The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 goals with 169 targets which were adopted on September 25, 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly (the main organ of the United Nations). They are a part of the Agenda 2030 and are to guide international and national development policy until the year 2030 in order to combat major global challenges, such as poverty, hunger and climate change.
Unlike its predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which included 8 goals focusing on developing countries, this agenda aims to leave no one behind and is therefore targeted at both developed and developing countries. The SDGs are centered around the five P´s: People, Planet, Peace, Prosperity and Partnership.
Eat United´s work contributes to 12 out of 17 SDGs (directly or indirectly). The other 5 SDGs are just as important. As all of the SDGs are highly interlinked, it is impossible to fully achieve one of the goals without also achieving the others at least to an extent.
SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
SDG 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
SDG 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
SDG 1 No Poverty
SDG 1 is to 'End poverty in all its forms everywhere'. Eat United is specifically focused on the sub-targets 1.1 Eradicate extreme poverty and 1.2 Reduce poverty by at least 50%.
Eat United’s “Rescued Food Banks” ensure that people in low-income communities have access to food. This alleviates worries about providing for the family, and enables Food Bank members to put the money saved towards other essentials such as school supplies or medication if necessary. Additionally, Eat United promotes hands-on education around healthy cooking and eating (using rescued fruits and veggies!). Members learn and share tips on nutritious, budget recipes by making them together!
SDG 2 Zero Hunger
The second SDG is 'End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture'. Eat United focuses on the subtargets 2.1 “Universal access to safe and nutritious food”, as well as 2.2 “End all forms of malnutrition”.
How? Through the Food Rescue we re-distribute surplus food from the local market to low-income communities. At the community Food Bank families can pick up fresh fruits and vegetables – not only providing food but also encouraging a nutritious diet to reduce malnutrition.
SDG 3 Good Health and Wellbeing
SDG 3 is 'Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages'. We are paying attention to subtarget 3.4 Reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases.
The economic and geographic access to food that is high in sugar and low in micronutrients is very easy in marginalized urban neighbourhoods. That is one of the reasons, why long-term health problems due to poor dietary variety and lack of micronutrients occur. Considering the increase of chronic diseases and the fact that 42% of the Nicaraguan population are less than 18 years old, this could result in a serious health crisis in the future. By providing nutritious non-processed food, Eat United aims at combatting this issue.
SDG 4 Quality Education
The fourth SDG is 'Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all'. Comamos Juntos centers its work on the subtarget 4.4 “Increased number of people with relevant skills for financial success.”
When Eat United members gathered to help co-design our programs, one of the main themes that came out was the strong desire to start small businesses. Women want independent income to support their families and have independence. That’s why we are also piloting a project to take this further, focusing on building entrepreneurship skills while using delicious and healthy food.
SDG 5 Gender Equality
SDG 5 is 'Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls'. We are specifically focused on the subtarget 5.1 “End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.”
Eat United is an organization with a focus on encouraging all girls and women to participate actively in shaping the world they want to live in, whether in their home, their community or society as a whole. Considering that the vast majority of Eat United’s community members, volunteers and staff are female, as well as a large share of the merchants, we provide a safe space for everyone to get creative, as well as to live and learn to their fullest potential.
SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation
The sixth SDG is 'Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all'. Comamos Juntos worked on various subtargets of this goal, such as for example 6.1 “Achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all” and 6.a “Expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes”.
With the help of the German embassy in Nicaragua we managed to improve water and sanitation infrastructure in the community Las Jaguitas in Managua, including sinks with running water and a proper bathroom. This collaboration also enabled us to expand our international cooperation beyond international volunteers to embassies and governments while focusing on the needs and the wellbeing of the people in the community.
SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 8 is 'Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all'. Our work is centered around the subtarget 8.4 “Improve resource efficiency in consumption and production” as part of our mission as an organization.
We believe that food waste and food insecurity should not coexist. For that reason we rescue surplus fresh produce from a local market which would otherwise have been thrown away. Most of the time, these products are still perfectly edible / usable, they just do not confirm to the beauty standards for sellable products. By rescuing them we do not only reduce the food waste, but also distribute the products to close the circle of supply and demand.
SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
The ninth SDG is 'Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation'. Eat United focused on subtarget 9.1 “Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure” when working with the German embassy to build WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) infrastructure in the community Las Jaguitas.
The infrastructure allowed the community and the users of the food bank to enjoy appropriate and inclusive infrastructure. Since the sinks and the bathroom are maintained by the community itself, they are strengthening the participation of the people. Infrastructure is a term that includes various areas.
SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities
SDG 10 is 'Reduce inequality within and among countries'. We are working especially on subtarget 10.2 “Empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all”.
Eat United’s Community Cooking Club focuses on building skills and confidence of the participating women in general, but also specifically on strengthening skillsets to enable them to be more economically active. We do this through practical training sessions on the basics of business, finance, administration, logistics and marketing – equipping participants with the tools to build their own businesses.
SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
The eleventh SDG is 'Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable'. Comamos Juntos worked on the subtarget 11.7 “Provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces”.
We did so by building a children’s area in the Las Jaguitas community, by implementing infrastructure projects in Villa Gualadupe and by working with the primary school Ananda Marga. Thereby, we were able to give access to a safe space for more people, especially children, for them to be able to enjoy their recreational time in an inclusive environment.
SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production
SDG 12 is 'Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns'. As part of its mission as an organization, Eat United works towards the subtargets 12.3 “Halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels”, as well as 12.5 “Substantially reduce waste generation”.
By collecting surplus produce from the local market, we are reducing food waste and making merchants and the general public more aware of the issue. As part of the food bank and the cooking club, we are also teaching users about how to use and store the food in order to avoid waste at the consumer level.
SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals
The seventeenth and last SDG is 'Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development'. We are mainly working with subtargets 17.3 “Mobilize additional financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources” and 17.9 “Enhance international support for implementing effective and targeted capacity-building in developing countries”.
We do so by mobilising international support and collaboration, for example with the German embassy and the Sydney Latin American Film Festival. In addition to that, we challenge our international network to get involved in various fundraising challenges, such as the Ugly Vegetable Olympics or currently Taste The Change. Our international volunteers also commit to personal fundraising challenges, which directly benefit our work in the communities in Managua.
Hopefully this introduction to the SDGs and how Eat United is implementing them was helpful to you.
Here you can find the official resolution: https://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E
Here you can find more information about the SDGs in general: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs