Last week, I attended my fifth Social Good Summit in New York City along with five other amazing friends from World Moms Network. The Social Good Summit is a unique convening of world leaders, new media and technology experts, grassroots activists and voices from around the world that come together for a two-day conference coinciding with the United Nations General Assembly meeting held during UN Week. The Summit is held at the 92nd Street Y and is truly a global conversation as it streamed around the world in multiple languages.
The Crew of World Changers from World Moms Network and other social good bloggers
The theme of the summit– #2030NOW: What kind of world do you want to see in 2030? – challenged speakers, participants and a growing worldwide community to explore how technology and new media can be leveraged to benefit people everywhere, to spark discussion and ignite change in creating a better world for all by the year 2030. The 7th Annual Summit was kicked off with a great promise to connect the world with more humanity and give everyone a voice in improving poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change through the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed upon last year by 193 global leaders at the UN General Assembly.
In July, the first report card was released that maps the scope of the SDGs progress, giving leaders an idea of the challenges that lie ahead in order to ensure the SDGs are achieved and no one is left behind. Much progress has been made thanks to the successes of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) yet much needs to be done in order to achieve the SDGs.
Some challenges that lie ahead include:
- While poverty has been halved, 1 in 8 people were living in extreme poverty in 2012.
- An estimated 5.9 million children under 5 died in 2015, mostly from preventable causes.
- 216 women died in childbirth for every 100,000 live births.
- In 2013, 59 million children of primary school age were out of school and 26 per cent of women aged 20-24 reported that they were married before their eighteenth birthday.
- In 2015, an estimated 663 million people were still using unimproved water sources or surface water.
World Moms Network contributors talking with Stephanie Sinclair, Founder of Too Young to Wed, about her quest to end child marriage around the world.
As we sat at the conference and listened to all the heartbreaking and inspiring tales facing people around the world it was hard at times not to get overwhelmed or discouraged. The amount of issues and acute challenges at times seem almost impossible. Quite frankly, it can also make one feel quite powerless.
Throughout the two day summit, we learned that there is much work to be done yet there is hope. The Social Good Summit is all about making a plan for the future. The world has a plan and 14 years to deliver it. Despite how enormous the challenges may seem, they are achievable and the Global Goals are our guidelines to make the world a better, more equitable place. It is clear that the future of our planet and our people depend upon it. And, every single human being has a role and a responsibility to make it happen.
Top Tweets of the Social Good Summit:
(Click here to watch a powerful video on what the Global Goals mean).
I also asked my friends and fellow World Moms Network contributors what was the most meaningful quote or event of the Summit. Here is what they had to say.
For Jennifer Iacovelli
For Elizabeth Atalay
For Tes Solomon Silverman
For me, Two things stuck: Carolyn Miles of Save the Children talking about refugees: “Refugees are people with skills great for opportunities”. And Tiq Milan, Journalist & Spokesperson for GLAAD re: LGBTQ in the Media: “My existence may complicate yours, but it doesn’t invalidate yours.”
For Jennifer Burden
“The UNICEF vigil for refugee children was the most moving for me. Standing in a crowd, holding up candles near the UN and listening to the stories of 4 children from around the world who were refugees was incredibly important and moving. The story of the boy who was kidnapped and was going to be sold if his parents didn’t pay ransom broke my heart. And when the high school choir sang John Lennon’s “Imagine” at the end, I lost it.”
For Nicole Morgan
Loved this … Imagine a world where children are innoculated for measles AND cancers. This is not about some day … but a moment, the days, a month … there is much we can do. #cancermoonshot is about never giving up. It is about promise. And hope. VP Joe Biden.
For all of us
Being together with such wonderful like-minded friends who we could share our hopes, our dreams and our fears together was amazing. Often during our busy lives as a mother, we don’t get much time to spend together with each other. It was amazing, inspiring and fun.
I was so moved by the Social Good Summit and the dedication, enthusiasm and commitment people have towards changing the world and making a more equitable place. Despite the immense challenges, there is hope. We can’t give up. We all must do our share.
