Planning Makes Better And It Gives Us Targets

The bureaucratic framework of the UN and its power are far mismatched. I hope that society’s problems can be solved with research, paperwork, and the adequate distribution of essential resources such as food, water, and medicine. Unfortunately, in the current system the UN will never be able to stop a strong country from bombing a weaker country. It will never stop a tyrannical government from murdering ethnic groups within its borders. The UN will never hold powerful people accountable for war crimes. And the UN, as it stands today, could not facilitate a significant international redistribution of resources.

I understand why powerful people want the UN to exist. It allows them to act as if their behavior is sanctioned by a civil bureaucracy. It allows powerful countries to vote on the legality of wars. And it provides them with tons of data that can help make resource exploitation and the manufacturing of consent easier.

Nepal, 2015; Image credit: World Food Program

Why should a radical-leftist support the UN? It sounds like the answer should be obvious. I think that the world should be run under one constitution, with a centralized legislature and thousands of localized legislatures, or People’s Councils. I think we should leverage science and technology to build a global society focused on health and sustainable practices to provide for all of the material and psychological needs of our species. We should clean and reclaim sea, land, and freshwater ecosystems. War and capital punishment should be replaced by diplomacy, imprisonment, and reform. Unfortunately, I do not share these goals with the decision makers of the world and therefore, the UN is impotent to implement them.

One of the UN’s greatest value to a regular citizen of the world, besides the delivery of food and human rights observers to people in need, is in its paperwork. Humanity faces an uncertain future due to pollution, climate change, social inequality, and the specter of nuclear war. Food and water insecurity, rising sea levels, irradiated oceans and land, and desertification will all create climate refugees and destroy regions of the world at increasing rates from now on. The UN’s bureaucracy is well situated to work out the details of, and implement an action plan because it works with people across the world who have a better grasp of the problems and potential solutions in their areas than a development professional located thousands of miles away.

The Millennium Development Goals

In 2000 the UN announced eight Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by the year 2015. The eight goals are focused on environment, gender equality, health, and poverty. They are split into 15 targets. Targets include halving the number of people living on under $1 a day, universal access to primary schools for boys and girls, halting and beginning to reverse incidences of HIV/AIDS and malaria, and addressing the special needs of landlocked countries. According to the follow-up MDG 2015 report, the 1990-2015 period measured by the MDGs saw extreme poverty rates drop beyond target levels and access to clean water increase. The developments failed to meet needs related to income inequality, climate change, or gender equality and improvements did not reach every country equally.  

The Sustainable Development Goals were adopted for the 2016-2030 period. They are 17 goals and 169 targets that build on the MDGs. The first MDG, Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty, has two targets. The SDGs split this into two goals, No Poverty and Zero Hunger, with 14 targets between them. They cover issues more comprehensively. The extra targets in this case include calling for policy to address the issues and attract investment, protecting people at risk from climate change and sea level rise, an intent to obtain resources and capital through collaboration, and ensuring vulnerable communities’ rights to access economic and natural resources. The SDGs have an average of 9.9 targets per goal. The MDGs had around two targets each.

The UN has used its brain power and research expertise to create a possible to-do list for the social justice inclined. The 169 targets open a world of targets to the international left. And, in true fashion, I have no expectation that these targets will be engaged uncritically by those involved in social change work.

Visit this link for more information on the Sustainable Development Goals.

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