25 September 2020 marked the 5th anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed by world leaders in 2015 – a promise of a sustainable world free of extreme poverty by 2030. Progress has been made in many areas, but the COVID-19 pandemic has rolled back international development efforts, threatening to increase malnutrition, derail progress made in ending deadly diseases, put people’s livelihoods at risk, and disrupt children’s education.
The new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) leads the UK’s international development work, and it is vital that it focuses its efforts on poverty reduction and building strong health and education systems, if we are to see a fairer world by 2030. With a likely reduction in the UK aid budget, it will be necessary to target our efforts on those most in need and in the most marginalised communities.
The Government has previously stated its priorities as including girls’ education, and ending preventable deaths; these ambitions must be made a reality. The anniversary of the SDGs, coming during the COVID-19 pandemic, is an important time to ensure there is political support for the UK to continue working internationally to eradicate poverty, including via its COVID-19 response.
With World Food Day (16 October) and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October) coming up, now is a good moment to use the media and social media to grab the attention of your MP and others in your community about the importance of continuing the UK’s efforts to end poverty.