In September 2015, the nations of the world will gather to affirm the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which outline the future of international development for the next 15 years. The 2012 Rio+20 conference proposed a vision of the Future We Want that centered on popular inclusion
opportunities for people to influence their lives and future, participate in decision-making and voice their concerns are fundamental for sustainable development.
As they stand today, the 17 goals and 169 targets in the SDG Zero Draft do not honor this vision.
Where are the people? The SDGs currently include just THREE references to a community role and just ONE reference to the people’s role in sustainable development. In the past five years, citizens have taken to the streets to demand justice from Cairo to Kiev, New Delhi to New York. Even the most successful movements needed skills, coordination, and outlets for constructive communication and achieving goals. Meanwhile, the 2014 Ebola epidemic revealed a global crisis of social mobilization among communities completely excluded from processes of state and development until a crisis hits. The SDGs must establish a permanent capacity for all communities and individuals to have the voice, knowledge, and standing to engage with state and development.
Where are the data? After 20 years of game-changing innovations in evidence-based development and mobile data, the SDGs would “enhance capacity-building support to developing countries”, with no specific coverage targets and no reference to local data. At present, key UN targets like maternal mortality ratio are estimated from sparse and infrequent national survey estimates and “farcasting” models that are driven by assumptions, not data. Meanwhile, it is now possible to implement real-time identification and monitoring of every pregnancy in a community using a combination of peer mobilizers, mobile phones, and simple field verification. Where is the push to raise the quality, speed, coverage, and local relevance of data collection?
This is unacceptable! Inclusion is not just window-dressing, nor is it merely a “means of implementation” for the UN’s top-down agenda. Inclusion is a right, a marker of basic human dignity that should be valued for its own sake. Inclusion today will ensure mobilization and participation tomorrow. Just as roads and communications networks are the civil infrastructure that enable development, the inclusion of people – including youth, women, minorities, elders, indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities – provides the civic infrastructure that will ensure the success of the SDGs and guide us toward a much brighter future post-2030.
Join us in demanding Sustainable Development Goal 18.
Goal 18. Ensure the inclusion of all individuals and all communities in the process of sustainable development, now and in the future
18.1 By 2030 ensure that 100% of births and deaths are registered in every community or institutional setting, with data linkage to data systems for identity cards, voter registration, and public entitlements.
18.2 By 2030 ensure that 100% of communities and residential institutions in all nations are connected to data systems capable of monitoring all population-based SDG targets and feeding all knowledge back to covered populations.
18.3 By 2030 ensure that all communities in all nations have a full-time local development officer or team with the necessary skills and resources to serve as a direct conduit between citizens and state
18.4 By 2030 ensure that all nations have open government portals providing access to all government forms and entitlements, along with transparent information on laws, finance, and coverage of key development programs
This single, robust, and forward-looking goal – accompanied by four measurable, achievable targets – would ensure that the SDGs truly put us on the path to the future we want!
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