Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or simply Global Goals were established on September 25, 2015, by 193 Heads of State at the United Nations General Assembly. The SDGs and their 169 targets are at the heart of UN Resolution 70/1, also known as AGENDA 2030, which is a game-changing accord. By 2030, all member states must have met the objectives. They are a universal call to action to end poverty, safeguard the environment, and secure peace and prosperity for all people. The objectives are broad, interconnected, and include a wide range of social, economic, and social challenges, and achieving them is everyone’s responsibility.
No Poverty - End poverty in all its forms everywhere
The sustainable development goals are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations. No poverty is one of the prominent and foremost sustainable development goals to be eliminated by 2030. It aims to eradicate poverty for all currently measured as people living on less than 1.25 a day. Poverty affects each and every person regardless of his/her sex, income, age, race, religion, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, or geographic location. Reducing poverty, at least by half of the proportion of men, women, and children and implementing nationally appropriate social protection systems with entrusting of access to basic services, ownership, and property inheritance, natural resources are inevitable to be followed in a successful manner. It is crucial to appreciate new technology, build the resilience of the poor and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic social, and environmental disasters. Ensuring significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources and implementing programs and policies to terminate poverty in all its 150 dimensions is essential. It’s important to create a sound policy framework at the national, regional, and international levels as well. The goal has 7 targets and 13 indicators.
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture Zero hunger is the 2nd sustainable goal which was formed to fight against the long-lasting challenge mankind has been facing ever since its beginning, hunger, and malnutrition. Recently with the rapid degradation of natural sources like soil, freshwater, Forests, etc, hunger is taking away more lives than ever before. This goal ‘Zero Hunger’ was established after the great realization of the alarming need of a profound change of global food and agriculture system enough to satisfy the hunger of 815 million people and an additional 2 billion expected by 2050. The driving force in this battle against hunger is Currently the United Nations world food program, WFP in short. WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organization with 20,000 staff worldwide, active in over 80 countries including Sri Lanka to bring life-saving food to people in need of support. Zero Hunger’ in Sri Lanka… The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 severely affected Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, while reducing foreign direct investment impacting food and nutrition security in the country. WFP is now providing support to the Government through sustainable programs like providing nutrition supplies to local communities, school feeding, Resilience building and Livelihood support, Emergency preparedness, and providing Social Protection.
GOOD HEALTH AND WELL BEING
The Sustainable Development Goals were set out by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for the member countries to fulfill in 2030, Among these goals to meet a sustainable future for all, the SDG 3, “Good Health And Well Being” for all ages is one of the most crucial goals. The targets under this goal include reduction of maternal mortality, ending all preventable deaths of children less than five years, fighting and reducing communicable diseases and the mortality from communicable diseases, promote mental health, preventing and treating addiction and abuse, reducing road injuries and deaths, sexual and reproductive care including sex education and family planning, universal health coverage, reducing illnesses, deaths occurred from hazardous chemicals, etc… All these targets should also be followed up in Sri Lanka and indeed there is good progress in achieving them, Sri Lanka has been able to provide every citizen access to free medical assistance. Today Sri Lanka is improving maternal and child care and according to sources, the maternal mortality ratio is reduced by 16% in 2017 compared to 2007. Fortunately, midwives play a huge role in a scarcity of qualified medical workers However, Sri Lanka still has points to improve like the prevention of the rise of NCD in the aging population due to the non-commitment from the community through unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, and liquor usage. Our country also needs crucial attention to mental health facilities for all ages which is a gigantic reason for most tragic deaths and mental health issues. Finally, the retaining of our educators such as specialized oncologists and cardiologists is necessary to provide and improve the health sector of Sri Lanka.
Education is important to each and every individual regardless of age, gender or social status. Education lets people create opportunities for themselves. This can be a benefit not only to oneself but also to the community as a whole. Thus, everyone has the right to access safe, quality education. Quality education is named the fourth Sustainable Development Goal with the aim of ensuring quality primary and secondary education by the year 2030. This goal is composed of seven outcome targets and three means of implementation. According to statistics, 124 million children across the world are out of school and 250 million are not learning basic skills as a result of poor education. Girls, differently-abled children, those from minority groups, and children living in poor and remote areas are most often denied access to education. This has far-reaching consequences on their futures and those of their families, communities, and countries. Hence, quality education is of utmost importance. The Rotaract club of the University of Kelaniya, being one of the clubs that is persistently effortful in serving the community, is prepared to support ensure quality education to the community, in coherence with the Sustainable Development Goal number 4; Quality Education.
