The United Nations has identified 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve over the next 15 years; these goals encompass every aspect of our 21st century lives in developing communities, in established cities and everywhere in between.
United Methodist Women advocates for these goals through the lens of Gender Equality, goal number 5. True equitable and sustainable development can succeed only when it is implemented holistically; to transform the lives of women, and thereby the whole world, all 17 goals must be met simultaneously. Our organization is charged with supporting the United States in fulfilling the goals and to facilitate their implementation around the world.
We work with national and international partners on small-scale projects building foundations for sustainable development. First, basic needs such as hunger, water, housing and health need to be addressed so that communities can take next steps. Next, rights, peace and security for women then become achievable goals, which leads to women's empowerment, inclusion and leadership.
Further inequities exist beyond gender inequality. In the United States, communities of color are often abused and even criminalized; the negligence leading to unsafe water in Flint, Mi., and the Cradle to Prison Pipeline that leads to mass incarceration are examples of human rights violations.
Internationally, communities who organize to protect their land, their culture and workers' rights are frequently criminalized. In some cases advocates are punished and on occasion, murdered for their defiance of financial or political power.
The national office of United Methodist Women will continue to educate members about theses about these SDGs and how we can all use them to advance our work for women, youth and children around the world.