I am in the New York City and at this very moment it is 3 days and 15 hours left until the world adopts 17 new Sustainable Development Goals also called Global Goals. Why at all to have Goals like that? Although there are various issues each country needs to deal with within their borders, success of more and more of them depends on solving problems that we all share together. Those are burning issues which when not solved, none of the countries – rich or poor, developed or developing will prosper. The Global Goals serve to unite the world, to mobilise and to help people see issues that they might have not thought about.
The current 8 Millennium Development Goals are coming to an end, have been and will be evaluated further while the new goals – the Global Goals will in few days enter into practice. This time, the world commits to achieve more goals than it did in the year 2000.
While it was Kofi Annan with his small team who introduced the 8 goals in 2000 the new set of goals has been worked on by all the UN member countries involving governments, private sector, and civil society organizations since Rio+20 in 2012. The new Global Goals, and the broader sustainability agenda, go much further than the MDGs, addressing the root causes of poverty and the universal need for development that works for all people.
The awareness of the global problems has been raised since 2000, more voices have spoken out and more issues could be identified as roots and solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental, social and economic problems.
IOGT International together with our Member Organizations have been involved to various extent on several stages of the process in influencing the final outcome. And we need to not only continue but step up our work, as the implementation of the Global Goals will be crucial and I dare to say even more important than the adoption of the goals.
Alcohol harm is omnipresent. It can be found in many areas of our lives and alcohol is an obstacle for development on all levels of advancement of a human being, communities and societies. IOGT International identified that for achieving the SDGs, at least 11 out of 17 Global Goals alcohol use is an impediment. As the new and extensively highlighted approach to the new sustainability agenda was to address the root causes, alcohol use simply cannot be omitted and needs to be addressed through the most effective and evidence-based measures.
Here, I see a tremendous responsibility of IOGT International and our Member Organizations to make sure that policies curbing alcohol use do not disappear from the national agendas for reaching the Global Goals.
Our tasks are:
- To provide support to governments to include the best and evidence-based alcohol policy measures when reflecting the new global agenda in national development plans and policies.
- To support other Civil Society Organizations that specialize on implementation and follow-up of various specific Global Goals and provide them with evidence relevant for their respective area of work.
- To raise awareness about the connections between the achievement of the Global Goals and alcohol related harm among UN agencies.
- To raise public awareness generally about the Global Goals and specifically their relation to alcohol use.
There are many initiatives informing about this significant event that in 3 days starts a new era of joining forces together in creating a better, sustainable world leaving none behind.
We have specifically picked one initiative to raise awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals which we thought was particularly appropriate. Let’s make sure together that the Global Goals won’t become just “dizzy goals”. Let us see where and how evidence-based effective alcohol policy measures can help sharpen the focus and ease the work for achievement of the goals. The well-being of our world depends on it.