Born a woman means you are halfway there to be prone to inequality, injustice, and violence. The delicacy of women is mistakenly taken as a weakness. Little do they know that they have a voice and silencing women is the worst thing one can do. She needs to be valued and treasured. She should be empowered. Women’s equality and empowerment are one of the 17 Sustainable Developmental Goals which targets to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030, eliminating root causes of discrimination that curtail women’s rights in private and public spheres. It is pivotal to ensure that every person has equal access to health care, education, decent work, a life free from discrimination and abuse, and representation in political and economic decision-making. Even though Sri Lanka has made remarkable progress towards achieving gender equality, there are still structural barriers and societal norms that perpetuate gender stereotypes which have made many women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence. According to a study done by UNFPA in 2019, 90% of Sri Lankan women and girls have faced sexual harassment in public buses and trains at least once in their lifetime. Being a community-based club that constantly strives to make the community a better place, the Rotaract Club of the University of Kelaniya is ready to uplift every aspect of women’s life by making a safer society with zero discrimination and violence, adhering to the sustainable development goal number 5; Gender equality.
CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION
“Water is life’s matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water”. Water is vital for life; even though it provides zero calories and organic nutrients. According to experts, water is ranked second only to oxygen which is essential for life. We cannot live for more than a few days without water, but we can survive without food for weeks. ‘Clean water and sanitation is the 6th goal out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The official wording is ‘Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Worldwide, one in three people live without sanitation and this causes unnecessary diseases and deaths. Eight targets such as safe and affordable drinking water, end open defecation and provide access to sanitation and hygiene, improve water quality, wastewater treatment and safe reuse etc. have been identified to ensure clean water and sanitation for all and by using these eight targets, everyone can help to make sure that the Global Goal is met. When looking at the Sri Lankan context, there is very good sanitation coverage and drinking-water coverage in Sri Lanka, and areas to further improve our rural school sanitation, sanitation facilities for the disabled and the problem of groundwater contamination. Also, efforts are being made to identify the communities who consume water purchased from vendors who transport water in very unsanitary plastic containers, by walking more than two km, or from rivers, streams or unprotected wells and to provide them with improved water supply facilities. Rural communities are being educated on proper hygienic practices whenever possible by public health inspectors and medical officers of health and the school curriculum also contains health education and environmental studies. Sri Lanka is progressing quickly to provide its people with safe drinking water, good sanitation, and health education to live a healthy life. As said by the Former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, “we shall not defeat any of the infectious diseases that plague the developing world until we have also won the battle for safe drinking water, sanitation, and basic health care”.
AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY
The technology entered to our green planet and paved the path for innovations and the countries grabbed into the process of technological development by utilizing various energy sources which polluted the environment and tend for climatic changes. Due to this, the UN implemented sustainability development goals to be achieved by 2030 where “affordable and clean energy” is one of them. Sri Lanka as a developing country is also in the process of achieving this goal. The electricity consumption increased from 78% to 87 % in the years between 2000 and 2016. As the population is growing, the demand for cheap energy sources like fossil fuels are increasing which acts as a barrier to reach the sustainability goal. In between the period of 18th of October 2020 to 27th June 2021 solar energy consumption was 66%, wind power 26%, thermal power and coal power 4% in the western province of Sri Lanka which depicts a positive viewpoint. In order to further increase the consumption of clean energy sources, the government should undertake the necessary steps to expand the infrastructures in the country. As Sri Lankans, we all should work hand in hand to reach the success point.
DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all Decent work and Economic growth is established by United Nations as one of the 17 sustainable development goals with the purpose of providing everyone a good life irrespective to their social background, race, or culture. Sustainable Economic growth of a country as a whole is what provides its citizens decent work opportunities which will be enough to maintain a good life. And also it leads to reduce the wage gap and glaring inequalities between rich and poor, especially in the least developed and developing countries. According to the data, the unemployed percentage around the world is estimated to be 5% and with the Covid 19 pandemic situation it has rapidly increased making the situation much worse. In Sri Lanka… According to data between the 2009-2016 period time with the steady growth of tourism in post-war Sri Lanka, the earnings as a share of GDP increased from 1.8% to 5.6% but Severe impact due to COVID19 pandemic in the tourism sector has been felt across the nation creating the need of new innovative job opportunities more and more emphasizing the need of fulfilling SDG goal 8 severely.
