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Transforming our World: Sustainable Development Goals

Transforming our World: Sustainable Development Goals

This September, representatives from 193 countries gathered at the United Nations to adopt global goals to end poverty, protect the planet and promote health and well-being for all by 2030.  These 17 goals for sustainable development cover issues of hunger, climate change, education, health and much more. Following the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were set at 2000, and aimed to be achieved by 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were established to further the progress we have made in the past 15 years.

The MDGs, set to end this month on December 31, 2015, have achieved a significant number of accomplishments since their establishment, showing that international collaboration does lead to success. Highlights from the MDGs success include, about 15.6 million deaths prevented due to the measles vaccine, 6.2 million lives saved from malaria, 45% decrease in maternal death from 1990, increased access to safe drinking water and a decrease in the gender gap in primary education.

The new SDGs are more ambitious because they focus on the entire world rather than just the developing world. Our work at the Religious Action Center relates to many of these new goals, including global poverty, health, education, hunger, climate change and much more. Much of our work on these issues cannot just be solved by the United States, and that is why we urge the United States to be an international leader and example for the rest of the world in fighting these issues.

As a Reform Jewish Community, we supported the Millennium Development Goals saying, “this visionary commitment to justice parallels Judaism’s own commitment to tikkun olam.Furthermore, the Jewish sage Maimonides taught that there are eight levels of tzedakah, each greater than the next, and the greatest level is to empower others through partnerships so that they can become independent and sustain themselves. That is why we as a community must stand up and support these new goals for sustainable development.

You can take action to urge the United States to be global leaders on the new goals. Support international climate agreements by urging your representatives to support the Green Climate Fund, an international fund for adaptation to and mitigation of climate change to protect vulnerable populations worldwide. Furthermore, support global health by asking your representatives to support anti-malaria programs for global health.

Learn more about how the Religious Action Center is working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by visiting our International Issues page

Rachel Landman is the assistant director of 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy in Byfield, MA, where she ran the inaugural summer Israel program, which focused on exploring Israel through the lens of science and technology. She holds a degree in biology from Hamilton College and served as an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. She is an alumna of URJ Crane Lake Camp and grew up at Brooklyn Heights Synagogue in Brooklyn, NY. 

Rachel Landman