“When the global is also local”

Mathew Hulbert | Columnist | 20 September 2021

Welcome to ‘Mathew on Monday.’

(Image: Mathew Hulbert)

This is a very big week when it comes to addressing the big global challenges that affect us as a human race now in 2021 and looking ahead to the following nine years of this decade.

Why is that?

Because today sees the start of the UN (United Nations) General Assembly High Level Week; which sees world leaders meeting, both in person and online, to discuss and decide on how we, as governments, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), communities and individual citizens best act to address the Climate Emergency, to end extreme hunger and poverty in the poorest parts of the world, to treat refugees and asylum seekers more humanely, to recover from the Covid-19 global pandemic, to protect the rights of minority communities, and much else besides. 

As part of that, today the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Gueteres, said: “The world is challenged like never before.”

He went on: “It would be easy to lose hope. But we are not hopeless. Or helpless. We have a path to recovery. If we choose to take it.”

He was speaking at the launch of The SDG Moment, being held online today.

As the UN states: ‘The Sustainable Development Goals are a blueprint for fighting poverty and hunger, confronting the Climate crisis, achieving gender equality and much more, within the next ten years. At a time of great uncertainty, the SDGs show the way forward to a strong recovery from Covid-19 and a better future for all on a safe and healthy planet.’

So, what are the Sustainable Development Goals?

They are seventeen interlinked global Goals, set in 2015 and intended to be achieved by 2030.

Here they are:

1. End poverty.

2. Zero hunger.

3. Good Health and Wellbeing.

4. Quality Education.

5. Gender Equality.

6. Clean Water and Sanitation.

7. Affordable and Clean Water.

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth.

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

10. Reduced Inequalities.

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities.

12. Responsible Consumption and Production. 

13. Climate Action. 

14. Life Below Water.

15. Life On Land.

16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

17. Partnerships for the Goals. 

So, what does any of this mean for us here in Hinckley and Bosworth?

Why should we care?

Because, in 2021, in an increasingly interdependent world, where no country is an island in that sense including those, like the UK, that are actual islands; in other words there’s no saying ‘stop the world, we want to get off,’ the global is also local.

The change to the global climate changing may not yet have had catastrophic consequences here in the English East Midlands but it will if the world doesn’t act.

Just look at the changing seasons, disrupted food supply and so on. 

All of those SDGs listed above, to a greater or lesser extent, is and are as meaningful and important to our children, families and their futures as they are to those of what we still call the ‘Developing World.’

And, even if they weren’t, it should be part of our basic humanity to want the best for a child in a far flung part of the world as we do our own young relatives.

So what’s happening at the UN in New York and globally online this week affects citizens here in Hinckley and Bosworth as much as anywhere else.

Which is one of the reasons why I’m looking forward tomorrow and for the next three days to virtually attending the Global People’s Assembly; which is running alongside the General Assembly High Level Week and gives citizens from across the world a chance to have our say on what the UN’s priorities should be and what part we’ll play as individuals and communities in addressing the challenges which, yes, are global in nature but, increasingly, are truly local too.

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