As World leaders meet at the United Nations from 25th September to adopt a new set of Global Goals, which will likely be called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), they will meet again in Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP 21, in December with the goal of adopting the first universal climate agreement to limit greenhouse gases.
Civil society Taskforce on MDGs and SDGs in Malawi, therefore have a number of issues which they would like government leaders to address as they attend the United Nations General Assembly; to light the way to a future free from poverty, inequalities and dangerous climate change.
Civil Society organizations demand a world where our economies create prosperity for all and not just the richest 1%, where governments and private sector are held to account to respect the rights and dignity of all people and treasure the planet so that it will be habitable for current and future generations.
It is a request to our leaders to focus on ways to transform unfair economic structures that create inequalities, rather than focusing on austerity measures that unravel social safety nets. They should agree on mechanisms that promote gender equality and women empowerment, decent work and invest in health and education, particularly of women, girls and marginalized communities. Our communities must be free from fear and want, with zero tolerance of gender based violence, discrimination and human trafficking, among others.
Currently; the world’s 85 richest people are worth as much as the poorest 3.5 billion (half the globe’s population), 60% percent of the worlds hungry are women, fundamental human rights of more than 1 billion people – including the rights to education, health, water, sanitation, food and a safe clean environment – are denied daily, Two-thirds of people living in extreme poverty are women, 20% of the world’s population consumes 80% of the planet’s ecological resources, Greed for money, power and natural resources drives armed conflict and violence in nearly 1 out of every 3 countries, preventing people from leading normal lives and Most of the youth remain unemployed and no major investment is made to build their capacity to develop.
It is therefore civil society organizations demand that SDGs accelerate progress towards a better future for Malawians and global citizens. Hence, government and world leaders must commit to implementing these goals and achieve the following:
Walk the Talk and deliver: Have a clear implementation plan, developed with the active participation of citizens and ensure these are actually implemented with respect to the right to development and Human Rights in general
Employ inclusiveness: Engage and meaningfully involve marginalized groups such as women, girls, youth, people with disabilities, children, people living with HIV and AIDS, among others, and local communities in the implementation process. Sustainable development has to be people centered
Finance Our Future: Ensure sufficient financial flows are made available to deliver all the goals in time. This includes domestic and international funding, gender responsive budgeting, meeting existing spending commitments and tackling unfair tax systems.
Be Accountable & Transparent: Communicate progress on implementing the goals to the public. Parliaments, civil society organizations and human rights & other existing reporting mechanisms should be central to this process and well utilized. Vibrant and workable Monitoring and evaluation systems should be in place and utilized to track progress.
It is therefore believed that resources and knowledge is available to eradicate poverty and create wealth; address inequalities and empower marginalized groups; deal with climate change and its impacts while building resilient communities.