October 9, 2017 / 10:43 PM / 3 years ago

New group launched in US to set nation's own long-term goals to fix ills

NEW YORK, Oct 9 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The United States needs its own set of long-term goals for addressing such issues as climate change and hunger like those enacted by the United Nations, said a group on Monday as it launched a bid to elect candidates who back such an agenda.

The group Future Now will solicit and support state-level legislative candidates to sign onto its list of goals to be achieved by 2030, the group told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The list is a tailored U.S.-version of the 17 U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a global “to-do” list approved in 2015 by the 193 U.N. members.

Among the SDGs for 2030 are reducing conflict, promoting gender equality and sustainable energy and tackling climate change, education, hunger, joblessness and other issues.

America’s Goals are meant to be a non-partisan guiding framework to right the course in U.S. politics, said Jeffrey Sachs, a leading economist and a Future Now founder.

“We’ve become remarkably polarized, remarkably short-sighted and short-term and remarkably non-goal-oriented in American politics right now,” Sachs told the Foundation in an interview. “We’re on the wrong track. Politics does not work right now.”

Sachs is director of the Center for Sustainable Development at New York’s Columbia University. The other two founding members of Future Now are Adam Pritzker, chairman of Assembled Brands, a brand-building company, and Daniel Squadron, a former New York state Senator.

The nation is failing to deal with issues from environmental threats to sky-rocketing health care costs, while politics in Washington is broken with a Congress that gets nothing accomplished and Donald Trump as president, Sachs said.

“It’s not about Trump per se, though I think that Trump exemplifies just about everything wrong with our politics right now and actually poses a lot of dangers for our politics,” he said.

The U.S. goals include paid family and sick leave, universal and affordable healthcare, ending hunger, limiting corporate special interest spending in politics, keeping the infrastructure in good repair, making communities resilient to natural disasters and investing in clean, safe energy.

“What we need in the U.S. is different from what Spain needs or what Ghana needs or what China needs, but the broad idea that we’re aiming for prosperity, that we’re aiming for fairness and that we’re aiming for environmental safety is global,” Sachs said.

The campaign launched with 10 candidates in the state of Virginia, who have received $160,000 in donations from Future Now affiliated donors, the group said.

Candidates who sign on to the goals have access to a donor pool as well as support such as data, background and policy briefs, it said. (Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, editing by Belinda Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org)

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