About two weeks ago, 193 world leaders including our own Muhammadu Buhari were in New York to commit to seventeen global goals all in a bid to achieve three things that have somehow happened to be on the to-do list of the human race since the advent of civilisation.
These three things are (1) End Extreme Poverty (2) Fight Inequality and Injustice and (3) Fix Climate Change. These objectives as far as our planet is concerned are so sacred that they now appear to be zero-sum games. We, as a generation, either come together to end these things or these things end us. It is insightful for world leaders to come together and carve out a to-do list for themselves in order to make our planet a better place.
What is more insightful is for us citizens to understand these goals and be able to comprehend how our society fits in. If our world would be a better place by 2030 which is the deadline for these goals, it must reflect first in our communities. I have decided to itemize the 17 global goals here and show you how Nigeria fits in, what you can and must do and how you can get involved.
If by 2030, Nigeria is better than what we have today, we as citizens would have contributed righteously our quota and carried out our responsibilities primary of which is demanding that the government of the day prioritises these goals and institutionalise frameworks that will ensure the achievement of these goals.
Even though the Secretary General had said “the possibility to maintain the 17 goals and rearrange them in a focused and concise manner that enables the necessary global awareness and implementation at the country level”; the 17 goals as developed by the Open Working Group of Member states were retained (for ease of implementation purposes I must add).
Below are the goals and a simple description of how Nigeria weighs on its scale.
- NO POVERTY – The goal is to eradicate extreme poverty defined as those who live below $1.25 a day. Currently, 62.6% of the Nigerian population are in this category according to the 2014 UNDP Report and the goal is to get them out in 15 years.
- NO HUNGER – To eradicate hunger amidst citizens. For Nigeria, 12.1 million people are either hungry or undernourished earning us a ranking of 14th in Africa on the global good security index.
- GOOD HEALTH – The goal is to provide good health for citizens, reduce infant and maternal mortality rate and increase life expectancy which has remained stagnant at less than 55 years in both male and female and far less in the North Eastern part of the country which has been wrongly called the fringes.
- QUALITY EDUCATION – The goal here is to provide quality and affordable education for the world’s citizens both male and female, both young and old. This is an important one for Nigeria with literacy rate estimated to be at 61%.
- GENDER EQUALITY – The goal is to achieve equality and recognition for individuals irrespective of their sexes. It is estimated that “about 80.2 million women and girls in Nigeria have significantly worse life chances than men and also their sisters in comparable societies.”
- CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION – This goal is to see to provision of access to clean water and adequate sanitation to citizens and their communities. At present, “63.2 million Nigerians lack access to clean water and over 112 million people don’t have access to adequate sanitation in Nigeria.
- RENEWABLE ENERGY – The use of renewable energy for industrial and domestic purposes is also a priority and with Nigeria’s annual average daily solar radiation at about 5.25kWh/m2/day, we are positioned to achieve this goal if we want to.
- GOOD JOBS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH – The provision of jobs and growth in the economy and much more, inclusive growth is goal no. 8. Unemployment rate is at a staggering 28.5% and a decline of 69.9% over the number of jobs created in 1st quarter of 2015.
- INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE – The infrastructure gap in the country requires about $2.9 trillion for the next 30 years. The goal is to bridge the gap in 15 years.
- REDUCED INEQUALITIES – The plan, here, is to reduce the inequality between the haves and the have nots and increase human development. For Nigeria, the 2014 Human Development Index Report ranked 129 of 144 sampled countries. This wide gap between the rich and the poor is to be reduced by 2030.
- SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES – This goal aims at improving the lives of slum dwellers and people living in what we call ‘ghettos’. There are reportedly about 125 slum communities in Lagos alone.
- RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION – This goal is focused on the judicious use of products and consumption of degradables on the planet. For Lagos alone, LAWMA reports that 9000 metric tonnes of waste is generated daily with 1200 metric tonnes being converted to use and 7,800 metric tonnes as litters.
- CLIMATE ACTION – This goal aims at reducing emissions and being deliberate about the use of the environment. Nigeria is set to reduce emissions and prevent average global temperature from rising above 2 degrees Celsius.
- LIFE BELOW WATER – Just think about Niger Delta and environs. The goal is to preserve this life by consciously monitoring the amount of hazardous waste that is dumped into the waterways. For Nigeria, that amount is 19000 tons.
- LIFE ON LAND – The preservation of the land area of the planet is also an important goal and this includes focusing on the threats of desertification and deforestation. About 43% of Nigeria’s total land area is said to be under these threats.
- PEACE AND JUSTICE – This goal is focused on the attainment of peace and the reign of justice in the world. The 2015 Global Peace Index ranks Nigeria as the 40th peaceful country in Sub Saharan Africa among 4 countries sampled and the 151st peaceful country in the world.
- PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS – This goal is to achieve partnership amongst nations in the achieving of these goals for the world to become a better place.
What is it that we must do to see a better Nigeria in 15 years? From where I stand, the answer is this – Make DEMANDS. We have to make demands of this government to follow through on action plans that will see these goals achieved.
We have to raise our voices and not act as though they will realise what they are supposed to do and go ahead and do it. We have to not assume that the CHANGE mantra on which they rode to office is really what they intend to do and insist that our demands are met.
The Open Government Partnership is one of such programs that the government can embark on in the bid to alleviate corruption. None of the people in the CHANGE administration are talking about it. The #OpenNASS petition is still at best what it was– A petition with no substantial commitments.
For us in this part of the globe, we might have to do more than just sing about it or tweet about it or talk about it. We would have to DEMAND that our government implement the programs that will see to the achievement of these goals.
As we proceed into the week, politicians and technocrats will be engaging in yet another national discuss at the Nigerian Economic Summit. This is yet another opportunity for these goals to be put in the fore-front of the agenda. If you will be participating like I will, I hope we will be able to prioritize these goals in our discussions and our engagements.
I remain prayerful and optimistic. You should too.
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