Leaving no One Behind- For an Inclusive and Sustainable Future
- Soe Soe Aye1
Leaving no one behind (LNOB) is the central transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It represents the unequivocal commitment of all UN Member States, to eradicate poverty in all its forms, end discrimination and exclusion and reduce the inequalities and vulnerabilities that leave people behind and undermine the potential of individuals and of humanity as a whole. A sustainable community uses its resources to meet current needs while ensuring that adequate resources are available for future generations.
A sustainable community resembles a living system in which human, natural and economic elements are interdependent and draw strength from each other. The concept of a “sustainable community” does not describe just one type of neighbourhood, town, city or region. Activities that the environment can sustain and those citizens want and can afford may be quite different from community to community. Rather than being a fixed thing, a sustainable community is continually adjusting to meet the social and economic needs of its residents while preserving the environment’s ability to support it.
To explore and view the sustainable development goals and the role of the Community at large, Community Health Workers, Community Nursing and Volunteerism for an inclusive and sustainable future.
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The UNSDG guides, supports, tracks and oversees the coordination of development operations in 162 countries and territories. There are 17 SDGs. SDG 1’s goal is to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030. SDG2 ‘s goal is Zero Hunger. To achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. SDG 3’s goal is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. SDG 4 is Quality Education. This is to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. SDG5 is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. SDG 6 is to ensure access to water and sanitation for all. SDG 7 is to ensure access to affordable reliable sustainable and modern energy. SDG8 is to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.SDG9 is to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable Industrialization and foster innovations.SDG10 is to reduce inequality within and among countries.SDG11 is to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.SDG12 is to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.SDG13 is to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.SDG14 is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. SDG 15 is life on land. Nature is critical to our survival: Nature provides us with our oxygen, regulates our weather patterns, pollinates our crops, produces our food, feed and fiber. But it is under increasing stress. The goal here is to sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. SDG16 is to promote just peaceful and inclusive societies. Conflict, insecurity, weak institutions and limited access to justice remain a great threat to sustainable development. SDG 17 is to revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. All the 17 SDGs can only be realized with strong global partnerships and cooperation.
Health is well placed in the SDGs. The health goal (SDG 3) is broad: ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’. The SDG declaration emphasizes that to achieve the overall health goal, ‘we must achieve universal health coverage (UHC) and access to quality health care. No one must be left behind’.
A sustainable community uses its resources to meet current needs while ensuring that adequate resources are available for future generations. It seeks a better quality of life for all its residents while maintaining nature’s ability to function over time by minimizing waste, preventing pollution, promoting efficiency and developing local resources to revitalize the local economy. Decision-making in a sustainable community stem from a rich civic life and shared information among community members. A sustainable community resembles a living system in which human, natural and economic elements are interdependent and draw strength from each other.
Potentially significant employment opportunities, consistent with more sustainable patterns of development, exist in many economic sectors. Redesigned and improved infrastructure, knowledge-based services, environmental technologies, improved management and use of natural resources, and tourism are all rich areas for private sector investment, supportive government policies, and expanded training. Some of the most promising employment opportunities include.
• Upgrading the efficiency of energy use in buildings, products, and transportation systems
• Adopting and implementing sustainable forestry, fisheries, soil, and watershed management practices
• Expanded delivery and use of information technologies • Sustainable tourism activities centred around areas of environmental, cultural, and historic significance
• Recycling and remanufacturing of solid and hazardous waste into marketable products
• Accelerated and expanded development of marine and freshwater aquaculture
• Adding value to fish, agricultural, and forest products
• Developing, manufacturing, and marketing products, services, and technologies that reduce environmental burdens
• Designing energy-efficient and people-friendly cities
Achieving sustainable community development means emphasizing sustainable employment and economic demand management (EDM). Sustainable employment includes, turning “wastes” into resources (e.g., recycling); improving efficiency with regard to energy and materials; converting to greater reliance on renewable energy sources; increasing community self-reliance (e.g., food and energy production); and sustainable management of natural resources (e.g., community forestry). EDM shifts our economic development emphasis from the traditional concern with increasing growth to reducing social dependence on economic growth.
