Global Goals Week ( 17-26 September) is a time for us all to come together to mobilise communities, demand urgency, and supercharge solutions for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), whether it be digitally or physically. Our shared future and the achievement of the Global Goals will be determined by us working together, locally, nationally and internationally. Never has this been more important.
To provide a bit of background, in 2015, 193 Member States of the United Nations made a universal promise to leave no one behind through the 17 SDGs. One year later, Project Everyone, UNDP and the United Nations Foundation came together to honor that promise by launching Global Goals Week, an annual week of action, awareness, and accountability for the SDGs.
What’s this got to do with libraries? Where do I start! As free and equitable spaces libraries are well placed to deliver on so many of the SGD’s either as a key player or in a supporting role.
Here in Australia ALIA has led the way in highlighting the role that libraries play in achieving the SDGs and consulting widely with the Library and Information Community. This included the SDG Roundtable held in Canberra in September 2019 where participants mapped the way forward. Over the ensuing two years these have been further refined by ALIA’s International Relations Advisory Committee (IRAC ), of which I am a member, and this week the Stretch Targets for Australian Libraries 2020-2030 have been released. Targets address literacy; access to knowledge; equitable access; culture and heritage; sustainable communities; contribution to health and wellbeing; diversity and gender equality; lifelong learning; and global citizenship. The report outlines activities and measurements to allow progress to be tracked.
While I will continue to be actively involved in the SDGs through my engagement in the IRAC my personal commitment the the Global Goals Week and the SDGs is to spread the word. Working as a consultant across multiple jurisdictions gives me an ideal opportunity to engage in conversations about how libraries contribute to the SDGs. It could be as easy as pointing libraries in the direction of the SDG Calculator ; referencing how libraries are contributing in reports I am developing; and showcasing best practice examples. Even something as simple as wearing my SDG badge is a conversation starter!
As the world still grapples with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change is a very real threat, achieving the SDGs is more critical than ever – the Goals are the pathway to progress towards a safer and more equal world. We’re all in this together, let’s leave no-one behind.