How the United Nations is leading the world’s next moonshot | Jeffrey Sachs

How the United Nations is leading the world’s next moonshot | Jeffrey Sachs


When I was a kid the greatest thing imaginable
for me was the moonshot. President John F. Kennedy said to the U.S.
Congress in May 1961, “I believe this country should commit itself to the goal, before the
decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” Well, how cool was that? And President Kennedy’s vision not only
rallied the country but was fulfilled when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in the summer
of 1969. In our time we’ve had a different kind of
moonshot in my opinion, and that is the moonshot to make our world safe, fair and sustainable. And Kofi Annan, then Secretary-General of
the United Nations in the year 2000, a great man, at the start of the new millennium said
to the world leaders, “Let’s also take a goal, a goal to fight global poverty and
wrestle it down to size.” And he put on the agenda of the world the
Millennium Development Goals. These were adopted in a summit of the heads
of state in the year 2000, and they said “Let’s get extreme poverty, the kind of poverty that
kills, let’s get that down at least by half by the year 2015.” Well, despite all the noise in the world,
and the uncaring and the distractions and the confusion and the war in Iraq and all
the rest, there was some focus finally on this kind of moonshot in our time of fighting
extreme poverty and major initiatives were undertaken. For example, establishing the global fund
to fight AIDS, TB and malaria and those diseases started to really get under control for the
first time; big successes, even in a distracted and confused world. Well, fast-forward 12 years after those Millennium
Development Goals were adopted to 2012, yet again world leaders came together on the anniversary
of the Earth Summit, which had been a 1992 meeting, to try to tackle climate change,
environmental crisis, and so on in Rio de Janeiro. Twenty years later when governments got together
again they looked and they said “We’re not doing very well. Climate change is running out of control,
we’re destroying other species, we’re chopping down the Amazon. You look around, we’ve got serious problems.” At that point one of the governments, the
government of Colombia, had a really bright idea, and the Colombian Government noted,
“Look the Millennium Development Goals are making progress against poverty, why don’t
we have a set of goals that builds on that to achieve sustainable development?” What did they mean by that? What does even sustainable development mean? What it means is that we want a world that
is prosperous but also fair and environmentally sustainable, where we’re not destroying
ourselves with human-induced global warming and destroying other species and polluting
to the extent that millions of people die prematurely every year because of air and
water pollution, and wrecking our oceans as well. So in 2012 the government said, looking at
the Millennium Goals and their progress, “Let’s take the period after 2015 to 2030 to get
finally the world on track to achieve sustainable development, that is: a world of prosperity,
social justice and environmental sustainability.” And lo and behold they negotiated, they adopted
goals and targets, and on September 25, 2015 all 193 governments of the United Nations,
by acclamation, following a marvelous speech by Pope Francis in the chamber of the U.N.
General Assembly, adopted the Sustainable Development Goals. These are the world’s agreed objectives
for the year 2030 to end extreme poverty, end hunger, get every kid in school, ensure
universal health coverage, fight for gender equality, reduce inequalities of income and
wealth, control climate change, and stop the destruction of biodiversity. Pretty cool. For me it’s our moonshot. It’s phenomenal compared to the foolishness
of most of what our government does these days—wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were
actually solving problems? And that’s the idea of the Sustainable Development
Goals: let’s get something done. Politics is not a game of one fool trying
to hold power against another fool or how much money can you throw in so that you can
buy your congressman or senator so they’ll vote for your tax cut so that you can have
an X gazillion dollars rather than only Y gazillion dollars, which is what American
politics is right now, but rather: why don’t we make a 21st century that is smart, fair
and sustainable. So I really recommend the SDGs, I recommend
everybody learn them, see them, understand them. Every part of society can play a role. I’m an academic. I believe universities can get in there help
solve these problems, show what can be done. Businesses: how do we align with sustainability
not sell cruddy products that wreck the planet but good ones that can sustain the planet?
Churches, communities, congregations, cities: how do we get organized to be smart, fair,
and sustainable rather than wrecking the planet and pervading unfairness? This is a job or for everybody, so I call
it our generation’s moonshot, and I strongly recommended them.

58 thoughts on “How the United Nations is leading the world’s next moonshot | Jeffrey Sachs

  1. Thank you! The world needs to get together and look at the bigger picture. Nationalism has created a zero-sum mentality that needs to be overcome if we are to tackle global issues. I'm glad the UN exists. I hope it leads towards a global federation.

  2. The Millenium goals meant absolutely nothing. Does anyone think that Kofi Annan was the first to suggest that we end poverty? Lmao. How ignorant.

    Countries like China wanted to develop themselves, and then they did, with markets. That brought hundreds of millions out of poverty. That had nothing to do with the UN. Does someone think the Chinese were too stupid to think of the idea to develop itself without that dupe Kofi Annan telling them to?

  3. Thank you Big Think and thank you Mr. Sachs! I really enjoy getting to watch these productions then running to wiki to learn more about folks like Jeff!

  4. IMHO advancements in converting moon regolith into fertile soil is the best change to solve world hunger since the knowledge and technology developed with apply to inarable land.