Examples of sustainable community development include car cooperatives to reduce the cost and necessity of car ownership. The wild success of car-sharing in Vancouver may have helped reduce the number of private vehicles on the road and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions .
Sustainable employment plans to create jobs, spur private spending, and reduce pollution through public investment in energy conservation and audits. In September 2019, San José City Council approved a building reach code ordinance that encourages building electrification and energy efficiency, requires solar-readiness on non-residential buildings, and requires electric vehicle (EV)-readiness and EV equipment installation .
New product development to encourage manufacturers to develop environmentally-friendly products through municipal R&D assistance Lab4Life is a driving force in their work to make Gothenburg one of the best R&D sites in the world. The philosophy of Lab4Life is to create flexible lab and office working environments that encourage collaboration between scientists from different therapy areas and disciplines. Lab4Life includes more than 10 new Centres of Excellence, including centres for Chemistry, Mass Spectrometry, Cells, Sample Management, and more. The Lab4Life initiative has already inspired other labs across both their company and the industry. (Gothenberg, Sweden).
Another example is the increasing affordable housing supply through zoning codes that promote a variety of housing types, including smaller and multi-family homes. At the heart of their work is the desire to make their city a better place for people. They had designed, a triple-bottom line philosophy, where their buildings address environmental, social and economic sustainability for their clients, the tenants and users of the projects, and for the community at large. (Portland, Oregon).
In the drive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 there is renewed focus on the contribution of community health workers (CHWs). As key partners in health care delivery, CHWs play a critical role in promoting equitable expansion of coverage for a range of preventive, promotive and curative services related to reproductive, maternal, new born and child health, infectious diseases and noncommunicable diseases. In building on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals, the comprehensive efforts required across all parts of the health system to ensure that no-one is left behind, include maximising the potential of CHWs.
Reflecting the renewed focus on CHWs, the First International Symposium on Community Health Workers was held in  Kampala, Uganda, 21-23 February 2017, with the theme ‘Contribution of Community Health Workers in attainment of the SDGs’. The Kampala Statement highlights the potential of CHWs to contribute to attaining a range of SDGs, including SDG 1 (ending poverty), SDG 2 (ending hunger and ensuring food security), SDG 3 (health and wellbeing), SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 10 (reduce inequalities) and SDG 17 (partnerships for global health). The Symposium identified a number of key actions to support CHWs in their role in attaining the SDGs, relating to political and financial support, a conducive policy environment, partnership among the range of health care providers and research.
In building a strong evidence base on the optimal contribution of CHWs to achieving the SDGs, five key issues have been proposed for consideration: 1) promoting research on the role of CHWs across the range of priority health problems, including communicable diseases, maternal and child health and non-communicable diseases; 2) paying attention to research on cross-cutting enabling factors, for example education, accreditation and regulation, management and supervision, effective linkage to professional cadres, motivation and remuneration, and provision of essential drugs and commodities; 3) filling the research gap in understanding how to ensure the sustainability of programmes supported by CHWs, by using innovative national planning, governance, legal and financing mechanisms; 4) ensuring an emphasis on scientific rigour; and 5) using mixed methods research to answer policy questions beyond a narrow disease- or intervention-specific focus.
