News from the future! UN in chaos as global goals deadline met
This article was originally published in the Global Times, a satirical newspaper from the year 2030 published by EWB Canada. The Global Times shares a positive vision of the future and uses humour and imagination to inform, inspire and motivate people to build a better world for everyone. Learn more and take action through the Hello 2030 campaign at hello2030.ca!
There are 239 days until the next summit of world leaders and the careful preparations that precede it have been thrown into disarray. The unlikely cause: an earlier than expected achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“It’s unprecedented. The General Assembly has always been a place for self-congratulation, passing the blame, and half-hearted commitments,” remarked UN Secretary-General Shivani Patel with uncharacteristic candidness. “Nothing in the history of the world has prepared us for this unexpected success.”
The announcement comes with the release of the UNDP’s final Global Goals Report, which confirmed that all 193 UN member countries had achieved the 17 goals and 169 targets. Agreed to in 2015, the SDGs were heralded as an ambitious and universal agenda for people, planet and prosperity.
“This was the people’s agenda, a plan of action for ending poverty in all its dimensions, and leaving no one behind,” recalled a teary-eyed Patel. “I’m proud of humanity. We did it! Now, we can sit back, relax and binge-watch any TV show we like without feeling guilty.”
There is debate amongst experts on which factors contributed most to this achievement. “There’s no doubt a key factor was the unprecedented mobilization of public and private resources that financed the $7 trillion annual cost of achieving the SDGs,” stated Rania Ahmed, Prime Minister of Canada. In an attack ad that surfaced moments later, the Leader of the Official Opposition, Amber Minnings, responded by saying, “It was actually global cooperation on innovative technologies, free and fair trade, and increased policy coherence that were key factors in this global success.”
The consensus seems to be, however, that it was a partnership for the goals, particularly organized actions by young people around the world, that generated the necessary political will.
One campaign that stood out was Hello 2030. “We knew that as soon as we got people to imagine the future they wanted to see, we would be on our way to making it happen,” said a gleeful Irena Smith, CEO of EWB (formerly known as Engineers Without Borders Canada and currently undergoing a rebranding process).
Some experts say that while the achievement of the SDGs is great news for humanity, it poses an existential crisis for the UN. “There’s nothing left to do,” says Professor Kenneth Boddy, dean of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. “Having achieved sustainable development, peace and security, and human rights, there is literally not a single thing in here to do”, he said, searching through his digital copy of the Charter of the United Nations.
Unnamed sources close to the Secretary-General, said that the 85th Session of the General Assembly, scheduled for September 2030, will shift the mandate of the UN to the search for extraterrestrial life.