On 25 September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted A/RES/70/1, Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) laid out in this Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership, which all countries and stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement.
That includes A Rocha! The Agenda aims to end poverty and hunger; combat inequalities; build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; protect human rights; promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources; and create conditions for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and decent employment for all.
The SDGs are the outcome of numerous discussions across public and private fora, including participation by faith communities and NGO representatives. Faith communities are key actors in implementing the SDGs. We are part of the effort to place people and planet on a safer, more equitable and sustainable path – for example, A Rocha International was part of the steering committee for IUCN’s Spirituality and Conservation Journey at the 2016 World Conservation Congress.
Looking at our work around the globe through the lens of the SDGs, we see how our scientific research, environmental education and community conservation projects mirror the SDGs. Often, a project relates to more than one SDG.
Take the example of agriculture:
A Rocha Canada runs a sustainable agriculture programme from the Brooksdale Environmental Centre (BC) – the community share system provides food for local people, while the garden itself is a place of welcome for refugees, vulnerable youth and low income families to grow food together, eat locally and seasonally, reduce waste and food miles, and integrate socially – while the surrounding wildlife benefits from the health of organic farming. The team also goes out into the community to support local schools in transforming their school yards into farm yards, with a particular focus on ‘girls at risk’ in the Surrey School District.
At Cedar Haven Farm in Ontario, A Rocha Canada’s Earth-to-Table project – in partnership with World Vision – helps newcomers to Canada build community and experience nutritious food through community gardening and cooking together.
In Kenya and Uganda, our A Rocha teams train local farmers in ‘Farming God’s Way’, a form of conservation agriculture which combines biblical ethics and discipleship training with practical farming techniques which can increase productivity, even on impoverished soils.
Around Bannerghatta National Park, A Rocha India works with subsistence farmers on ways to live well with crop-raiding Indian Elephants, bringing together healthy farming, scientific research and community conservation.
These programmes fulfil targets set in several SDGs: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Sustainable Cities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action and Life on Land.
Education is another area where multiple SDGs weave together to make an impact: for example, A Rocha Kenya’s ASSETS programme offers secondary school bursaries for local students whose families commit to making lifestyle changes which lower their everyday impact on the forest (e.g. creating community tree nurseries of indigenous species, stopping illegal logging, committing to sustainable fishing, etc.). This is a win-win for everyone: children have access to schooling (Quality Education), girls are encouraged to stay in school (Gender Equality), families change the way they treat the forest and the sea (Life on Land and Life below Water), and people have an opportunity to develop sustainable livelihoods (No Poverty and Zero Hunger).
Click on the following links to read more about how A Rocha’s work is part of the global effort to meet these ambitious goals by 2030.