The ideal world-and the most prevalent idea of the future that one can think of-must consist, essentially, of social inclusion for all, constant economic growth and a clean and secure environment. For this, we must move beyond economic wealth as the indicator and vehicle of the progress of humanity. Most importantly, sustainable development goals should:
- prioritise a more secure world;
- lift people out of poverty and eradicate poverty altogether;
- protect the planet's natural resources;
- ensure equal opportunity for everyone and sufficient jobs (having a fair trade operation in place can greatly support this);
- provide clean water and sufficient food;
- provide quality healthcare and education for all;
- ensure access to energy; and
- empower women and girls and secure their equal social status.
Government and organisations must prioritise these issues, tailor them according to social demand and start emphasising a united approach to executing environment and development agendas.
The top issues that currently concern humanity and development are:
- the effects of climate change;
- pollution from fossil fuels. A transformation of our culture of energy consumption shows us a path towards “People” Smart Energy, leading to an energy industry revolution;
- sufficient human rights for all human beings. This includes workers rights, ensuring maximum forty working hours per week and keeping this in consideration with regards to labourers in developing nations;
- water for all. One billion people globally do not have access to adequate drinking water. We must develop a new understanding of how to wisely use available water and curb the development of water-borne diseases;
- proper access to electricity. One in five people currently lack access to electricity. Demand for electricity will increase significantly. Three billion people still use wood, charcoal, coal or animal waste as a cooking tool. Providing them with electricity will reduce a significant amount of toxic and carbon emissions. It will also help reduce the two million deaths per year which occur due to the toxicity of these materials.Technology transfers, as well as significant support and implementation by the government and other organisations, can help in the adoption of renewable energies; and
- overfishing. Sustainable fishing is an important issue as around 200 million people’s livelihoods depend on fishing industry. This industry requires an urgent shift to sustainable fishing methods so that resources do not deplete as overfishing may result in the extinction of many species. One preventative measure is to provide the right education to fishermen as well as assistance and loans to the needy fisherman. This practice has already been implemented in the coral reef and has resulted in 50 percent recovery of the area's species.
Sources and links:
- United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development: uncsd2012.org
- International Institute for Sustainable Development: iisd.org
Author: Ajay Pal Singh/ RESET editorial