There is this one thing that we don’t desire in our quest to realise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is to do with the problem of recent years. Migration of large numbers of displaced people in our world. We could be almost certain that attaining agenda 2030 of the SDGs faces a major hiccup. These goals may not be easy to realise. Conflicts and other emergencies will be responsible for our falling short.
Today, displaced people can’t find solutions to poverty, education, diseases, better livelihoods and all. You wonder how to stop the causes. We are now almost two years into implementation of the activities aimed at achieving the 2030 target for SDGs. And yet efforts are being dragged back.
Which is why the question keeps coming up, of how we shall pull off agenda 2030, given that our current pre-occupation is fleeing from needless conflicts? At a time when livelihoods have been brought to shreds, attaining the Goals could be asking for too much.
First thing is to end the causes of human migration. You see Syrian Arab Republic and wonder if their citizens will ever settle. Then turn to an infant South Sudan, and look at the madness of its leaders and mayhem they are causing. This brings us to a conclusion that until peace prevails in our world; local people will continue to lack the capacity to live life proper. As there is no peace and this has led to migration.
It has halted communities’ ability to move forward. Majority of people confine themselves in concentrated camps. These events mean that everything will count against the 2030 agenda.
One, poverty is endemic among communities. Some refugees attempt to flee their homes to seek better life abroad but don’t make successful journeys. They capsize in seas, while others get smuggled. Second, because of insecurity, communities face extreme hunger and malnutrition. They can’t cultivate crops. Three, communities also can’t ensure healthy lives. Their well-being won’t get promoted. Not with overcrowded settlement camps that make prevalence of cholera, dysentery and diarrhoea highly likely.
Three, realising inclusive and equitable quality education still remains in the dream. Four, prevailing displacements don’t allow school-going kids to learn. School children get abducted during school raids. And governments only watch helplessly. Kids are constantly on the run to safety.
Education facilities are also not adequate because of the numbers congested in refugee camps. Five, attempting to attain gender equality so far falls short of expectations. Blame it on rape, child marriage and increased gender-based violence in refugee settlement facilities. Six, displacements have made management of water and sanitation unsustainable.
It is a tall order because communities have no time to care for water and sanitation amenities. Seven, the world is not in position to successfully promote sustainable economic growth.
Eight, productive employment and decent work for all is not going to happen if communities are held up in displacement. Nine, there will be no development, no access to justice for all and no effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Displacement facilities are being attacked; citizens are fleeing their own countries to live as beggars in neighbouring countries. So we are all left to see rampant inequality among communities.
Ten, cities and human settlements cannot be inclusive, safe and resilient. There is no accountability; and today, their societies are less peaceful than 10 years ago. Eleven, there is no means to strengthen Global Partnership for Sustainable Development with torture, harassment and deportation of refugees and immigrants still common.
All these events will improve only when the causes of migration are given due attention. Therefore, this migration problem will be an unwanted obstacle to the SDGs.
Mr Mone is a civil engineer,