WE PRESENT TO YOU THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDG)

(The 17 Sustainable Development Goals)

At a UN summit, in September 2015, world leaders adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

What is Sustainable Development?

The universal definition of sustainable development is ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’ To achieve sustainable development, the harmonization of economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection are crucial. Undoubtedly, this concept is at the heart of all 17 of the SDGs.

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

Officially coming into force on the 1st January 2016, these universal goals apply to the citizens of the world. The goals will guide and mobilize efforts in all countries to eradicate all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change while leaving no one behind. Over the next 15 years (to 2030), UN member states will be expected to frame their policies and strategic plans around the SDGs.

Despite building on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SDGs are unique as they call for action by all countries regardless of the status of their economic development, to promote prosperity while conserving the planet.

How will the Sustainable Development Goals be implemented?

Although the SDGs are not legally binding, governments are expected to take ownership and establish national frameworks for the achievement of the 17 goals. Governments can facilitate, mobilize resources and develop financing strategies but they cannot achieve the goals alone. All stakeholders including civil society, the private sector and others must put efforts together to contribute towards the realization of the new agenda. So yes, YOU are key to helping Seychelles contribute towards transforming OUR world.

How can YOU help to transform the world?

The first step is to familiarize yourself with the 17 SDGs. And to help you do this, 17 Seychellois, passionate about the SDGs, have contributed an article about each one of the SDGs. Every day one article will be published describing what the SDG is, what is already being done in Seychelles to achieve it and how you can contribute towards achieving this SDG.

So sit back! Watch this space and start transforming the world.

Contributed by Kalsey Belle

A world of great wealth and great poverty.

SDG NO.1 – NO POVERTY

You walk into a gallery and see two pictures on the wall. The first one depicts wealth and a world of plenty. A world where billions of people are living longer thanks to modern healthcare, and where education institutions are brimming with eager students. The caption reads that the world economy is estimated to produce an outstanding $90 trillion worth of output per year. An unprecedented figure.

The second picture is the mirror opposite of the first. It is one of extreme poverty where people are still living in slums, children can't go to school and people are dying because they don't have enough to eat. Its caption is a gloomy one: Nearly one billion of the world's seven billion population is living in such extreme poverty they are struggling to survive. As hard as it is to believe, both pictures are of the very same world.

In September 2000 the largest gathering of world leaders in human history convened for the Millennium Summit at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The outcome was a list of eight goals and eighteen targets to be achieved by 2015. Recognising that poverty was a pressing issue that needed addressing, it was firmly put at number one. Last year, the MDGs expired and the question on everyone's mind was- Did the last fifteen years amount to anything? Extreme poverty was not completely eradicated, but that does not mean that there wasn't a measure of success. Statistics show that in 1990 there were 1.9 billion people living in extreme poverty and this was reduced to an estimated 836 million by 2015. An encouraging figure, true, but not one that should inspire slackness. The fight continues with a new set of seventeen “Global goals” for the next 15 years with poverty still at the very top of the list. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Fund supports initiatives that tackle poverty from a multisectoral perspective and addresses the dimensions such as promoting better government policies. This fund has been as far reaching as Honduras, Côte D’Ivoire, Bangladesh to name but a few countries, and empowering women, backing training and ensuring food security as best as it can.

But what is it about poverty that makes it such a pressing issue? Simply put, from the existence of poverty stems all manners of problems. Where there is extreme poverty there is more likely than not a low literacy rate (education). Where there is extreme poverty you’ll find inequalities between men and women. Where there is extreme poverty you'll find poor healthcare and sanitation. Therefore, with poverty running rampant in countries, how can economic growth be achieved, sustainable cities be built, climate change be kept in check and inequalities be reduced? All the other sixteen Sustainable Development Goals depend on the success of the first one.

Seychelles is blessed enough to have made such great strides economic wise. Although there is an open discussion on what the degree of poverty that still needs to be tackled in Seychelles is, there is no denying that free education means that the majority of children are in schools, public healthcare is provided for all and the issue of inequality in any form is constantly on the agenda. The World Bank depicts Seychelles as having Poverty rates that “are expected to remain among the lowest in the world outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).” Using the International poverty line which was at $1.90 in 2011 (SCR 25.70 as of 18/11/16), extreme poverty in Seychelles stood at 1.1% of its population in 2013. This means that as of 2013, 1.1% of our population lived on less than SCR 25.70 a day (World bank figures). If we remain committed, we are definitely on track to eradicating poverty in Seychelles by 2030.

Seychelles also participates actively in regional and international discussions regarding such issues to create sound policy frameworks that can be implemented to better the lives of our citizens. In recent years, we have been among the few countries to bring the blue economy to the forefront of international discussions, an initiative which former president James Michel has implemented nationally. Since the Seychelles territory (including its land area and EEZ) is 99% ocean, the sustainable development of our blue economy plays a vital role to further improve the economic situation of our country. Sustainable development is the key phrase here, as it is the only way to ensure that we do not deplete our resources, leaving future generations lacking and struggling with poverty due to our actions.

