January 1, 2021 was a big milestone for the Global Goals. This day signified the beginning of the ‘second trimester’ of the 2030 Agenda. Commencing on January 1, 2016, the goals were given 15 years to be achieved, officially ending on December 31, 2030. The first five years are done. We have only 10 years left to achieve the world’s most ambitious development agenda in history.
If there was any time to have a decade of action, it would be now.
The goals regressed in many ways in 2020. As the world saw the first major global pandemic in a century, many governments, businesses, organisations and individuals struggled to keep up with the changing landscape of our economy, our society and our environment.
Last year, we heard the words “unprecedented times” used over and over until we became immune to the shock and fear that these words would normally incite.
This year, we have a better understanding of the fragility of our society and the importance of sustainability. It is no longer enough to create a healthy, flourishing, peaceful and environmentally secure world; we must create a world in which our economy, society and environment are protected from unusual circumstances and occurrences.
Two of the 169 targets outlined in the 2030 agenda centre around preparing for disasters. These are as follows:
1.5 By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters
11.b By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels
Throughout 2020, the importance of these two targets was made abundantly clear.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to innovate in a way in which we had not been forced to do so in the past. At a local level, I witnessed less traffic on the road due to the increased number of people working from home and participating in online schooling from home, businesses innovating their operational practices, people cleaning out their homes and selling unused items to those who could make better use of them as opposed to buying something new, a greater connection to nature and the outdoors with many indoor entertainment venues being shut and much more.
As we enter 2021, we do not do so with the conviction that we will return to ‘normal’ anytime soon; however, we approach this new year with a renewed perspective on the world. We understand that not everything is in our control but what we can control can make an impact.
We are excited to have launched our Global Goals Australia 2021 Action Challenge on January 1 of this year. Already, we have seen people making outstanding commitments towards a more sustainable future. This new year, we encourage every supporter of the Global Goals to join us on the challenge with only two-thirds of the 15 year timeframe remaining to achieve the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
Now more than ever, we need the support of the world’s population to achieve these goals in order to ensure our economic, social and environmental sustainability and resilience for decades into the future.