Help Us Achieve Goal 11: Create Sustainable Cities and Communities

Help Us Achieve Goal 11: Create Sustainable Cities and Communities

GGPoster-11SustainableCities1As we continue to share the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations, we need to ask. How do you think we can create more sustainable cities and communities to achieve Goal 11?

The challenge behind Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 11 — make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe and sustainable — is that it affects a multitude of levels. The long list of requirements include:

  • ensuring access for all to safe and affordable housing;
  • meeting people’s needs for basic services including energy and water;
  • developing sustainable public transport systems;
  • creating a built environment that can minimize the impacts of natural disasters; and
  • reducing the adverse environmental impact of cities by investing in renewable energy, managing scarce resources, and improving waste and recycling systems.

Almost half of the world’s population currently lives in cities, and by 2050 that is projected to increase to over 70 percent. Research from the London School of Economics (PDF)  shows us that cities currently make up 2 percent of the world’s surface area — but produce 70 percent of the global economic output.

According to UN Women, the world today is urbanizing at rates unprecedented in history. For many men and women, the chance to move to a city is a chance for a better life—a larger income, more interesting employment, a more comfortable residence and ready access to modern amenities. Yet cities are also places of deep inequality and despair. New migrants, many of them women, can end up in overbuilt slums, poorly connected to public transport or essential services such as clean water. Life becomes dangerous and unhealthy, with many obstacles to gaining a secure foothold in the urban economy.

For women, gender discrimination magnifies and adds to the risks. Not being able to take a bus to a clinic to deliver a child can result in permanent disability or death. In general, natural disasters kill more women than men and kill women at a younger age than men. If she survives a disaster such as a flood or earthquake, a woman will likely have fewer options to recover.

At Business Connect, we believe that to create more sustainable communities, we need to provide more business opportunities — focusing on those at the base of the socio-economic pyramid or the world’s most under-resourced people.  And by providing access to basic essential services, such as clean water and light, we hope to move quickly to help the world achieve this goal. We are collaborating with Partners Worldwide to accept donations that will fund the start-up costs for a new business owner — providing a basic assortment of products for them to sell within their own communities. With the right training and resources, we hope to empower more  women to open up their own sustainable business. too. Want to help? Contact us for details!

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UNIDO and Global Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

UNIDO and Global Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

GGPoster-9InnovationInfrastructureTo help us explain Global Goal 9 to you, we want to introduce one of the important, but lesser known, agencies of the United Nations. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), is a specialized agency of the UN that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability, and they are determined to take its part in facilitating with the successful implementation of the SDGs or Sustainable Development Goals.

The mandate of the Organization is to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) to achieve shared prosperity and environmental sustainability around the world. The concept of ISID is included in the SDGs, namely Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

UNIDO’s mandate echoes SDG9, but also aligns with many other development goals, including those related to poverty eradication, creating full and productive employment, protecting the environment, achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, etc.

Existing energy infrastructure, based on large-scale power grids, fails more than 1.3 billion people who live without access to a reliable source of energy. Ninety-five percent of these people live in sub-Saharan Africa or developing Asia. Eighty-four percent live in rural areas. At Business Connect, we believe addressing this gap is critical for global development as we seek to deliver life-enhancing “green” products to the poorest people of the world. Without access to energy, people cannot access decent health care, education or communications. Economic development and productivity is hindered and the potential to start up small businesses is reduced. Women, who make up a disproportionate percentage of those living in rural areas, are hit particularly hard.

Both private and public actors should increase investment in research and development to focus on solving the challenges facing the two billion living in a way that guarantees a sustainable future for all. Today’s innovation efforts are skewed. The vast amount of research today addresses the needs of wealthy consumers and producers. For example, only 10 percent of worldwide expenditure on health research is spent on problems that affect 90 percent of the world’s population.

At the Sustainable Development Summit on September 25th, UN Member States will adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals. The SDGs are a new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN Member States are expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. The SDGs follow and expand on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were agreed by governments in 2001 and are due to expire at the end of 2015. The SDGs will now finish the job of the MDGs, and ensure that no one is left behind.

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