Some stood up once, and sat down.
Some walked a mile, and walked away.
Some stood up twice, then sat down.
“It’s too much,” they cried.
Some walked two miles, then walked away.
“I’ve had it,” they cried,
Some stood and stood and stood.
They were taken for fools,
they were taken for being taken in.
Some walked and walked and walked –
they walked the earth,
they walked the waters,
they walked the air. “Why do you stand?” they were asked, and
“Why do you walk?”
“Because of the children,” they said, and
“Because of the heart, and
“Because of the bread,”
“Because the cause is
the heart’s beat, and
the children born, and
the risen bread.”
Analysis by NOAA shows that in 2014, the combined land and ocean surface temperature was 1.24°F (0.69°C) above the 20th century average, making the year the warmest since records began in 1880. The ocean alone was record warm, while the land alone was fourth warmest. Five months set new records for warmth: May, June, August, September, and December. October tied for record warmest. The 20 warmest years in the historical record have all occurred in the past 20 years. Except for 1998, the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2002. This animation shows Earth’s surface temperature from 1880-2014 compared to the 20th-Century Average. The maps and graph are based on the MLOST data from the NOAA National Climatic Data Center. Source: NOAA Visualizations, 16 January 2015
Originally published in Deliver 2030, 17 March 2016
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION
In September 2015, world leaders came together at the United Nations to agree on an ambitious new set of commitments that aim to end poverty and hunger, and secure the future of our planet within a generation.
Reaching agreement on the 2030 Agenda was the first step to creating a more inclusive and equitable society, in which no one is left behind. But the success or failure of the 2030 Agenda will hinge on how it is implemented.
Why do the Sustainable Development Goals matter?
The 2030 Agenda builds on and goes beyond the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs), a set of eight development goals that were adopted in 2001 and include quantitative targets to reduce key dimensions of poverty, among other development imperatives, by 2015.
While it is difficult to isolate their impact from other development trends, it is clear that the goals became an important reference point for development policy and helped to channel funds into key thematic areas.
Looking back over the last 15 years, it’s clear we’re able to achieve much for children all over the world. The number of people living in extreme poverty has decreased significantly, and under-five mortality has halved since 1990.
But despite these achievements, there is still much work left to do. Significant numbers of people across the world remain excluded, with many children being left behind. Considered approaches and coordinated efforts are needed to reach the most excluded groups, and the 2030 Agenda provides the framework to make this happen.
The 2030 Agenda has a broader scope than the MDGs, encompassing the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, and with a stronger focus on issues such as peace and governance, inequality, and global public goods such as the climate and oceans. It includes commitments to ‘get to zero’ on critical areas, such as ending child mortality, and commits to universal access to services.
If the Agenda is to be as transformative in practice as it is on paper, governments and other stakeholders need to take immediate action.
So what should governments do?
Save the Children has set out an action plan for implementing the 2030 Agenda. Our new report, From Agreement to Action: Delivering the Sustainable Development Goals, draws on evidence from across the Save the Children family, including inputs from 12 countries. It draws lessons from the MDGs, to provide guidance to governments and other stakeholders as they design strategies for implementing the SDGs.
The report is primarily aimed at governments – who have the main responsibility for implementing the 2030 Agenda – but also includes lessons for other stakeholders, including donors, UN agencies and the private sector.
As UN Member States begin their journey on the road to 2030, here are five issues that Save the Children would like to see on top on their to do lists:
1 National plans, budgets and strategies
Integrating the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda into national priorities, actions, plans and budgets is a critical first step towards national ownership and implementation. Experience from the MDGs shows us that where goals were integrated in national plans and aligned with existing priorities, they had more traction.
2 Institutions and coordination mechanisms
To translate plans into progress, strong institutions and coordination mechanisms are essential. Public institutions must be given the necessary resources to deliver the SDGs, while coordination mechanisms, particularly within key political ministries, can help drive change.
3 Ensuring no one is left behind
Making sure that everyone benefits from development progress demands targeted approaches, such as stepping stone equity targets to ensure equitable progress across all goals.
To eradicate poverty we need to know who is living in poverty, where they live and what they need. Strengthening data systems and producing high-quality disaggregated data is essential for tackling group-based inequalities and ensuring no one is left behind.
Successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda depends on governments being held to account for goals and targets, and people, including children, having an active role in accountability processes. Governments must report on progress in open, accessible and participatory ways, supporting the active engagement of all, including children and marginalised groups.
