Now the sustainability goals must go from word to deed

The new global goals strive to show in an easy-to-understand way the challenges in the world today. An excellent initiative. Now the rest depends on the implementation. This is where the biggest challenges lie - to make everyone want to participate in the process and really do something, writes Charlotte Bohman at the organization Hand in Hand.

The world has made impressive progress in the last 15 years. Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. More children than before receive education. Fewer mothers die in childbirth and more children survive the first five years. All of this, and much more, is a sign of better living conditions for many. But we can and cannot rest.

Complex challenges in a globalized world

Global issues require more attention and resources than ever before. The challenges are more complex than before and more sophisticated measures are needed to meet them. The world needs to address more and more complex issues; Globalization has increased, communications, both physical and digital, have undergone a revolutionary development and the flow of information is enormous. For many, it is a new world with promising opportunities. But not for everyone: for many, the world looks exactly as it always has. The situation may even have been exacerbated by extreme weather, shortages, wars or political conflicts. The development continues at the same time as many injustices persist or even worsen. The gaps are widening.

The new sustainability goals try to reflect that everything is connected: economic development, resource allocation, consumption, poverty, discrimination, social development, risk of conflict, democracy, freedom, environmental impact and extreme weather - all have common points of contact and are affected by each other in different ways. The new global goals strive to show the challenges in an easy-to-understand way, and for the sake of clarity, 17 different goals have been formulated. An excellent initiative. The analysis is done. Now the implementation or at least the beginning of measures remains. This is where the challenges lie; to make everyone want to participate in the process and really do something about the challenges.

Companies important for development

For the first time, the corporate world is included in the picture of change. Companies and the business community have meant, mean and will mean a lot for development, both economically, socially and environmentally. Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship are basically a good force and through their innovative power, they drive societal and technological development forward while offering jobs and livelihoods.

Exploitation of resources, whether humanitarian or environmental, is of course harmful and should be curbed. Here, society must take greater responsibility for development through regulations and controls, for example in the exploitation of natural resources or the use of children as labor. Companies have the crucial responsibility to treat their employees in a dignified manner, but also to ensure that subcontractors at all levels also do so. This means, among other things, decent wages and an acceptable working environment.

Furthermore, it is crucial that the business community in all countries, poor and rich, takes responsibility for the impact on both the local and global environment. Paying tax in the country where you conduct business is also part of corporate social responsibility.

Development must benefit everyone

Small-scale entrepreneurship will be crucial for many people, not least in poor developing countries with a growing young population. For all those who cannot be offered employment within the large companies or public administration, the individual's entrepreneurship and opportunity for livelihood is the salvation. By being economically active, you can support yourself and your family and thereby increase the conditions for inclusive economic development, which in turn creates a platform for healthy and democratic societies. Jobs and employment in the informal sector play a crucial role in the survival of many and deserve attention and support.

Promoting the participation of weak and discriminatory groups in an inclusive society appears to most of us to be uncontroversial. However, this is not the reality everywhere. There is every reason to focus on the fact that development should benefit everyone. It must be inclusive and also benefit vulnerable groups such as women, children and minorities. Here, the individual nations have a great responsibility, to build and maintain institutions that are necessary for a predictable and fair public social system. International and national pressure on these issues must be maintained.

More people - increased pressure on resources

Many in the poor world are forced to fight for survival, hunger and widespread social injustice. To move forward, the whole world must gather strength in the face of global goals and move from word to deed. We can all influence the future and it is up to ourselves how we design it. We are currently 7 billion inhabitants on the globe and we are estimated to be 10 billion in 35 years, an increase of just over 40 percent. The pressure will increase on natural resources such as water, energy, and land space. Increased pressure on resources in combination with more individuals and more contact areas increases the risk of controversy and conflict, especially if not everyone feels included in a positive societal development.

We all have a shared responsibility for how the world develops. We must continue to drive economic, social and environmentally sustainable development forward with even greater determination than before. More zeal, more will and drive at all levels, more responsibility and accountability and more transparency contribute to a better world. Nobody can do everything but everyone can do something. As usual, 5 percent of the work is in the strategy and goal formulation and 95 percent in the implementation.

So let's start acting right away! This is where we have the chance!

Charlotte Bohman

This is a debate article. The author is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

Do you want to respond to the debate article or is there something in the text that is incorrect? Contact us at

Share this:

Help us improve Utvecklingsmagasinet

Answer our survey so we can continue to run and develop our digital magazine. It only takes a couple of minutes to answer the survey.

Start a survey