Scouting and the 2030 Agenda - "but why?"
Some call them the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, others call them the Global Goals. Regardless of what label you use, there's 17 of them, and they're all part of the groundbreaking 2030 Agenda that was adopted by world leaders in September of 2015. The 2030 Agenda is our world's master plan for people, planet and prosperity.
Scouting and the 2030 Agenda have a lot in common. Not only do we share the ambition to create a better world, but also the fundamental values of solidarity, global citizenship and the principle of leaving no one behind.
Let's begin with visiting a local scout unit, anywhere in the world, any day of the week. That patrol of 12-year-old scouts you see, playing games on a field - they carry the solutions to some of our world's greatest problems. The games they play will empower them to challenge social norms and stereotypes, making progress towards Goal 5 (gender equality), and provide them with knowledge and skills to get into the future job market (Goal 8). Their leaders have found Scouting to be an opportunity for lifelong learning (Goal 4). And to some of their parents, Scouting provides well-needed support, giving their children a decent upbringing while trying to make ends meet (Goal 1 and 10). These 12-year-olds will grow up to be adults and leaders, firmly anchored in their values, and with a "backpack" full of tools for life.
To break it down: how does Scouting contribute to the 2030 Agenda?
1. We bring the how to the what and why of the 2030 Agenda. Scouting brings the Global Goals to the local level. We provide education for sustainable development and "walk the talk" when it comes to creating a better world. We've done so for more than 100 years, which makes Scouting one of the world's most well-tried methods of grassroots-driven development. Us 50 million Scouts are a huge driving force for peace and sustainable development - in our local communities and globally.
2. We reach out with awareness, knowledge and opportunity. Scouting can be found in most communities around the world, and we reach young people that other organizations, governments and the UN can't reach. But we can't settle with that. The more open and inclusive we become, the more young people will benefit from our opportunities, in line with the 2030 Agenda's principle of leaving no one behind - and our own Vision 2023.
3. We're full of ideas and important perspectives. Scouts find solutions for Sustainable Development, in our everyday activities, and through innovations and new technology, such as U-Report and The Goals. Our knowledge is crucial to decision-makers. We know the needs of our communities better than anyone, we have expertise in the topics we care about, and we live the daily challenges of the world's largest generation of young people. When listened to, our perspectives will contribute to making decisions and solutions more effective and sustainable.
4. We are role models. From empowering young, values-driven leaders who live their everyday lives guided by the Scout Law - to supporting refugees, organizing community environment projects, or standing up for what's right when decision-makers won't. We lead by example and we contribute to the Global Goals in everything we do.
But what can the 2030 Agenda do for Scouting?
1. Partnerships. The Global Goals can only be achieved if we work together, across state borders and between generations, sectors and issues. Partnerships are already fundamental to Scouting, and the 2030 Agenda gives the whole world a new momentum, platform and language to partner around. The Global Goals can help us communicate our purpose and impact. This will help us find synergies with other actors, build mutual partnerships within and outside of Scouting, and increase our social impact.
2. Programme. The Global Goals can make us better at what we do, as an educational tool to help us see how today's challenges are interconnected and indivisible. No single goal can be fully realized without achieving the others, just as challenges in your local community are connected, and oftentimes symptoms of deeper root causes. In Scouting, we can use the 2030 Agenda to view our local challenges through a global lense, and to see how the different dimensions of Sustainable Development - social, environmental and economical - impact one another, to find the best and most sustainable solution for our community.
Our Vision 2023 for Scouting and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are mutually reinforcing road maps, based on our shared values and ambition of creating a better world. While Sustainable Development starts at the grassroots, with that patrol of 12-year-old adventurer scouts, it also depends on support, good governance, and a values-based and ambitious leadership from the highest level.
The conversation has already started - and I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts when we meet in Azerbaijan next week to shape the future of our Movement!
Yours in Scouting,
Ps. How have you approached the Global Goals in your NSO or local unit? I'm curious about your experiences and ideas!