The 24th of October is celebrated annually as United Nations Day. On this day the UN aims to raise awareness of the many global problems that need urgent action.
Three years ago, on September 25th 2015, all 193 member states from the UN General Assembly, adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), within the 2030 Agenda framework.
The SDGs are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. It addresses the global challenges we face, including those related to:
- Environmental degradation
- Peach and Justice
Change starts with you!
To achieve the goals, governments, international organisations, world leaders and the general public all must be involved in the process. For the general public, a ‘Lazy person’s guide to saving the world [insert link to https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/takeaction/] has been developed that encourages people to make changes and be part of the solution.
Transparency of responsibility and activities
UN bodies and agencies have included the SDGs in their agendas. Their policies, programs and projects describe how they will achieve these goals. They will also measure and publicly share their contribution, demonstrating transparency and responsibility. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has created the SDG Mapping Tool which shows the outputs and key activities for each of the 17 goals.
What role can technology play in achieving a more sustainable future?
Technology is helping us advance on a daily basis and it is no surprise that it also plays a key role in achieving the SDGs. The ITU has defined 11 lines of action, ranging from infrastructure to e-health, e-learning and e-science and it is emerging technologies that will deliver the direct impact.
Blockchain, for example, now makes it possible to control the entire food supply chain (see our recent article on How IoT and Blockchain solve the issue of traceability of our food. It helps to improve costly food recovery efforts that are sometimes key to stop the spread of diseases.
Artificial intelligence also contributes in reversing the spread of diseases and reduce the burden of public health infrastructures, with limited resources throughout the world.
In the environmental area, organisations such as The Plastic Bank offer digital tokens secured by blockchain for the exchange of recycled plastic. Its goal is to stop the flow of plastic in our oceans by rewarding those who recycle.
These are only a few examples of how technology can be a great ally to the ambitious, but necessary, Sustainable Development Goals. ITU has a more expansive list on ‘How tech can speed progress on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.’.