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By Michelle Ann Joseph- In a digitally connected world with widespread access to the internet, one might wonder if there are still individuals uninformed about events and issues that significantly impact their lives.
Back in 2015, the United Nations unveiled The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals initiative. This visionary framework consists of seventeen interrelated objectives, strategically crafted to act as a collective roadmap for fostering peace and prosperity, both for the well-being of humanity and the sustainability of our planet, both now and in the future.
The short concepts/titles of the SDGs are:
GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION
AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY
DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES
RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
LIFE BELOW WATER
LIFE ON LAND
PEACE, JUSTICE AND STRONG INSTITUTIONS
PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS
The five Ps—people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnerships—constitute an interconnected framework rather than a collection of isolated goals. The progress of each “P” is intricately linked to the advancement of the others.
From a Guyanese perspective, a crucial question arises: have we initiated efforts to pursue the goals outlined by the United Nations, particularly considering the target year of 2030?
During the recently concluded GTUC Triennial Congress at the Critchlow Labour College Auditorium from November 8-10, Dr. Simpson DaSilva presented several motions related to the Sustainable Development Goals during the Business Sessions on the second day, Thursday 16th.
Dr. Simpson urged the Guyana Trade Union Congress to contemplate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and actively participate in recycling, reusing, and restoration processes, emphasizing their potential to contribute not only to sustainable development but also to financial gains.
Under the Granger Administration, there was skepticism about Guyana’s emergence as the world’s fastest-growing economy. Consequently, insufficient action was taken in response to this global phenomenon.
The current Government of Guyana has adeptly implemented a sustainable plan for indigenous communities and villages, but he reiterated that there must be a commitment to ensuring the equitable distribution of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across all Guyanese communities, including those of African descent.
“Have the leaders embraced inclusion in dialogues?” he questioned. Emphasizing the need to intensify efforts in Heritage villages and communities overall, he stressed the importance of taking solutions back to the unions and rank-and-file members: “We must redouble the efforts in our Heritage villages and communities as a whole. “Take them back to the Unions/ rank and files and find solutions” he said.
“It’s for our own sustainability. Are we learning to love ourselves? The self-sabotage must cease.” His plea underscored the necessity to move beyond partisan considerations, urging a focus on internalizing and recognizing creativity and innovation.
Dr. Simpson introduced the concept of employing straightforward mechanisms for self-sustainability, exemplifying the potential of the sijan plant. He highlighted its remarkable ability to address over 300 diseases and endure for thirty years, emphasizing its easy cultivation in Guyana.
Transitioning from zero hunger to Food and Nutrition Security and Sovereignty, he advocated the incorporation of three daily servings of vegetables, underscoring that it’s not merely about satiation. He illustrated this with examples such as the lotus, water callaloo, and sijan bajee, all of which thrive abundantly in Guyana.
Additionally, he emphasised the significance of anti-carcinogenic foods like soursop and lemon grass. He inquired, “Why aren’t we cultivating these essential foods?” Dr. Simpson issued a challenge to unions, urging them to cultivate 180,000 plants to contribute to the zero-hunger goal. He pledged the donation of the first 1000 plants and called upon the diaspora to participate in the initiative, emphasizing investment in communities rather than seeking handouts.
Underlining the urgency of the present struggle, Dr. Simpson urged leaders to leverage the diaspora, aiming for a membership of 180,000 individuals. Shifting focus to education, he stressed the need to prioritize quality education for all in SVG. He proposed a swift understanding and implementation of the 17 goals, encouraging immediate action:
“Since the SVGs are people driven, we don’t have to get permission to get started. All agencies, whether its private or public sectors, Trade Unions- all and sundry must get involved.
In an impassioned plea to the General Secretary of the Guyana Trades Union Congress, the quest was to take serious massive actions for all races in Guyana.
We must represent the One People, One Nation, One Destiny! We were given a legacy of cooperativism, it was not by accident we are called the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. Stop the thievery, bleeding land bragging of our nation!
Let us all join the struggle and unite for the interest of workers, unite the Sustainable Development Goals, which can align us back to the spirit of our ancestors.