all that is set to change.
The MDGs were set in 2000 for fifteen years and will expire next year, in 2015. They will be folded into the new Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) for the years 2015 and beyond. But they won’t be continued but rather they will be transformed. The new SDGs will not only transform the MDG of feeding the poor into a goal of providing sustainable food, they will also include the Developing Countries and also the Most Developed Countries like the United States and the European countries.
The success of the MDGs was because of the collaborative work of the UN Agencies (UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO, etc.) with the over 25,000 Non Government Organizations (NGOs) and grassroots organizations around the world working with the poor. But now, instead of just working with these NGOs that work to alleviate poverty, they will be working also with the other NGOs and grassroots for bettering our society and insuring that societies around the world are sustainable.
They will be dealing with issues such as water – including how to make areas like California (and their neighboring States) sustainable with their water supplies. They will be dealing with how to insure that cities are sustainable so that we don’t have failures like Detroit, MI and Orange County, CA.
Sustainability can be defined as “What do we need to do today to assure that we will be just as viable 50 years from now?” More and more businesses are using various Sustainability models for reporting annually not only how they are performing financially, but also how they are performing with regards to environmental issues and also to social issues. With the emphasis on “stakeholders”, rather than just “shareholders”, businesses realize that no investor wants to invest in a company that isn’t going to be sustainable. Investors don’t want to invest in a company like Worldcom or Enron which were not financially sustainable.
Nor do investors want to invest in a company that is not going to be sustainable because of rising energy demands and rising energy costs. Nor in a company that is not going to provide a sustainable environment for their workers. Nor in a company that receives its supplies from a company that uses child labor in a foreign country.
This website promotes the upcoming Sustainability Development Goals by informing people of the background and their present discussions on their development. The past MDGs with the civil sector, as well as the past work of the United Nations and the Global Compact with the business sector, as well as the international groundswell of Sustainability movements are all being folded into these new SDGs.
Currently these SDGs are being discussed in Open Working Groups (OWGs). The Rio plus 20 conference in 2012 and the subsequent and future Open Working Groups will determine exactly how these goals will be set. There is discussion about whether the empowerment of women should be a separate goal or if it should be matrixed and incorporated across many goals. There are discussions on what it means to have a Sustainable City, how to assess risk, climate change, and many others.
Be prepared to discover that for every book or soothsayer proclaiming doom and gloom, and every book on how our businesses should include transparency and an emphasis on stakeholders , there are currently projects that are addressing these issues and insuring that we are living in times where a Sustainable Society is possible. Let this website help you discover these exciting actions by NGOs and grassroots organizations as they work together to attain these Sustainability Development Goals.