The Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, as part of the resolution 70/1 called “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” Subdivided in 169 targets, the goals are broad and interdependent, yet each has a specific list of targets to achieve, each target being supported by a serie of metrics to monitor achievement.
The SDGs cover a wide range of social and economic development issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, labor issues, global warming, gender equality, water or sanitation, energy, urbanization, environment and social justice.
The UN says “The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, […] in order to leave no one behind. It is important that we achieve each Goal and target by 2030.”
The SDGs are unique in that they cover almost all issues that affect us all, and reaffirm the commitment of governments. Importantly, they go beyond governments and involve us all – from United Nations agencies to simple individuals, businesses and civil society – to build a more sustainable, safer, more prosperous planet & humanity.
In the preambular part of the General Assembly resolution, countries summarized the philosophy of the SDGs as follows:
You will find them over the web and media, under different names:
- Sustainable Development Goals
- Global Goals for Sustainable Development
- UN Global Goals
- 2030 Agenda
- 2030 Goals
- SDG Goals
But do not confound with the “Millenium Goals” or “Millenium Development Goals”, that were actually the ancestors of the SDGs.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were born at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. The objective was to produce a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world.
The SDGs replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which started a global effort in 2000 to tackle the indignity of poverty. The MDGs established measurable, universally-agreed objectives for tackling extreme poverty and hunger, preventing deadly diseases, and expanding primary education to all children, among other development priorities.
For 15 years, the MDGs drove progress in several important areas: reducing income poverty, providing much-needed access to water and sanitation, driving down child mortality and drastically improving maternal health. They also kick-started a global movement for free primary education, inspiring countries to invest in their future generations. Most significantly, the MDGs made huge strides in combatting HIV/AIDS and other treatable diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis.
But how does Cannabis connect to the Sustainable Development Agenda?
Certainly, the very plant helps: the benefits of hemp for the environment, for human food and health, or for the sustainability of agricultural practices, are essential elements when it comes to building future resilient and nature-friendly societies.
But besides, sticking to current restrictive policies concerning the psychoactive uses (therapeutical or recreational) prevents from achieving part of the Goals, in particular, those linked to human rights, fairness of institutions and criminal justice or health concerns.
All in all, we have identified that a renewed approach to policing Cannabis, and a reframed approach focusing on Development and Rights, can positively impact each and every one of the 17 Global Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The purpose of the International Cannabis Policy Conference, beyond gathering the greatest minds from research, decision-making and industry field, will be to uphold content and knowledge on the links and interrelations of Cannabis policies and the Sustainable Development Goals. For the moment, you can learn a bit more here: Linking Cannabis policy to the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.
As background, the NGOs Health Poverty Action and International Drug Policy Consortium have already drawn the basis of the reflexion around the interconexion of the SDGa with drug policies in general [Click here to read the report].
In complement, a paper of the chair of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the main United Nations body dealing with Cannabis policy issues, precises: “As outlined in the UNGASS 2016 outcome document, entitled ‘Our joint commitment to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem’, which was adopted by the General Assembly on 19 April 2016 and had been elaborated during a series of open-ended negotiations convened by the CND acting as UNGASS preparatory body, it is key that “efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to effectively address the world drug problem are complementary and mutually reinforcing”. The Assembly, in the UNGASS outcome document, encouraged the CND, as the policymaking body of the United Nations with prime responsibility for drug control matters “to contribute to the global follow-up and support the thematic review of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, within its mandates, bearing in mind the integrated nature of the Goals as well as the interlinkages between them“.