The BC Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) met with community leaders in Castlegar on Friday night to discuss the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the opportunities the goals present for provincial political engagement.
The 17 SDGs were part of a Sustainable Development Agenda unanimously adopted by the 193 member states of the United Nations in September 2015. They include goals like ending extreme poverty by 2030 and significantly reducing all forms of violence and related death rates. Over the past year, BCCIC has held roundtable discussions in 29 BC communities, including Castlegar, where they’ve met with groups who are already working on sustainable development issues.
As a result of those roundtable discussions, the BCCIC has been able to map community groups across BC, showing where the organizations are located, which SDGs they are working on and the regions and countries where their work is focused. The map can be viewed at bccic.ca/map.
The BCCIC also identified “the potential for greater political engagement and more support from all tiers of government on the seventeen goals” as a key finding from the discussions. To that end, members of the BCCIC returned to Castlegar to engage local community leaders on the possible opportunities for political engagement presented by the provincial election coming up in May 2017.
“Our goal in doing this originally was to come, report to people, tell you what we found, and ask, really seriously ask the question, if there was political engagement in order to influence and educate politicians to get them to understand this agenda. How do you connect it locally?” said Michael Simpson, executive director of BCCIC.
Those who attended Friday night’s discussion brought up poor logging practices and health care concerns as issues that they would like to see addressed by the provincial government.