For those of us old enough to remember, it is hard to imagine that nearly twenty years have passed since the World Trade Center towers graced the New York City skyline. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 brought into striking relief for Americans and neighbors the world over the vulnerability under which we live – and the threat posed by those who would exploit that vulnerability. 9/11 made clear that terrorism was a threat that could not be ignored, no matter how strong the walls or wide the oceans that might seem to offer protection from it.
In the days after, it became clear that the US and its allies would soon be at war, though few knew just how long the conflicts following 9/11 would last. As military preparations began and continued for more than a decade after, it also became clear that renewed energy for peace-building was also needed, to establish a just peace that strengthened institutions against violence and corruption, protected communities from terrorism, and fostered resilience to conflict.
Against this background, the member nations of the UN laid out the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a framework for encouraging development toward peace and prosperity for people and the planet.