Updated: Dec 10, 2021
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework serves as a foundational blueprint for societal actors to achieve a peaceful, prosperous, and inclusive world amid a post-COVID 19 21st century world. The SDGs framework encompasses of the tenets of environmental sustainability, social inclusion, and economic prosperity. In this article, I will only discuss two goals of the entire framework. The first goal I will discuss is SDG4, which focuses on inclusive and equal educational opportunities for both boys and girls at the primary, secondary, and tertiary academic levels. The second goal I expound on is SDG16, which pertains to just, peaceful, and inclusive societies.
I chose to analyze SDG4 because I am a huge advocate for everyone, namely girls and women(SDG5). Sustainable Development Goal(SDG)4 strives to ensure inclusive and equitable high-quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. There is a cornucopia of research out there that highlights the value and the benefits of obtaining an education. The attributable factor that propels my passion for knowledge is my mother's value of education. She instilled the importance of education in me and my two older sisters from an early age. It has tremendously rubbed off on me. Another factor that drives my strong interest in SDG4 is my active engagement in it. I continuously invest in myself to become a more marketable, well-rounded global citizen.
The target that I found the most crucial under SDG4 is 4.7. It states, "By 2030, all learners acquire the requisite knowledge and skills necessary to promote sustainable development, including through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, peace and nonviolence, global citizenship, and a great appreciation of cultural diversity and culture's contribution to sustainable development". I am optimistic that societal actors can achieve Target 4.7 can be achieved by 2030. For countries to accomplish target 4.7, it will require a multi-sectoral and collaborative approach. There are disparate moving parts that comprise the education system, such as financing, health, social services, etc., that are responsible for the holistic development of children and youth. A second critical component to take into account is the importance of media outlets.
Countries are strongly advised to work in tandem with influencers, media outlets, ministries, and government officials to promote positive reinforcement of education's intrinsic value. I chose this particular target because it closely aligns with my definition of what constitutes global citizenship. Education is more than just rote memorization of information and taking standardized tests. It consists of values, global citizenship, and culture from all domains. Our world is getting smaller, and globalization has played a significant role in connecting us. Therefore, school curricula should emphasize cultural competence, human rights, nonviolence, and nondiscrimination. In all, I believe target 4.7 is primarily a global, national, and local issue that affects every individual.
Sustainable Development Goal(SDG16) is the second goal of the SDG framework that profoundly resonates with me. SDG16 calls for society members to promote just, peaceful, and inclusive societies. I chose this goal to study because it presents an accurate representation of my definition of global citizenship and the concept of human rights. Additionally, I already possess a firm understanding of the topic of violence against children and systemic violence. Targets 16.1 and 16.2 encompass the objectives of reducing all forms of violence and death and reducing all forms of violence, abuse, trafficking, and exploitation of all children, respectively. Violence, persecution, torture, and crime degenerate the fabric of society. Peace and nonviolence are the crucial principles of sustainable development. I remain optimistic that we all can work together to eradicate violence in all its forms and reduce mortality rates. However, it would be idealistic of me to believe that violence in all its forms and death rates will miraculously vanish by 2030. There are intractable barriers that can hinder the accomplishment of SDG 16. Societal barriers, such as patriarchal gender norms, corruption, and weak institutions, play a role in society's disintegration. The COVID-19 pandemic has unequivocally undone many achievements in maternal and child health and gender equality. It has raised our awareness of the various forms of inequalities that have been ubiquitous before the pandemic hit.
Since the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) framework, many people have approached this framework with cynicism and skepticism due to its perceived "top-down" approach. I slightly disagree with this sentiment. Based on the research I conducted, over 150 consultations involving member states, civil society, and private citizens in the SDGs framework design stage. According to MyWorld2015.org, around 7 million people from all countries participated in an extensive crowdsourcing survey that solicited citizens' personal opinions on societal issues that merit our attention. As I stated at the beginning of the article, the SDGs framework is a lucid, organized road map to help societal actors in every sector to achieve an inclusive, equal, and fair world for their constituents.
Peace, justice and strong institutions – United Nations Sustainable Development. (2019, July 16). Retrieved from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/peace-justice/
Education – United Nations Sustainable Development. (2017, February 04). Retrieved from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/education/