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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Humanity scores another goal

Update : 06 Oct 2015, 06:49 PM

The global goals for 2030 were agreed upon and signed by the 193 leaders of the world in New York recently. The goals are a group of objectives set in order to make Earth a better place than it is now. There is no doubt that this is going to be a land-mark event in the years to come, it might even be marked as the event that gave birth to a new world, thinking optimistically of course.

Before this, in 1990, a similar plan was devised, with 2015 being set as the target. These were called the Millennium Development Goals. Let’s take a look at how that turned out for us, and what we have to repeat again for 2030, what’s new this time, and if there is any hope for making this a better world by 2030.

The first goal of the MDGs was to cut in half the number of people living in extreme poverty and hunger. Surprisingly, this goal was achieved, even though it was partial. The number of people going hungry in 2015, compared to 1990, is not half, but it’s close to being so. But on the other hand, in 1990, about 1.9 billion people lived on less than $1.25 a day. In 2015, that number is 900 million.

The next goal was to achieve universal primary education. This was not accomplished, but we were awfully close in achieving it. 90% of children go to school in the developing world, and 91% of all young people in the world are now literate, compared to 83% in 1990.

The third objective was to establish gender equality all over the world. This has not gone according to plan, but there has been significant development in this matter, especially in terms of education. In 1990, South Asian schools had 75 girls for every 100 boys. Those figures are now 103 and 100 respectively.

The aim which came after that was reducing childhood mortality by 66% in 25 years. This was not met unfortunately, but we were able to reduce the occurrence of childhood deaths by more than 50%. Meanwhile, maternal mortality rate fell by approximately 75% in 25 years.

The sixth objective was to halt and begin the reversal of the effects of HIV and malaria. While some big strides have been made in terms of battling and treating HIV, humanity has tackled malaria far better -- 20% fewer deaths occur in the world today due to malaria than it did in 1990.

The seventh goal was to ensure environmental sustainability. Let us not pretend that this has gone the way we had planned. The Earth is 46 billion years old. Scaling to 46 years, humans have been on the planet for four hours, and the industrial revolution began 1 minute ago. In this time, we have destroyed more than 50% of all the Earth’s forests. This is not the definition of sustainability. The last aim of the MDGs was to establish a global partnership to achieve these goals. I guess it’s safe to say that this goal has been fulfilled.

The main goal of the MDGs, in my opinion, was to aim for the moon, so that even if we miss, we’ll end up amongst the stars anyway. While it’s true that not all the goals of the MDGs have been fulfilled, the progress that we have made is extraordinary. I don’t think we even expected this much progress all the way back in 1990.

But it is now 2015, and it is time for us to set for ourselves a new set of goals, which has been done. This time we should seek to fulfill them perfectly, and complete the goals that we missed in 2015 as well.

We should be able to do this, because we are in a better position than our predecessors, and we have better resources and a better understanding of the problems at hand, having to deal with them longer. And I think the current generation should take up the challenge because, just as Native Americans have always said, we have merely borrowed the world from our children, we have not inherited it from our parents.

So, what are these new global goals? There are 17 of them in total, and the three main ones are ending extreme poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and finally doing something about our rapidly changing climate.

Poverty, hunger, inequality, and climate have all made reappearances in the list, but there are a few problems which have actually been solved, and the ones that haven’t been solved were very close to being solved. So, with the success that past goals have had, we can be optimistic and we can get to work. The first thing we must do is spread awareness about these ideas as widely as we can, so that everyone knows about them.

There are many awareness activities on the global goals website which anyone can help with. These include dizzy goals, goal selfie, championing a goal by writing the number on one’s body, and there are even posters which we can print. Let us not be the generation of by-standers, let us be the first generation to become true global citizens, because these are our problems, and we have to solve them. No one else is going to. So, humanity, let’s get to work! We have goals to score! 

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