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One of the biggest questions is: what can we do?

Words, Fatema Samina Yasmin

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were able to create widespread concern about social priorities such as poverty, hunger, illiteracy, gender inequality and environmental destruction. They were able to accumulate these priorities into eight understandable goals with measurable indicators and time bound objectives. It remained in the center of global policy deliberations and national policy making. Though the nations have not been able to achieve all the goals, developing countries have managed significant progress in certain sectors. However, the world has been facing tremendous ill effects of climate change and the need to incorporate environmental sustainability objectives with social priorities has been recognised by the international community.

The United Nations Rio+20 summit in Brasil in 2012 committed governments to create a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) that would be integrated into the follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which will help the world move towards the a sustainable trajectory. 17 goals have been adopted to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

Generally when such extensive goals and programs are adopted, the citizens feel like it is the responsibility of the governments, NGOs, private sectors and United Nations to implement them and achieve the desired goals. Yes, it is true, as an individual it is not possible to prevent the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, lower the temperature or a system that abolishes AIDS. However, as individuals we can grow into the habit of embracing more sustainable practices such as turning off the lights before we leave a room or recycle as much as possible. Most of all, the students, particularly post graduates students can play a great role in disseminating knowledge and information about projects and practices around the world that are trying to preserve the environment. Our own research and knowledge is going to make small contributions but this work needs to be shared to inspire, to educate, and to motivate. A successful project could be replicated in another part of the world.

The Graduate House Newsletter has decided to name each month by a goal and invite the Residents to write about their research and ideas that they feel are going to bring a positive change to this world. One can also write about successful social projects in their home countries to inform a wider academic community regarding economic development, environmental sustainability and social inclusion. We need to realise that Earth, the blue planet, is all we have. If we don’t take care of her, we will soon be extinct.

One of the biggest questions is: what can we do?

The United Nations defines poverty as “more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. This goal encompasses global problems including hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making. Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality.”

We invite all the Residents to share their ideas regarding how we can eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 and ensure better lives for the poorest sections of the world in a more humane and sustainable manner.

We name July as the Month of SDG 1: End of Poverty Month. Every little bit helps. We look forward to your ideas and, most importantly, your actions.

featured image by: luiscdiaz, Make Poverty History March July 05 / FlickrCC

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