We've got a deadline to save people and planet – let's start the charge

(The Guardian, 26 Sep 2019) The sustainable development goals, which promise to end extreme poverty and inequality by 2030, are alarmingly off track. It’s not too late to act.

We might seem a strange group to be writing this together – a British film-maker, a Libyan-Canadian doctor and women’s rights activist, and an indigenous leader from Chad – but what we have in common is that we are all appointed by the UN secretary general as advocates for the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Some won’t have heard of these global goals – 17 objectives to which every nation signed up in 2015 – but they form the basis of a masterplan to make us the first generation to end extreme poverty, the last to be threatened by climate change, and the most determined to end injustice and inequality.

Hailed as ambitious when they were agreed in 2015, the goals nonetheless offered a new way to view the world, with no division between the developed and developing. Just one world tackling the most pressing challenges together.

With only a decade to go till the 2030 deadline, we are in an alarming position where we are still not on track to achieving the goals.

As the Amazon burns and the youth go on strike for climate change, we are reminded that the climate crisis is just one of many issues, and that our people are suffering too. Hunger is on the rise, and after prolonged decline, progress to halt diseases like malaria is stalling.

Women and girls are still subjected to horrendous violence, while conflicts displace thousands of people every day. In all this, it cannot be ignored that the poorest and most vulnerable communities will experience the repercussions of the climate crisis the most keenly.

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The Guardian, 26 Sep 2019: We've got a deadline to save people and planet – let's start the charge