When you look at the title of the article, you notice that it has three important variables. One being the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The second one being Blockchain. The final one being how the technology can help fulfil the goals which is the main focus of the discussion. There have been many ideas thrown around ever since their conception in 2015. Some of them have aided the cause while others have not. The main issues that need to be taken care of still remain. Nowadays, another question is being thrown around in the mix. How can Blockchain help fulfil the UN SDG’s? The biggest road block however is accurate information.
You might be wondering why I mentioned the word “accurate” with information when there was no need for it. The reason is going to fit in very nicely with the theme of this topic. There has been a lot of data and statistics thrown around over the progress of the UN SDG’s but has it actually been done? With the number of companies and different organizations doing their part with multiple campaigns, it should have, but how much of their statements are true and how much of it is just false marketing in attempts to get a positive brand image? The information might be up on the internet but can it be verified? Unless you are part of the brand or part of the action, you won’t know for sure. The stakeholders will be in the same boat and some will question the approach.
The UN SDG’s:
Recently in a study by DSC, it was reported that 111 million British Pounds of charitable donations went missing. If the intended target of a donor was to give some money to a charity and they find out that their contribution went missing, what kind of impression would that give to the rest of the people? Mentioning the other problems that revolve around accountability, data, fraud and trust, backers doing their best to complete the SDG’s have found it difficult to sidestep these hindrances. There are 10 years left until the final verdict on the UN SDG’s and it is the responsibility of all of us to ensure the success of our efforts in the grand scheme of things. There is one thing we can say for certain right now. Blockchain can definitely realize these goals and here is how.
#1 No Poverty:
With Blockchain providing Decentralized identities and cheap banking facilities for all without any bias, it is safe to assume that everyone will be able to benefit from this added feature. Facilitating Small enterprises and enhancing economic inclusion for all will surely aid in bringing down the number of people facing poverty. The UN however did make large gains towards this goal in their MDG’s that started in 2005 but there is still quite a lot to do.
#2 Zero Hunger:
People not having anything to eat for days is heartbreaking. There are so many organizations working towards providing meals and donations so that no one goes hungry. Unfortunately, not all receive this kind of treatment due to improper setups and corruption. Through Blockchain, we can secure the food supply chain, track production of food and delivery to those needing it, ensure that all donations towards free meals meet their intended targets and reduce transaction costs so that even most people can take advantage of the low fee.
#3 Good Health & Well-being:
We already know that medicinal drugs are one of the most falsified products on the planet when it comes to counterfeit. The only way this is possible is because there is little to no check on them. Health hazards and deaths have been common due to this practice and Blockchain can help counter the counterfeit. By redesigning the healthcare ecosystem and tracking pharmaceuticals throughout the supply chain, these issues can be easily resolved.
#4 Quality Education:
There is a saying that “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”. Imagine if everyone in the world received quality education. There would be less problems and more solutions. Digital learning has already caught quite the attention with the urban society and can-do wonders with the rural society as well. Blockchain will provide smart contracts for this practice, verify all educational records, offer learning with equitable and inclusive standards as well as removing E-learning constraints.
#5 Gender Equality:
Blockchain can bridge the gap between formal and informal financial systems. Since rural women in developing countries in Asia and Africa do not have that much ease of access to traditional banking, they depend on their husbands/male members to support them financially. This can cause cases of victim abuse as females are 30% less likely to have a bank account than males. Blockchain while providing secure transactions and smart contracts can promote gender equality massively. by establishing digital identities for every unique individual without any discrimination. The concept of digital identities revolves around dedicating a unique hash for every person and all their data will be secured with that hash. Therefore, through decentralized digital identities, every individual will appear as a number without the biases of a gender preference.
#6 Clean Water and Sanitation:
We all know the importance of clean drinking water. Millions of innocent people fall victim to unclean water especially in the lesser developed areas around the world and the UN are correct to identify this as a major threat to sustainability. Not only can implementing blockchain bring about the digitization of water supply with full transparency but it can also utilize IOT devices to improve usage and water quality reporting for better standards. The areas where water starts getting contaminated can be controlled this way.
#7 Affordable and Clean Energy:
Blockchain can be a major game changer for the whole world if it gets adopted into the energy sector. Not only will it be used to allow P2P exchange of energy between entities but it will also power up technologies to produce clean energy benefitting all. With a higher emphasis on using renewable energy such as solar and wind, it will also reduce the impact we have on natural resources as a means to power up our lives. Read more about how Blockchain is impacting the energy sector.
