Correspondence | Published:

Trump: voters show importance of SDGs

Nature volume 540, page 39 (01 December 2016) | Download Citation

Many of the factors that contributed to Donald Trump's win in the 2016 US presidential election are those that make achievement of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so pressing. Drawn up to end poverty (goal 1) and inequality (goal 10) and to ensure prosperity, among other aims, the tenet of the SDGs is to 'leave no one behind'.

In the United States, rising inequality and increasing poverty have created a groundswell of the disenfranchised and the dispossessed. Health care (goal 3) and tertiary education (goal 4) are unaffordable for many. Decent work (goal 8) and industry (goal 9) are under threat from automation and globalization, leading to job losses, fuelling racism and driving up crime (counter to goal 11). Extreme weather events related to climate change are on the rise.

All of this has created a potent cocktail of discontent that has manifested in anger towards the establishment. Yet I fear for most, if not all, of the SDGs under a Trump presidency. For example, he has vowed to undermine action against climate change (goal 13) and could jeopardize the development of clean energy (goal 7). He could put biodiversity at risk by making cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (goals 14 and 15), and he seems to dismiss gender equality (goal 5).

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  1. Monash University, Clayton, Australia.

    • David Griggs


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Correspondence to David Griggs.

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