The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, to protect the planet and to ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

These 17 Goals build on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals, while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. The goals are interconnected – often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another.

The SDGs work in the spirit of partnership and pragmatism to make the right choices now to improve life, in a sustainable way, for future generations. They provide clear guidelines and targets for all countries to adopt in accordance with their own priorities and the environmental challenges of the world at large. The SDGs are an inclusive agenda. They tackle the root causes of poverty and unite us together to make a positive change for both people and planet.

The province of Utrecht is also concerned with improving awareness on the Sustainable Development Goals. Utrecht4GlobalGoals is the important organisation within this aspect, and also assists us with the organisation of the UUMUN Academy by providing resources. By increasing awareness on the SDGs, together we can make a difference and so how every individual can help to achieve these goals. The SDGs are visible on the image below.

Because UUMUN values the Sustainable Development Goals, we always seek a theme that has special affinity with certain SDGs. This years theme of the UUMUN Academy focusses on goal 5, 8 and 16:

SDG 5: Gender equality

Between 2010 and 2012, 70% of all detected victims of human trafficking were female, they encompass the vast majority of detected victims for sex trafficking. Target 5.2 specifically addresses trafficking calls for countries to, “Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.” This goal conceives trafficking and exploitation as a form of gender discrimination and violence against women. Many of the other goals under this target are connected to trafficking, including the elimination of harmful practices such as child marriage, the call to value unpaid care and domestic workers, and the creation and implementation of policies to promote gender equality at all levels of society. While women and girls do make up the majority of sex trafficking victims, this goal may divert funding to help men, boys, and transgender populations that are also affected by commercial sexual exploitation.

SDG 8: decent work and economic growth

Worldwide there are 21 million women in forced labor. Combatting the issue of forces labor is the central topic of goal 8. Falling within its scope, target 8.7 calls for nations to, “Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms.” This is arguably the most direct target focusing on the issue of human trafficking, and has been celebrated by the anti-trafficking field. However, other targets under this goal are equally important to end human trafficking, since they have a particular focus on increasing access to decent and stable work. Stable work will decrease poverty and desperation caused by poverty is one of the root causes of human trafficking.

SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

Half of children in countries affected by conflict had left primary school by 2011. Children who are not in school are more likely to be working, and are vulnerable to trafficking. Target 16.2 calls for the nations to “End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.” Other targets, such as combatting organized crime, promoting the rule of law, and reducing all forms of violence are all connected to ending trafficking. In particular, one of the targets focuses on providing legal identity for all, including birth registration. When children lack a legal identity, they are often unable to access health care, education, and other social services. They also can’t prove their age. Traffickers often exploit this vulnerability and force children who are too young to legally work into labor and force girls too young to wed into marriages. It’s crucial that all children have access to a birth certificate.

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