The Age of Sustainable Development
Columbia University Press, New York, USA; 2015, 521pp; pb $ 26.24
In September 2015, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will expire and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will set in. Launched by the United Nations at the Millennium Summit in 2000, the eight MDGs sought to eradicate or reduce, among other issues, hunger and poverty, diseases, gender inequality, as well as mother and child mortality. In the post-2015 era, the SDGs are expected to build on the MDGs.
In his book, The Age of Sustainable Development, renowned economics professor and author, Jeffrey D. Sachs, who is also a special advisor on the MDGs to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, elaborates on the SDGs and illustrates how they can be achieved. Through a holistic approach that addresses a topic that can often be overwhelming and complex, Prof. Sachs explains clearly the importance of not just learning theory, but also championing the sustainable development agenda to improve the welfare of humankind.
“Sustainable development is both a way of looking at the world with a focus on the interlinkages of economic, social and environmental change, a way of describing our shared aspirations for a decent life, combining economic development, social inclusion and environmental sustainability,” Prof. Sachs told his audience when he launched his book at UN Headquarters in New York early this year. “It is, in short, both an analytical theory and a ‘normative’ or ethical framework”.
The book is organized into short chapters – including an introduction to sustainable development, food security, biodiversity, urbanization and climate change – and breaks these concepts down into easily digestible segments. The approach ensures that a reader with no prior knowledge of sustainable development can easily understand.
The 521-page book is an inspiring and enlightening read. It shows how much of a difference each global citizen can make towards collective goals. And as Prof. Sachs stated at the book’s launch in New York: “The preservation of the planet is in our hands.”