WYA’s Vision of Sustainable Development in First Things

(New York, Wednesday, July 5)–Meghan Grizzle, Research and Policy Specialist at the World Youth Alliance, has published an article on the First Things website that explains the implications of the Rio+20 conference and introduces the Sustainable Development Goals that are set for negotiation this fall. The article, titled "Rio+20: Where Do We Go From Here?", is available here.

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 20 to 22. A major task of the Rio+20 conference was to develop a mechanism to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015.  This mechanism, which is called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), will be enumerated by a 30-person committee in September.  According to Grizzle, "the next battle is thus determining what these new goals will be."

Grizzle’s First Things article notes that abortion activists like International Planned Parenthood Federation will push for the inclusion of a universal recognition of reproductive rights in the SDGs. But this goal is misguided, for it affirms the idea that a smaller population leads to more economic opportunities and more available jobs; however, as the article notes, "the reality [is that] poverty, not populations, . . . is the real culprit in failures to achieve sustainable development."  The new SDGs must focus on lifting people out of poverty and fostering the exercise of their creativity, recognizing the importance of human capital.  Encouraging developing countries to reduce fertility rates will rob them of the potential creative and development capacity that accompanies robust future generations.

The article outlines several critical areas that the SDGs should address, including health, education, youth, good governance, and cultivation of cultural capital.  Ideally, the SDGs will focus on these priorities and will not get bogged down in a debate about population ethics. However, as Grizzle notes, the likely battle this fall will be "to remind the [SDG] committee that creativity of humanity is the Earth’s greatest resource."

For more information:

Meghan Grizzle, Research and Policy Specialist

Email: meghan@wya.net Phone: 212-585-0757  website: www.wya.net

About the organization:

The World Youth Alliance is a global coalition of young people dedicated to promoting the dignity of the human person in policy and culture and to building solidarity between young people of developing and developed nations. With approximately one million members from more than 160 countries, the World Youth Alliance is one of the biggest coalitions of young people worldwide. Regional offices are located in Beirut (Middle East), Brussels (Europe), Manila (Asia Pacific), Mexico City (Latin America), Nairobi (Africa), and New York (North America and Headquarters).