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Its Global Goals Week! This year it is taking part between the 16th and 25th of September around the world with the goal of “mobilizing communities, demanding urgency to turn it around for the Global Goals, and supercharging solutions for people and planet.”
While there is always a lot happening around SDG Week, it seems a bit quieter than usual in terms of business school engagement. As we pass the midpoint, it seems many institutions may have lost a bit of steam. It’s a bit like when a group of friends plan to run a marathon together. Everyone is excited, everyone commits to doing it, they make plans, tell people about their plans, even start the plans. But then life gets in the way, little things. Not everyone is keeping up with the training in the same way. Today takes precedence over tomorrow and all those good intentions start fading. But while you ultimately can choose to not run the marathon, the issues covered by the SDGs are real and the less we prepare, the less we act, the longer, harder, and more dangerous the SDG marathon will be.
There are lots of events happening globally around Global Goals Week in New York City in particular, and almost all are virtual (and bound to help inject a bit of energy into your own SDG planning). Here are a few on my list.
1. SDG WEEK
Swinburne University of Technology has organised a full schedule of events for SDG Week involving not only faculty but several student clubs. This includes events such as a coastal clean-up and plant a tree, as well as workshops such as how knowledge of the SDGs can enhance your job prospects in the corporate world and SDG deep dives. Several competitions are underway including one to design a new SDG Week logo for the university and a live pitching of innovative SDG themed design ideas. A SDG student survey is also being circulated to collect data on awareness levels. For a full schedule of events, click here.
2. THE SDG REPORT
The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022 was released.This annual report provides a global overview of progress on the implementation of the goals. As expected, COVID has had a detrimental impact on our ability to reach the goals. But it isn’t just COVID. Efforts and momentum have slowed, meanwhile the issues are becoming more severe. “The report details reversal of years of progress in eradicating poverty and hunger, improving health and education, providing basic services, and much more”. It isn’t good, but it’s important to read. These issues don’t go away just because other topics are taking over the front page of the newspaper. Everything that is happening around us impacts the SDGs….and vice versa.
3. BRINGING DATA TO LIFE
If the SDG Report brings you down, follow it up with their companion report, Bringing Data to Life which is full of SDG human impact stories from across the globe. The stories in SDG 4 were interesting. For example, one tells how the education secretary of a small town in Brazil decided to knock on every door to identify which children were out of school in 2021 because of COVID or other reasons. Each now receive materials to study at home. The story on p. 22 of ex female circumcisers who, realising the negative impact their traditional practice was having on girls and women, have turned to leading the fight to end female Genital Mutilation was very powerful.
+ Consider putting together a similar document focused on stories from your own university as a way of showing students the impact your community is having.
4. FINANCE FOR NATURE BASED SOLUTIONS
There are always a lot of events happening at the UN in relation to the SDGs, in particular this week. One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that so many of them are virtual. This also means that I inevitably sign up to way too many virtual events, more than I could possibly actually attend. I have signed up and plan to listen to this one on Unlocking Sustainable Finance for Nature Based Solutions which shows how private investors and development finance institutions hold the power “to protect, sustainably manage, and restore ecosystems through investments in nature based solutions”.
5. CLIMATE WEEK
It isn’t just Global Goals Week, it is also Climate Week in New York City (again, the events are also online). The week brings together leaders in climate action from business, government, and the climate community, in conjunction with the UN General Assembly and the City of New York. If you are in New York, there is a Marketplace of the Future where sustainable products and services are being showcased.
6. BUSINESS FIGHTS POVERTY
Yet another interesting event, hosted in part by Harvard Corporate Responsibility Initiative and Barclays, Business Fights Poverty is a virtual summit exploring the role of business in “driving equity, building resilience and fighting poverty”. The event goes over two days. The Business Fights Poverty website also has quite a few resources that can be used in the classroom.
7. The GOALKEEPERS REPORT
There are a lot of reports about the SDGs. A lot. This week I was taking a deeper look at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeepers. They have some effective visuals exploring some of the SDGs that could be used in the classroom. For example, this graph on global progress for financial services for the poor shows the percentage of adults with an account at a bank or other financial institution or with a mobile-money service provider and is organised by high, middle and low income countries, men and women, by sex and wealth. The full report is available here and their Global Goals Week Event will be livestreamed as well.
For more resources on the SDGs, visit the Resources section of the List website.
I've been reading about innovations in solar which means I'm likely to do a List on that next week. If you have any news you'd like me to share, send it over.