Why the Global Goals belong to the youth

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The Appalachian Online

Lauren Burrows

The United Nations released its new set of Global Goals for Sustainable Development on Friday, making a call to action toward several big problems the world is facing today.

If you’re familiar with the Millennium Development Goals created by the United Nations in 2000, you would know that goals such as “achieving universal primary education” and “ensuring environmental sustainability” were supposed to be tackled by 2015, but we are far from it.

A new set of goals was launched Friday, and the already hopeful number of goals has risen from eight Millennium Development Goals in 2000 to 17 Global Goals in 2015.

Our generation is now expected to reach nine more goals by 2030, but with what weight of these goals falling on the shoulders of our youth?

We saw very little outcome from the goal of “achieving universal primary education” set in 2000, with over 59 million children still out of school in 2015.

Our planet is also in worse shape than it has ever been, with sporadic temperatures, heat waves and cold snaps, along with the pope speaking more on climate change than the United Nations itself. So, so much for the goals revolving around environmental sustainability.

But, just because few of the Millennium Development Goals were met doesn’t mean that the goals being set by the UN aren’t admirable.

The Global Goals recently set to cover a wide variety of 17 global issues such as “no poverty,” “zero hunger,” “gender equality,” “climate action,” “life below water” and “peace and justice, strong institutions.” There is no doubt that work toward these goals would put the world in a better position than it is today.

We must remember, though, that along with their admirability comes responsibility, and the UN has shown itself irresponsible to take care of these alone, so it is the youth of today that will need to step up to see these accomplished in the next 15 years.

The Global Citizen Festival held in New York’s Central Park on Saturday included famous artists such as Beyoncé, Pearl Jam and Coldplay as well as speakers such as Michelle Obama that spoke about the UN’s new Global Goals.

The youth of today needs to see the importance of taking care of one another and our planet before it is too late and these goals become irrelevant.

Just because they were not met in the past 15 years does not mean that they should not be met in the next 15. We have a job to do; this is the world we will have to continue living in.

We must take responsibility as youth and as the generation that these Global Goals will impact.

We must be ready to advance this world that we live in. We must take charge. We must work to make 2030 a safer, healthier and better time than we live in now.

These goals are ours. They shape our worlds and our lives. We must take responsibility, there is no room for us to be bystanders.

Burrows, a sophomore journalism major from Mint Hill, is an opinion writer.