The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals: How realistic are they and at what cost?

Eradicate world poverty, hunger, gender inequality. These are just three of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals which are hoped to be met by the year 2030. That’s a pretty short timeframe to successfully meet these three goals. . .and the fourteen others (which include clean water and sanitation, huge leaps in education, among others.) So how reasonable is it to set such lofty goals to be achieved in such a short time period?

The first step in realizing any goal is making oneself and the surrounding people aware of the goal(s) so as to stay on track (especially when they are set for such a short period of time.) It is not enough for just the delegates of the UN and other world leaders to be aware of these goals, as they encompass all people of all classes, race, ethnicity, and nations. But many people are not even aware of what the United Nation’s mission is, let alone its newly-developed Sustainable Development Goals. Most people, if not consciously taking time out of their day to research and study the United Nations, will have no idea what these goals are, when they are hoped to be reached, and how they are to be achieved. If, then, most people are completely unaware, how can the United Nations garner enough support and attention to the goals to make them successful?

Next we come to the question of timing. The Sustainable Development Goals were implemented in the year 2015 and hope to be accomplished by the year 2030. No, you didn’t make a mathematical error—that really is only fifteen years to complete seventeen hefty goals. Now, it is not questionable whether or not progress can be made in these seventeen areas, but to fully achieve all seventeen?  Well, we’ll just have to wait fourteen more years and see. A lot can happen in fourteen years. A child can go from pre-school to high school graduation in that amount of time, but what can be achieved on a global scale? Surely much can, but only if all hands are on deck. And, like we mentioned above, most people are unaware of these goals, and of the ones who are aware, who all is willing to make a change?

Furthermore and most importantly, I encourage all who follow the United Nations to be aware of their rhetoric. They love to make these goals sound sweet to the ear, even hitting the heartstrings. Don’t get me wrong, their goals are admirable and noble, but questionable when it comes to their methods in achieving them–most of which are unethical and tip-toe a fine line between acceptable and down-right immoral. So be careful—research the goals, but more importantly research their means in achieving them before you support them. We all want to eradicate world poverty, hunger, inequality, and so forth, but we must be sure to do so in the most ethical, sustainable way—not merely the quickest and easiest way.

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