By Usman Iqtidar and Ravi Karkara | February 2 2017
Just 14 years remain to accomplish the Agenda 2030 and it’s high time that we act together to make this promise a reality. As we completed the first year of the implementation of Agenda 2030 for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, there is a greater need to harmonize campaigns contributing to SDGs. There is a massive opportunity for the international development community to work together in solidarity using campaigns to forward SDGs. However, there is more focus on specific goals and targets rather than on the entire Agenda. If we continue to operate in silos, we lose sight of the big picture and end up fragmenting the Agenda, wasting resources and hindering progress. We must bear in mind that the goal of the international community is to ensure the achievement of all 17 SDGs by 2030. Instead of competing for advocacy space and much-needed resources, we must all take ownership of the Agenda as a whole and cohesively work together towards the attainment of the WorldWeWant by the year 2030.
The following are good examples of existing campaigns for each of the 17 goals, which can be synergized for increased collaboration towards the fulfillment of the SDGs:
SDG 1 – End Poverty with ONE campaign: ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organization mobilizing over seven million people globally taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.
SDG 2 – End hunger with the Zero Hunger Challenge: The mission of the Zero Hunger Challenge is to bring together all stakeholders to communicate the importance of food security, nutrition and inclusive, sustainable and resilient agriculture.
SDG 3 – Health for all through Every One campaign – The aim is that no child under the age of 5 dies from preventable causes, and that public attitudes do not tolerate a return to high levels of child mortality.
SDG 4 – Quality Education with several campaigns including IamMalala: I Am Malala is a movement that “advocates — at local, national and international levels — for resources and policy changes needed to ensure all girls complete 12 years of school.”
SDG 5 – Gender Equality through the Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it Up for Gender Equality Campaign: Step It Up asks governments to make national commitments that will close the gender equality gap – from laws and policies to national action plans and adequate investment. NOW is the time to Step It Up!
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation through WaterEquity: Water Equity builds on the decades of experience and success of Water.org – helping millions by breaking down the barriers to safe water and sanitation.
SDG 7 – Affordable and clean energy with 350 and Leonardo Di Caprio Foundation: 350 is building a global grassroots climate movement that can hold our leaders accountable to the realities of science and the principles of justice. While, LDF implements solutions that help restore balance to threatened ecosystems, ensuring the long-term health and well-being of all Earth’s inhabitants.
SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic growth through Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth: The Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth is the first-ever, comprehensive United Nations system-wide effort for the promotion of youth employment worldwide.
SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure through UN Global Compact: A call to companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals.
SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities overall through the No Ceilings campaign and UN Free and Equal:The gap between the number of women and men in the workforce has barely changed in two decades, even though increasing women’s participation can lead to nationwide economic growth, No Ceilings Campaigns aims to address this issue. While, UN Free and Equal is an unprecedented United Nations global public education campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality.
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities with the World Urban Campaign: The World Urban Campaign (WUC) is an advocacy and partnership platform to raise awareness about positive urban change in order to achieve green, productive, safe, healthy, inclusive, and well planned cities.
SDG 13 – Climate action with the Climate Reality Project and Clean Up the World Campaign: The mission of Climate Reality Project is to catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every level of society. Clean Up the World is a community based environmental campaign that inspires and empowers communities from every corner of the globe to clean up, fix up and conserve their environment.
SDG 14 – Life below water with Oceana: Oceana works internationally to direct policy-oriented and science-based campaigns that help save the oceans and feed the world.
SDG 15 – Life on land with Wild for Life Campaign: This initiative aims to raise awareness, enact and enforce stronger laws, and step up support to local communities’ efforts to stop the illegal trade in wildlife.
SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Institutions with Peace Education campaign: The Global Campaign for Peace Education seeks to foster a culture of peace in communities around the world. The Transparency, Accountability & Participation (TAP) Network is a broad network of CSOs that works to ensure that open, inclusive, accountable and effective governance is at the heart of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The aim of United against corruption campaign to support a positive and pro-active stance against corruption. The United Nations Convention against Corruption will be promoted as the key tool to fight corruption worldwide and as the impetus for a global and forceful movement.
SDG 17 – Partnership for the goals with the SDG Action Campaign: The United Nations SDG Action Campaign is a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General and mandated to support the UN system-wide and the Member States on advocacy and public engagement in the SDG implementation.
How can we all work together towards the achievement of the SDGs? As we witness during the years leading to the culmination of the Millennium Development Goals, a fusion of offline and online campaigning is a successful strategy for building momentum around a cause, with a clear commitment to reach the most unreachable populations. We need to use traditional campaigning methodologies, tools and medium and fuse them with progressive technology tools such as online polling, twitterthons and virtual reality. Power of people is a central factor is success of any given campaign, as they collectively act as pressure groups on world leaders and governments to bring about the desired policy changes, thereby contributing to global goals. This essentially means that we need to increase our focus on campaigning to revive the momentum for Agenda 2030. But we must do so in a smart manner by synergizing the campaigns.
Usman Iqtidar is a Communications Consultant at UNDP with over 7 years of experience in international development and journalism in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and the United States. His specialties social policy, energy and governance.
Ravi Karkara is Senior Advisor on Strategic Partnerships and Advocacy to the Assistant Secretary General to the UN and Deputy Executive Director, UN Women. With over two decades of experience, Ravi is an expert in various international development-related fields, driving innovation, building strategic partnerships, and promoting advocacy and programming in the areas of human rights, gender equality, accountability and social justice. He is also the Acting Head of Private Sector for UN Women.