Global Health Blogs with Professor Swahn

Student Reflections on Topics Covered in our Class

Global Health Blogs with Professor Swahn

Blog 1 – SDG

September 9, 2020 · No Comments · SDGs

“We have the power to write the future we want for our country. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.” – Joe Biden

The Sustainable Development Goals are a calling for all nations to seek optimal health and well being for both people and the planet. If successful this initiative will end poverty, improve the quality of life for everyone, and ensure our planet is protected for years to come. In 2015, as part of a 15-year plan, these 17 Goals were adopted by all members of the United Nations, and they were set as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Sustainable Development Goals

  1. No Poverty – Goal: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  2. Zero Hunger – Goal: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agricultureStrategies for delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals: Some lessons from Rwanda
  3. Good Health & Well Being – Goal: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  4. Quality Education – Goal: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  5. Gender Equality –  Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  6. Clean Water & Sanitation – Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  7. Affordable & Clean Energy – Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all
  8. Decent work & Economic Growth –
  9. Industry Innovation & Infrastructure –
  10. Reduced Inequalities –
  11. Sustainable Cities & Communities –
  12. Responsible Consumption & Construction –
  13. Climate Action –
  14. Life Below Water –
  15. Life on Land –
  16. Peace, Justice, & Strong Institutions –
  17. Partnerships for the Goal –

“At its core, the issue of a clean environment is a matter of public health.” – Gina McCarthy

It is now 2020, and where are we? Are these goals laying the correct framework for a better tomorrow for all? 2030 is just a little over a decade away, so we must ask ourselves today if we are staying on the right course of sustainability. On all fronts, progress is being made, however, the pace to meet the Goals is not yet advancing at the speed nor scale required to reach our target by 2020. Now more than ever does attention needs to be drawn to the sustainable development agenda.

Over the past 20 years, the number of people living in extreme poverty decreased from 36 percent to 10 percent. Although the poverty rate has slowed, we are still not on track to reach our goal by 2030. In today’s world, extreme poverty is concentrated and its effects are mostly seen in rural populations. Still, this is a wondrous feat, over the past 25 years More than one billion people have been lifted out of the pit of poverty. In order for the rest of the population to find their way out of poverty, effective interventions must be created that tackle the social, economic, and political factors keeping these regions down. Tackling these regions of constant violent conflict and climate change will be key in the coming years. 

So how will we deliver the promise made back in 2015? Simply we must go into overdrive, and according to António Guterres, this will be known as the decade of action. But what does that look like? 

Secretary-General Says United Nations Must Embrace Blockchain

Global Action –  We must secure greater political and economic leadership, more resources, and effective solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Local Action – By embedding the needed transitions in the policies, budgets, institutions, and regulatory frameworks of governments, cities, and local authorities will be better suited to implement interventions.

People action – With the full support and involvement from youth, civil society, the media, the private sector, unions, academia, and other stakeholders,  we can generate an unstoppable movement pushing for the required transformations we seek.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

We cannot forget that even though more people around the world are living better, a large portion of people are still living in poverty, and although more people have access to education, healthcare, work, and a healthy lifestyle, even more, are at risk due to inequalities in our system and are under threat from climate change. Investment in the future begins with changing today. Much greater leadership and rapid policy agendas will be needed during this unprecedented time to align the 17 Sustainability goals with society’s goals.


Mentoring for the Sustainable Development Goals |

To some, these goals sound too ambitious, and to them, I say they need to be! At least this target has us aiming for a better world. A lot of the reasons behind why we need SDG has been discussed in multiple classes during my master’s program and yes there are lots of grey-areas, such as oil companies supporting one goal but making it more difficult to reach another. However, this allows a lot of nations and companies to have an opportunity to categorize the impactful change we so desperately need in our world. Most of the goals have the same causes, so working on one can help in another. The SDGs are presented this way in order to convey a convoluted topic in a simplistic way to 193 member nations and thousands of hundreds of cultures. The design of the Sustainable Development Goals was developed to convert what was before short-term gains into what would be longer-term goals in both undeveloped and developed nations. For each of the 17 goals, there are 231 indicators tracking the progress across.


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