The 17 sustainable development goals framework is a long stride towards sustainable development. This was a long overdue step that was finally consummated exactly two years ago.
Before 2015, development and the environment had been divorced in such a way that made the idea of sustainable development a chimera. For the past seven decades, in fact since the creation of the United Nations in the middle of last century after the II Wold War, Environment and development negotiations were two parallel processes. With development talks and environmental negotiations taking place at different venues. The environmental revolution of the 1980s with its consequent creation of new treaties and conventions was taking place on one side of the united nations structure, whilst the development arguments were dealt with by different institutions at completely different venues, even if still within the United Nations.
What it’s worse, development practitioners and environmentalists were each other’s “enemy of cause”. Environmentalists have been of the opinion that economic development is the antithesis of the environmental protection they have been trying to achieve. Whereas development practitioners believed that so much attention on climate change “ is high jacking” the agenda and resources to eliminate poverty.
Since 2015 for the first time, we have a framework for action that takes account of the environment and the needs for development of the poorest; and tries to conciliate both. We should take great encouragement from this step and keep the momentum going.
Humanity has finally reached the understanding that we cannot develop indefinitely with disregard for the environment. As much as we cannot ignore poverty and the needs of those that depend directly on that same environment we need to protect, in order to survive as a species.