INDUSTRY, INNOVATION, AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. With regards to sustainable development, investments, infrastructure, and innovation are crucial factors. Infrastructure makes it easy to conduct development activities in a planned way. From transport systems to power-generation facilities and water and sanitation networks, infrastructure provides the services that enable society to function and economies to thrive. On the other hand, with regards to sustainable development, the potential of investment means increasing the capacity of the local economy and the public sector, reforming framework conditions to make countries attractive investment destinations, and promoting responsible business conduct along the length of global supply chains. Why society should foster innovation is that innovation and diffusion of new technologies are indispensable for economic growth. They lead to increased productivity and to the creation of wealth and economic well-being, including decent and green jobs. For these reasons, building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation is named the ninth Sustainable Development Goal. This mainly targets in facilitating sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in developing countries through enhanced financial, technological, and technical support to African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing States by 2030. Being one of the clubs that strive hard to serve the community, the Rotaract Club of the University of Kelaniya is prepared to work towards the goal and help achieve it aims by the year 2030.
Inequality is one of the main issues that most developing countries are facing nowadays. The rich have abundant money and the poor with less money. To bridge this gap and bring both parties to an equal phase, we must charge taxes from the rich and give subsidies and benefits to the poor. In Sri Lanka, the poor or the one with a day job in the current context gets an allowance from the government whereas the rich are compelled to donate some of their portion for the upliftment of the society. And also reducing inequality in income as well as gender, age, disability, race, ethnicity, religion is also important. Talent is something that both genders have. Thereby giving equal opportunities to both males and females is essential to get the best outcome. In Sri Lanka, in most contexts, equal opportunities are given to both parties in companies, events, public events, etc. The health care system in Sri Lanka is one of the best examples of equality. It treats all its patients with the same care and consideration. Most government agencies give equal opportunity to the public whereas some private companies give opportunities to people based on political influence. Therefore, as a country to move forward in the long run, must treat each individual equally and distribute income equally to produce a better world.
SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES
The Sustainable Developments Goals are a call for action by all countries. Poor rich and middle income to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. On September 25,2015 , 193 heads of State at the United Nations General Assembly set up a collection of 17 goals known as The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) or simply Global Goals. 11th goal regarding to sustainable cities and communities. Main objectives are making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. There needs to be a future in which cities provide opportunities for all , with access to basic services, energy, housing, transportation and more. More than half the world population lives in cities. More than half the world population lives in cities. Targets for this goal include addressing issues like transportation, disaster preparedness as well as prevention of the world’s cultural and natural heritage. Bike, walk or use public transportation to keep our cities air clean. Disaster risk reduction is an integral part of social and economic development and is essential if development is to be sustainable for the future. Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
Sustainable Consumption and production are about doing more and better with less. It is also about decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation, increasing resource efficiency, and promoting sustainable lifestyles. Reducing our environmental impact, promoting the use of renewable sources of energy, and encouraging responsible purchasing decisions are just some of the ways that ISO standards contribute to sustainable consumption and production. In addition, work is underway on a new standard for sustainable development and social responsibility in the agro-food sector. Sustainability is also highly relevant when it comes to construction. Sustainability in building construction – General principles, identifies and establishes general principles for sustainability in buildings and other construction works throughout their whole life cycle, from inception to end of life. Also supporting sustainable lifestyle choices, Cross border trade of second-hand goods, establishes minimum screening criteria for goods traded between countries, helping to drive this alternative consumption pattern by reducing waste and environmental impact.
It is said that earth is the only planet with a suitable climate for the existence of life. A critical threat to this mere existence is the climatic change that the planet is undergoing due to a list of reasons. 2010 to 2019 was declared as the warmest decade which highlights the extreme level of occurrence that has taken place. Therefore, the United Nations have set targets to be achieved and indicators to assess each of them to measure their progress. Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related disasters, integrate climate change measures into policy and planning, build knowledge and capacity to meet climate change, implement the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, promote mechanisms to raise capacity for planning and management are some of these targets set to be achieved by year 20230. As a result of the Covid 19 pandemic worldwide, in the year 2020 CO2 emissions dropped by 6%. But however greenhouse gas emissions are 50% higher than the year 1990. Sri Lanka which is an island nation experiences these climate changes and could be described by the severe shifts in its seasonal rainfall patterns accompanied by increased flood and drought in the last decade. Therefor several projects such as ‘the climate change adaptation’ project which operates in Polonnaruwa and Walapane, The ‘Climate Resilient Integrated Water Management’ project which contributes to resuscitating ancient irrigation systems in three river basins (Malwathu Oya, Mi Oya, and Yan Oya) for effective water management and safe drinking water and project ‘NAMA’ are some of them.
