The Leader of the Opposition and of the Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, delivered Oldham Council’s backing for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at its most recent meeting.
In September 2015, 193 world leaders met at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to adopt seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. These goals seek the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, improvements in public health, reductions in child and maternal mortality, better educational outcomes, more gender equality, better international co-operation and a environmentally sustainable future for our planet to help the United Nations achieve the ambition articulated in their 2000 Millennium Declaration of creating ‘a more peaceful, prosperous and just world’ by 2030.
Councillor Sykes believes that local government, as well as the UK government, should be aiming to help deliver these worthy objectives, and he is backed in his ambition by Liberal Democrat Councillor for Saddleworth West and Lees Sam Al-Hamdani, who has previously worked with UN agencies such as the World Health Organisation.
Commenting, Councillor Sykes said: “These goals may seem lofty and New York may seem a long way from Oldham, but we can all make our own contribution, whether we are a Council or an individual, as part of one world community to achieving them. Unfortunately, even in Britain, one of the world’s richest countries, many children still go to bed hungry and food bank use and homelessness is on the rise, so we still have work to do even on our own doorstep. In a world increasingly threatened by climate change, we have seen an increasing incidence of fierce fires on our local moors meaning we should all now redouble our efforts to ensure that the preservation of our natural environment is placed front and centre when we consider our actions, whether as a citizen or as a public body.”
Councillor Sykes wants the Council to carry out an audit of what it has done to contribute towards the goals and what more it might do in the future. He added: “In our motion, Councillor Al-Hamdani and I will be asking the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Board to conduct this audit with our social partners and to present a report of their findings to a future meeting of Oldham Council. We both look forward to reading it with great interest and then to implementing it with vigour.”