In an interview, Tony Slatyer emphasized that each and every one of us has a role to lay in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) by 2030. Bringing the SDGs and SDG 6, in particular, into our everyday lives is an admirable and achievable objective. This article explores Tony’s ideas for how we can all contribute, as a part of our professional and personal lives, to SDG 6.
It is hard to think of a resource more precious, and more important, than water. SDG 6 strives to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, recognizing how important this is for health, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability.
While SDG 6 has direct links with activities professional undertake in the water sector, it is also a goal that people of all abilities, professions, and interests can contribute to.
“Whatever you do, whatever you’re doing, whatever your profession is, whatever your skill and mandate is, wherever you are in the whole landscape, you have a leadership role to play,” counsels Tony Slatyer, Special Advisor for the High-Level Panel on Water for the Australian Government.
Making the SDGs Happen
Slatyer explains that leadership means inspiring and encouraging others, raising public awareness and continuing conversations about SDGs.
“Everybody from the most junior official or young scientist to the wizened gurus in the world can all exercise that leadership,” he says. “You only have to look at the basic facts, statistics around how far we have to go in the next 13 years, how much good can be achieved to start to create conversations and new thinking about that.”
While not every idea will be the best one to accomplish SDG 6 or other goals, they are all valuable as contributions and may work to spark other plans and projects that will impact the world.
“Don’t be afraid to bring forward radical new ideas that could contribute to SDGs,” says Slatyer. “Let’s let all the good ideas bloom and bring them into whatever governing body framework you work with, put up your hand, get involved. These are things everybody can do wherever they’re working and wherever they’re sitting.”
Getting Involved With SDGs
Slatyer asks “everybody who is in a position to do anything that is a step towards achieving that goal to get on with it and to talk about it and mobilize their peers and colleagues and exercise the leadership that is needed if we’re going to achieve this in the next 13 years.”
What does this look like, practically?
For stakeholders who are directly involved, it may be easier to find a role in the framework of making SDGs a reality. For those who want to help but are not already involved, the task may seem daunting, but there are several ways to help.
Consider raising awareness of SDG 6 and other goals through campaigns and information sharing, particularly in areas where people may have not heard about these efforts before. If you have expertise in water management or another applicable field, volunteer your time and your skills.
Share your knowledge, research, and experience making progress toward the SDGs. Use your own behaviour as a good example of sustainable water use, explaining to others why it is important to you in the context of SDGs. Help collect data, amass knowledge, and encourage participation in any activities that further the SDGs. Every role counts in making these goals a reality.