BLOG| SDG 2030 is about transforming your own world, however you define it!

Jun 14, 2016

By Frederick Mugisha  

This is a call to action on what you, as an individual, can do to leverage the Sustainable Development Goals to achieve the profound change that you seek. Think about it! It is a choice you are called to make.  The Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015 on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is about transforming our world. As an individual, the call is to transform the world however you define it and transform yourself in the process. Remember, to transform is to have a profound change that orients you to a new direction and takes you to a different level of effectiveness. It is not just incremental improvements, it is significant leap to a better life. The question you are called to ask yourself is: what profound change do I seek and hope to achieve by 2030, that is, in about 15 years from today; and how will you, as an individual, align yourself to be a significant player in that transformed world?

Let me illustrate this thought through the life of one - Nyandeng, a South Sudanese woman. She was born during Operation Lifeline Sudan, probably the largest relief effort in her country ever. Her choices for a better life were limited at birth, and unfortunately, they remain so today. The profound change she has made a choice to seek in 2030 is one where her children receive high quality education in a relatively peaceful country as opposed to being internally displaced.

With the South Sudan Transitional Government of National Unity in place, Nyandeng has decided on two actions: first, to dialogue with her own children on the need for peaceful means to resolve conflict. She wants them to understand that as long as people live, conflict will exist but it must not always lead to violence. Secondly, she has made a decision to undertake small scale agriculture, earn money, and give her children a chance to receive quality education. She has prioritized 3 of the 17 SDGs that she considers speak to her current circumstances and the profound change she seeks:

  • Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG16);
  • Quality Education (SDG 4); and
  • Decent work and economic growth (SDG8).

Nyandeng has made a choice to do her part. She is asking her government and its partners to make a choice to augment her efforts.

Nyandeng’s story is a call to action to define what profound change we seek for ourselves and leverage available resources on the pursuit of global goals on sustainable development aimed at transforming our world. Each nation has either completed or is in the process of aligning its development frameworks to the global goals. Look out for these opportunities irrespective of where you reside and leverage them.

Nyandeng’s circumstances maybe different from yours. For instance, the country you call home may have never experienced any civil war, you may be lucky to have gone to school, or you currently have a decent job and have no problems providing for your children. If you are the same age as Nyandeng’s children, your circumstances may be different from theirs. You may even think that going to school is a waste of time, yet Nyandeng’s children only hope they were in the same position. Your dreams may be also different from Nyandeng’s children. Your call to action is to define what profound change you seek in your own world and how you must prepare yourself to be a player in it. If you are 16 years old, you will be 31 years old in 2030. What is the change you seek to achieve by that time? How do you want to prepare yourself? What do you want your government to do for you, to argument your efforts?

Also note that Nyandeng’s story is calling upon us to acknowledge that the Sustainable Development Goals are interconnected and they reinforce each other. Children need to go to school but they cannot do so in a war zone and the parents have to earn a living in order to afford quality education for them. Your current circumstances and the profound change you seek will determine which Sustainable Development Goals you will look for irrespective of the village or town you live in.

Nyandeng’s story further calls us to clearly define our unique and significant role as well as the roles of others in shaping our own world and in attaining the profound change we seek. The story also calls for leveraging the actions of others: us as citizens, and those privileged to be our leaders. When we leverage each other’s efforts in synergy, we achieve exponentially more than the sum of each person’s actions. It is the classical case where one-plus-one equals 5, 10, 100 or even more.

I hope these thoughts provide you with insights on how you can leverage Sustainable Development Goals to achieve the profound change you seek and transform your own life.

If you want to continue the conversation, please take a moment and complete a 5 minutes vision exercise here. You will also learn about the profound change others seek and how they are leveraging SDG resources to achieve it.

The writer, Frederick Mugisha, works as a UNDP Economics Advisor for South Sudan.

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