By JEREMY APPEL on July 10, 2019.
A Hatter studying at the University of British Columbia is taking her passion for international development to the United Nations this week.
Anjali Mishra is in New York with the B.C. Council for International Co-operation from July 9-18 for the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
The event is based on the Sustainable Development Goals, which serve as an international, interdisciplinary “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all” by 2030, according to the UN website.
The SDGs were signed by the government of then-prime minister Stephen Harper in 2015 and maintained by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“Since going to UBC for school, I got involved right away in the Sustainable Development Goals locally and how cities in British Columbia, the university and Canada at large could use them to advance things like ending poverty, reducing hunger and promoting good health,” Mishra told the News.
To that effect, Mishra – who calls herself a “policy nerd” – has hosted workshops at various schools, and written five policy documents for Economic and Social Development Canada to outline how the goals can be accomplished.
“Through working with them and working through the SDGs, I was then more ready to engage at a higher level,” she said.
The forum occurs annually to review different nations’ and the international community’s progress on reaching the specific goals.
The focal points this year are education, decent work and economic growth, climate change, peace, and inequality reduction.
“We are working in partnership with the government – co-ordinating with them – to host a dialogue on intergenerational equity, or how youth can be more included and centred in our future as a country,” said Mishra.
But another part of their mission is to hold the Canadian government to account on its lofty rhetoric in support of the goals.
“Often, (governments) will come to these forums and say, ‘Look at how much progress we’ve made,’ but it doesn’t actually reflect experiences from those living in their country,” she said.
Being from a civil society organization as opposed to the government, Mishra is free to point out the shortcomings in the approach to reaching the goals, while also highlighting achievements.
Mishra says she’s fascinated by the SDGs, because they “capture various dimensions of sustainability,” from the social to economic and environmental angles, with the goal of creating “a better world for all people.”
“I can’t just focus on energy, or the economy, or the environment, or peace when all the areas are crucial,” she said.
A graduate of Hat High, Mishra said she developed her social consciousness in her “wonderful” Grade 10 social studies class.
She’s also received various accolades for her community involvement here in the Hat. She was the 2017 Rotary Rosebowl winner, 2017 Medicine Hat High School co-valedictorian and 2015 City of Medicine Hat Leaders of Tomorrow Excellence Award winner.
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