Agenda 2030: At the core: the Person
Paula Cabrejas, Linus Colson
Lucía Molano, Claudia López
Students 2 Bachillerato. Claret-Madrid
The SDGs People are the first group of the “5 Ps” designed by the UN: People, Prosperity, Planet, Peace, and Partnership.
These SDGs are directly related to Basic Human Rights and promote global coexistence based on equity and dignity for all world citizens, without exception. Moreover, this is the most transcendental group since, even if we work on climate change or peace, only some of the other SDGs will be relevant if our society remains polarized and mired in differences.
The UN has identified five focal points we must focus on by 2030: eradicating poverty and hunger, ensuring global health and food security, guaranteeing quality education, and establishing a society where gender equality prevails.
Image showing the first five points of the program, which belong to the SDGs People.
The main reason for the creation of these SDGs is the fact that there is a lack of resources in underdeveloped countries; in other words, difficulty in accessing: safe food for health (and in sufficient quantity), drinking water, medicines, vaccines, educational and technological means, etc.
End poverty. SDG 1
Poverty is the lack of resources necessary to meet basic survival needs. This SDG aims to eradicate it worldwide because, in recent years, it has increased by almost 30%, caused mainly by unemployment, social exclusion, natural disasters, and diseases… In addition, the various phenomena that prevent productivity at the economic and social levels have caused many people to struggle to get a minimum of financial resources, allowing them to cope with essential services. This SDG then encompasses the other four SDGs, People.
9% of the world’s population (698 million individuals) live in extreme poverty, earning less than 1.80 euros per day. It should be added that, at the same time, COVID-19 caused more than 120 million people (mainly in South Africa and Latin America) to fall into this situation.
Map showing the extreme poverty rate in the world over the last five years.
Families suffering from poverty are unable to: meet unforeseen expenses, keep their homes at an adequate temperature, own a car, keep their belongings in good condition, go on vacation, and have the technology… Most of them are in arrears in housing-related payments.
To end poverty, the most important thing is economic growth to create jobs. However, other solutions to reduce it are: personal and organizational donations (food banks), responsible and sustainable consumption (buying products in establishments that donate part of their income or not contributing to abusive brands), helping those living on the street locally, and volunteering (transportation, homeless shelters or soup kitchens).
NGOs are fighting to eradicate poverty
Hunger “0”. SDG 2
The UN proposed this SDG to end hunger, ensure access to healthy food worldwide, and promote more responsible agricultural practices. Currently, 828 million people suffer from hunger, a figure that increases by 10 million people annually. If this unsustainable situation continues, it is estimated that by 2050, two billion more people will be undernourished, so it is essential to start introducing profound changes in the global agrifood system immediately.
This is due to economic recessions (large-scale agricultural production cannot be reversed), climate change (droughts that destroy crops), political instability (which prevents measures from being taken against malnutrition), and wars. The latter is a determining factor since conflicts lead to subsistence practices, where crops cannot be grown, and the difficulty of delivering humanitarian aid increases.
Malnutrition rates in the world (FAO)
Another essential fact presented by the UN, which recalls the existence of gender inequality, states, “If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, hunger in the world would be reduced by up to 150 million people”.
But why is there so much hunger if there is enough food for everyone? Because we apply bad harvesting practices and waste food (we contribute to its scarcity). Therefore, this irresponsibility involves us as individuals and the exploiting companies. Thus, the solutions to eradicate hunger are: being responsible consumers, collaborating in the areas most affected by this silent pandemic (donating or volunteering), and voting for representative groups in our communities that fight against this challenge.
Agenda 2030 proposal to reach “Zero Hunger.”
Health and Wellness. SDG 3
This SDG aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages and groups. It was created due to worrying global health circumstances, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where the infant mortality rate due to health factors is very high (80% of the world’s total).
According to UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programs, a child will not be healthy even if they have food intake if the water they consume is not in good condition. Hence, governments must invest in water and sanitation systems (and prevent their destruction).
In addition, another shocking fact is that only 50% of women receive the medical care they need, so raising awareness of this inequality is crucial.
In terms of diseases, HIV (the leading cause of death in women of reproductive age and the second leading cause of death in adolescents), followed by Ebola and COVID-19, are the diseases that are causing the most fatalities and wasting the most resources.
Leading cause of mortality in every country
There are several ways to improve the global health crisis: financing, access to health centers (with emphasis on sex education and prenatal care), research, sanitation, and development of vaccines or drugs (ensuring that they reach all regions of the world).
Finally, it is worth remembering that we would have to solve it at the root, i.e., focus initially on countries where there is poverty since they are a focus of infections, which spread diseases and unhealthy habits. Thus, the percentage would drop, and it would be easier to implement the rest of the measures.
Quality education. SDG 4
Throughout history, schools have been defined by learning and progress, as education is vital to development. However, while Europe, South America, and Asia have achieved 100% literacy, African territories have at most 37%.
In addition, approximately 262 million young people do not have access to primary schooling, with women accounting for a much higher proportion of illiteracy than men.
Accordingly, this SDG includes ensuring that all children (regardless of gender) end primary and secondary education free and equitably. In addition, it seeks to increase the number of young people with the necessary skills to access employment and decent work as much as possible.
Global literacy rates at 15 years of age and older (UNESCO)
In Spain, the “International Finance Facility for Education” has been developed, a plan that donates US$2 billion to low-income countries to invest in sustainable education. This strategy depends on the cooperation of the governments of the wealthiest countries since financing is the most effective measure to improve the educational situation in the long term. However, more immediate action is needed from them, and a large number of volunteers (us as individuals) to contribute in the least developed schools and in the most affected territories to transmit the basic and necessary knowledge.
Gender equality. SDG 5
The average shows that women worldwide still earn 24% less than men in the labor market (even though it has been shown that where women do not work, GDP is lower). Also, of the total number of illiterate people worldwide, 33% are women.
This SDG ensures that everyone enjoys the same rights and opportunities, regardless of gender identity. It focuses on labor and economic issues and seeks solutions to other critical problems. For example, 35% of women have suffered violence (physical and sexual) at the hands of a man, and in some countries, forced child marriage and sexual exploitation are still practiced.
In conclusion, a large number of women and girls still do not have the minimum rights; they need an improvement in their quality of life, which can be achieved by establishing an equitable framework in labor, salary and family relations, opportunities in sports, and strengthening laws that reinforce all of the above.
There are inequalities between men and women in Spain, one of the countries with more equity between gender identities.
To get rid of these challenges and make positive progress in our previously addressed issues (hunger, health, education, and equitable social development), it is essential to address them from a perspective based on practical, immediate, and sustainable long-term global socioeconomic change.
Without cooperation between the governments of nations and their citizens, we will not accelerate human development, and we will not be able to achieve the rest of the SDGs of the 2030 Agenda.
Although these five SDGs represent a significant advance for society and are beginning to solve several of the intended issues, other issues should be created and included in the SDGs People. A good example would be migration since one of the leading causes is the need for more resources, a problem that we have addressed in this project’s points.
We also advocate that SDG 10, “Reducing inequalities,” should be within the SDG People since, as stated on the official UN page of the 2030 Agenda: “SDG10 promotes the social, economic and political inclusion of all people, regardless of age, gender, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, economic or another status.”
Therefore, we must not only pay attention to the SDGs already in place but also open our minds and look to the future, which requires thinking about other challenges we must face.
Paula Cabrejas, Linus Colson
Lucía Molano, Claudia López