From a human development perspective, work, rather than jobs or employment is the relevant concept. A job is a narrow concept with a set of pre-determined time-bound assigned tasks or activities, in an input-output framework with labour as input and a commodity or service as output. Yet, jobs do not encompass creative work (e.g. the work of a writer or a painter), which go beyond defined tasks; they do not account for unpaid care work; they do not focus on voluntary work. Work thus is a broader concept, which encompasses jobs, but goes beyond by including the dimensions mentioned above, all of which are left out of the job framework, but are critical for human development.
Work is the means for unleashing human potential, creativity, innovation and spirits. It is essential to make human lives productive, worthwhile and meaningful. It enables people to earn a living, gives them a means to participate in society, provides them with security and gives them a sense of dignity. Work is thus inherently and intrinsically linked to human development.
But it is important to recognize that there is no automatic link between work and human development. Nor does every type of work enhance human development. Exploitative work, particularly exploitation of women and children, robs people of their fair share, their rights and their dignity. Likewise, work that is hazardous - work without safety measures, labour rights, or social protection - is not conducive to human development.
More importantly, the linkages between work and human development must be seen in the context that over time the notion of what constitutes work has changed, areas of work have shifted and the modus operandi of work has evolved. What used to mean work three decades ago is no longer valid, and work is defined differently now. Now, some of these changes may contribute positively to various dimensions of human development, but some aspects of these new phenomena may have negative impacts for human development.
In the context of all these changes, time has come to relook at the issue of work in its various dimensions and dynamics through a human development lens. Thus the 2015 Human Development Report (2015 HDR) will be on Rethinking Work for Human Development.
To be launched in December 2015, the Report will zoom in on the fundamental question – how work can be rethought for human development –– to enrich human development. Given this broader perspective, the focus of 2015 HDR will be based on five building blocks:
Rethinking the linkages between work and human development identifying the positive intrinsic relationship between work and human development - Work provides livelihoods, income, a means for participation and connectedness, social cohesion, and human dignity - but also those situations where linkages are broken or eroded - child labour, human trafficking, etc.
Revisiting the new world of work, where the notions of work, areas of work and modus operandi of work have changed and the implications for human development. ICT and mobile devices are revolutionizing work. People can work anywhere. There is an e-economy. We ask the question – are these changes enhancing human development? And how may they best be harnessed to promote equitable opportunities?
Recognizing the worth of care work and its impact on human development. For instance care for those who cannot care for themselves is important in itself for human survival but there are other connections to human development: from an intergenerational perspective, care work is crucial for the cognitive development of children.
Refocusing on the notion of sustainable work to be incorporated into the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. This will include, among other issues, the environmental value of green and low carbon emission jobs and so on. And also the quality of work that can be sustained over long periods.
Recommending policy options for reorienting, reinventing and reorganizing work so that it enriches human development
Several targeted issues will be taken up throughout the report– youth employment, gender aspects of work, agriculture and rural development, the informal sector, and work during crisis and in post-crisis situations. In realizing the post2015 international agenda it will be critical to enable youth, who make up 50 per cent of the global population, and women, holding up half the sky, to find work opportunities that enable them to participate constructively, creatively and equitably in society.
The nexus approach to the sustainable management of water, soil, and waste integrates environmental management and governance across sectors and scales. This approach requires a holistic understanding of the interlinkage of all related environmental processes, while also taking into consideration global change and socioeconomic aspects.
Exploring these interlinkages and advancing a nexus-oriented management approach requires integrated modeling tools. However, no single modeling tool is available or conceivable that can cover all processes, interactions and drivers related to the management of water, soil and waste resources.
To help overcome this challenge, the UNU Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) has developed an interactive Nexus Tools Platform (NTP) for comparison of existing modelling tools related to the water-soil-waste nexus. Currently, the NTP database consists of 60 models from around the world. The platform provides detailed model information and advanced filtering based on real-time visualizations, and will continuously grow with the input and feedback from model developers and model users.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be the guiding framework for international development until 2030 and are intended to provide a reference for setting national policy priorities.
This unique, searchable database provides a snapshot of what those national priorities are. Users can compare existing national targets with the ambition of the SDGs. We intend this to be a living document, supplemented and kept up to date by crowdsourcing, and we encourage others to send us new information on national goals to update the tracker.
"C-ROADS is an award-winning computer simulation that helps people understand the long-term climate impacts of policy scenarios to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It allows for the rapid summation of national greenhouse gas reduction pledges in order to show the long-term impact on our climate." For more information, click
9. Fostering Sustainability in the International Community
SDGs Indicators: What are they and why do they matter?
Jenna Slotin and Jenni Lee
Originally published in Deliver 2030, 16 March 2016 REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION
Last week, the United Nations Statistical Commission agreed to the indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals. So what exactly is an indicator, and why does it matter? To learn more, I talked to Jenna Slotin, the United Nations Foundation’s Post-2015 Initiative Director and Interim Program Manager for the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.
