10 June 2021

Agenda 2030


Agenda 2030


Topic by Sara

Essay by Lawrence


There is scepticism, experience, and we’ve been here before!


I would classify Agenda 2030 as something nice to have but we’ve been here before. There are many documents on the internet outlining what Agenda 2030 is all about, but basically it is an initiative of 17 sustainable goals signed up by most countries to protect and improve human rights, peace, prosperity, and the planet including the fight against global warming.


We have already covered many of the topics involved in Agenda 2030, but this is how the Swiss Confederation lists these 17 Sustainable Development Goals ( https://www.eda.admin.ch/agenda2030/en/home/agenda-2030/die-17-ziele-fuer-eine-nachhaltige-entwicklung.html ):


01 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere

02 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

03 - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

04 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

05 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

06 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

07 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

08 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

09 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries

11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development


The list is ambitious and the content actions are well overdue, but what is of concern is why did it take so long to come up with such a list? At face value, at least, most countries seem to agree that the seventeen goals are important. But my concern is twofold.


The first is that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed on the 10th December 1948 in Paris but very few people today enjoy the full list of these rights. The second concern are such maps as those found at the “Our World in Data” website under Human Rights ( https://ourworldindata.org/human-rights ) that show that most countries in Asia and Africa have low respect for human rights.


There are, however, some positive factors that might improve the situation somewhat as identified by Agenda 2030. The first is that technology might help solve some problems in communications, global warming, sustainability and information sharing. Today it is much easier to learn about human rights abuse because of the internet where information can bypass the main stream media many of whom have an agenda or two.


The second and most important factor is President Biden’s initiative on taxing multinationals and limiting their scope of channelling their profits through tax havens (Factbox: Key elements of Biden's corporate tax-hike plan – Reuters - https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-biden-taxes-factbox-idUSKBN2BN3NU). As we know the problem is not companies making profits but rather companies not paying taxes on those profits. Taxes are way for businesses to return money into a society that helped create those profits in the first place. Unfortunately, it seems that for many countries find it many easier to allow tax evasion rather than introduce equitable tax systems: politics of envy never worked.


The Covid pandemic can be seen as a test run for this ideal world envisioned under Agenda 2030. And although technology and science have created opportunities by understanding the virus and creating vaccines, politicians have proved to be a hindrance to the fight against the virus. Indeed when we have five obnoxious governments in Europe (Poland, Hungary, United Kingdom, Russia and Belarus) in the twenty first century, I do not see much prospect of Agenda 2030 coming to fruition.


Best Lawrence



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