Are You Voting for the Global Goals in 2024?

This year a whopping 64 countries plus the European Union are scheduled to hold elections. That means that countries which are home to approximately half the world’s population – four billion people – will open the polls to their citizens. Countries in all regions, including Russia, India, the USA, South Africa, Mexico and the UK, will see elections this year. So, in 2024, more people than ever before will have the opportunity to cast their vote at the ballot box. But what does that mean for the Global Goals?

As the climate crisis intensifies, war and instability rage across different parts of the world, and poorer families in particular continue to bear the brunt of inflated global food and energy prices, elections become crucial mechanisms to stand up for sustainable development and call for real progress for people and the planet. 

And it’s clear that issues related to the Global Goals are on people’s minds. Across the globe, seven in ten people anticipate climate change will have a “severe effect” in their area within the next ten years, and six in ten say their government is not working hard enough to tackle climate change, presenting a convincing call for decision-makers to step up on ambition when it comes to Goal 13.

Meanwhile, 70% of people expect both inflation and interest rates in their country to be higher this year than they were in 2023, showing how the cost of living is a major concern worldwide, and serving as a rallying cry for politicians to step up on ensuring decent work and economic growth, while reducing inequalities. 

But while these shifts in public opinion present huge potential for positive change during this mammoth election year, they do not necessarily mean a win for democracy. In fact, eight of the ten most populous countries in the world will send their citizens to the polls in 2024, but at least half of these will be neither free nor fair. From authoritarian regimes, where despite elections there is almost certainly no chance of a change of regime, to countries where a lack of confidence in the system means extremely low voter turn-out, this epic year for elections does not by definition mean an epic year for democracy.  

It is amid this scene of political polarisation and increasing disintegration of trust between citizens and their leaders that a number of initiatives are working hard to strengthen democracy. The UN is encouraging citizen participation through their support of Citizens Assemblies around the world, which are creating safe spaces for diverse groups of people to come together and have conversations that can feed into government actions. Many local and national governments have also responded to this need. In addition, the OECD has mapped hundreds of recent innovations to strengthen democracy, including citizens assemblies, participatory budgeting and digital democracy tools.

In the words of Greta Ríos, Co-Executive Director at People Powered, a global hub for participatory democracy:

“Democracy is not only having the right to vote and compete in free elections. We exercise democracy when we include everyone in decision-making, and when we come up with collective solutions to our biggest challenges.”

So, despite the challenges, what is clear is that this year – perhaps more than ever before – has the potential to seed real, lasting change for people and the planet. And we need you to help make that happen. So, when you cast your vote this year, will it be in support of the Global Goals?

Invest in Women to Supercharge Progress for the Goals

In a world grappling with a myriad of crises that are putting immense pressure on communities and individuals globally, achieving Goal 5, Gender Equality has never been more vital.

Ensuring women’s and girls’ rights across all facets of life is the only way to secure thriving and just economies, and a healthy planet for future generations. But at the current rate of progress, it will be 2308 before we finally manage to close the prevailing gaps in legal protections for women and girls and remove discriminatory laws.

One of the key challenges in achieving gender equality by 2030 is the lack of financing, with a staggering finance gap of an annual $360 billion in spending on gender-equality measures.

Finance will be a key player in making significant game-changing progress as we enter the second half of the Global Goals.

Exploring the power of finance in Goal 5

In a bonus series of the Global Goals podcast, ‘An Idiot’s Guide to Saving The World’, Gail Gallie and Loyiso Madinga take a halftime assessment of where we need to get to and how we are going to do it.

Exploring the power of finance in Goal 5, we look to guests Kely Nascimento, filmmaker and social activist; Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and chair of the Elders; and Gloria Walton, CEO of The Solutions Project on how women and finance can supercharge progress for the Goals.

Kely Nascimento

Kely Nascimento is a public speaker, social activist, and documentary filmmaker, working at the intersection of sport and social justice.

While football teams have come a long way since 1979, in 2024 Kely’s friends daughter situated near Chelsea football stadium is still struggling to find an all-girls competitive football club. Football federations don’t only need public pressure from the communities that celebrate football but they also need to invest locally from the ground up. Progress for Goal 10, Reduced Inequalities will get the girls who want to play football on a level playing field.

A change is needed to ensure women thrive

Sports can also reveal health gender inequalities. Recent research found “disproportionately high” rates of ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) knee injuries in female footballers, reflecting the lack of understanding and attention given to female health in sports and exercise. Can you believe that the first football boot in the world designed around female feet came to the market less than four years ago. Further finance into research and innovation for women in sport can not only protect women but ensure they thrive.

Mary Robinson

Leading the way off the pitch and into the climate space are the amazing women at Project Dandelion, a global women-led initiative that calls on leaders, NGOs, movements and individuals around the world to unite in action for a climate safe world.

Co-founded by Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland, former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Chair of the Elders, who believes women’s leadership plays a pivotal role in making a transformative change in the world.

Mary found herself on the path to choosing the Dandelion when her moonshot thinking was shot down in the desire for a more feminist-coded symbol.

Partnerships for the Goals to supercharge progress

Utilising Goal 17, Partnerships for the Goals to supercharge progress for Goal 13, Climate Action, Project Dandelion’s purpose to unite a world for climate action means they’re battling a $4 billion communications lobby actively working against the movement. As Mary put it, “It’s hard to find a budget for a movement.. but it’s the movement that makes the difference.”.

Gloria Walton

From spreading the seeds of the dandelion to sowing the seeds as a farmer, our final podcast guest, Gloria Walton, is a community organiser, writer, speaker, and the President and CEO of The Solutions Project.

She was raised by her mother and grandmother, a farmer who taught her to be a steward of the land. Gloria’s motivation at The Solutions Project, a nonprofit that funds and amplifies climate justice solutions created by frontline communities, was fuelled from finding pathways out of the inequalities she grew up in. Focused on building community power for an equitable and regenerative world,

 

The Solutions Project’s 100% commitment to justice funding model confronts an historic lack of funding and media coverage, and promotes feminine leadership that builds power from the ground up. 95% of climate philanthropy resources are directed to white and overwhelmingly male-led climate advocacy groups.

About half of climate funding is concentrated in just 20 organisations, with demographics that match this extreme homogeneity in leadership.

Gloria flips the script by investing 95% of their resources in frontline leadership of colour, with at least 80 % going to organisations led by women and non-binary people.

By utilising financing to empower frontline communities who feel the effects of the climate crises the most, The Solutions Project accelerates progress in not just Goal 13 Climate Action but through Goal 5 Gender Equality and Goal 10 Reduced Inequalities also.

Investing in women and championing gender equality unlocks a future of collective empowerment, supercharging the Goals cultivating boundless opportunities for all.

Listen to the Podcast here.