Canada's federal power shift provides us with the opportunity to view the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals through a new lens. Our new government faces many challenges to restore the protection of Canadian ecosystems. After a decade of Conservative rule, I find myself, like many other Indigenous people in Canada, cautiously optimistic for the future social and ecological well-being of our nation and its role on the international stage. However, our new government will face significant challenges in living up to and improving upon their campaign promises.
Development Unplugged provides a platform for cutting-edge thinking and debate on global issues and international development. Curated by the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC), this blog serves as a virtual space where practitioners, researchers, and academics can share commentary and reflections on the challenges of our time.
Canada was one of many countries at the 2010 UN Convention on Biological Diversity to commit to protecting 10 per cent of its marine areas by 2020. As a marine nation bordering three oceans with over seven million square kilometres of ocean area and the longest coastline of any country, Canada has a responsibility to lead on ocean stewardship. We have acts, policies and departments to support strong positions to safeguard ocean ecosystems. Yet the reality is that more has been said than done.
11/09/2015 10:58 EST
Canada, and the new Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, can and should engage more constructively on climate change with the global community, starting at the upcoming UN climate summit in Paris in December.
11/05/2015 02:58 EST
To improve well-being everywhere, we need to find ways of using resources efficiently, generating less waste and enabling a more equitable standard of living worldwide. More than the other Goals, sustainable consumption and production patterns requires changes in society and culture -- changes in how we think.
11/04/2015 11:45 EST
Cities matter, now more than ever. They're the engines that drive our economy. They're hubs of innovation and creativity. In other words, it's our cities that move Canada forward. Yet just as our cities work hard to attract the best and the brightest, care for their citizens and protect the environment, they must also address the challenges that come with a growing population.
11/03/2015 10:37 EST
According to the United Nations, managing the growth of urban areas is among the most urgent development challenges of the 21st century and will be a major factor in the achievement of the 2030 sustainable development agenda. By 2050, an estimated two-thirds of the world's population will live in urban areas, with 90 per cent of that growth occurring in developing countries. Local and regional governments will need to respond by developing and maintaining infrastructure to serve the population growth.
10/28/2015 08:03 EDT
We need policies that enable the poorest to benefit most from economic growth. Of the 1.1 billion people living in extreme poverty in 2010, 200 million could have escaped extreme poverty if poor people had simply benefited equally from the proceeds of growth -- particularly women and youth, two groups being left behind.
10/28/2015 05:29 EDT
Few make the connection between preserving and sustaining our global environmental commons and growing our common wealth. The only way we can sustainably improve the standard of living for all is by expanding the collective public goods and services that we share, instead of through profit-driven production.
10/25/2015 06:02 EDT
As with many of the SDGs, Goal 6 has significant implications within the borders of Canada. The requirement to ensure universal and equal access to drinking water and sanitation resonates most loudly for indigenous communities. As of July 2015, Health Canada reported 133 drinking water advisories in 93 First Nations communities.
10/22/2015 05:29 EDT
A good start would be a renewal of funding for women's groups both domestically and internationally. But then we also need an ambitious agenda that crosses all Canadian federal departments, as well as in federal-provincial priorities -- a new National Action Plan for Gender Equality with legislative and operational targets from 2016 to 2030.
10/19/2015 05:38 EDT
Educating all the world's children is not only good for children, but for the societies in which they live -- with higher levels of education poverty drops, health and survival rates improve, more girls live up to their full potential and social and civic stability thrives.
10/16/2015 12:04 EDT
Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages includes a cross-cutting set of targets on maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, and environmental impacts. Health is also integrated as a target across a number of goals, including those related to gender, the environment, poverty and consumption -- implicitly recognizing the inter linkages necessary to health.
10/07/2015 05:22 EDT
While it may be impossible to ensure that every single human has enough food every moment, there have been dramatic changes in what we call 'world hunger'. Already formerly 'hungry countries' like China and Ethiopia have cut hunger rates by more than half over the past twenty years.
10/05/2015 12:20 EDT
The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are not for the faint of heart -- they are bold, broad commitments striking at the core of society's critical social issues. The first goal is as daunting as it is resolute: end poverty in all its forms everywhere. And as a universal agenda, these commitments apply to all countries -- including Canada.
10/02/2015 05:02 EDT
The SDGs represent an opportunity for Canada to examine how it can engage globally and how it can exercise leadership, both at home and abroad, to address sustainable development challenges. However, unless -- and until -- the financial aspects of the SDGs are properly addressed, the post-2015 agenda will remain a set of elusive goals.
09/30/2015 12:36 EDT
Last weekend world leaders met in New York to adopt Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The agenda includes a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Most people might think that this "plan of action for people, planet and prosperity" is the major outcome of the past few years -- But I would argue that the process is also a major outcome in and of itself.
09/28/2015 12:33 EDT
At the heart of Agenda 2030 is one simple message: "leave no one behind." Agenda 2030 is about a farmer's rights to vote and to have meaningful expectations of a better future for himself and his family, with access to health services, to education, decent work, clean water and freedom from fear.
09/25/2015 12:11 EDT
How likely are we to see a true paradigm shift -- one that recognizes the shared sustainable development challenges all countries and people face? What does this look like in practice? And what does it really mean for Canada?
09/23/2015 08:30 EDT
Over the next 15 years, the international community will be guided by 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) integrating the three broad pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental well-being. Universal in nature, this means the SDGs will go beyond guiding the international cooperation efforts of high-income countries and emerging economies, to encouraging Canada to determine how it will address its own sustainable development challenges domestically.
09/21/2015 05:12 EDT
On Sept. 28, 2015, The Munk Centre will host Canada's first-ever federal election debate. We can expect to see any number of key issues on the table -- Canada's track record on trade and investment, engagement in Syria, our approach to Palestine and Israel, refugee policy -- There is a lot of ground to cover. For international development, there is really one key question: Will parties commit to increasing Canada's foreign aid budget?
09/11/2015 05:04 EDT
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