Have you ever imagined a world free from hunger; with very good healthcare access to everyone; with equality everywhere whether in education, employment, or wealth distribution; a world where there is sufficient clean water for everyone always; where our energy needs are met whether in cooking or lighting our homes, in our transport systems, or in our industries; with no environmental degradation and almost all the biodiversity restored; all the conflicts peacefully resolved; and without the threat of a rapidly changing climate? Well, that’s what we call a sustainable world!
On Friday, 25 September 2015, the world was destined for transformation to realize the sustainable world that we all want. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were agreed upon by leaders from 193 countries at the United Nations General Assembly. The deadline is 2030. If we get it right by achieving all the goals by 2030, we are on the right track to a sustainable future. If we don’t: we are doomed! We only have now to take control and be in charge of our fresh futures.
The SDGs are not the first universal development agenda the world has ever agreed on. In fact the SDGs took over from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which came into effect in the year 2000. Achievement of the MDGs in 2015 was highly inconsistent with other countries achieving the most of the goals very well while others did not realize any of the goals. But why were the MDGs not evenly achieved? The answer is ‘the approach!’
The MDGs were meant to benefit the entire world, especially people living in poverty, but only governments, development agencies, and organisations working on the MDGs knew about the goals in countries like Malawi. People were not well informed about the MDGs thus not well empowered to contribute to the achievement of the goals. So far, even though there has been improved efforts in the work towards the SDGs, it seems that the Malawi government, civil society, and development partners are ‘forcing’ interventions on people who are not aware of the end goal: achieving the SDGs by 2030.
If we are ever going to attain the SDGs we need to change our approach. We need to ensure that people, both rural and urban, are fully aware of the 17 SDGs and what the goals mean for our future. A good understanding of sustainability at the grassroots level is the key to creating an enabling environment for all the interventions being implemented towards the SDGs.
With only 12 years left to the deadline, we need to act fast to ensure grassroots awareness of the SDGs so that no one is left out. ‘Our Fresh Futurez’ is here to make the noise about the SDGs as well as to promote and ensure understanding of sustainability across all levels in Malawi and beyond. We are OFF to a sustainable world!