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Season 1 Episode 3: The Sustainable Development Goals: with John Rolfe MBE


The Sustainable Development Goals  provide a blueprint for shared prosperity in a sustainable world - a world where all people can live productive, vibrant and peaceful lives on a healthy planet. 


John Rolfe MBE is the Schools outreach Manager for the British Council.  In this episode he talks about the different ways that schools can become involved in trying to achieve these goals.  He shares examples of projects, funding opportunities and explains how pupils and teachers can connect to bring a truly global, connected curriculum to life.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by 193 member states attending the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York in 2015. The Goals are part of the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development – A way to tackle global issues which include poverty, inequality, climate change, inclusive societies and access to health and education


The 2030 Agenda has provided a blueprint for shared prosperity in a sustainable world—a world where all people can live productive, vibrant and peaceful lives on a healthy planet. At the time of this podcast, 2030 is a decade away, and we must ask ourselves if what we are doing today will lay the right foundation to achieve these goals.


The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019 demonstrated that progress is being made: Extreme poverty has declined considerably, the under-5 mortality rate fell by 49 per cent between 2000 and 2017, immunizations have saved millions of lives, and the vast majority of the world’s population now has access to electricity.


Countries are taking concrete actions to work together to protect our planet


But we need to do more


The natural environment is deteriorating at an alarming rate: sea levels are rising; ocean acidification is accelerating; the past four years have been the warmest on record; one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction.


Our goal to end extreme poverty is not on-track. Global hunger is on the rise, and at least half of the world’s population lacks essential health services.


More than half of the world’s children do not meet standards in reading and mathematics and women in all parts of the world continue to face structural disadvantages and discrimination.

In everything we do, we must diligently ensure that policy choices leave no one behind, and that national efforts are supported by effective international cooperation. For teachers and school leaders it goes without saying that these issues belong in the classroom. We should perhaps approach them with sensitivity but ruthless determination.


Our ten year olds will be 20 when these goals will be achieved. So time is short. In the words of Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations ‘The time is right and we must act now’.


But where we do we start?

Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2019/The-Sustainable-Development-Goals-Report-2019.pdf 


https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2019/05/07/mapping-the-impact-of-un-sustainable-development-goals-on-global-research/


https://www.britishcouncil.org/education/schools


https://www.britishcouncil.org/school-resources


https://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/2018-2019-annual-report-final.pdf

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