FrancisTogether, we can save the world from itself.  I am willing to join you in assuming this responsibility because I have concluded that no government, no organization, and no religious tradition has the leadership and capacity to save the world from itself.  The closest it gets is the Roman Catholic Church under the leadership of Pope Francis, but his pleas fall on deaf ears, ears closed to Catholicism because of a myriad of internal issues and the lukewarm commitment of church leaders to the Pope’s message.

The Pale Blue Dot, planet Earth can be seen in the brown light band on the right.

With best intentions, the United Nations adopted resolution 70/1 – the first resolution of the 70th session of the General Assembly – on September 25, 2015, titled “Transforming our world:  the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” as a plan of action for “people, planet and prosperity.”  Resolution 70/1 is a good blueprint, but as I read the annual follow-up reports, I consider the goals of the resolution – and the UN agrees – unachievable by member governments, concerned organizations, and religious traditions.

Resolution 70/1 can only be fulfilled – the world can only be transformed – by attentive and committed individuals who recognize what is at stake and are willing to do the work.  That’s where you and I come in.

Resolution 70/1 lists 17 Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs].

  • Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture
  • Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Goal 7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all
  • Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all
  • Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation
  • Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable
  • Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*
  • Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Goal 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
  • Goal 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
  • Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development

In its opening statement, the resolution reads, “We recognize that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge…”  As you might expect, ending poverty is the first SDG.  I respectfully disagree.

The fourth SDG reads, “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education…”  The fourth goal is not included as a UN milestone until 2019, four years after the resolution was adopted.  From my perspective, EDUCATION has to be the first, primary, and fundamental goal if we expect to transform the world and achieve sustainable development.

Education starts here.  I encourage everyone who reads this post to further their education by reading United Nations resolution 70/1  “Transforming our world:  the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The annual reports sadly demonstrate that the world is well behind schedule and NO SDGs appear achievable by 2030.

I restate my conclusion that no government, no organization, and no religious tradition can accomplish the goals.  It takes individuals.  I believe few – if any – people who will read this post were even aware of this resolution when they began reading this post.  Point made:  we have to educate ourselves and each other, and we must commit ourselves to sustainable development.  It is our duty and responsibility to Earth and all creatures who share it with us.

Please start here and read “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

UN Resolution 70/1

Mitakuye Oyasin

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  1. I understand the provisions of the child tax credit in our country helped lower the poverty rate in our country among children a lot. Sadly, I think the policy has lapsed now. I never thought something like that was possible. The fact that it happened at all, gave me some hope that something could be done if there is the will. I am hearing of groups that are stepping up to help immigrants.

    1. I perceive six priority levels within the 17 SDGs in the resolution. Levels 1, 2, and 3 are EDUCATION, PEACE, and CLIMATE CHANGE. NOTHING IS POSSIBLE without addressing these three. Level 4 is comprised of seven SDGs: hunger, poverty, health, water and sanitation, safety and security, ecosystems, and oceans. Level 5 includes consumption, modern energy, infrastructure, implementation, and economic growth. Level 6 is inequality and gender equity. I believe that if we address the top 15 SDGs I’ve prioritized that inequality and gender equity follow naturally. I understand the importance and the morality of immigration, but I am more concerned with those brave souls who remain in the worst of conditions sweating blood, sweat, and tears with the conviction that THEY CAN improve their individual lives and the environment in which they live. For too long, we’ve operated under the belief that the rest of the world should be like America. I believe there is a better template than what America has evolved into, and the UN resolution can serve as a core blueprint IF we educate ourselves and make a commitment to make the world a better place.