House Resolution 654 - Supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

House Resolution 654 promotes governmental responsibility in addressing the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, the program’s history of success and its strategies to fight global poverty. It also calls attention to other factors that inhibit a safe and sustainable way of life for poverty-stricken individuals and families.

House Resolution 654

House Resolution 654 expresses reasoning for the U.S. government’s support of the Sustainable Development Goals outlined in the U.N. 2030 Agenda. The resolution speaks to ideals of eradicating poverty, creating gender equality, providing accessible public health, improving the peace and prosperity of all people and protecting the planet.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are in line with many of the same ideals that U.S. citizens believe in promoting and that the U.S. government has proven to prioritize through its bipartisan support in past legislation under various presidential administrations. The U.S. provides strong leadership in the global community. The U.S. government choosing to uphold the goals posed by the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals is key in influencing other nations to reach the goals of the 2030 Agenda.

The Sustainable Development Goals pick up where the Millenium Development Goals left off. According to a 2015 report on the success of the Millenium Development Goals, the program proved to be the “most successful anti-poverty movement in history” due to its worldwide support. The world saw a 56% decline in extreme poverty in the years between 1990 and 2015, most of that improvement happening after the Millenium Development Goals were enforced in 2000. This resolution asks that Congress support the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals so that poverty eradication, food security, accessible education, environmental sustainability, gender equality and many other factors that hinder development can see further advancement and be implemented before 2030.

Sustainable Development Goals

At the 2015 United Nations General Assembly, 193 nations agreed to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. On January 1, 2016, those goals were officially enforced.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls upon the governments of these 193 nations to adopt a universal plan of action to improve global poverty. It also asks the nations to enact strategies that promote key human rights which affect extreme poverty levels. The U.N. Agenda recognizes that fostering sustainable development across the globe requires a multifaceted approach which each country can uniquely apply to the economic, environmental, and social situation of its respective nation.

The U.N. 2030 Agenda poses 17 Sustainable Development Goals along with 169 targets for nations to strive to meet by the year 2030. Listed are summaries of some of the 17 Goals:

  • Goal 1: End all forms of global poverty
  • Goal 2: End hunger and achieving food security
  • Goal 4: Provide equal access to education
  • Goal 8: Promote sustainable economic growth and work opportunities
  • Goal 16: Promote accountability and strengthen inclusive institutions

These Goals, along with the other 12, build on the foundation provided by the previous Millenium Development Goals. The Sustainable Development Goals are set to achieve the goals that lacked completion by the Millenium Development Goals.

It is no coincidence that ending poverty is listed first in the Sustainable Development Goals. Global poverty eradication is crucial to achieving the other goals promoted by the 2030 Agenda. Today, the Coronavirus disproportionately affects those living in poverty and those vulnerable to falling below the poverty line. Now more than ever countries must collaborate in this global program which promotes accountable governments and economic strategies to fight global poverty.

Status Of the Resolution

House Resolution 654 was introduced in the House by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) on October 24, 2019, and it has the support of 37 cosponsors. That same day, it was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Currently, the resolution is still sitting in committee. About 25 percent of bills make it out of committee so there is hope for cosponsors and supporters of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals that the resolution will receive congressional support.

The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals is an important and influential program in and of itself. It is equally important for legislation such as H.Res. 654 to continue to be proposed in Congress so that the U.S. government is kept aware of and responsible for supporting strategies that improve global poverty.

Hanna Rowell
Photo: Flickr