Inequality and discrimination for the most part are at the core of social injustices regardless of the issues. Girls struggle to stay and transition in school, people with disabilities have very little chances of being employed and earn a living, farmers are at the mercy of corporate interests pushing for industrial only agriculture with little defence, poor people have even poorer access to health services, most people who should play an active role in governance don’t, those that try have no or very little support to do so, and advocates continue to be harassed in many places for just trying to make their communities stronger and more resilient.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework that we can use as a measuring stick on how we can take care of each other and the world. To deliver on these goals, everyone must play a role: the elected leader at the village level, the farmer, the food seller on the roadside, the minister, human rights activists, NGO worker, student, political parties, regional and intergovernmental institutions.
That role includes two key sides. On one hand, there are those mandated to develop and implement policies that will ensure the SDGs become a reality. The level at which they engage citizens in governance processes, their own use of research at their disposal, their relationship with the private sector, and their understanding of their governance mandate is going to be crucial to the process and outcome. On the other hand are citizens, their various forms of organization and the private sector. For them, working together to monitor policies and implementation, contributing to inclusive development and holding those they have mandated accountable for delivery of the SGDs will equally determine the process and outcome.
And then there are us, yes us. We believe we can help everyone play their role better. We believe we can help each side understand the other, help the other, pressure the other and/or become the other.