A few weeks ago, Agnes and I participated in the Under One Sky rally, which was precipitated by and coincided with the UN Sustainable Development Summit (as a part of the General Assembly). The purpose of the summit was to adopt new goals intended to tackle the most urgent issues of our time: poverty, inequality, and climate change. Here is more specific information about the summit, drawn from its Overview, which is published online:
“Agreed by the 193 Member States of the UN, the proposed Agenda, entitled “Transforming Our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” consists of a Declaration, 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, a section on means of implementation and renewed global partnership, and a framework for review and follow-up.
The agenda is unique in that it calls for action by all countries, poor, rich and middle-income. It recognizes that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with a plan that builds economic growth and addresses a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while addressing climate change and environmental protection. It also covers issues such as inequality, infrastructure, energy, consumption, biodiversity, oceans and industrialization.” (http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/8316Overview_Sustainable_Development_Summit_Final.pdf)
The New York event, though packed with people and full of positive energy, was just a part of a larger thread of rallies around the world, all with the same goal: supporting the proposed goals of the summit and demanding that they translate into reality. Beginning in Australia, thousands of people in over 70 countries gathered in acts of solidarity, “lighting the way” to the summit and culminating rally in New York.
We were surrounded by crowds of people, including both those extremely emotionally invested in climate action and passers-by who may have not known much about the event, but were interested in the issues being addressed. And we heard from an incredibly inspiring group of speakers, including world-renowned advocate for women and children’s rights Graça Machel, youth activists from countries around the world, and Ghanaian musician and activist, Rocky Dawuni, to name a few. At once beautiful and serious, the rally left us with both a sense of renewed urgency and unity.