After the successes of the Millennium Development Goals, 150 of the world's leaders came together to dream of a better world and create a road map to get there. The result is the Sustainable Development Goals, a 17 point checklist for achieving a better world. Within each of the 17 goals lie targets, of which there are 169, for achieving the larger objectives.
Last week, 300 businesses and individuals joined together to discuss what these goals mean for Australia, how we are tracking and what we should be doing now to create this better world. It was a conference of hope, inspiration and challenge- with each speaker providing a new perspective and understanding of the jigsaw pieces we need to put together to achieve the targets.
While there were many pivotal moments and conversations, I wanted to share my top 10 insights:
- There is more happening in Australia than we realise. Despite being connected with many sustainability and conservation groups, I was unaware of the breadth and depth of how businesses are taking on the targets to meet the sustainable development goals. One perfect example is the Fairtrade movement that now has a trade of over 7 billion Euros.
- There are 3.5 billion young people in the world who are creative and optimistic for the future. However our attitudes to youth mean we risk alienating them, especially if we don't include them in policy creation and future planning.
- We can't leave anyone behind. While the goals have specific aims in assisting certain populations in the world, we need to make sure we bring everyone along and that no one is left behind. This also means respecting the knowledge and wisdom that all people bring and sharing that information for better outcomes.
- We must achieve all the goals, or else we have failed. All the sustainable development goals are interlinked and equally important. This means that if we do not achieve all the targets and goals, then we have failed in their implementation.
- 1 in every 6 people in Australia experience food insecurity and 644,000 receive food relief every month. Australia is falling behind in many of the sustainable development goals and we also need to make sure we achieve the targets at home as well.
- There are 22 Indigenous carbon projects in Australia, with some of Australia's big banks and airlines preferring to purchase Indigenous carbon credits. There are many opportunities across the world to meet several of the goals in one action.
- Australian farmers need to turn their attention away from feeding the world to leading the world with innovation, research and development. Rather than becoming the food bowl of Asia, we should instead work on our farming techniques and share our innovative methods to help others feed their local populations.
- We need to assess the goals against demographics as well. Indigenous People face being excluded from the sustainable development goals by increasing the wealth of the world's richest and thereby skewing the results.
- Consumers are driven by the goals. There is a growing trend of consumers now opting to shop at stores with social and sustainable targets. This is evident with Oxfam's Naughty or Nice clothes shopping list.
We need to better promote the goals. Many people are unaware that they exist, nor can name what they are. We need better marketing and communication as to what they are and what they should achieve.