This is an original post written for World Moms Network by Nicole Melancon.
In your mind what is the most pressing Sustainable Development Goal?
When’s the last time you took the time to be grateful for you toilet?
Unless you’ve just renovated a bathroom or just really need to go, if you live in a developed country you probably don’t put much thought into how amazing it is to have a running toilet in your home.
Today, November 19th, is World Toilet Day. It’s a United Nations-recognized day about global sanitation, an issue that affects 1 in 3 people worldwide.
WaterAid, with whom I traveled to Nicaragua last year to see their work on the ground, is commemorating the day with their State of the World’s Toilets report. The report reveals the most difficult place in the world to find a toilet (South Sudan), what country has the most people waiting for a toilet (India), and which developed nations are facing their own struggles in ensuring toilets for all (Russian Federation).
WaterAid also released the #GiveAShit smartphone app in the United States and Canada. The fun app allows users to create and share their own customized poop emojis, learn sanitation facts, and take a stand on behalf of the 2.3 billion people today who live without access to a basic toilet.
Here’s the poop emoji I created:
Potty talk and poop emoji are fun ways to bring up a very serious topic. The lack of clean water and sanitation around the world come with dire consequences. Here are some facts from WaterAid:
- Around 860 children die every day from diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation
- 1 out of every 3 girls in Sub-Saharan Africa drops out of school once she starts menstruating, because there are no toilets at her school
- Women and girls living without any toilets spend 97 billion hours each year looking for a place to go to the bathroom
- The lack of access to sanitation costs the world’s poorest countries $260 billion each year
The State of the World’s Toilets report is an eye-opening read. While I am somewhat well-versed on the topic of global clean water and sanitation, I learned a lot from its findings. I was most surprised that only 17 countries in the world have reported that just about every single household in the country has a safe, private toilet, and the United States wasn’t one of them.
The report also went beyond the health consequences of poor sanitation and addressed gender equality, education and economic development. Without access to a clean, safe toilet, women and girls are more vulnerable to harassment or assault, kids can’t attend school because they are sick and hospital beds are filled with people who have preventable diseases.
The good news is that the United Nations member states have adopted new Global Goals on sustainable development back in September. Goal 6 aims to deliver access to water, sanitation and hygiene for everyone everywhere by 2030. (I wrote about why this goal was the most important one to me on my blog.)
The 17 global goals may seem lofty, they are certainly attainable. It’s important for us as global citizens to be aware of these issues and to use our voices to keep world leaders accountable, making sure they keep to their promises to reach everyone including the poorest, most vulnerable and most marginalized people in our world.
How will you celebrate World Toilet Day?
This is an original post written by Jennifer Iacovelli of annotherjennifer.com and Author of Simple Giving.
One day I was in New York City at the United Nations among World Leaders, and the next in rural Massachusetts milking a goat. Though the two may seem totally unrelated, they are actually intertwined. It will take both the efforts of world leaders and small share farm holders for the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals to ever succeed. As a social good writer I had been to New York City for UN General Assembly week and the Social Good Summit, and then to Heifer International’s Farm located in rural Rutland, Massachusetts, where World Moms Blog had been invited to their first ever Media Day.
The new set of Global Goals are focused on sustainability which is one of the cornerstones of Heifer International’s approach. Heifer International was founded by Dan West based on his experience as a relief worker. He realized the aid work he was doing needed a new model to help those in need become self-sufficient as opposed to continually reliant on aid. As a farmer he knew that a gift of livestock was a gift that would keep on giving. A heifer refers to a pregnant cow, and in 1944 the first dairy cattle were shipped, and Heifer International born.
“Heifer International is a non-profit, humanitarian organization dedicated to ending hunger and poverty and caring for the earth. Heifer currently provides livestock, trees, seeds and training in environmentally sound agriculture to families in 30 countries, including the United States. We work with smallholder farming families and communities because we believe they are key to feeding us all.”- Heifer International
The goal of Heifer International is to help communities transform themselves through education, environmental stewardship, empowerment of women in the community, and the legacy of passing on generations of animals and knowledge. This in turn generates the accomplishment of the once recipient turning into a donor in their community.