#8 Decent Work and Economic Growth:
Many say that the biggest contribution that Blockchain has made is the idea behind Cryptocurrency. Seeing that the industry has boomed quite massively in the last decade, this statement might stand true. By implementing an optimized financial structure on Blockchain, people can speed up their transactions. Tamper proofing records and digitizing payments will definitely be beneficial in the hopes of reaching sustainability.
#9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure:
We know technology will always be at the forefront of almost all innovation and we as humans have been relying on such developments for a long time now. Blockchain can successfully impact all industries. Smart Contracts and IOT based management systems are a thing of the present now with many organizations benefiting heavily from it. With blockchain coming into data management and supply chain, it won’t be long before the technology starts impacting other major industries as well.
#10 Reduced Inequalities:
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges that is tainting the world at the moment is the power gap between the wealthy and the poor. According to official sources, the poverty rate was 43.6% of the total global population back in 2017. Extreme poverty was at a 9.2% during the same time. Keeping in mind this was before Covid-19 times so we cannot be sure if this data has changed or not. However, blockchain based information accessibility and decentralized digital identities can go a long way into bringing about global equality. In terms of donations for better living conditions, there will be no room for corruption if Blockchain is introduced.
#11 Sustainable Cities and Communities:
As mentioned before, trust is key in everyday operations. Whether it is trusting the government to treat the people right or trusting the companies that they will be fair with their customers. Imagine all operations verified and validated. If everyone got down to confirm a transaction, there will be stronger trust created between the community and everything will be out in the open and most important of all, it will be fair. Blockchain can create peer to peer markets, paperless trade systems as well as using citizen data to create value. The possibilities of this impact are seriously unlimited.
#12 Responsible Consumption and Production:
Blockchain can do leaps and bounds for the supply chain industry such as creating fair trade conditions and tracking food production and supply chain in real time. This will be a huge asset when it comes to safe food consumption and food logistics. Not only will the industry flourish, production and consumption related services will be something that can only grow and with the incorporation of blockchain is definitely bound to help with delivering other SDG’s as well.
#13 Climate Action:
The 13th point on the SDG list is something that affects all of us one way or the other and has been the main focus of environmentalists across the world. We already know the causes that lead to decreasing environmental hazards leading towards Global Warming and Blockchain can offer a perfect solution to combat them. Blockchain can create mechanisms that encourage climate action and provide accountability for rapid decarbonization. Researchers have claimed that the Ozone will recover in the next few years. This will only happen if we continue to do our bit for proper climate action. Blockchain might just be the way!
#14 Life below Water:
Another one that links heavily with the environment is life below water. We know water pollution has damaged our oceans to such an extent as to threaten the lives of aquatic species and the UN have stepped in to change that. Pollution is mostly linked with improper disposal of waste. Blockchain has the ability to track said waste. With fully traceable supply chains, companies will become more responsible. The campaigns by Pepsi and Nestle are prime examples of such actions.
#15 Life on Land:
The ecosystems below water are not the only ones that the UN are working on saving. With the grand aim to promote Terrestrial ecosystems, it also looks at managing forests and reversing land degradation. Through proper data accessibility on blockchain, these goals can be reached. Blockchain will also create accountability and traceability for the terrestrial ecosystem. and provide transparency for wildlife trafficking.
#16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions:
As quoted by the United Nations themselves, the main objective of this goal is to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”. With the addition of blockchain to run their systems, people can manage information globally, transparently and confidently. Institutions built on blockchain can thrive and bring about peace and justice.
#17 Partnership for the Goals:
The last point on the goals is perhaps the most important one in the overall context of the whole mission. The UN recognizes that the SDG’s are not something they can deal with alone. It has to be done through proper cooperation and a global effort. through investments and funding multiple projects around the world that are working on these goals. For that very reason, Blockchain can support different entities focusing on the same goal. With enhanced supply chain traceability and access to information, the goals can be met easily. Here is what is currently happening for Goal no 17.
With all this said and done, we can conclude that blockchain can be hugely beneficial. Not only for the UN SDG’s but also for a global outlook for every industry. Bringing about trust between stakeholders and a transparent outlook in all campaigns, it has the potential to eliminate all the issues challenging the SDG’s. Most people would state that these goals are interlinked and we can confirm that it is true. Just as these goals have a connection between them, the solutions to successfully completing these goals have a major connection too. Start with one and start with blockchain. A domino effect will take place and things will start falling into place.
The point we want to promote is that even though we cannot do anything to change the past, we can strive to make sure that the same mistakes do not happen in the future. Let us bring about this change and help the United Nations reach these goals before 2030. Want to know more about Blockchain or how you can aid with the UN SDG’s? Click right here!