The sustainable development goals are a universally adopted set of challenges to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. There’s 17 of them, including zero hunger, reduced inequality, and climate action. We have until 2030 to achieve them, and individuals, communities, and institutions around the world have begun to take action accordingly. I believe museums and other cultural organizations can be key players in achieving the SDGs if they chose and dared to step up.
The SDGs are the successor of the MDGs or millennium development goals. They ran until 2015. There were less of them – just eight -, and they were less explicit in their ambitions – “reduce…” instead of “zero…”. Nonetheless, the achievement made by the global community on the MDGs are impressive. For instance, child mortality rates have halved, avoiding 16,000 unnecessary deaths of children under-five each day.
Although the SDGs may seem like a continuation of the MDGs, there are considerable differences. The first is that achieving the MDGs relied on the work of specific professionals. Achieving the SDGs relies on all of us.
Also different is that, unlike in the MDGs, culture plays an explicit part in the SDGs. For the first time, museums and other cultural organizations have been given global responsibility for sustainable development. Specifically, there is SDG 11.4, which encourages everyone to safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage. More generally, we’re at the table!
Like healthcare, education, sanitation, energy, and so many other sectors, culture has been given responsibility for sustainable development. This is a tremendous responsibility indeed.
It is an individual responsibility, as humans and professionals, to dedicate our time, energy, and creativity to making the SDGs a success.
More importantly, it is a collective responsibility to show that museums and cultural organizations contribute to sustainable development. As Andrew S. Potts said at an event in Brussels recently, now that we’re at the table, we need to prove we are worth it to have a seat. Continue ReadingRead More »