Time for new start for sustainable future

By Eduard Heinrich-Sanchez

After a short sabbatical, I am back with the new year. The Lunar New Year will ring in on Feb. 9, 2016, ushering in the “Year of the Monkey”. And Taiwan has a new president, the first woman to lead the country.

On Jan. 1st, 2016 the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) went into effect. How can we continue to live on this small planet when industry and population keep growing? We have 15 years to find out.

Last year was a great year for the environment. In September, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to 2030 replaced the Millenium Goals, and provided a needed boost to the COP 21 in Paris. which ended in cheers and applause. What is all this? To me it still all sounds very much like the rules we had to abide by when we all went to kindergarten.

Maurice Frederick Strong,  the first Secretary General for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)

Maurice Frederick Strong, the first Secretary General for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)

The Earth Charter Initiative mirrors the SDGs. On Nov. 28, 2015, one of the founders of the Earth Charter and the first Secretary General for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) was Maurice Frederick Strong. Please take a moment to read the tribute to his legacy. This quote really pinpoints the struggle humanity has been wrestling with on an the ever shrinking planet.

We are victims of ‘the struggle between ecosystems and egosystems’.

It is the egos of people, governments, businesses that prevent solutions and generate a terrible lack of political will.

Please take a look at the SDG’s and feel free to comment on how we could best work towards achieving these goals from Okinawa and to the world.

From the Martin Luther King Day, the “Earth Charter Asia-Pacific Ryukyu-Okinawa Conference” was started in order to better promote sustainability from Okinawa to our neighbors from the Ryukyus to Taiwan to Rapanui.

Following are the 17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals:

  1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
  2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
  3. Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.
  4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
  5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
  7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
  8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
  9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.
  10. Reduce inequality within and among countries.
  11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
  12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (taking note of agreements made by the UNFCCC forum).
  14. Conservation and sustainable use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
  15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss.
  16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
  17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

To find out more about the post-2015 process and the open working group on the sustainable development goals visit the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.

For comments and suggestions on this article, please contact edo@okinawaocean.org.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and not those of Japan Update, Ryukyu Press or their employees.

08:05 17 Apr , 2024