On September 25, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, a new global agenda to replace the Millennium Development Goals. The 17 new goals include 169 targets to be met over the next 15 years in such areas as ending poverty, improving gender equality, and taking action on climate change. Aaron Bernstein, associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, recently answered three questions about the SDGs.

A number of the goals and targets broadly touch on environmental policy, particularly goal #13: “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.” Are these sorts of lofty goals helpful?

The SDGs reflect humanity’s best intents and reflect a deeply thought-out agenda on what we need to do to make the planet as healthy as it can be. And, they call us to really strive for worthy ends.

Many people may criticize the goals because they are broad, lofty, and sometimes a bit unspecific. But, if nothing else, they provide an important point of reference.

I’d argue that the underlying motivation of the SDGs is to ensure the healthiest possible future for ourselves and our children, and that really goes to the core of what we do at CHGE.

 

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