Unit 9
Reading Passage

    girl writing What are the UN's
Sustainable Development Goals

The people of the world have long dreamed of eliminating extreme poverty, educating children and people of all ages, improving health, and creating a clean environment -- in other words, putting an end to the suffering and limitations that block human potential and hold back its fulfillment.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), approved by the 2015 General Assembly, are an agenda for working towards these goals.  The SDGs are 17 goals for promoting development in three major areas.   According to writer Ruth Kattamuri of the International Growth Center, the 17 SDGs can be divided into these three categories:

-Economic and social security
-Environmental security
-Physical security

A full list of the 17 SDGs:
No poverty:
        end poverty in all its forms everywhere
Zero hunger:
        end hunger, improve nutrition and food security, promote sustainable farming
Good health and well-being:
        promote health and well-being for all ages
Quality education:
        ensure equitable, inclusive and quality education for all ages
Gender equality:
        achieve gender equality and education for women and girls
Clean water and sanitation:
        ensure availability of clean water for all
Clean energy:
        ensure access to affordable, sustainable energy for all
Decent work and economic growth:
        promote sustained, inclusive economic growth and employment for all
Industry, Innovation, Infrastructure:
resilient infrastructure, sustainable industry, and foster innovation
Reduced Inequalities:
        reduce income inequality within and among countries
Sustainable cities and communities:
        make human settlements safe, inclusive and sustainable
Responsible consumption and production:
        ensure sustainable production and consumption patterns
Climate action:
        take urgent action to combat climate change by controlling
emissions and promoting development of         renewable energy
Life Below Water:
         conserve and sustainably use oceans and their resources
Life On Land:
         sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and sustainably manage eco-systems
Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions:
         provide access to justice for all and build inclusive societal institutions
Partnerships for the Goals:
         strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize global partnerships for sustainable developmentSource
: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
     The SDGs grew out of and expand upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of eight development goals that the General Assembly put forthin the year 2000.  The MDGs addressed human development in eight major areas with a 15-year time period to work towards those goals  (click to see the eight MDGs and read an article about them)

Relationship between MDGs and SDGs
     Buoyed by the MDGs' momentum, upon reaching their target year in 2015, the General Assembly approved the SDGs.   The latter builds on and expands the comprehensiveness of the original MDGs.  The number of SDGs (17 goals) is more than double the number of the MDGs (8 goals).

     Both sets of goals (the SDGs and MDGs) highlight the necessity of development, with the SDGs putting special emphasis on "interlinkages": overlaps or connections among the different goals and their sustainability.

What is  “sustainable development”? 
     This is a term we have often heard, and even more so following the approval of the 17 sustainable development goals.  What do we mean by it?

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

     The quote above, from a report issued by the World Commission on Environment and Development (also called the Bruntland Commission) puts it succinctly.

     In other words, “sustainable development” aims for balance so that certain development goals are not compromised in the quest to achieve others.  For example, in the quest for economic development, we do not want to damage our natural environment by increasing the use of fossil fuels to step up manufacturing.
     Sustainable development recognizes the interlinkages among development goals and shows how applying principles of sustainability to the pursuit of a given goal can also help further others.

Below are two examples of approved  “sustainable development” initiatives:

1. Tanzania’s project for clean water: better economy, education, gender-equality, and health
     Tanzania is now implementing a system that will give clean water access to many more of its citizens in urban areas.  This initiative also links to promoting the education of girls.  How are the two connected?  Traditionally, in Tanzania, girls often walk many miles to obtain clean water for their families.  The time it takes for girls to collect water prevents them from having time to attend school.  The new “clean water” technology will free girls to spend their time in school instead of making laborious journeys to fetch clean water.

     To quote Bella Bird, World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Burundi, Malawi, and Somalia, “In Dar es Salaam, many citizens, including women and young girls, still spend considerable time collecting water, which takes time away from education and the productive activities so necessary for strengthening their livelihoods. This project aims to lessen their burden while contributing to Dar es Salaam’s increased competitiveness and productivity as a critical and vibrant commercial hub of the country.”
Source: World Bank News

2. Tunisia’s project for a sustainable transportation network in North Africa and the Middle East
     Tunisia received a grant to promote the use of solar power in a vital transportation network. The use of sustainable energy in this area is key to its success.  Conventional fuels in transportation have been responsible for putting greenhouse gases into the air, and having deleterious effects on both the environment and the health of the local people.  To promote the use of safe, alternative fuel in North Africa and the Middle East, UN-DESA gave a grant to make traditional ferries into solar-powered vessels.  An extensive water transportation network is needed in this region and can now be maintained in an environmentally safe manner. This is part of the “Powering the Future We Want” programme, which is devoted to implementing projects that keep sight of interlinkages between the SDGs.

Vocabulary words

emission = producing and sending out of heat or gas
resilient = able to recover after something negative or harmful has happened
overlap = to have something in common with; to extend over a certain part of
buoy = uplift, raise spirits of
deleterious = harmful, negative
interlinkages = connections, overlaps
comprehensiveness = inclusiveness

For other words, please click on this link to the Oxford Free Learners' Dictionary


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