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Sustainable Development Goals and The Powerful Impact of Business Partnerships
We are now collectively called for action. We are united towards 17 common goals and one common deadline: 2030.
09 April, 2021

Sustainable development
means development that meets the present generation’s needs without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. It also means ensuring equal development for all countries, in order to leave nobody behind. Countries, governments, and individuals need to come together to fight poverty, inequality, the climate and health crises, injustice, and corruption.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to address global challenges to improve people’s quality of life and create a brighter and fairer world. Society, environment, and business are interconnected, and individuals are interdependent. It is time to change our mindset and put aside personal interests and priorities. The success of the SDGs will only be possible through the collaboration of governments, countries, and individuals.

According to the World Bank Group, extreme poverty, which means earning less than $1.90 a day, has risen in 2020 for the first time in 20 years and is expected to continue rising. In 2021, 150 million individuals are projected to live in extreme poverty. In October 2020, the Gini Index, a measure of income inequality, was 62.73 in South Africa, indicating extreme inequality of income. Societies can no longer develop and enrich at the expense of other countries. This is no more sustainable. We need inclusive growth and equality between individuals and countries.

Top first 15 countries with highest Gini index in Oct. 2020 according to Statista

The 17 SDGs are all based on collaboration and partnerships. Specifically, goal 17, “Partnerships for the goals”, for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, is entirely devoted to increasing partnerships. This goal aims to “strengthen the means of the implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”. Global challenges can no more be addressed at a national or local level. Global challenges need to be addressed globally. 

We are now collectively called for action. We are united towards 17 common goals and one common deadline: 2030. Goal 17 is divided into 19 specific targets which aim to ensure market access, technological development, and fair trade for all, especially for developing countries. By cooperating internationally, it should be our purpose to:

1.     Mobilise resources to improve domestic revenue collections

2.     Implement all development assistance commitments

3.     Mobilise financial resources for developing countries

4.     Assist developing countries in attaining debt sustainability

5.     Invest in least developed countries

6.     Knowledge sharing and cooperating for access to science, technology and innovation

7.     Promote sustainable technologies to developing countries

8.     Strengthen the science, technology and innovation capacity for least developed countries

9.     Enhance SDG capacity in developing countries

10.  Promote universal trading system under the World Trade Organisation

11.  Increase the exports of developing countries

12.  Remove trade barriers for least developed countries

13.  Enhance global macroeconomic stability

14.  Enhance policy coherence for sustainable development

15.  Respect national leadership to implement policies for the sustainable development goals

16.  Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development

17.  Encourage effective partnerships

18.  Enhance availability of reliable data

19.  Further develop measurements of progress

With Covid-19, global partnerships are even more important in reducing the negative consequences of the virus. In 2020, intense volatility of global financial markets spiked and more than $100 billion in capital was lost out of emerging markets, the largest outflow ever recorded. Moreover, FDI is projected to decrease by up to 40% and remittances to low-income and middle-class households have fallen to $445 billion in 2020 from $554 billion in 2019. Humanitarian aid has decreased by 3%. Only 26% of people in sub-Saharan Africa have access to the Internet. We need to unite to ensure sustainable development and evolution of cities around the world.

The UN is asking for help to attain the goals and integrate SDGs in our daily lives. Everyone can and must take part. Governments need to take responsibility for their respective countries and neighbour countries. Individual actions and initiatives are needed. 

Businesses around the world must do business responsibly by minimizing their environmental impact, guaranteeing safety, respecting codes of ethics and engaging in partnerships to address global challenges, like child labour, inequality, and breach of human rights. The private sector can contribute to solving global issues by delivering solutions for climate change, the food crisis, water shortages and more, representing a growing market for innovation. 

Doing business responsibly also means integrating SDGs in the strategies of a business  and operations. People are becoming more aware of corporate social responsibility, and creating shared value can be an advantage in competition. Businesses who are capable of doing business responsibility will become the leaders of tomorrow.

Being part of a society means caring about its future. It should be our concern to contribute to creating a sustainable present to ensure a sustainable future. We need to be in control of our future and respond to global issues that, after all, humans have created. This is our chance of concretely solving global challenges by collaborating, using resources wisely, having a global mindset and through education. 

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