Previously, we published an article introducing each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted by the United Nations. These goals were to bring prosperity to the people and the planet through the ending of poverty. Each goal was explained along with the significance of achieving the overall agenda. However, what was not touched upon was what current projects are in effect to reach the end of poverty. This article will explain different projects, commitments, and partnerships that exist that use the Sustainable Development Goals as their framework.
Because the SDGs Agenda is a worldwide initiative, there are numerous projects registered with the UN that coincide with reaching the goals. There are thousands of commitments and partnerships which are registered in what is called the Partnership Program. This database holds information on voluntary projects and is managed by the UN. It also provides an extensive network of stakeholders that support the SDGs. Within the Partnership Program, Goal 14 has the most commitments with almost 3000 while Goal 10 has the least with just under 900. There is a special criterion for a commitment to be recognized by the UN. This criterion is called SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Resource-based, and Time-bound. The SMART criteria is a well-known objectives scheme used in project management. It is important to create goals that can be realistically obtained to have a positive impact on the world and SMART objectives make that possible.
Due to the vastness of the SDGs, there is also great variability of each goal within the commitments themselves. This means that one commitment can target multiple goals even though it may seem it is only targeting one. For example, there is the UN Ocean Conference which is scheduled for this summer. In lieu of Covid-19, this conference hosted by Kenya and Portugal aims to propel science-based initiatives to enact global ocean action. While the main goal targeted seems to be Goal 14: Life below water, it actually aims to target every goal in the agenda. The Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network is an online platform for stakeholders specifically in the fashion and lifestyle sectors to mobilize expertise and innovation toward a sustainable recovery. The goals it targets include Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production and Goal 17: Partnerships. The Higher Education Sustainability Initiatives create an interface of higher education, science, and policy-making and can target Goal 4: Equal education, Goal 16: Peace, justice, and strong institutions, etc. All these commitments and more use the goals as a framework to call to action their respective initiatives.
Because there are so many goals and each issue they tackle rums rampant in the world, it may seem like a tough task for an individual to get involved. There are so many governments registering their commitments and partnerships; what can a single person do? While individuals like us don’t need to register on the platform, we can still take action on our own to help the SDG causes. We can raise awareness of these goals as this may be a niche topic for those unaware or people who realize these issues are happening but don’t know that they’re already being addressed. Raising awareness through having a poster campaign, curating an art exhibit, or hosting a lecture series are ways to spread the word about the goals so more people can band together to achieve the targets. It is also possible to join in on already established projects that were formed by a company. Companies such as Google Maps, Save Your Wardrobe, and The Tyre Collective have projects that they enacted that fall into categories such as Earth, Circular Economy, and Plastic Waste. Finally, it’s possible to create your own project. Many schools use the SDG framework for projects for their students and there are many resources to help get them started. Creating your own project shows that there is an initiative among locals and individuals which also indicates just how important the goals are. To create change that creates impact, there not only needs government support but support from the individual level. This then influences the overall culture of the general population to become more sustainable overall because there is a genuine show of creating a positive impact. Anyone has the opportunity to be a part of a worldwide initiative.