When we look at the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it seems that our capacities and influence are not powerful enough to help achieve them from our associative contexts. But, we have good news: you can! We all –governments, civil society, private entities, NGOs, etc.– are agents of change, we are all multipliers.
An example is the result of the workshop Contribution of associations to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, where representatives of the civil society of the Sierra de Guadarrama of Madrid, as well as the local administration, participated. From its celebration, we conclude that adhering to the SDGs can in many cases represent economic and even energy savings if small modifications are implemented in associationist practices.
In addition, the achievement of the Goals will guarantee us a much cleaner and much fairer planet: exactly what the majority of Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) want and which they reflect in their values, missions and visions of each one.
If the point at which our localities and our entities are with respect to the SDGs were known, we would start from an accurate place from which to start putting together an action plan correctly adjusted to the capacities we have.
In this way, non-profit organizations could start from an analysis of the assets they make available for the achievement of the SDGs. Some examples of them are the knowledge of the environment, the generation of alliances, networking, fostering spaces for reflection, thinking about their lives: pointing, pointing, going to the sources, contributing conciliatory styles, being transparent in their associationist practices; inject enthusiasm into what they do and the ability to achieve the SDGs.
It should also be noted that neither the size nor the radius of influence of an entity are excuses for doing nothing to guarantee us a fairer and less degraded planet.
In short, the Objectives on which the most room for action and which the different non-profit organizations can influence the most are very diverse and varied. These are some examples of what they can do on their way to fulfilling the global Agenda.
On the one hand, to comply with SDG 3 (health and well-being) they can promote human value and the feeling of belonging among their members or employees. Regarding goal 4, referring to quality education, the associations must promote educational projects and promote the visibility of children’s rights in social channels such as networks.
Likewise, in order to comply with the fifth, Gender Equality, the visibility of the intangible contribution of women to society is recommended: self-care, volunteer work, care work, etc. While, in the same line and to comply with the eighth, referring to Decent Work and Economic Growth, equal pay measures must be promoted in cases where the work performed is the same, carry out conciliation measures, execute projects that promote the job creation in sustainable areas that promote sustainable tourism, as well as encourage entrepreneurship and ensure work in decent conditions for all staff. And, as an extension, they must design and implement projects aimed at promoting inclusion (SDG 10).
For associations, the development of an action plan can be of great help to promote their activities in a sustainable way
On the other hand, they can design, promote and execute sustainable cities and communities through projects aimed at sustainable mobility and cultural heritage, protecting it, conserving it and improving the cultural environment (SDG 11). In addition, they must support the circular economy, sustainable waste management and responsible production and consumption, promoting it through blogs or dissemination on networks in compliance with 12. While to comply with goal 13 (Climate action), online meetings can be arranged to minimize travel.
To preserve life and terrestrial ecosystems and comply with SDG 15, they will be able to promote the use of fair wood and FSC paper, optimize the use of paper and employ the use of digital signatures and electronic registration in order to protect the conservation and improvement of the natural environment.
In the case of the preservation of peace, justice and solid institutions in compliance with SDG 16, associations must have forms of participatory organization, work with ethical banking and participate in Local Councils. And, finally, in relation to SDG 17 (partnerships to achieve the goals) they must work and participate in associative networks and collaborate with entities of various kinds.
For associations, the elaboration of an action plan can be of great help to promote their activities in a sustainable way.
On the other hand, local associations are essential in the process of localizing the 2030 Agenda, both for their knowledge of local needs and for their ability to raise awareness. They are, in short, agents of change that are necessary and of great value for the achievement of the SDGs.
And your entity, what is it doing for the SDGs and what else can it do?
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