Davos, The World Economic Forum, and Hartwell

What is Davos? We hear about it on the news frequently. Well Davos is not a thing, it is a place. Every year, The World Economic Forum and national leaders meet in Davos, Switzerland to address poverty, economic growth, and sustainable development issues. Here at home, we think of Economic Development as bringing new businesses to the community. Economic Development has to be more than just ribbon cuttings. Economic Growth has to be about reducing poverty in our community. Back to Davos; world leaders came together three years ago and developed the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in order to address poverty and other development issues. This program is a continuation of the Millennium Development Goals that were developed at the turn of the century, and to date, extreme poverty has been reduced globally by 50%. Extreme poverty is defined as people living on less than $2 per day. There is still work to be done. Poverty is a global problem, but it is a local one as well. So how does an international plan help us here in Hartwell? How do we localize their discussions? Well, we often think of poverty as a problem in some far off land, in a less developed country, and the people who are affected by poverty as living in tribal societies or cram packed cities. You may be shocked to learn that the poverty rate in Hartwell is 22.97%. Nearly 1 in 4 people in our community are being impacted by poverty; this comes with secondary and tertiary effects like poor health, food insecurity, and limited equality for women and children. The good news is, Hartwell is doing something about it. We have a poverty taskforce that is working to address the needs of our community. We have an excellent civil society infrastructure in place working to identify and support folks right here at home. Of course our local churches do amazing work to support our community. I do wonder if there is room for a focused approach that brings all of these resources together, and I believe the answer is yes. The Global Goals found inside the 2030 Agenda are designed to take a holistic approach to policy creation and implementation. Below is an image of the 17 Global Goals. I want you to think of them as stackable. That is, if reducing poverty is the ultimate goal, you may need to start at another location to be most effective. For example, we may see Zero Hunger (Goal 2) as the greatest need. To address that, Responsible Consumption and Production (Goal 12) needs to be prioritized to keep Clean Water and Sanitation (Goal 6) at appropriate levels for cooking and hygiene purposes. This supports Good Health and Well-being (Goal 3). In turn, kids go to school regularly so they get a Quality Education (Goal 4), which means they get Decent Work and Economic Growth (Goal 8). More money in folks pockets reduces poverty (Goal 1). When poverty is reduced, there are Reduced Inequalities (Goal 10), and when inequalities get eliminated, a more diverse population addresses issues like Affordable and Clean Energy (Goal 7), and Life Below Water/on Land (Goals 14 &15). The other interesting part about The Global Goals is success is already defined. There are 140+ targets and indicators that let communities know what success looks like. Policy makers need only add in local realities for a plan to take shape. By aligning all the good work that is already happening in Hartwell with the language found in the Global Goals, we can make giant strides towards implementing comprehensive plans that will reduce poverty in our community. It is easy to dismiss international discussions on development considering how far away these problems sometimes feel. The reality is, poverty and development issues exist here too. It is estimated that there is a $2 trillion dollar funding gap in development worldwide per year. This means locally, economic growth is required to be successful. The Global Goals provide a path to focusing policy in terms of taxation and efficient spending necessary to achieve positive results. For more information on The Global Goals, take a look at https://www.globalgoals.org/ or https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs.

The Global Goals
The Development Landscape

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