In this article, I will explain the three main principles of the SDGs. Let's look at a UNIDO project I worked on and apply the three principles.
This UNIDO climate change project dealt with both adaptation and mitigation measures in eight sectors in four African countries. The first sector featured in this video is the tea industry in Kenya. Hailstorms and rainfall have been increasing, and further climate change is expected in this area. As a result, the growth of tea leaves is likely to become more difficult.
And not only that, the drying of tea in factories due to bad weather is expected to consume more time and energy. Improving the growth of the tea plant is one way of adapting, but improving the efficiency of the tea factory will also support the farmers in this case. A farmer's cooperative manages the factory here, and we found out that if we reduce the energy involved in drying at the factory as well as reduce their costs. And with the newly available budget, they can spend on activities to support the farmers.
In fact, when we checked the factory, we found that it was in a dilapidated state. So, when we installed an efficient Japanese drying system in this project, we reduced the drying time and energy efficiency by less than half. As mentioned in this video interview, the money saved here can be used to support farmers.
Let's put this in the context of the SDGs, which have 17 goals and 169 targets, but there is no point in memorising them one by one. What is essential is to understand how to achieve the SDGs and to apply them to your projects.
The three most essential principles of the SDGs are
Leave no one behind
Engage with the root causes
The first two are plans, but the third is where the real action comes in. Even if it's a UN project, it's business and technology that are doing the work at the end of the day. And let's take these three principles and apply them to this case.
By "leave no one behind", we included the farmers who load the tea and the factories where the tea plants are brought in.
By "get involved in the root cause", we were talking about a climate change project, but in solving the problem, we found that the problem was the age of the factory facilities. The solution to this problem was to install efficient blowers.
"No cherry-picking" supported the old factory so that the cooperative could have more time and money to support the farmers.
Not everything fits neatly into the principles, but we hope you can see that it is important to dig into a problem and take a step back and look around to understand if there are other problems.