Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Our goals for the next 15 years

The current state of the world makes it sometimes hard to be very optimistic about our future. Climate crisis, terrorism, geopolitical tension and economic turmoil all seem to make our outlook dimmer rather than lighter. It is easy enough to either give up hope or to completely ignore these challenges by assuming the future will be like our past.

Or we could set ourselves meaningful goals for all of humanity and get to work! This is in essence the approach the UN sustainable development goals for 2030 have taken. Broken down into 17 distinct categories, the UN and all world leaders have defined clear goals and some metrics for all of us to achieve. We are aiming at no less than to "end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all". Wow!

But how realistic is all this in the face of our potentially gloomy future prospects? How meaningful is it, if the UN declares some lofty goals?

Maybe more than you think. First, let's listen to Hans Rosling explain how we were able to  reach the 8 millenuim goals set forth by the UN in the 1990s. Due to the incredible economic rise of nations like China and India, we managed to half the world's poverty in the last 25 years. Not bad when we think back of how the chances of this were back then.

But it sure came at an incredible cost to our planetary resources, to equality and sustainability. This is why the next goals not only speak to developing countries, but all countries. Michael Green from the Social Progress Index explains how this could be done  in reality.

Our leaders have actually set out and defined a better future in terms of concrete goals and measures. It is up to us to hold them accountable for delivering on it by using our citizens right to vote for governments that make the most progress towards a better future. 

If we are looking for meaningful activities to focus on, let's start rowing in the direction of the Global Goals. It might just save us...

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