LIFE BELOW WATER
“Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” Oceans, rivers, lakes, and all the other sources of water are the lifeline of all the living things on Earth that need to be taken care of. Life below water is the 17th sustainable development goal has been set by the United Nations in 2015 with the huge purpose of conserving all the water resources and their properties for the future. UN has established 10 targets under the goal Life below water to be achieved by the year 2030. Sri Lanka is surrounded by ocean and having a coastline that extends over 1,700 km has a big role to play in this goal’ life below water. With lot of economic activities related to waterways like fishing, shipping, and tourism contributing to the livelihood of more than 650,000 people, conserving waterways including the ocean is definitely important to Sri Lanka both environmentally and economically. Over the decades even before establishing SDG goals, Sri Lanka has established several legislative frameworks for sustainable management of marine and coastal ecosystems. But with the establishment of SDG goal life below water more attention is being drawn towards protecting and conserving marine ecosystems than ever. especially with the increasing activities of fishing, shipping, and tourism more actions are definitely needed to be taken.
LIFE ON LAND
The shelter for mankind and many other species is the land we live on which supports us to survive. It is said that the human diet is composed of 80% of plant life and 30% of the earth’s surface is covered by forest providing habitat to species and purifying the air thus spotlighting the importance of life on land. Therefore the united nations has set 12 targets under this goal. The mission of this goal is “Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”. Freshwater ecosystem, deforestation, desertification, biodiversity and protected species are some of the areas focused under this goal. Sri Lanka being a country with immense diversification of favorable landscapes has to ensure this goal be accomplished by taking relevant steps. Enhancing Biodiversity Conservation and Sustenance of Ecosystem services in Environmentally Sensitive Areas is an important step taken to achieve this goal.
PEACE, JUSTICE, AND STRONG INSTITUTIONS
Addiction and violence are among the most challenging social issues we face as a society. Promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development access to justice for all and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels are crucial methods to create such an environment in the entire island. The targets for this goal include the reduction of violence, termination to torture, reduction of corruption, as well as creation of institutions and governments that work for everyone. It’s important to build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions significantly to reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere. Victims of international homicide, conflict-related death, physical, psychological or sexual violence, the proportion of the population that feel safe walking alone around the area they live and ending of abuse, exploitation, and all forms of violence against torture of children too. Rules of law at the national and international levels to ensure equal access to justice for all are crucial By 2030.
PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS
Partnership for the goals, which is considered the seventeenth goal among a total of seventeen goals, believing that partnerships are the glue for SDG implementation and that it is essential in making the agenda a reality. Goal 17 moves forward with the soul ultimatum to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. That being stated, Goal 17 calls for strengthening the means of implementation and to build and enhance partnerships with diverse stakeholders. The targets of Goal 17 can be viewed as global, thus it does not only consider the internal reach but also tries to figure out how to reach, implement and address the necessary aspects globally. Child rights and wellbeing can be identified as a significant target among the primary tools for the advancement of child rights and well-being, globally. This goal defines, for example, whether there is enough data available to identify those children most at risk of being left behind all by themselves, making them helpless and needy. Accordingly, maintaining strong global partnerships and cooperation is the means that helps to realize the SDGs. Focusing on Sri Lanka and its correlation with the SDG 17, it is evident that nowadays with the ongoing crisis the world is more interconnected than ever. Therefore, Improving access to technology and knowledge is an important way to share ideas and foster innovation. As a developing country reaching out and implementing or maintaining partnerships globally will help the country to balance its reputation without falling apart. Coordinating policies to help developing countries manage their debt, as well as promoting investment for the least developed, is vital for sustainable growth and development. The goals aim to enhance North-South and South-South cooperation by supporting national plans to achieve all the targets. Promoting international trade, and helping developing countries like Sri Lanka increase their exports is all part of achieving a universal rules-based and equitable trading system that is fair and open and benefits all. It is evident that Goal 17 calls on the Member States to significantly enhance the availability of reliable, high-quality, and timely disaggregated data as well as to further develop measurements of progress, and support statistical capacity-building in developing countries like Sri Lanka.