Celebrating the Sustainable Development Goals -- Without Fear!

"We envisage a world free of fear and violence."
--Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

"Yes!" I thought, "Yes!!" And I read this again, a few times. "...free of fear..." Such a strong statement, right there in the introduction of the new Sustainable Development Agenda.

At Pathfinder International, those words are our anthem. We are driven by the conviction that all people, regardless of where they live, have the right to decide whether and when to have children, to exist free from fear and stigma, and to lead the lives they choose.

At the United Nations Summit in New York, world leaders have come together to formally adopt the new Sustainable Development Goals. Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, called the new agenda "ambitious and transformative" and I agree. It calls for eradicating poverty, ending hunger, ensuring healthy lives, promoting learning and education, achieving gender equality, providing access to energy, fostering sustained economic growth, and promoting sustainable marine and agricultural practices--and to all of this, again, I say "Yes!"

To see such passion and conviction in our world's new development agenda fills me with hope and renewed energy to do my part in making it happen. I and hundreds of other Pathfinders around the world endeavor to create a world where everyone leads a healthy sexual and reproductive life.

Because as Pathfinders, we know that providing sexual and reproductive health services is about more than just health. It's about education, economics, and gender equality. It's about empowerment, poverty eradication and social transformation. We know that when women and girls have knowledge about their sexual and reproductive rights--and can exercise them freely, without fear or boundary--communities and countries prosper.

As we celebrate this momentous day in New York, we must also stay strong in pushing all governments, including the United States Government, to implement this agenda and ensure that there is adequate funding for sexual and reproductive health and rights. This is the most effective way to empower our world's women and girls to choose their own paths forward--and the only way to achieve our laudable global goals.