Do we know the Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda, and their true significance? Do we really understand the true dimension of climate change? In November 2018, some 80% of the Spaniards surveyed by the CIS (Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas) answered that yes, they do believe climate change exists, and a 48,6% agreed that changing our lifestyle would help to resolve it. In January 2019, to the question ‘Do you know or have you heard about the 2030 Agenda?’, only about 10% of the subjects responded ‘yes’.
I want the whole of society to pressure Governments to make them understand they need to move faster, because we are losing the race, the consequences of natural disasters are becoming more and more devastating”
António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network maintains that “governments and companies will not be sufficiently interested until there is a big civil demand which cries out for the objective of our societies to be sustainable development in all its dimensions. This will only be possible if people know the SDG’s, and how to implement them in their daily lives.” Civil society has the necessary tools within reach for their voices to be heard. From activism (these days, personified by Greta Thunberg), to their vote, ang through the practice of an ethical and responsible consumption.
To Inform, educate and raise awareness.
Coinciding with the global strike for the climate, the United Nations’ high-level week, and the ODSéate campaign from the high commissioner for the Agenda 2030, this is the time to think about how to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals ‘roadmap’ to the people. Also, how to motivate them, and get them to incorporate these goals in all facets of their lives.
As the United Nations’ Secretary-General, António Guterres, said in a recent interview with the newspaper ‘El País’: “The goals are very difficult but possible, what we need is political goodwill.” “Sooner or later, governments follow the public opinion, in all parts of the world.” But this public opinion should be informed, aware, and become a critical mass that responds overwhelmingly to the climate emergency we find ourselves in today.
In Spain, the report on the progress of the implementation of the Agenda 2030 exhibits that one of the transformative measures is the communication of the agenda between the different actors in civil society. In the Agenda 2030 Implementation Plan, presented in front of the UN in 2018, the government set a very ambitious goal: In 2020, 100% of Spanish citizens will know the Agenda 2030 and will be made aware of the reach of its transformations. A year to go to the deadline, and in spite of successful actions such as the #ODSéate campaign, we should intensify efforts and elaborate strategies that … budget items for them to become a reality.
In my experience since 2016, realizing SDG trainings in the educational and cultural sector, I have met public employees in charge of teacher training in provincial or regional centres, that have to convince, persuade and justify for these types of training to continue. I’ve met public or private school teachers that get initiatives related to Sustainable Development off the ground, on a voluntary basis, and in their free time. I’ve also met cultural agents, convinced they are key elements the SDG’s, but tired of having to explain the importance of pairing culture and sustainability, over and over again.
And, although there are more inspiring examples each day, if we want 100% of students, teachers, public employees, and citizens to be trained in the Agenda 2030 by 2025, do we need to put the words on paper? plan the actions and support them economically.
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