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UN Training Initiatives at UBCO

March 16th, 2017

Photo by Riley Petillion / The Phoenix News

Photo by Riley Petillion / The Phoenix News

It is tough to pinpoint every problem on this planet, but the United Nations has done their best, and they are trying to fix them. On March 4, 2017, the UBCO Pre-Law society, BC Young Liberals club, the ESS and the Young Liberals of Canada hosted University of British Columbia Okanagan’s first ever Sustainability Development Goals Youth Training Conference.

In 2001, the UN had established a set of standards known as the Millennium Goals to be met by the year 2015, 4 of 8 were actually accomplished. An updated version, known as The Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs), was implemented by the United Nations in 2015. The updated set of standards, which ranges from gender equality to ending poverty, is a collection of guidelines that the world population is expected to complete to make the world a better place in which to live.

The conference was held to inform the attending students, staff, and guests on the 17 new standards and how they affect the earth and those who inhabit it. Unfortunately, it is difficult to achieve these positive goals with the lack of awareness and lack of enthusiasm that plagues our generation. Only about 2 billion world citizens (about 29% of the population) are aware of these previous and current goals implemented by the UN, others just simply don’t care enough about them. Many countries neglect to fund the UN because of the lack of information throughout the population.

Steve Lee, Executive Director of Foundation for Environmental Stewardship, comments on the lack of awareness surrounding our generation, “If people don’t pressure their government to pay their dues to the UN then it’s not going to work out. Meaning if there is lack of awareness or literacy around the SDGs or the importance or relevance of the UN’s work then Canada [won’t] even fund it.”

He also commented on our generation’s very careless nature stating, “There is a social praise that follows caring about social justice issues, but no one wants to pay the cost that’s associated with doing justice. If we are serious about achieving equity and inclusion and sustainability, [our generation has] to come to terms with the costs associated with it.”

Lee also explained how he got involved as a Climate Change Expert, and how others should too, “You have to identify what issue makes you so angry that you can’t help but to do something about it; and you have to identify one or two and focus and really learn properly about that issue, and work hard to actually do something about it.”

Sometimes making the world a better place isn’t as hard as we make it out to be, sometimes it’s just helping out your fellow humans. Mary Kate Costello, UN Representative for the Hunger Project, says, “It doesn’t always need to be their livelihood, but I think that we stress upon our children, neighbors and our friends to [move forward], [and] that their duty to each other is also a service to themselves […]”

For the full list of the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals go to: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

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