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Climate Class | The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, all UN countries were asked to adopt the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. And fortunately, they all agreed! So since 2015, the UN has been working hard to tackle the challenges they have outlined and build a better and more sustainable world.

But what are these goals? And how are they going to help us transform our world?

Let’s start at the beginning...

GOAL # 1 No Poverty

More than 700 million people still live in extreme poverty, with this figure increasing by 71 million during the pandemic.

It’s vital that as the economy grows, everyone is supported, to help provide jobs and promote equality.

GOAL # 2 Zero Hunger

821 million people are classed as undernourished across the globe, yet one-third of the world’s food is wasted. Now that’s just insane.

The UN believes the food and agriculture industry has the solutions to tackle the food waste and hunger crisis. By supporting local farmers, communities can grow in strength and help eradicate hunger and poverty.

GOAL # 3 Good Health and Well-being

If you didn’t think investing in the health sector was a good idea before the pandemic, you probably do now. Vaccinations have lit a torch at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel, and without them, the prospect of ‘normality’ would probably still be a distant dream.

Vaccinations haven’t just helped people through this pandemic but they were also responsible for an 80% drop in measles death from 2000 to 2017. They are a powerful tool, in a toolbox brimming with solutions, to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being.

GOAL # 4 Quality Education

Across the globe, 617 million children and adolescents are without the minimum proficiency in reading and maths.

Education is often referred to as the number one solution to a whole host of problems across the world. That’s because it can be a catalyst for the transformation of communities and cultures.

GOAL # 5 Gender Equality

1 in 3 women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence globally, and the UK certainly aren’t exempt from this statistic. With the recent death of Sarah Everard, and the subsequent protests that followed, it’s clear to see there is still a long way to go before women are seen as equal to men.

Gender inequality needs to be tackled, not only because it is a fundamental human right, but like education, it can provide the foundation needed for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. The UN believes through the empowerment of young girls and women these goals can be achieved.

GOAL # 6 Clean Water and Sanitation

40% of people are currently facing water scarcity, and as climate change becomes more prominent across the globe, droughts are becoming longer and more intense.

Grappling with water scarcity is an increasing challenge, so accessible, clean water for everyone is a crucial element of the sustainable future the UN wants to see.

GOAL # 7 Affordable and Clean Energy

In the UK there has been a huge rise in the use of sustainable tech, as Tesla’s and solar farms begin to pop up around us. But globally, 3 billion people don't have the option of clean energy or tech.

Goal # 7 wants to see energy-efficient appliances and lightbulbs available for everyone. Accessible and clean electricity is key in facing major challenges and opportunities.

GOAL # 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth

A fifth of young people are not in education, employment or training. The stinted opportunities of these young people mean they are unable to contribute to economic growth.

Everyone should have access to jobs, especially green jobs that help to build a more sustainable world. More opportunities are needed for quality jobs, to support sustainable growth, community empowerment, and resilience.

GOAL # 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Poor infrastructure is not something you would necessarily associate with the UK, but in many rural areas, people go without good quality infrastructure for things like transport and energy.

Regardless, the UK remains much further ahead when compared to some less developed countries. There they face road, water and sanitation scarcity. To improve sustainable development and combat these problems, the UN wants to see investment in industry, innovation and infrastructure.

GOAL # 10 Reduced inequalities

It’s hard not to see inequality in the world. It’s everywhere…

The poorest 40% of the global population earn less than 25% of the global income. Those figures don’t add up, and it’s clear that marginalised and disadvantaged people are those suffering most from inequality.

The UN wants to see universal policies that tackle these problems on a global scale.

GOAL # 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

Across the globe, cities are facing a pollution crisis, with 9 out of 10 urban residents breathing polluted air.

The solution? Improve sustainable infrastructure, like energy, transport, housing and other basic services.

GOAL # 12 Responsible Consumption and Production

The planet is running out of resources, and quickly. If we continue with our current consumption by 2050 we will need nearly three planets to sustain our current habits.

Unfortunately, we don’t have two more planets to fulfil our needs, we only have this one. So responsible consumption and production, through actions such as recycling paper, glass and aluminium, are a must.

GOAL # 13 Climate Action

Pause Zero is particularly passionate about climate change. We’re very aware of the threat it poses, especially when global emissions of CO2 have increased by almost 50% since 1990.

To tackle this, people need to engage with the conversation and act for the climate. Engagement across communities is vital because it’s something that is going to have an effect on everyone, everywhere.

GOAL # 14 Life Below Water

Potentially one of the greatest challenges this earth faces is protecting its oceans. Over 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods, yet marine stocks are depleting across the world. Poor practices such as those recently exposed in the documentary Seaspiracy, like trawling, illegal fishing and slavery are just some of the contributors to the poor health of our oceans.

The UN wants to see our marine resources carefully managed and protected to ensure those that depend on our oceans are able to make use of its resources for many years to come.

GOAL # 15 Life On Land

As the global population increases, people are beginning to encroach into wild spaces more and more, contributing to deforestation, biodiversity loss, desertification, and land degradation. Yet these terrestrial habitats and the resources they provide are important for survival, especially forests, where 80% of terrestrial animals, plants and insects live.

To protect life on land forests need to be managed sustainably, and deforestation, biodiversity loss, desertification and land degradation need to be prevented.

GOAL # 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

In 2018, the number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 70 million. Without peace, tackling the SDGs will be near impossible.

That’s why the UN wants access to justice for everyone, with effective and accountable institutions leading the change.

GOAL # 17 Partnerships

The UN estimates 380 million jobs and $12 trillion could be created by achieving the SDGs.

Through partnerships between organisations and governments, these goals can be achieved. And you can help accelerate the process, by lobbying your government to boost sustainable development support and financing.

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