HONG KONG, Sept. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- To celebrate United Nations and its 75th anniversary, Family Mask organized #KIDsforSDGs program which achieved great success and received feedbacks on global issues and role of the UN from the students. Family Mask collected all the feedbacks and will launch #BackToSchool initiative to provide adequate protection to students as they continue their pursuit of knowledge and education during the pandemic.
Hindsight bias is 20/20, and knowing that, we simply cannot allow the world to revert to where we were before COVID-19 struck, with societies especially within marginalised communities being unnecessarily vulnerable to crisis. The weaknesses in health systems, social protections and public services need to be addressed, as they underscored and exacerbated inequalities, ongoing human rights challenges, and continued stigma against women. Now is the time to triple our efforts to build more diverse, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies which can stand stronger against the face of pandemics, climate change and other global challenges. The recovery must lead to a different economic blueprint, where all stakeholders and their concerns are addressed through the United Nations and the 17 sustainable development goals.
50 students who were in attendance of Family Mask's most recent #KIDsforSDGs event claimed that the world would be better off than it is now. This primarily driven by i) the accomplishments the world has made in the past few years with increased participation in impact and sustainable initiatives, ii) the expected decrease in HIV and AIDS and other communicable diseases, iii) the increase in young girls and ethnic minorities enrolling in school, iv) greater technological innovation increasing efficiency, v) increased health and well-being and vi) a general consensus among millennials and Generation-Z that the future is in their hands and that they do have the power to change it for the better. Nonetheless, many had reservations about the execution of the 2030 Agenda, in particular referencing tangible action in the biospheric SDGs.
As the group is mostly made of high school students, 2045 for them is when they turn 40. The top issues which they highlighted as evidence of creating a truly sustainable and equal world are: i) seeing improvements with equality, especially gender equality, ii) climate change and concrete action in alignment with global warming, in particular the 1.5 degrees Celsius initiative to reduce risks to "health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth", and iii) a better control on a global basis of information pertinent to political, economic and social issues which can hinder advancements against poverty and inequality. These three issues are seen to be some of the obstacles that are keeping the world from a bright future for all.
Some of the main obstacles and challenges associated with realising the vision are: i) ongoing instability, such as conflicts between nations, which hinder the potential for partnerships, ii) implementation, such as ensuring the programs and their operations fit the local context, which is a legitimate concern as there are differences (which should be celebrated) based on age, gender, sexual orientation, religion and other factors, and iii) regulation and governance, such as political will to transform development programs into sustainable long-term practices. These three points require all parties involved to assist each other to remove bottlenecks, either by legacy or by situation, in order to facilitate a coming-together of the minds for the greater good.
Adding the feedback from Family Mask's Young SDG Leaders program in partnership with Global Citizen Capital, the consensus is that global co-operation is the only viable way to manage these challenges. In partnership with the UN, it is envisioned that three areas can be furthered towards the 2045 vision. First, on making and keeping peace, many conflicts have been brought to an end either through UN mediation or the action of third parties acting with UN support. UN preventive diplomacy and other forms of preventive action have defused many potential conflicts. Second, on taking the lead on global issues, UN should continue to foster global dialogue on environment, women, human rights, population and more. Such international events bring together experts and policymakers, as well as activists, from around the world, prompting sustained global action, and regular follow-up conferences have helped to sustain the momentum. Third, on improving literacy and education, it is estimated that 89 per cent of adults can read and write and 93 per cent of children attend primary school. To build a sustainable society requires all individuals to be equipped with the knowledge to act, and as such, programs aimed at promoting education and advancement is important. From a recent report on Accelerating Digital Inclusion in the New Normal issued by the World Economic Forum, while the crisis has enabled hundreds of millions to participate online, it has also exacerbated the digital divide for 47% of the world's population that remains unconnected. The post-COVID world will need to be more digital – requiring more connectivity, digital skills, and affordability – and all of the public have a vested interest to make this a reality.
Now more than ever, the UN Secretary General must first uphold the values and moral authority of the United Nations, and speak and act for peace, even at the risk, from time to time, of challenging or disagreeing with those same Member States when they act against the interests of the greater good. Through his day-to-day work, the UN Secretary General shall secondly, while in attendance at sessions of United Nations bodies; consultations with world leaders, government officials, and others, continue to ask for feedback from the next generation of leaders (millennial and generation Z). Lastly, the UN Secretary General, as he takes steps publicly and in private, drawing upon his independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading, he must always have an open mind and seek innovation from fourth industry revolution methods to help make the UN itself more flexible and adaptive.
In summary, the 17 SDGs present a partnership spectrum which focuses on building a sustainable platform to exchange, integrate and transform. First, for exchange, often an one-way transfer or reciprocal exchange of skills, knowledge, funding etc, Family Mask commits to donate to global NGOs and other non-profit organisations operating in at-risk communities. Second, for integration, Family Mask will seek local partners, brainstorm and create dialogue to together develop new approaches, such as how to expedite delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE) to those most in need. Third, for transformation, which involves multi-stakeholder dialogue to understand the system and to make interventions, Family Mask seeks to break the current bottlenecks and price-gauging in the PPE industry and truly create an equitable solution for all, in the spirit of the United Nations.
In less than six months, Family Mask, through its current partnerships, has donated more than 1,000,000 surgical masks to Asia, North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa and Middle East, benefitting more than 50 organisations. This social impact philanthropic partnership is the foundation to build the Tech Access Alliance (TAA). Furthermore, through its education network, more than 100 students participate in various initiatives launched by Family Mask towards women's health, mental health and gender equality, and count on them to support the SDG Action Zone, #Act4SDGs and the Envoy of UN Youth. Hereby, Family Mask also convey a message of appreciation to Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. António Guterres, for his leadership of the United Nations.
About the Authors:
Ms. Jessie Chung
Jessie is the Founder of Family Mask, a surgical mask manufacturer and brand which emerged as a social impact response to COVID-19 (FDA approved - more than 400,000 donated globally), and Billie Rose Underwear, 'period-underwear' that replaces conventional menstrual pads as her contribution to female empowerment and environmental sustainability.
Mr. Kenneth Kwok
Kenneth is the Founder and CEO of Global Citizen Capital as well as the Co-Founder of the MXA Group, Family Mask and various other impact start-ups. Kenneth is the author of the Career Planning Algorithm as well as the curator of the "Young SDG Leaders" and "CEO-For-A-Quarter" Programs. His Better Together Foundation focuses on empowering young or first time entrepreneurs from underprivileged and minority companies, with the purpose of bringing equality with regards to age, gender, sexual orientation, religion and race.
SOURCE Family Mask