Dear Mr. Guterres,
Since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] three years ago, and with only 12 years until 2030, little has been done to put the extremely poor in the path of their implementation. The poor are still being left on the sidelines. In a remote area like ours, in eastern Uganda, there is not a single event, as a result of the SDGs, happening on the ground, to end poverty. Our struggles are the same as before.
On the one hand, getting a voice heard from a secluded part of the earth, like ours, is virtually impossible. On the other hand, even the many SDG-themed programs that have come up, such as the SDG Action Campaign or the SDG Fund, have maintained a distance between their work and the people living at the bottom of the pyramid, and have thus brought nothing new along with them to emancipate the poorest of the poor.
What voids the SDGs’ 2030 Agenda to “leave no one behind by 2030” the most, for those of us who live on [$2/day, is: even post-2015, the same ideals that undermined the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] – which “commits world leaders to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and discrimination against women. The MDGs are derived from this Declaration, and all have specific targets and indicators.”
On the ground, many of the local anti-poverty institutions, including UN agencies, often follow what Anthony Banbury called a “sclerotic” approach. There is little flexibility towards local challenges. There is no room to design new solutions together with the poor, unless those solutions can fit into a predetermined program. So, the poor have nobody to call a partner.