  5. dude global poverty has hardly moved they just keep moving the $ amount that counts as extreme povertydr jason hickel writes aboute it in the divide. we still have about 5+ billion people living under like 5-10$ a day which most people would consider poverty

  6. Former president Santos, president of my country, has a better image abroad in comparison to Colombia. In my point of view: He didn't make enough in education, and it is fundamental for sustainability.

  7. Do your study and research. When you look at the agenda you quickly realize that their idea of getting rid of world poverty is getting rid of those in poverty. In their mind you can resolve poverty by getting rid of all the poor people. Why do you all keep blindly accepting what these people who rule over Nations keep telling you as though they were some type of saint? Stop watching the damn game and drinking and eating the toxic chemical-laden foods and taking the injections of toxic poisons and go back to the natural ways and heal your mind so that you can see what's really going on for the first time in your life. If you don't comprehend what I'm saying to you go watch the video where Bill Gates says if they're successful with the vaccine program they will be able to "reduce" the population by 15%

  8. Lots of feel-good concepts here, and fuzzy beyond belief. This isn’t to say that it’s not possible, but any 15 year old could have made this painfully obvious video

  9. Well stop voting republican, the party of super PACs like tobacco, energy, banks who become speechless when their taxes are cut. As a CITIZEN, just because my taxes were “cut”, wouldnt gain me the arrogance to pollute more with methane using fracking wells, or to DROP the energy plan of 2030, making up pure bullshit about car safety in new cars as an excuse.
    Car companies taking it easy for years, banks bailed out by the public from lax regulations. Just doesnt come off as genuine, when democrats have been the only leaders with a surplus.
    Republicans do this WMD scare every time they need a economic war generating temporary work force for a war they never ready for.
    Now Europe is scared at every turn from ISIS, even though statistics for being in a terrorist attack are less than one in a million. Republicans are more scared of loss guns sales being the US is the number ONE exporter IN THE WORLD.

  10. Capitalism doesn't want sustainability it wants resource scarcity and Infinite market growth. So the money Based system has to go.

  11. well if i didn't know better aleady i might suspect you were jesus in disguise sir
    i wouldn't blame you for hiding either.
    have you checked the "weather" lately?
    its not safe for god or man out there

  12. The UN. They couldn't do it if someone invented a time machine and sent them back to 1969 and the took credit for it. Too much corruption and cronyism in the UN to accomplish anything meaningful.

  13. Jeff Bezos if he wanted to leave a lasting legacy could do this single-handedly and still have enough to pay his workers living wages & benefits, and also have enough left over for himself for a hundred lifetimes. But he won't, because he's an asshole.

  14. Not to subtract from the importance of the achievements and goals talked about here, but the title of this video had me excited to hear about a new moon based space program… That's why I clicked on this video.

  15. Despite honest political or economic disagreements, the American Republican Party MUST accept the scientific and empirical consensus that Climate Change is real, and include solving it in their platform.

    OTHERWISE, voting Republican will always be irresponsible and unethical.

  16. What is 'Fair'? Will people really be able to come to agreement on that across the world? Also is not 'sustainable' the same as 'stagnant'?

  17. I know, damn us for actually giving a shit about the earth… how dare people want to hold those innocent corporations accountable for how they handle the pollutants they produce…

  18. Okay but the author doesn't really explain anything. I come from Finland and as some of you mau know here every child goes to school and there are no homeless people mandated by our constitution. Yet problems exist, not just here but elsewhere. How do you plan to get every child to go to school and give them books to read while also trying to reduce pollution and cutting down forests? Good goals but conflicting interests? By technology? Okay sure but where and how you'll get the resources when computers and tablets are still somewhat of a luxury item? I wish the author would have gone further into questions like these or would link to a lecture of his where he does describe his vision in detail.

  19. The UN couldn't find it's ass with a map and a compasd. The only way it ever gets anywhere is if the USA pays for it. There's no reason to go back to the moon unless to get lithium for fusion. Suck it UN. Go kiss a muslim.

  20. The UN and it's announced goals had absolutely sweet fuck all to do with the diminution of extreme poverty. No government action other than ensuring a legal system that protects private property and that is free from corruption, has any effect on economic growth other than to slow it down. If you want growth, and the reduction of poverty that comes with it, you want the least amount of government meddling possible, in all respects. The reduction in global poverty was due to the widespread adoption of capitalism. Period.

  21. Lets not forget that social justice is not justice. If it were just, justice wouldn't need other words to describe it. It's the same with "democratic socialism." It has nothing to do with democracy, and everything to do with socialism. Mob rule isn't what democracy stands for. It doesn't matter if you call it "democratic mob rule", it's still a rule of the mob.

  22. Long story short people are trying to solve hunger, poverty, inequality, and disease.
    Nothing about the moon total clickbait.

  23. But they never come up with any solutions. They hold summits, they give each other pats on the back, they waste tax payer funds.

    Want to fight poverty? Embrace free market capitalism. It will also improve issues with malaria as malaria is a disease of poverty. See SE Asia for proof.

    If you want effective impact on global warming start doing things suggested in Cool It by the author of the Environmental Skeptic.

    All this video talks about is a massive circle jerk typical of government. Absolutely zero solutions. Spend lots of money and accomplish zero.

    I prefer Space X. A real, measurable moon shot.

  24. Great Honest and factual presentation but the Problem that the World Needs to Solve is that of the false narrative of American Exceptionalism which has caused them in the first place.

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