The 2030 Agenda is historically and distinctly a nursing agenda. In the 1860s, Nightingale worked to reform the Liverpool Workhouse Infirmary where 1,200 impoverished and hungry people were crowded into unsafe, unsanitary conditions. Because of this effort, and at Nightingale’s urging, reform of the entire British workhouse system included placing salaried nurses who addressed these conditions in workhouse settings for the very first time. SDG 3 most reflects a lifetime of Nightingale’s effort and contributions. Good health and well-being continue to drive the work of nurses and midwives globally. Building upon her own service to soldiers during the Crimean War and for many years thereafter, Nightingale was also keenly aware of the measures needed to prevent war and to promote peace. This directly is linked to the establishment of SDG 16: “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”
Nurses in high-income countries (HICs) like the United States are often challenged to focus attention on the SDGs and to translate the SDGs into upstream, purposeful action; challenged to expand their consciousness as ‘global citizens’; and challenged to recognize that strengthening global partnerships for sustainable development first requires becoming more aware of how individuals and communities define ‘health.’ . As nurses articulate their mission and vision toward accomplishing the 17 SDGs, they are seen as leaders and advocates who are cultivating and motivating citizens and communities to be more engaged in SDG attainment. Nurses in high-income countries (HICs) can become SDG change agents as they use their voices to address social injustice and provide hope across the globe. They can create environments that foster positive personal and professional development, inclusive networking, mutually beneficial collaboration, and mobilize collective efforts to inspire ‘planetary thinking’ . Nurses have the knowledge and skills, and the caring stance, to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development where justice for all may be realized. Understanding healing as an emergent process of the whole system brings together aspects of one’s self and the body-mind-emotion-spirit-environment-culture at the deeper levels of inner knowing. This leads nurses as individuals and professionals toward integration and balance, with each aspect having equal importance and value. In alignment with Nightingale’s teachings and still-relevant wisdom, nurses can address the SDGs by asserting their knowledge, skills, and desire to lead. Nurses are the largest healthcare cadre worldwide. When supported to advance and lead, nurses worldwide maintain the potential to wield a profound impact on improving health and well-being for all people, species, and our planet.
As we seek to build capacities and to help the new agenda to take root, volunteerism can be another powerful and cross-cutting means of implementation. Volunteerism can help to expand and mobilize constituencies, and to engage people in national planning and implementation for the Sustainable Development Goals. And volunteer groups can help to localize the new agenda by providing new spaces of interaction between governments and people for concrete and scalable actions. Volunteerism strengthens civic engagement, safeguards social inclusion, deepens solidarity and solidifies ownership of development results. Many of the SDGs call for long-term attitude and behaviour changes - for example, in the way we live together or in the way we consume. Volunteers facilitate changes in mind sets by raising awareness or championing those changes and inspiring others .
“Greener is Cleaner “, a student-led organization based in Seoul, urges stakeholders to establish the necessary environmental policies to adhere to the Paris Agreement and achieve net-zero by 2050. On 25 September, this organization initiated a climate strike to call for sustainable solutions to reduce our carbon footprint. Through the tenets of nature, education, sustainability and transformation, West Coast N.E.S.T., based on Vancouver Island, Canada, explores and promotes experiential, outdoor-based learning. During the Global Week to Act for SDGs, this organization helped locals discover outdoor educational experiences in their region and hosted an SDG photo contest to raise community awareness about the SDGs. Through the lens of the SDGs, “Impact Hub and Accelerate 2030 “drive entrepreneurial innovation in developing nations. Impact Hub also fostered a Global Impact Campaign entitled “The New Economy Starts Here,” to share the successes and challenges of meeting the SDGs, and support & impact entrepreneurship .
By attending to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) made explicit in the UN Agenda, community nurses can lead with globally informed clarity and purpose in these uncertain times; and they can do so while embodying the disciplinary values and caring foundations inherent to Nightingale’s legacy to better facilitate healing and health for all people everywhere. Everything we stand for is to create a brighter future for every individual, where everyone can thrive and reach their potential. That is why world leaders came together in 2015 and mobilised the 2030 Agenda: a set of 17 goals for sustainable development. The Sustainable Development Goals are humanity’s to-do list for a sustainable planet, a clear roadmap for a better, inclusive and sustainable future. Finally, the SDGs require a “data revolution” to collect and analyse dis-aggregated data to monitor progress. Volunteers can help measure progress on SDG implementation by collecting data, providing expertise and supporting participatory forms of planning and monitoring. Volunteerism, as a form of civic engagement, is a way to strengthen state-citizen accountability mechanisms for the coming decades, a way to realize the promise of the Agenda 20 in leaving no one behind.
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Citation: Soe Soe Aye “Leaving no One Behind- For an Inclusive and Sustainable Future” Journal of Nursing and Community Medicine Vol 1 (2021):101
Copyright: © 2021 Soe Soe Aye, et al. This is an open access article distributed under the term of the Creative Common Attribution License, Which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited