SDGs 達成に向けて 各国は有言実行を
アグネスさんが今回のエッセーで取り上げるのは、最近よく耳にするようになった「持続可能な開発目標（SDGs）」。2030年までの達成をめざして17の目標が掲げられていますが、みなさんは全項目の内容をご存じですか？ アグネスさんが解説します。（Asahi Weekly : Sunday, Nobember 14, 2021)
Recently I was asked to give a talk about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a term that has become a buzzword on the global stage.
The SDGs, ratified by 193 countries in 2015, consist of 17 goals and 169 targets aimed at eradicating poverty and realizing a sustainable world. The U.N. member states have agreed to try to achieve the following goals by the year 2030.
1. No poverty: The target is to reduce the number of people in extreme poverty, which is defined as living on less than $1.25 (about 143 yen) per day. The present estimate shows that 10 percent of the world’s population lives below the extreme poverty line. Countries at war or affected by climate change are among those with the highest poverty rates. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people living in poverty is predicted to increase.
2. No hunger: The number of people who experience moderate to severe hunger on a daily basis is estimated to be 2.4 billion of which 819 million are in severe food insecurity. When I visited Guatemala, for example, I saw children whose development was severely hampered by prolonged malnutrition.
3. Good health and well-being: Among the targets are the reduction of maternal deaths and contagious diseases as well as the expansion of universal health coverage. COVID-19 has set this goal back immensely, and the world can see how vulnerable we are to new forms of diseases.
4. Quality education: While the world has seen an increase in student numbers at schools since 2000, the quality of education poses a serious problem. I have visited schools in countries like Niger, where students study in straw-hut classrooms led by teachers with only a junior high school education. School supplies were scarce. The goal is to have better- controlled learning environments.
5. Gender equality: This is a serious but thorny issue in many countries. For religious reasons, some countries do not treat women as equal to men, and women are not allowed equal rights.
6. Clean water and sanitation: It is estimated that one in five persons worldwide do not have access to clean water, and 4.7 billion people have no access to sanitary facilities. Lack of clean water is a major contributing factor in the death of children under 5. When I visited slums in India or rural areas in South Sudan, children never had the luxury of a toilet or clean running water.
7. Affordable clean energy: Clean energy is finally being taken seriously. Many countries are working to fulfill the SDGs of reducing dependence on coal and petroleum for energy. However, ever-growing demand for more power and goods is not helping.
8. Decent work and economic growth: This goal aims to have every country attain economic growth so citizens can share the fruits of development.
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure: This goal aims to facilitate continued growth in industry but in a sustainable way by ensuring that innovation is accessible to all.
10. Reducing inequality: This goal hopes to attain equal income and opportunities for all people. Gender, race, caste, religion — all forms of discrimination must be eliminated. The gap between the rich and the poor must also be narrowed.
11. Sustainable cities and consumption: Although cities occupy only 3 percent of the world’s land mass, they house 55 percent of the global population and account for 60-80 percent of energy consumption. I visited slums in Lagos, Nigeria, and was saddened by the horrible living conditions endured by the children. Shacks were built on garbage landfills, over contaminated water and in other terrible places — but families had nowhere else to go.
12. Responsible consumption and production: This goal is to encourage industry and consumers alike to be more responsible for their behavior. Clean and sustainable ways of production are needed. Consumers must not be wasteful when they buy and use products.
13. Climate action: Climate change is impacting every aspect of our lives. Natural disasters are growing in frequency and ferocity. The goal aims to tame output and stop global warming.
14. Protect the ocean: This goal aims to reduce marine pollution to protect marine life and thus, the food chain.
15. Protect the land: Reducing pollution of the land and protecting lives on land is the aim.
16. Peace, justice and strong institutions: This goal aims to reduce conflicts and facilitate peace.
17. Partnership and cooperation: Since countries differ in their available resources, this goal calls for cooperation and partnership in the process of attaining all these aims.
These are ambitious goals, and, in reality, achieving them all by 2030 may not be possible. But setting goals for the common good is necessary, and although all of the goals might not be achieved, we can at least get as close as possible.
Traveling with UNICEF has given me a chance to face the stern reality of how unequal this world is. Seeing the sufferings of children made me realize how much we need to promote these crucial goals.
I sincerely hope that everyone will work hard to achieve the SDGs and that countries will talk the talk and walk the walk. If we want to leave our children a decent environment, we need to work together to make the SDGs happen.
- (be) hampered 妨げられた
- maternal death(s) 妊婦の死亡
- contagious disease(s) 感染症
- straw-hut わらの小屋の
- thorny issue やっかいな問題
- sanitary facility(-ies) 衛生設備
- Affordable 手頃な価格の
- Shack(s) 掘っ立て小屋
- garbage landfills ごみ埋め立て処分場
- ferocity 凶暴性
- talk…walk 有言実行する