First, They killed Goal 16

17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Agenda 2030 is like that beautiful woman that everyone wants but no one marries. Born in 2015 (September) at the behest of the UN, it has received the signature of all 193 member countries. Through a plan that is divided into 17 objectives, from defeating poverty to world peace, passing through “urban sustainability”, the Agenda had good premises, but as often happens, only good intentions revealed themselves. To date, its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have reached the midpoint of implementation, but just 1 in 10 of them is on track to be achieved by 2030. In fact, globally over 50% of the goals outlined by the United Nations are essentially off track, while about 30% of these never actually started. And these percentages vary (critically) from one country to another of the pact’s signatories. A dramatic budget which, six years before the deadline, seems to herald the failure of the plan.

Behind the lofty intentions we have seen harmful policies advanced and openly inspired by the principles of the World Economic Forum. Let’s just take objective 13 as an example. With the “fight against climate change”, between electric mobility and making buildings more efficient, the ownership of essential goods such as cars and houses is becoming increasingly more expensive. And so, Agenda 2030 trudges inexorably to the point that Antonio Guterres himself, UN secretary general, went so far as to state: “If we don’t act now, Agenda 2030 will become an epitaph for a world that could have been”.

This action programme was born after the partial failure of the Millenium Goals launched by the United Nations in 2000, and that time too signed and ratified by almost all the countries on the planet. These objectives should have been achieved by 2015, but at the intermediate deadline it was realized that they would never satisfy the aspirations we had set ourselves. Then the UN decided to adjust the aim by introducing the Sustainable Development Goals, setting 2030 as the time limit for implementation. To do this, it decided to integrate the 8 Millennium objectives with a package of 9 new objectives aimed at “total” sustainability, previously introduced by the Bruntland Commission (1987) according to which sustainable development is a process aimed at improving the environmental field, economic and social, in a perfect synergy capable of achieving growth that “… satisfies the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to satisfy their own”.

Agenda 2030 is a document that is taught in schools through the learning of the 5 key concepts, represented by the five “Ps”: 1) People 2) Prosperity 3) Peace 4) Partnership 5) Planet. Naturally this program is also covered in the faculties of architecture with particular attention to objective 11 (Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable) for the energy efficiency of buildings. Yet in our universities there are few courses adequately structured to train future “champions of sustainability” according to the aspirations of the “charter”, especially with regard to the prevention of the extraordinary effects that climate change has on the built environment. At an entrepreneurial level, if we then look to what the “leaders” of sustainable architecture (propaganda) do, to ban those multinational architecture companies that develop and implement projects supported by R&D and Innovation, Emerging Technologies departments, we realize that although they manage to satisfy one or two of the sustainable objectives, the rest are inexorably sacrificed.

The recent war conflicts (Ukraine, Armenia-Azerbaijan and Israel) which are added to the long list of forgotten ones scattered throughout the world, are proof that the UN is incapable of giving directives of any kind, much less in terms of sustainable development (economic, social and ecological). Faced with the horror of war, the Agenda’s Sixteenth Goal has already been shattered, that dream of “peace and justice” to which world leaders committed themselves just eight years ago. The risk of the expansion of war zones will determine the total failure of the plan even before 2030. The cynicism of politics which sees in the “sustainable” reconstruction of the aftermath a great economic opportunity as a remedy for the horrors committed is intolerable. Architecture is not there to rebuild what should not have been destroyed. Let’s free architecture from the ideology of “sustainable development” and give ourselves its own “common sense agenda”. First, they killed Goal 16!

Goal 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

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