The Sustainable Development Goals

The SDGs officially came into force on the 1st of January 2016, to build on the success of the MDGs. It is unique as it calls on all countries- rich, poor and middle income to promote prosperity individually and collectively. Unlike the 8 policies of the MDGs, the SDGs contain 17 goals with 169 targets to ensure the total eradication of poverty and protection of the environment. The 17 goals include;

·         No Poverty- End Poverty in all its forms
·         Zero Hunger
·         Good Health and Well-being’
·         Quality Education
·         Gender Equality
·         Clean Water and Sanitation
·         Affordable and Clean Energy
·         Decent Work and Economic growth
·         Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
·         Reduced Inequalities
·         Sustainable Cities and Communities
·         Responsible Consumption and Production
·         Climate Action
·         Life below Water
·         Life on Land
·         Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
·         Partnership for the goals.

The very existence of the United Nations proves to us that the world has become a global village and states cannot be independent. Before the Cold War, the realist concept of security was based solely on the importance of Military security for each state as states only cared for their individual interests; however, with the end of the Cold War, the rise of a new concept of security- Human Security, made states understand the importance of interdependence and collective work especially in combatting common goals and achieving their individual interests.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said

“Extreme poverty anywhere is a threat to human security everywhere”

The SDGs are both collective and individual goals that every state of the world must aspire to achieving. Although the SDGs are non-binding, each state is expected to work towards achieving its goals. The World Bank Database chart shows that as of 2013, the poverty gap at $1.90 which reflects the poverty rate at 10.7, gives us an estimate of at least 767 million people in the world live on $1.90 per day and more living below this borderline. These figures contain majorly the poverty rate of both the poor and middle-income countries and although the rich countries have low percentages, the dependence on them by the latters is an economic constraint they face thus to achieve the SDGs “all hands must be on deck”.  The implementation and success rely majorly on countries’ development policies, plans and programs. The SDGs will be a compass to align countries’ plans with their global commitment.

To achieve the SDGs, countries must first;

·         Identify problems they face- economic, social, political et cetera
·         Identify their strengths especially in each sectors
·         Identify their weaknesses
·         Align these weaknesses with the SDGs
·         Develop realistic policies and plans
·         Focus on the implementation of these policies
·         Build global partnerships to aid the implementation of these policies.

Analyzing the SDGs

As previously given, every country of the world has a non-binding obligation in ensuring that the SDGs are achieved. The SDGs focuses on three major aspects; The Planet, Its natural habitats (man and animals) and preservation. Each goal relates to these three aspects directly;

The Planet; in the SDGs, three goals focus on preventing the degradation of our planet. They touch on the need to control consumption and production of resources. Issues concerning sanitation, global warming, and energy usage are very important for the survival of the planet.

Natural Habitats; Man, Animals and Plants are all habitats of this planet; each species play important roles. A majority of the goals is centered on improving the state of every habitat. Points such as gender equality touches on issues of human rights, girl child education et cetera. The SDGs reminds man that he is not the only habitat of this planet – animals both on land and water, plants must be cared for as well.

Preservation; the SDGs also focuses on the importance of maintaining the peace and prosperity. This is especially crucial to state relations and how much is expected of international organizations in preserving peace among states with different beliefs, cultures et cetera.

The SDGs as earlier given are 17 goals with 169 targets i.e. each goal has its own sub-topics;

Goal 1; No Poverty-End poverty in all its forms- this goal calls for the total eradication of poverty in the world. Unlike its MDGs predecessor which aimed at slashing poverty by half, it pushes for a total annihilation of poverty but the question is- can poverty be totally eradicated?

  The Global Monitoring Report produced jointly by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund gave that as of 2015 global poverty had reached a decline of 9.6 percent following the international poverty line at $1.90 or less daily. The goal further projects that by 2030, extreme poverty (those living below $1.25 daily) would be totally eradicated.

  Many often define poverty as a state of being extremely poor or lack of the three basic needs- food, clothing and shelter; however a redefinition of the concept of poverty distinguishes it from the concept of extreme poverty. It can be defined as spending more than 25% of one’s income on food, clothing and transport; while extreme poverty refers to total lack of the three including shelter. Surely, these definitions provide a slightly different understanding of what it means to be “living in poverty” and “living in extreme poverty”. An example using the country Nigeria; a survey carried out in 2011 on the income of middle-class Nigerians showed that they earned at least 100,000 naira monthly, thus following the above definition, the average middle-class Nigerian who spends above 30,000 naira for the three given above, is said to be living in poverty.

  Goal 2 can be seen as synonymous to goal 1 as it also projects a need to eradicate hunger. Statistics given by the Food and Agriculture Organization in 2016 estimated 795,000,000 of the 7.3 billion world population is suffering from chronic under-nourishment in 2014-2016. With the given estimation, about 780 million or 1 in 8 of the estimate represents the developing countries. There are at most 11 million people undernourished in developed countries.

Case Study; Nigeria and the SDGs

Nigeria was among the 189 countries that endorsed the United Nations Millennium Goals (MDGs) in New York on September 2000 to be achieved by 2015. Following the UNDP report of 2015 concerning the country’s status in meeting up the MDGs promise, the following were given;

·         The poverty level had declined from 65.6% in 1996 to 45.5% in 2010 whereas the target percentage was 21.4%

·         Basic Education net enrollment was from 60.6 % in 1995 to 54% in 2013

·         HIV among pregnant women aged 15-24 had declined from 5.4% in 2000 to 4.1% in 2010

·         Access to safe drinking water increased by 67.0 as of 2015

·         Growth of cellular phone subscribers and tele-density per 100 people stood at 77.8 and 99.3 respectively as of 2014.

Yet, with the above given, in a report by the UN on Nigeria’s Common Country Analysis (CCA) estimated that with a population of 175 million (175,000,000) Nigeria is one of the poorest and unequal country in the world with over 80 million of her population living below the poverty line, 37% of children under 5 years are stunted, 18% wasted, 29% underweight, youth unemployment at 42% as of 2016. The Nigerian economy is faced with a recession as it was estimated that the government revenue had fallen by as much as 33% which has further resulted in the contraction of the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, by 0.36 percent in the first three months of 2016.

How then can the SDGs be implemented in Nigeria? Following the steps given above, a proposal of how to tackle this issue will be given.

By Yadeka Korede