Blog by Paola Hernández Olivan, Food Projects and Policy Officer
It is just me, or does anyone else feel like in Alice in Wonderland: “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
In 2015, 193 UN Member States agreed upon 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to shape the global agenda for sustainable development in the next fifteen years and beyond. Last month, the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) took place at UN Headquarters in New York.
In this forum, the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were reviewed:
- Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
- Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all
- Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable
- Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
- Goal 15: Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss
- Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, to be considered each year.
We should no longer just focus on 2030, but look to 2050 and beyond as well.
Some of the main conclusions of last month’s HLPF are that whilst progress has been achieved amongst all of the SDGs, there are some significant gaps in implementation efforts, due to a lack of:
- Strong coordination across different levels of governance, and multi-stakeholder partnerships
- Particular attention should be paid to cities and local governments: spaces where all SDGs can be integrated to provide holistic solutions to the challenges of climate change, poverty, and exclusion of the most vulnerable residents. Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises usually lack the expertise and resources required to move towards cost-efficient and effective economic development whilst reducing environmental impacts and advance human wellbeing.
- Indicators, standards, and methodologies to fully cover all targets
- It has been proposed to split target 12.3 on food losses and waste in two sub-indicators in order to cover the food waste part of the target.
- Sustainability reporting
- Necessary to clarify and ensure consistent understanding of terminologies for comparable data collection
- To go beyond traditional models is an urgent priority.
Considering this, I can’t help but feel we’re not yet on course to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. There is still some hope, however, the transition has just begun - business as usual is no longer an option, and we should no longer just focus on 2030, but look to 2050 and beyond as well.
HCWH Europe calls for greater mobilisation to achieve the SDGs goals, and fill the gaps to ensure the link between human health and environmental protection is addressed.
Currently, powerful drivers can be applied toward the direction of change needed to support sustainable development, such as:
- New clean and affordable energy resources,
- “Smart” infrastructure,
- Service and circular economy-oriented approaches to mobility, housing, food systems, and other sectors
- The digital revolution
- Human capacity - young innovators, activists, entrepreneurs and advocates are changing behaviours and standing up for further improvements of education and healthcare.
These drivers are not only achievable but also happening, giving us hope that these factors make it much more likely that we will meet aspirational environmental, economic, and social goals for a healthy planet.
Healthcare professionals and managers have the capacity to provide direction towards a long-term climate-resilient society, while adapting over time to changing circumstances and building on shorter-term development strategies and plans.
Some actions in the healthcare sector have already started, but we still need to take forward the discussion, set the ambition to do more, and amplify our voices to influence and inspire other sectors.
HCWH Europe calls for greater mobilisation to achieve the SDGs goals, and fill the gaps to ensure the link between human health and environmental protection is addressed. We have still time to reverse our current unsustainable situation, and prepare a strong position for next year’s HLPF.