Sustainable Development Goals, briefly SDGs, are the new signature solo of the United Nations until 2030. They are inspirational but not easy to realize. They require commitment and passion. They are the next global challenge, which is, as all challenges, hard to face but impossible to deny. At the moment, all the states members of the UN and their specialized agencies (A/RES/67/290) are doing their damnedest to promote SDGs and make them effective. They are 17 and they substitute the old Millennium Development Goals, devised for the new century for the following fifteen years. The United Nations put all the efforts in this agenda, because it helps accomplish their mission: to maintain international peace and security and promote international development among nations. In fact, SDGs involve all the sectors of society.
First foray at spreading Sustainable Development Goals
All the seventeen goals enucleated by the UN play a fundamental role for the realization of the above-mentioned objective and they are weaved together at all. In order to discuss about their interactions, reflect on them and on the consequences that a single action could have in the rest of the world, it helps to tell the advancement of a project led by UNICEF, by its national committees. Led by this author too, the project aims to realize youth engagement and awareness as far as SDGs are concerned. Firstly, the project was conducted in five different Italian schools to give it a shot and, considered its success, it has been decided to foster it. Today it involves school in all territory of the peninsula, with the help of the local committees of the specialized agency.
Its name is “SDG’s road: the world we want” (target 9-18 years old) and it makes for dealing with the goals in accordance with the school subjects. In fact, students are called to analyze just some of the goals, the most connected with the subjects they study and whose teachers decide to commit to the project. The methodology has been deemed efficient because students are invited to reflect in a creative way on the sustainable development goals, setting new links up. In that way, students easily understand that school is not totally unconnected with the matter of fact, standing by and doing nothing; it does rather duty as a training ground for real life.
In this perspective, sustainable development goals enter in classrooms, families and workgroups, being examined by different sides. Students do not only play a passive role as auditors, but they also play an active role because they learn how to tackle with SDGs, without losing effectiveness or fall into platitudes.
SDGs: the symbol of an interconnected world
By dint of working with students and school community in general, SDGs were developed thanks to different brainstorming techniques, which put all the goals in relation each other. In order to demonstrate this affirmation, we can look through some examples. Take goal 2 “end hunger, achieve food security and promote sustainable agriculture”. The objective will be feasible, provided that international community hold on achieving the other goals, such as number thirteen about climate change, number twelve about a responsible consumption and production and it can still be continued. In fact, on no account can we hold up in the struggle against hunger, if there are not natural conditions, whereby flora can thrive. The interconnections among the goals are not just a brief content of a snippet, quite the core concept to get the whole policy of sustainability. When it was asked to students to choose the most important goal, they attempted to legitimate their position. All of the defenses were brilliant and difficult to be counterstriked. The truth is -as much as talking about truth is acceptable- we have not a best goal because all of the asset is crucial. It is no accident that the goal number seventeen is “partnership for the goals”. It shall be epitomized that this goal was not present in the previous series and it influences the success of the all campaign. Analyzing the successes of our age, at first glance, we do not contest the lack of tool, rather the lack of organization and leadership. This is why, national sustainable development strategies (NSDS, but, generally, all the commitment of civil society in communicating the whole strategy) is crucial for the healthcare of our planet and our society. Certainly, it is right to focus and be incisively on one aspect; however, at the same time, it doesn’t worth loose the common perspective and not team up multiple actors to support implementation.
The methodology to take over the Goals.
The methodology, that students learn at school to face this problem, is more or less very similar to the one applied in an universal perspective. In fact, they first analyze the reality, then enucleate the problems, then the strategies to act. Naturally, at school it is simplified, however it is not totally different by the one used universally and officially. In order to see the progresses of SDGs’ realization, it is worth reading the UN Global Sustainable Development Reports. Each year they attempt at summing up the results, whetting the willingness to change. These official documents are the main source of inspiration for common citizens and educators to enucleate the main aspects they can epitomize in their activity of leadership. The real challenge to promote SDGs is not only the capability to spread them, but also the capability of indicating a possible road to make them possible. The reports are generally written by scientists who can give us an essential overview. In particular, the 2016 report highlights some strategies to implement the goals and particularly the idea that “no one shall be left behind”. Generally speaking, science plays a fundamental role. In fact, it provides advice interpreting some political proposals. Take the periphrasis “left behind”; it is socially thought, but scientifically defined, although politicians have a last word. Therefore, scientific reports are the main source of information for the students, because they need to be informed; once analyzed the data, they can decide what the best choice is, as politicians do.
Global action. Local action.
Due to the fact that the methodology of studying SDGs is the same both in schools and international offices, we clearly conceive the presence and interactions of two parallel paths. One entails a local action, the other a global one. The two are inextricable. In fact, there would be little progress without a common strategy, but no lasting results without a local action, alias a change in mentality. Both paths are characterized by a strict schedule, which assure the fulfillment of the program. This is the real challenge of the United Nations and the whole world. It is exactly this relation which encourages to take actions and highly consider Sustainable Development Goals.
Generally speaking, it is even this correlation that spurs us to act and interact with our peers in the community. It is due a constant commitment, a shameless passion, a daily sacrifice that a little action could have effect in the whole community. As little strokes fell great oaks, so do SDGs, trying to eliminate a disrespectful approach in favor of common welfare and peace.