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Far from critiquing the control of the market, the SDGs exhort world leaders to "remove market distortions" and "ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets." This is not the way to end poverty in twenty years. (Photo: via Global Justice Now)
Not many people enjoy the existence of poverty. Some think it’s inevitable, others that tackling it is politically impossible. But for those with ambition, an end to poverty is a worthy enough goal. Naturally the self-congratulation will be in full flow this weekend, as celebrities and world leaders gather in New York to launch their latest effort to do just that, in the form of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
But something will be missing in between the speeches and performances by the likes of Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, Bill Gates and Meryl Streep. That thing is power. Because unless you understand that the poverty of some flows from the wealth and power of others, efforts to fight poverty will not truly work.
The SDGs consist of 17 objectives which aim to build a better planet – from eradicating hunger to building more sustainable cities. Each objectives contains a number of targets which cover everything from having better public transport to helping artisanal fisherfolk get better access to markets.
"It is impossible to realise the targets of the SDGs without tackling corporate power."
The goals do represent the many dimensions of poverty – it isn’t simply about a certain number of dollars a day. While some targets are limited or problematic (‘preventing trade restrictions in agriculture’ could cover a multitude of sins) others are very good (‘encouraging local involvement in water management’ and ‘improving the incomes of small farmers’)./.../