A Magazine About Food, Art & Exchange In Midtown Kingston, Published By The Hudson Valley Current.

UN Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Alliances that promote solidarity, the most important objective.

You are poor when you don’t have a community, not when you don’t have money, say indigenous peoples and others like Pépe Mújica, the former president of Uruguay.

This space has tried to be an echo chamber where the voices of communities impacted by climate change, inequality, and economic insecurity, and by decisions from groups with power, are heard—always with an outlook towards a more hopeful future. With the 17 goals of the United Nations for 2030, we have reflected on the capacity of our own local contributions.

We have reached the last objective of the UN and of this column. The 17th is to form and foster alliances to achieve goals. Mújica and others would tell us, “Without a handful of friends, and a good dose of solidarity, how can we mitigate the problems that arise?”

I leave on the record that we all saw the opposite very recently when this country left Afghanistan and we saw a people of 8 million lost in panic over the advance of the Taliban. How could we not mention the women and children? The UN, the US, the European Union, the Arab countries—where were they when that fatal day arrived?

According to the UN, the decrease in aid from public and private sources and the increase in national and regional debts are hampering sustainable development. “Financing is the test of our seriousness,” said António Guterres, Secretary General of the UN, two years ago, “without resources, we simply will not deliver for people or the planet.”

If you don’t have a community, you don’t have money, and if your community doesn’t have money, the most important thing is that it has a solid base of cooperation among its members, I say. It was not for lack of money that the US left Afghanistan in a deplorable state. It was for lack of solidarity. It was for lack of understanding his connection with a people it infiltrated for 20 years, but did not really come to know and love.

Sometimes we offer help to others and then we find that these people are doing undesirable things. For our mental health, we have to step aside, if we see that we are enabling their capacity for negativity. But if we can do something and, if we have formed a friendship, how can we abandon someone in times of crisis?

Here in the Hudson Valley, we are understanding that we all need each other. It is not so much money or resources that can strengthen our ties. Trust, understanding, and knowing ourselves is what will make us resilient beings and communities. It’s about trying to see the other’s point of view. Nelson Mandela taught us this.

Between now and 2030, the UN has to dismantle impediments to solidarity. Among countries, this has to be seen beyond national interest; we have realized by now that what some do on one side of the world affects others on the other side. We have a lot more in common than we imagine. The COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis and its threat to the environment have brought to light the reality of our interconnections and the fragility of what we call borders.

Our personal initiative for safety, be it emotional, physical, and economic, etc., depends on this social support. Our individual progress is based on our connections with others; and in fact, all we have, our years of study, work, our food, clothing, and shelter are evidence that there are thousands of hands that have contributed to these things and situations. We cannot forget all the sacrifices of our loved ones so that we can be someone in life. In the same way, why can we not remember all the sacrifices of other beings that we do not know, but whose actions contribute to our happiness and development on a daily basis?

In conclusion, the UN has to take advantage of those existing connections that we have and promote a global alliance that will allow  future generations to have a safe and healthy life. The situation in Afghanistan is a great opportunity to bring together all the countries involved or interested in Afghanistan and put pressure against isolation and power with a fist of terror, which is what the policies of the Taliban imply. Each of us has to leave this world better and soften the mistrust in our environment. May we come to understand that getting closer to others with sincerity is getting closer to our own truth. Thank you.