I was fortunate to have a seat at the Sustainable Development Impact Summit sponsored by the World Economic Forum two weeks ago in New York City. Hundreds of leaders from more than 160 countries were there for the UN General Assembly to examine the biggest issues facing our world today. More specifically, we were there to talk about the Sustainable Development Goals and how we can improve the state of the world.
Now, a quick bit of background for those of you unfamiliar with the Sustainable Development Goals. The goals are an extension of the eight Millennium Development Goals from 2000 that focused solely on developing countries. A few of the stated goals were: Stop the spread of the HIV virus, deliver clean water, and reduce the infant mortality rate. In 2000, no one thought it was possible to stop HIV since it was like the Bubonic Plague of the time. But, amazingly, huge progress was made on all of the Millennium Development Goals. Those successes led to a vision to improve even more lives and our planet by 2030.
In 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals were laid out. Comprised of 17 goals ratified by 193 countries, they aim to tackle things like ending poverty and hunger, reducing inequalities within and among countries, protecting human rights, promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and fighting climate change. I heard a really powerful quote at the summit relating to that last point: “The Millennials are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last to be able to do anything about it.” It’s clear the time for action is now. That’s why the Miracle Foundation is actively working on eight of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Today, the Sustainable Development Goals are targeted to everyone. So, as long as the world has agreed to rally behind these goals, we’re all ships moving in the same direction. That’s what we want! Now, we’re all actively engaged in completing what some are calling “The World’s To Do List.” I love that name because I think it perfectly encompasses the idea of us coming together to make the world a better place. At the Miracle Foundation, our starting point is clear: Identify THE most vulnerable children and help them first.
This presents a unique challenge. It’s obviously much easier to get to children in the cities. But when trying to reach the poorest of the poor, we’ve found they’re often located far away from urban areas. And because they’re hard to reach, they’re often ignored. That’s why they’ve been called “the last mile.” And that’s why they’re our focus. We go to the neediest first because those at the bottom—the most invisible and most marginalized—tend to rise the quickest because any little improvement is a dramatic improvement. By working with locals on individualized child care plans, we’re able to take care of these kids well and give all they need to thrive.
We’re already making progress! As we work towards making each of these Sustainable Development Goals a reality, I’m particularly struck by Goal 17: Partnerships. I love this idea so much because I’ve seen firsthand how much stronger we are together. None of our accomplishments happen in silos. It’s only by working hand in hand can we make a difference. And we know that’s our shared goal.
I want you to know that your giving, your partnership, does make a big impact. And not just on the life of a child, but on everyone that surrounds that child. The entire ecosystem that supports them is influenced, and that positivity radiates outward. Tackling each of the items on “The World’s To Do List” is not going to be easy. But we have to ask ourselves, what kind of human potential are we leaving on the table if we don’t try? We can’t afford to let it go to waste. And with your continued support, we won’t.