September 9, 2016

The Rubik’s Cube Of The UN Global Goals

Written by Margaret Batty

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

With the Olympic Games just wrapped up in Rio, I have been mulling over games of yore.

Remember the Rubik’s Cube, that multi-coloured brain teaser puzzle that was all the rage in the ‘80s?

Here’s a reminder – the aim was to get all 6 sides of the Rubik Cube aligned with the same colour, which required getting the 9 segments of each of the 6 sides to match.

One year on from the adoption of the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals, they look something akin to a Rubik’s Cube. The 17 Goals, and 169 targets within those, applicable to 193 countries, are a colourful and immensely challenging combination puzzle. One cannot be solved without the others; they are inter-dependent.

UN Goals a challenge of Rubik’s complexity

The UN High Level Political Forum last month in New York was the first global gathering since the goals were agreed. I was left with two major take-aways. Governments are struggling, first, with the central challenge to leave no one behind, and second, with the imperative to break through traditional policy boundaries and ensure sectors work together to deliver on the enormity of the Goals’ ambition — all in the space of 14 years.

These twin concepts – integration and leaving no one behind — are not buzzwords. They are key to unlocking the Goals and achieving the eradication of extreme poverty by 2030, including Goal 6, universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

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