The Local Implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by an International Charity Project in Africa
By Ian Brooks and Dr. Mario Kossmann
Bristol, England, UK
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) framework was signed by virtually every nation on earth in 2015 and addresses topics ranging from environmental protection; via equal opportunities, education and the eradication of diseases; to overcoming famine, poverty, slavery and child labor. The UN SDG framework arguably represents – both in terms of its scope and its worldwide support – one of the most significant international frameworks in human history.
International projects should not only be aware of the UN SDG in general and the intended national implementations of the framework by the different countries in which each project operates; but they should ensure that they implement themselves relevant key goals of the framework and contribute to the achievement of the national commitments by the countries they operate in. Apart from helping to improve the world we are living in, this will help to significantly reduce project risks, secure funding opportunities from both governmental and non-governmental organizations, and bring about more sustainable solutions as project deliverables.
Using the example of a charity project that is concerned with the development of a local health care system in a deprived region of Cameroon, this paper illustrates a pre-emptive implementation of certain key aspects of the UN SDG framework at the local level, prior to and in support of the anticipated full implementation of the framework at the national level by Cameroon.
In September 2015, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by 193 countries (1). They represent a “a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity” (1) from 2015 to 2030. The SDGs build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which addressed the needs of Less Economically Developed Countries (2). The 8 MDGs set targets for key areas such as reducing extreme poverty & hunger and improving access to sanitation. The MDGs ran from 2000 to 2015 and have been described as “the most successful anti-poverty movement in history” (2).
Despite the significant improvement delivered towards the MDGs, we still live in a world where people experience hunger, suffer from air pollution and are disadvantaged by inequality. The SDGs go beyond the MDGs with a broader range of goals and apply to all countries, hence are often referred to as the ‘Global Goals’. The SDGs consist of 17 goals (shown in Figure 1) and 169 targets, providing more detail within each goal.
Cameroon was one of the countries which made significant progress towards the 8 MDGs but still faces major challenges in, for example, eradicating extreme poverty and reducing the burden of disease (3). The country restated its commitment to “Développement Durable” (Sustainable Development) and the adoption of the SDGs at the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly (4).
About the Authors
University of the West of England
University of Bristol, UK
Ian Brooks is a Senior Lecturer in Sustainable IT at the University of the West of England (UWE) and a Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Bristol. The large part of his career has been in management consultancy and Green IT with PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM. His last role with IBM was as their Sustainability leader on the IBM outsourcing contract with Defra (the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). He has an MSc in Environmental Consultancy from UWE and has embarked on PhD research on the use of the UN Sustainable Development Goals as Requirements in Software Engineering, also at UWE. Ian can be contacted at email@example.com
Dr. Mario Kossmann (ESEP) is an experienced Systems Engineer and Capability Integrator for Airbus, having previously worked for Blohm & Voss as Program Manager, Systems Engineer, Technical Manager and Consultant in Services Marketing. He has served as a naval officer with the German and French navies, and was awarded an MEng in Aerospace Technology from the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich (Germany), an MBA from the University of Warwick (UK) and a Ph.D. in Systems & Software Engineering from the University of the West of England. He is the author of the books ‘Delivering Excellent Service Quality in Aviation’ (Ashgate 2006) and ‘Requirements Management – How to ensure that you achieve what you need from your projects’ (Gower 2013), as well as numerous research publications in the fields of Systems Engineering, Software Engineering and Project Management. Mario is also a certified Project Manager and Expert Systems Engineering Professional (INCOSE). Mario has been involved in the ‘Mahola’ project (http://www.maholaproject.org/) as both Project Leader and Systems Engineer from the start of the project in December 2012. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org