Are you cutting back on your use of plastic bags?
Do you opt for the bus or train, or walk when going on a journey rather than taking your car? Have you ever spoken out when you’ve seen a glaring example of gender inequality? If so, then you’re already contributing to an ambitious global plan to make the world a better place by 2030.
Every day, British businesses, charities, teachers and faith groups across the country do vital work to help people lead healthy, safe and prosperous lives. As well as improving the lives of millions of Britons, they are also helping our country meet the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the global goals. The UK was at the heart of negotiating these targets before they were adopted by all 193 UN member states in 2015.
The 17 goals are unlike anything the world has signed up to before. They are a series of ambitious aims, ranging from eliminating extreme poverty and hunger to ensuring decent work is available for all; and from protecting the environment to promoting gender equality.
The goals include targets for health, education, and protecting life, both on land and in our oceans. Critically, they recognise that in an increasingly joined-up world, many problems such as disease and security have no respect for borders and don’t discriminate between rich and poor. It’s why all UN members – both developing and developed countries – are committed to implementing them at home and abroad.
Next September, the Prime Minister will take part in the first-ever review of how countries – including in the UK – are faring in their collective bid to achieve the goals. This matters for the UK.
While we have a good story to tell about our efforts to achieve the goals, and lessons to share, we need other countries to step up. Only then, will we be able to tackle common threats and meet our common responsibilities.
But it’s not just the work of UK aid and government departments that are contributing towards the UK meeting its commitments, important as that is. Businesses, organisations, schools and individuals are already playing crucial roles in helping to translate these ambitions into reality. Every contribution counts, however small or large.
Consider the work that British business Marks & Spencer has been doing to be more sustainable. They’ve committed to provide decent work both for staff in the UK and around the world, while simultaneously working hard to become a zero-waste business.
And take the Connecting Classrooms scheme – this is a landmark programme which puts British schoolchildren in touch with classrooms around the world by video link. The kids taking part in the programme — both in the UK and around the world — learn about the Global Goals in school. For them it’s a way of life, not just part of their curriculum. The goals are a way for tomorrow’s adults to view and shape their world. Planting trees, improving air quality and raising awareness of gender inequality. These everyday activities are all helping to meet the global goals.
This is global Britain at its best: leading by example on some of the world’s toughest, but also most urgent, challenges.
Global Britain is delivering global goals, to connect all our nation has to all that it can help.
Britain has a chance, when it presents its first Voluntary National Review of the Goals at the UN next year, of saying how we are making our country, and the world, a better place by working towards the goals.
To make sure the review reflects all of the inspiring work going on up and down the country to help achieve the goals, we need to hear from you.
We would like to hear from any organisation, business or group which is actively engaged in implementing the global goals. Whatever your contribution, now is the time to come forward and share with us how you are helping to bring about a better future.
By the time of next year’s review, the world will be nearly a third of the way towards the 2030 deadline.
Like other countries, the UK has areas where it can improve, but we also have progress to celebrate.