We need to be clear on this- the eradication of poverty is not a load that falls solely on the shoulders of the government. The effort to lift ourselves out of poverty, like everything else, requires first a renewal of mind. Students must seize the opportunity that free education provides. What projects we feel society could benefit from, let’s lead. Community development tackled by each and every member of our neighbourhood. Clean streets, rivers and beaches the responsibility of every citizen of Seychelles. Educate yourself on the importance of education that goes beyond school textbooks. In the end, our progress and actions will speak much louder than words, and other countries will come to us for words of wisdom. As former President James Michel once said at the opening of the AOSIS Ministerial meeting on Climate change (November 2014) “Too often we are treated as bystanders. And more often than not, we allow ourselves to be treated as bystanders.” No, we cannot afford to let ourselves be bystanders any longer.

Join the global conversation. Use the hashtags #sey4sdg , download the SDG Action app, visit globalgoals.org – help make the SDGs famous and tell the leaders of the world that this is what we want.

You can also visit http://www.globalgoals.org/take-action/ and choose an NGO to get involved with: Global Citizen, Save The Children, UNICEF, UNDP – the choice is yours.

Contributed by Lisa Bastienne

Turning Tables On Hunger

SDG NO.2 - ZERO HUNGER

Actions on ending world hunger have become more pronounced since the world community set the millennium development goals (MDGs). It has been seen that the most effective way to end world hunger is to transform the way the world does development. Such a pressing matter needs to be tackled in unity and it is therefore the reason why the UN put it as a Sustainable Development Goal as SDG 2: NO HUNGER

SDG 2 aims to end world hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and also to promote sustainable agriculture, by 2030 the UN aims to: All people, especially people in vulnerable situations Including infants have access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round

• End all forms of malnutrition, including achieving internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under five years of age and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating woman, and older persons

• Double the agricultural productivity and the incomes of small-scale food producers, particularly women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets, and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment.

• Ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters, and that progressively improve land and soil quality.

• Maintain genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants, farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at national, regional and international levels, and ensure access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge as internationally agreed.

Why is SDG 2 important to the world?

Out of 795 million people (roughly 1 in 10) people suffering from chronic hunger¸ 98 percent live in the developing world. Unlike famine that can be alleviated from, for example, emergency aid, chronic hunger is a constant day to day condition.

Hunger, poverty and food prices are inextricably linked. Not every poor person is hungry, but almost all hungry people are poor. Millions live with hunger and malnourishment because they simply cannot afford to buy enough food, cannot afford nutritious foods or cannot afford the farming supplies they need to grow enough good food of their own. Hunger can be viewed as a dimension of extreme poverty. It is often called the most severe and critical manifestation of poverty.

Why is SDG 2 is important to Seychelles?

Nutritional intake in the Seychelles mainly comes from animal products and imported crops. Wheat, rice, maize and sugar make up 54.5 percent of the average daily calorie intake, while animal products provide an additional 16.6 percent. This heavy reliance on importation of goods can prove to be unhealthily. Seychelles is an island country comprising an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, and has a total area of 460 square kilometers. In other words it is very small and has limited power on the ability to influence trade routes. SDG 2 may play a role because it promotes the growth of small scale farmers. Thus, if an issue were to arise as seen by the pirates in 2010 where trade routes may have been cut off, Seychelles would be self-reliant and in a better situation to sustain itself i.e. increased food security. If it does not adopt these policies, Seychellois could find themselves in a situation where they lack access to 71.1 percent of their nutritional intake.

What actions are being taken by Seychelles towards this SDG?

It is very important that the Seychelles adopts a self-sustaining attitude towards production and consumption of food due to limited control on external factors. We should aim to promote and adopt schemes such as home gardens and also help local farmers to produce sufficient and affordable goods.

Some of the projects taken on nationally to end hunger in Seychelles are outlined below:

• Farmers association address hunger by producing food

• The social security services provide income supplements to vulnerable people in the society e.g. unemployed, disabled persons, elderly persons, etc.

• S4S is an NGO that encourages people to grow fruits and vegetables In their homes

• The CLISSA (competitive Local Small scale Agriculture) project funded by IFAD (International Fund for Agriculture) teaches people how to keep backyard gardens.

• STC is a government run organization that has the mandate to supply basic food commodities at reduced prices to ensure access by lower income households.

These efforts have been successful to quite an extent as it is important to note that Seychelles does not in fact have any cases of chronic hunger.

What you can do to help?

1. Educate: The first and most important step to get involved in solving world hunger is to educate yourself and others about the problem. There are literally thousands of charities out there, some better run than others, offering initiatives to put food on the table for those in need

2. Volunteer: The task to end world hunger may sound like a daunting one but one must remember that the smallest actions also have impact and therefore individuals should try to take on simple tasks/challenges to change someone’s life today. These small tasks have the potential to have a great effect collectively .

3. Donate: How can we stop world hunger with money? It is food that we need. Well, yes of course, but rather than sending a few tins of sweetcorn to families in Bangladesh, larger organizations may undertake projects to build sustainable solutions. Working collaboratively helps to build sustainable farms and greenhouses. This approach is to put the power of cultivation into the hands of local farmers.

Join the global conversation. Use the hashtags #sey4sdg , download the SDG Action app, visit globalgoals.org – help make the SDGs famous and tell the leaders of the world that this is what we want.

You can also visit http://www.globalgoals.org/take-action/ and choose an NGO to get involved with: Global Citizen, Save The Children, UNICEF, UNDP – the choice is yours.

Contributed by Reza Moustache

Published by Nation Newspaper November 23rd, 2016

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