United Kingdom: Discussion about UN Sustainable Development Goals
UPF-UK, by Robin Marsh: Raising awareness of the UN Sustainable Development Goals that will come into effect in 2016 was the focus of a meeting held by UPF-UK.
“How Sustainable Development Goals Will Refine the Progress of Millennium Development Goals” was the title of the March 17, 2015, evening program that was attended by numerous Ambassadors for Peace and distinguished guests.
In addition to raising awareness, UPF held the meeting to build a strong community of supporters for the SDGs, which will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that have been in place from 2000 to 2015.
As Robin Marsh, secretary general of UPF-UK, remarked, “Supporting the Millennium Development Goals and now the Sustainable Development Goals is a natural part of UPF.” In accordance with the UPF motto of “Living for the Sake of Others,” UPF-UK formed a committee to support the SDGs, which it calls SDG-UPF.
Mr. Marsh explained that UPF has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and was founded on the desire to support the renewal of the United Nations. In practice, UPF globally supports many UN initiatives, he said.
James Tang, SDG-UPF project manager, encouraged those in attendance to consider how the SDGs can improve on the MDGs that have failed to make progress. He emphasized that society, corporations and governments must “take ownership.” People must be mobilized—a wide network of supporters who are essentially united in addressing the concerns of the general public, he said.
The speakers for the March 17 event, Mr. Tang said, were selected and the program set on the basis of TED-style talks that encourage the concept that the SDGs are a refinement and progression of the eight MDGs set 15 years prior.
Eleanor Kennedy, campaigns coordinator at Bond International, quoted U.S. economist William Russell Easterly, “The setting of utopian goals means aid workers will focus efforts on unfeasible tasks, instead of the feasible tasks that will do some good.” She called attention to the negative effects of public financing when a dependency on financial aid occurs; resources are provided, but there is a lack of a long-term trajectory that utilizes a sustainable process. Private companies have been left out in calling for social and corporate responsibility, she said, and an impending discussion in July will ensure “there will be a robust framework” to empower countries and organizations to be self-sufficient. These SDGs were made compliant with the UN regulations and expectations and were created by conducting an online survey directly with the UN as well as consulting over 83 countries, conducting door-to-door surveys. There is a call for responsibility from civil society and corporations to ensure that public financing will not be seen as the only source of funding used to apply the SDGs. Read More