The UN's Sustainable Development Goals are 17 encompassing objectives meant to address the world's most pressing health, educational, social and economic issues by 2030. This month, the UN General Assembly, as well as many of the governing bodies behind the UN's SDGs, will be convening and we'll be breaking down a goal a day.
While roads, phone access, and sanitation may seem commonplace in much of the developed world, roughly 2.6 billion people in developing countries lack electricity, and almost as many go without consistent access to basic food and water sanitation. Much of the world also lacks access to industrialized business and manufacturing practices, which account for as much as 90 percent of business worldwide, and between 50 and 60 percent of global employment opportunities. Investment in global infrastructure, innovation, and industry can significantly increase access to healthcare, economic growth, and many other SDGs, but it's going to take an Intentional and international focus on sustainable development and education to make these targets a reality by 2030.
Think we've got our infrastructure on lock? Not so. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the U.S. an almost failing grade on infrastructure mainstays including roads, water, and transit systems earlier this year. The report also revealed that the average American household loses more than $9 per day thanks to poor infrastructure developments like crowded highways and lacking public transit. For most developing nations, the issue is far more severe, leaving whole communities without access to clean water, healthcare, education, and other life-giving development opportunities. It's time to rethink industry and infrastructure, both at home and abroad.
The "You" Factor
Put our heads together, put our hands together, let's get started.
With a focus on public transportation and sustainable urban development, the Institute for Transit and Development Policy has assisted in the design and implementation of affordable bus rapid transit systems in countries including Argentina, Tanzania, South Africa, and Mexico. The systems are designed to provide similar efficiency and comfort offered by rail systems, for a fraction of the maintenance and construction cost. ITDP also works to develop neighborhoods near major transportation hubs, and advocate for public policies focused on inclusive mass transit systems and sustainable urban development across the globe.
The Center for Neighborhood Technology combines research, analysis, and policy advocacy to fight for sustainable infrastructure resilience in communities across the US. CNT's RainReady program helps cities and households combat urban flooding by developing plans to include rain-absorbing green spaces, tree canopy restoration, plumbing construction and other creative infrastructure improvements geared at preventing flooding in a sustainable way. They also advocate for the development of residential communities near existing transit hubs to reduce barriers to employment opportunities, education, and other necessities while reducing the congestion, pollution, and costs associated with cars.