Agenda 2030 & leadership

On September 25th 20015, building on the successes of the MDG, the 193 member-states of the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They entail new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities

The performance of any country, in seeking to achieve the SDGs, to a large extent depends on its leadership. Effective leadership translates into prudent public policy formulation and implementation, as well as good public service delivery, to meet the needs and aspirations of citizens. A single leader can create an endless chain of social change.

Achieving the SDGs will require the concerted efforts of governments, the business sector, society, and individual citizens. Innovative leadership and management will be essential for organizations in all sectors to integrate these sustainable development goals into strategic plans and operational activities in service of realizing the 2030 aspirations.

We have a big, bold agenda before us. Now we must work to make it real
— United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres
 
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A concerted effort

Far too often, we associate leadership with power, status and authority. But with this narrow outlook, we often tend to forget that leaders are also people who care deeply about community issues, who implement initiatives and who shape local development. They represent a huge window of opportunity for global social change.

The performance of any country, in seeking to achieve the SDGs, to a large extent depends on its leadership. Effective leadership translates into prudent public policy formulation and implementation, as well as good public service delivery, to meet the needs and aspirations of citizens. A single leader can create an endless chain of social change.


The interconnectedness of the SDGs

The goals and targets can be seen as a network, in which links among goals exist through targets that refer to multiple goals. Some thematic areas covered by the SDGs are well connected among one another. Other parts of the network have weaker connections with the rest of the system. The SDGs as a whole are a more integrated system than the MDGs were, which may facilitate policy integration across sectors.

However, many of the links among goals that have been documented in biophysical, economic and social dimensions are not explicitly reflected in the SDGs. An important task for leaders in the context of SDGs is to break down silos between various sectors, efforts, and schools of thought.

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The Role of Young Leaders

The United Nations also recognizes the role of Youth in catalyzing the achievement of the Goals. Since 2015, the Young Leaders Initiative, powered by the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and part of the Global Youth Partnership for Sustainable Development Goals, empowers Young Leaders from various backgrounds.

From food to fashion to micro-finance, the Young Leaders for the SDGs, aged 19-30 years old, represent every region in the world and inspire all of us to achieve the goals. The Young Leaders for the SDGs are recognized for their leadership and contribution to a more sustainable world. 

 

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