Working Together for a Greater Good

Rabita Tareque



The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted by prominent world leaders in 2015 has been bringing countries, communities, and local organizations together to combat poverty, hunger, inequalities and climate change. I was born and raised in Bangladesh, a developing country where these global challenges have been a critical aspect of our everyday lives. As a result, I personally identify a very strong and personal connection with the SDGs. This has motivated me to become a global citizen, who advocates and inspires our generation to unite and take action towards reaching the global goals for sustainable development.

The importance of achieving all the SDGs was one of the most vital topics of discussion at the recent 71st United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) week. Heads of States, Foreign Ministers, CEOs and many influential leaders participated in the various conferences, meetings and events.

On September 22, 2016, I was thrilled to spend my afternoon at the Pathways to Zero Hunger, a high-level UNGA side event which took place in the Economic and Social Council (EcoSoc) of the United Nations. The event was dominated by the conversation about achieving Zero Hunger and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. In his opening remarks, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a correlation between the SDGs and zero hunger by stating, “with the 2030 agenda, we have the opportunity to silence once and for all, the cry of hunger and malnutrition.”  The Secretary-General later asked world leaders and agricultural organizations to take the challenge and work together until Zero Hunger is a reality. Followed by the Secretary-General’s speech, Ambassador Peter Thomson, President of the 71st UNGA, Mr. President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana and President Faure Gnassingbe of Togo, also made remarks regarding the SDGs and asked for more resources and leadership initiatives in order to achieve the zero hunger goal by 2030.

The next day, I had the opportunity to attend another high-level UNGA side  event, Leaving No One Behind which advocated for the fifth SDG: Gender Equality. Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister for International Development, Liberal Party of Canada, Bangladesh Permanent Mission to the UN and various grassroots organizations participated in the event to discuss the importance of sustainable development goals, achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and young girls. One element that every panelist advocated strongly for was local and grassroots support to end issues like child marriage, violence against women and young girls as well as social, political and economical inequalities.

Attending these conferences at the UN and witnessing such influential people speaking up to end global crises through the SDGs, has given me tremendous hope. As a global citizen, I am not only motivated to engage and take action towards the SDGs but also confident that these global goals can be achieved, if we all take the initiative. I am now certain that the global crises will be alleviated not only from my home country of Bangladesh and other underdeveloped nations, but also from the rest of the world.