At World Moms Blog we have written about Heifer International in the past, included Heifer International in gift guides, and followed their trip last summer to Malawi with our friends at ONE Girls and Women. We had no idea however that Heifer International had a farm to showcase their programs this close to home. As it turns out, just over an hour from where I live is this hidden gem of global education!
At Heifer Farm in Rutland Massachusetts we toured the flourishing ¾ acre farm garden where we were encouraged to pull vegetables out of the ground and taste as we went along. A delicious fresh beet hummus, with a rainbow of carrot colors I had no idea they grew in, was served. Apparently the massive size of the vegetables grown at Heifer Farm has to do with the rich soil quality based on the farming techniques used, the same techniques taught to small share farmers working with Heifer International around the world. After the garden tour we had lunch in Peru.
Peru is one of the eight global villages at Heifer Farm that provide experiential, hands on learning through programs ranging from day trips to week-long camps for all ages. We then meandered through China and Ghana on our way to the barn. This brings us back to milking the goat, and to the tiny baby piglets we got to hold, and all I could think was how crazy my kids would have been for everything. I can not wait to bring them back to experience Heifer Farm! Other Heifer International sites in the US include Heifer Ranch in Perryville, and Heifer Village in Little Rock, Arkansas. If you ever have the chance to visit, I highly recommend it. If you do be sure to bring the kids, after all they are the future generation who will be seeing these new Sustainable Development Goals through to 2030. Global Goals that all stakeholders will need to be involved in, large and small.
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Elizabeth Atalay who also writes at documama.org.
The 2015 deadline for the eight Millennium Development goals is upon us. As of December 31st 2015 not all of the goals will have been met, but huge progress has been, and continues to be made. If anything the past 15 years showed what is truly possible with concerted effort and proper funding. The MDGs were set in the year 2000 by 189 nations, and the Millennium Goal Declaration was put in place as a step to alleviate extreme poverty around the globe. Negotiations of the Post 2015 development agenda are due to take place early this month, and will build on the progress made thus far through the 8 MDGs.
The next set of 17 sustainable development goals, which have 169 associated targets, are being referred to as the SDGs. The proposed goals are to end poverty, end hunger, achieve healthy lives for all, provide quality education, attain gender equality, empower women, and girls the world over. To ensure clean and sustainable water, sanitation, and sustainable energy for all. Goals include economic growth, resilient infrastructures, reduction of inequality between countries, to make cities safe, create resilient consumption and production cycles, urgently combat climate change, conserve our oceans, protect our ecosystems, create peaceful, inclusive and just societies, and strengthen global partnerships towards sustainable development.
On December 31st UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released his synthesis report of all the suggestions entitled “The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet”, and broke the SDGs into what he referred to as 6 essential elements to serve as conceptual guides in the work of outlining the final goals. Here are the six key elements according to a press release issued by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on December 4th of 2014.
The first element is dignity: an essential element for human development, encompassing the fight against poverty and inequality.
Second is people: Millions of people, especially women and children, remain excluded from full participation in society. We must finish the work of the Millennium Development Goals.
Third, prosperity: We must develop a strong, inclusive and transformative global economy.
4. OUR PLANET
Fourth, our planet: We have an urgent duty to address climate changes and protect our ecosystems, for ourselves and our children.
Fifth, justice: to build safe and peaceful societies, and strong institutions.
And finally, partnership: because this agenda will be built on a foundation of global cooperation and solidarity.
These six broad categories provide a much more digestible approach to the 17 goals that will be finalized at the General Assembly in September of 2015. As #WorldMoms it will be our children, the next generation, who will carry through many of these goals, and be the ones help to innovate, execute, and hopefully see the end goal of eradicating extreme poverty by the year 2030.
What do you think of this new proposed set of SDGs?
This is an original post written by Elizabeth Atalay for World Moms Blog. She also writes at documama.org.