Sustainable Development Goals

Five years after the international community devised a blueprint for a fairer, safer and more equal planet, is the world any closer to achieving its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030? The question is being asked because, despite the ambition, some observers are saying that there’s little evidence of significant progress towards the target to make the world a better place for all by the beginning of the next decade. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 universal objectives set down by the United Nations in 2015, which are designed to achieve “a better, more equitable and sustainable future for all“. The goals include achieving an end to poverty, hunger and poor health. They also cover education, equality, the provision of clean water, clean energy, responsible growth and decent work, and action to tackle environmental and climate-related issues. The UN is already reporting difficulties in raising the necessary funds – the first phase (ending poverty for 700m people) will require at least $11trillion. And in a recent survey of the world’s 250 largest companies by KPMG, only 101 mentioned SDGs in their corporate reports, and of these just eight made the business case for the goals. Laura Ortiz Monetmayor, founder of SVX Mexico, describes herself as a social entrepreneur committed to ensure capital serves humanity. She was recently critical of the SDG framework, claiming they were treating the symptoms rather than the causes. She believes the goals are the wrong way round; rather than aiming to end extreme poverty, we should focus on ending extreme wealth, she says. Instead of aiming for zero hunger, perhaps the world should consider trying to end market speculation and manipulation, for instance. This is not the only criticism of the SDG initiative. Many analysts say the UN has talked a good talk on SDGs but is yet to demonstrate decisive progress.

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