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How to include yourself in Sustainable Development with the United Nation

What is sustainability?

The word sustainability emanates from the Latin sustinere (tenere, to hold; sus, up). The way in which sustainability is used nowadays is based on the English term “sustainability,” which is an expression of the potential of a certain matter to be supported. Sustainability is visited as a paradigm for thinking about the future in which environmental, societal, and economic considerations are balanced in the pursuit of an improved quality of life. The ideals and principles behind it lay on broad notions such as intergenerational equity, gender equity, social tolerance, poverty alleviation, environmental preservation and restoration, natural resource conservation, and building just and peaceful societies.

Tips to develop sustainability through supporting UN goals

1: Clarify your top areas of interest

Job seekers are often worried they will eliminate too many job opportunities if they narrow down their interests. However, to make improvements in your career development, it is necessary to take the time to develop clarity and a sufficiently specific focus. To do this, take the time to research a range of topics and choose 3 or so that are of most interest to you.

Some examples incorporate:

  • Environment, social, and governance (ESG)
  • Energy efficiency
  • Food systems
  • Habitat restoration
  • Land use/zoning
  • Oceans
  • Renewable energy (sometimes called clean energy)
  • Parks, green space
  • Socially responsible investing (SRI) or social impact investing
  • Climate change (adaptation, greenhouse gas emissions, resiliency)
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Ecological or environmental justice
  • Environmental Health
  • Environmental protection
  • Transportation (urban mobility, sustainable transportation, active transportation)
  • Sustainable buildings/development
  • Waste/materials management
  • Water, wetlands

Many of these problems are interconnected, but it is still invaluable to identify a few that are of most interest to you because it will assist you be more focused and specific, which will make it easier for others to help you.

2. No Poverty

Current conservative assessments have more than 700 million people living in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 per person, per day. While the majority of these poor live in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, extreme poverty is not a problem in only underdeveloped countries. Right now there are 30 million children growing up poor in developed nations in the world’s richest countries.

The best way to aid end poverty once and for all is to use your voice and active engagement to petition policymakers and private industry to prioritize addressing extreme poverty. Extreme poverty ends when the world’s poorest are given access to tools such as meaningful jobs, quality education, and affordable healthcare, to name a few. The USAID’s Vision for Ending Extreme Poverty names influential governance and accountable institutions as the foundation for inclusive economic development.

3. Familiarize yourself with the sectors of the economy

All three sectors of the economy present chances to work in the realm of sustainability. Get to know more about the sectors:

  • Public
  • Private
  • Third sector: non-governmental, non-profit, values-driven

For each sector, there are specialized websites and job boards for researching opportunities and organizations.

4. Concentrate on your strengths

By reflecting on your skills, strengths, and the type of work you most enjoy, you can gain clarity about potential types of sustainability-related roles to seek. For example:

  • Communications Specialist, Coordinator, or Director
  • Policy Associate or Analyst
  • Research Assistant or Director
  • Sustainability Coordinator or Director
  • Community Organizer
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Manager
  • Data Analyst
  • Lobbyist/Director of Advocacy/Legislative Director

Transferable Skills: If you already have years of experience, but not in the exact position, topic, or industry you’re interested in shifting to, focus on transferable skills. What skills do you include that are necessary for advancing the missions of your target organizations?

5. Use job descriptions as part of your research: Read a wide assortment of job descriptions on a site such as UNjobs. Asia can help you narrow down the types of roles you might be interested in and identify potential roles of interest.

Determine your target organizations

Now that you have a good idea of the topics and types of roles you’re interested in, it’s time to do some research so you can create a list of 20-40 target organizations. Here’s what to do:

  • Recognize organizations you’re interested in that are in your target markets (e.g., Chicago) or that are remote if you’re interested in remote work
  • Study these organizations and key players within them (for instance, not just staff, but also board members, partner organizations, funders, sponsors, community partners, etc.)
  • Start to form connections by engaging online (subscribe to email lists, connect on social media, read content on their websites, etc.)

Check also: 15 Tips for Effective Networking in the UN Community

6. Zero Hunger

Extreme hunger and malnutrition remain a barrier to sustainable development and create a trap from which people cannot easily escape. Worldwide, nearly 800 million people suffer from hunger, the majority of whom are in growing countries. With an expected 2 billion hungry people on the planet by 2050 (i.e., a staggering 1 in 5), there requires to be a dramatic shift in global food and agriculture systems.

Addressing the need for food security is paramount, as it is a key piece of building a more sustainable and just future for everyone. Hunger limits human development, which in turn prevents us from reaching other sustainable development goals, such as education, health, and gender equality.

7. Gain experience through volunteering and projects

You don’t need to wait until you secure a job to acquire experience with organizations and issues of interest to you.

Volunteering can be a great way to build skills, build your network, and acquire clarity on what types of roles you’re interested in (and not interested in), all while contributing to a cause you care about. Also, organizations often look to volunteers when they are seeking to hire because there is already a familiarity. A few options for how to gain background as a volunteer include:

  • Campaigns
  • Legislators
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Small businesses

Find Volunteering opportunities here.

8. Build relationships

Strong relationships are key to leading a fulfilling career and life. Keep in mind the following:

  • People are more likely to suggest and hire people they know, like, and trust.
  • You have a whole network you may not even realize. (LinkedIn + a spreadsheet can be a powerful combination to help you track, engage with, and grow your network.)
  • What have you got to lose by reaching out?
  • Meet new people by partaking in webinars and online events…then follow up via LinkedIn and/or email to get to know each other.
  • Don’t only reach out to people when you have a plea. Get in the habit of providing value. Get to know others’ needs and goals and explore how you might be able to lend support.
  • The relationships we form and cultivate present a chance to broaden our worldview, diversify and increase our network, and be supportive and actively engaged with individuals and organizations who are working to achieve equitable, healthy communities.

Check also: How to get enrolled in a UN Internship program?

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