EDGE Elections
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EDGE Elections

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Achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are a blueprint to achieving a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. In January 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations’ began the negotiation process of a post-2015 development agenda. The process culminated in the subsequent adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015.

Today, progress is being made in many places, but action is still needed to meet the goals by 2030. With ten years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, world leaders at the SDG Summit in September 2019 called for a decade of action and sustainable development.

Being committed to improving democratic governance by helping private and public institutions run more efficient, accessible and transparent elections, Scytl is well-aware of the issues and challenges that the global community is facing in the 21st century. Contributing to socially and economically sustainable development is a key-responsibility that needs to be taken up by public and private stakeholders alike in order to guarantee a prosperous and promising future for coming generations. Therefore, Scytl not only endorses but also actively supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

In total there are 17 interconnected goals that range from reducing poverty and providing quality education, to eliminating hunger and gender inequalities. Each goal also contains multiple targets. While Scytl acknowledges the importance of all 17 goals put forth by the UN, our work and vision are most closely linked with the following:

Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

  • Target 16.6: Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.
  • Target 16.7: Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.
  • Target 16.10: Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.

The strength of institutions is significantly related to progressive development, and vice versa. Strong institutions are thus essential for sustainable development at both national and international levels. Therefore, building trust in and strengthening institutions through elevated public participation and engagement is an essential aspect of sustainable social and economic development. By increasing public participation and civic engagement, Scytl is helping enhance the representativeness and legitimacy of democratic institutions.

In addition, as part of the EU-wide project Co-Inform, Scytl has teamed up with other research institutions and technology specialists to increase society’s resilience to misinformation and counter the public’s decreasing trust in traditional media and political institutions, which clearly contributes to achieving target 16.10.

Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

  • Target 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.
  • Target 10.3: Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard.

Inequality threatens long-term social and economic development, leads to increased poverty, and harms people’s sense of fulfilment and self-worth. Most importantly, sustainable development cannot be achieved if people are excluded from opportunities, services and a chance for a better life.

See how our work in New South Wales, Australia, increases election accessibility.

Scytl acknowledges the importance of social, political and economic inclusion and seeks to contribute to this by increasing public engagement and enhancing access to political participation, especially for those who find themselves in a position of vulnerability (such as voters with disabilities, the illiterate, as well as voters abroad, to name just a few examples ).

Goal 9: Industries, Innovation and Infrastructure

  • Target 9.4: By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes.

Technological progress is the foundation of efforts in achieving environmental objectives, such as increased resource and energy efficiency. Scytl’s state-of-the-art technology helps increase resource efficiency in electoral management and election participation, particularly by decreasing our reliance on paper.

Goal 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns; Goal 15: Life on land

  • Target 12.5: By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.
  • Target 15.1: By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements.
  • Target 15.2: By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.

Sustainable growth and development require minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials, and the generation of waste and pollutants throughout the entire production and consumption process. By drastically reducing the amount of paper and other materials that governments and non-governmental organizations need to run their electoral processes, Scytl’s election modernization solutions contribute to a significant reduction of the resources and materials used throughout the electoral cycle.

Furthermore, Scytl’s technology allows administrations to curb fossil fuel use by minimizing the need to physically distribute election materials and reducing the number of voters who travel to their personal polling places in order to vote.

Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

  • Target 11.B: By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters.

With the number of people living within cities projected to rise to 5 billion people by 2030, it’s important that efficient urban planning and management practices are in place to deal with the challenges brought on by urbanization. Improving collective decision making and engagement between all parts of society is integral to building communities that ensure equality. By providing communities with the online voting and citizen participation technologies to do so, Scytl aims to encourage development towards active societies that are fit for the future.

We are proud to stand with the United Nations in working towards these Sustainable Development Goals. Through providing governments and organizations around the world with the advanced technology to run more efficient, accessible, secure and transparent elections, we at Scytl recognize our role in building a better tomorrow that is stronger, more sustainable, and more equitable.

This article was written by Maximilian Hee, Public Policy Intern at Scytl.

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