Our conversation covered a lot of ground, but one thing became clear: the importance of data to achieving the global goals and the crucial role of the indicators in ensuring we’re collecting the right data.
– We need data to fully understand people’s lives and the problems we’re grappling with.
– We need data to make informed decisions about policies and programs.
– And we need data so we can measure whether we’re making progress toward the goals, and where to make changes if we’re not.
The challenge is that many countries don’t have robust, reliable data (or any data, in some cases) on many issues. So part of our work to achieve the global goals will be sharing data and strengthening the systems to collect and analyze data. Getting the indicators right will help ensure efforts to improve data are directed to the right things.
The Millennium Development Goals showed that global monitoring works. But we also know that a lot more needs to be done to make that monitoring meaningful. Like the consultations and negotiations to develop the global goals, the discussion on the indicators touches many groups, including the public and private sectors and all of the communities whose work touches on the 17 global goals.
Here is a 101 on the indicators for the global goals.
Jenni Lee: What are the indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals?
Jenna Slotin: The indicators are a critical foundation of the Sustainable Development Goals – they tell us what to measure to track whether we’re reaching the goals and targets in the agenda.
For example, the first goal in the sustainable development agenda is to: “End poverty in all its forms everywhere.” Under that goal, the first target is to: “By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day.” The indicator to let us know if we are approaching this target is to measure the “proportion of the population below the international poverty line.”
Another example is that by measuring the percentage of the population using safely managed drinking water services (indicator 6.1.1), we’ll know whether we’re approaching our goal of achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all, as set in Sustainable Development Goal 6.
By checking on how we’re doing on these indicators every year, we’ll know whether progress is fast enough and whether we need to make course corrections to meet the global goals.
JL: Why do the indicators matter?
JS: The indicators make the global goals operational. They provide important guideposts to tell us whether we’re on the right path to achieve our goals. If we don’t measure the right things, we won’t know if our policies and programs are having any effect, which makes it harder to reach the goals.
If designed correctly, the indicators should highlight real people’s experiences and whether their lives are getting better or worse. The Sustainable Development Goals aim to ensure no one is left behind, and the indicators will help capture the experience of the most vulnerable and marginalized people so we can make this vision a reality.
JL: What is the process to decide them? Where are we in that process, and what are the next steps?
JS: Because indicator development is very technical, the UN’s Statistical Commission was asked to develop the indicators. The commission set up an expert advisory group made up of country representatives from national statistical offices and expert observers. This group developed the indicators through a series of consultations with each other and with civil society and outside experts.
At its meeting last week, the UN Statistical Commission decided on the indicators that were proposed by this expert group. Now, the indicators will be discussed by all countries in the General Assembly and the UN Economic and Social Council.
Although the Statistical Commission has agreed on the indicators, many of them are still controversial with experts disagreeing on the formulation, methodology, and data sources for some indicators. The expert group that developed the indicators has acknowledged that more work needs to be done and the Statistical Commission calls them a “practical starting point.” How the data will be disaggregated to show the experience of all groups, particularly those that are furthest behind like adolescent girls and marginalized ethnic groups, is still a work-in-progress. This issue gets very technical very quickly, but it really matters if we’re going to make good on our promise to leave no one behind.
The expert advisory group will continue to exist and support the refinement of the indicators over the 15-year life of the global goals because we know that methods and technologies can change during this period. They have a particularly intense work program for the next year to address some of basic disagreements on formulation, methodology and data sources.
JL: How will the indicators be used?
JS: As I mentioned earlier,the indicators tell us what to measure so we can see progress toward the targets and goals.
The formal monitoring process involves every country reporting on the indicators through UN specialized agencies. These agencies will compile and harmonize the data, and it will then be reported in an annual report of the Secretary-General showing global and regional progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.
But the indicators can and should be used by everyone to hold leaders accountable. They will help us track progress and advocate for renewed commitments and course corrections.
JL: What are some of the big opportunities and risks going forward?
JS: We have very serious data gaps across the goals, particularly on people that are the furthest behind. Many countries don’t even know how many babies are born there each year. If we’re going to achieve our goal of ending extreme poverty and improving the lives of the poorest and most marginalized we need to better understand their needs and experiences as well as empower them to demand that their needs are met. Data and information are critical tools make that happen.
The world we live in today is exploding with data and technology – a “data revolution.” We have an unprecedented opportunity to leverage data from new sources combine these with traditional or official sources like census and survey data for new insights. This will require bringing a range of stakeholders together across sectors and data communities to collaborate, innovate, and solve problems related to data access, quality, and use. That’s why the UN Foundation is so excited to host the new Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data at the UN Foundation, which provides a platform to do just that.