On September 25th 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like you. Do you want to get involved? You can start by telling everyone about them.
Achieving universal, safely managed water and sanitation services by 2030, as envisioned by the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, is projected to require capital expenditures of USD 114 billion per year (1). Investment on that scale, along with accompanying policy reforms, can be motivated by a growing appreciation of the value of water. Yet our ability to value water, and incorporate these values into water governance, is inadequate. Newly recognized cascading negative impacts of water scarcity, pollution, and flooding underscore the need to change the way we value water (2). With the UN/World Bank High Level Panel on Water having launched the Valuing Water Initiative in 2017 to chart principles and pathways for valuing water, we see a global opportunity to rethink the value of water.
It is somehow admirable to hear terms like "ecological balance" and "sustainable living" spew forth from the mouths of Oxford scholars and political candidates; having a gentle heart that weeps for the indiscretions against the world in which houses us is certainly good for business. But truly, how far are we prepared to go in order to save Planet Earth from the inevitable collapse it has been prophesied to have (by scientists, not priests) in the few coming years? Are we prepared to suffer a few losses in business in the name of forest preservation? Would we interest ourselves in making "unnecessary investments" in consumer goods to make them more eco-friendly? Are we still ready to decide upon which political candidate to vote for based significantly on their environmental beliefs?
The grand finale of the world's largest sustainability innovation program took place this week in Singapore. The 2018 UNLEASH Lab brought together 1,000 youth from over 110 countries together for an eight day program designed to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UNLEASH program is an exciting look at changing the approach to innovation and increasing international cooperation . By guiding participants through the process of ideation and concept development the organizers want to accelerate new ideas for solving the world's biggest problems. The international dynamic is designed to bring together expertise from all over the world and encourage participants to bring successful ideas that can be applied in new contexts.