LOS ANGELES, California — The way a bill becomes a law is a lengthy, deliberative process and is subject to approval from the Chamber of Congress and the President. It’s easy for critical issues and the core values of the United States to become convoluted amid the fury of new legislation proposed. However, there is a way for members of Congress to circumvent the process in favor of one that does not require ratification or the force of law: a simple resolution. The House of Representatives is using this to make clear its support for sustainable development goals.
What Is A Simple Resolution?
One type of legislation, called a simple resolution, is a written proposal for nonbinding positions and stances on issues representing the House of Representatives or the Senate. It is the expression of the collective opinion of one chamber on a particular topic. Therefore, a simple resolution does not require approval from the opposite chamber or the President, thereby lacking the force of law. This is a way for legislators to make an official statement on behalf of one house and clarify where its members stand on key issues that may not be getting the mainstream attention they should be.
H.Res.30: Supporting the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals
Rep. Barbara Lee [D-CA-13] introduced H.Res.30 to the House Committee of Foreign Affairs as a simple resolution that endorses the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The Agenda lists 17 goals for an international effort to end poverty, prevent further damage to the planet and achieve amity and prosperity for all by 2030.
All 191 member states of the United Nations signed the Millenium Development Goal in September 2000 at the Millenium Summit. Nations across the globe put aside any differences and united toward a common goal: bringing poverty-stricken people peace, prosperity and fundamental human rights. As a result, the U.N. implemented a 2015 deadline for its eight sustainable development goals:
- “Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Reduce child mortality
- Improve maternal health
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Global partnership for development”
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
When the 2000 Millenium Development Goal resolution expired, the United Nations adopted what was essentially a renovated version, aiming to meet any unfulfilled sustainable development goals and expand upon them. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development expands upon the Millenium Development Goal’s eight objectives.
Additionally, upon drafting the new legislation, the United Nations considered a reevaluation of the world apropos to the current era. It helped delineate specifics from what may be regarded as vague objectives of the Millenium Development Goal. The 2030 Agenda additionally calls for:
- Goal 3 — Health and happiness
- Goal 6 — Access to clean water and sanitation
- Goal 7 — Consistent access to modern, affordable energy
- Goal 8 — Promotion of economic growth and job creation
- Goal 9 — Solid infrastructure that facilitates sustainable industrialization and promotes new ideas
- Goal 10 — Efforts to minimize discrimination
- Goal 12 — Sustainable supply and demand patterns
- Goal 13 — Critical action to fight climate change
- Goal 14 — Preserve the oceans, seas and marine resources with sustainable usage
- Goal 15 — Protection of ecosystems above ground by eliminating land degradation and biodiversity loss, fighting desertification, advancing restoration efforts
- Goal 16 — Harmony, justice and a peaceful society
The Status of H.Res.30
Legislators introduced the resolution to the House Committee of Foreign Affairs on January 11, 2021. As of April 2, 2021, the Committee had referred it to the Subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations and Global Corporate Social Impact.
It will take a tremendous amount of work to achieve these 17 goals. Thanks to its sponsor Rep. Barbara Lee [D-CA-13], original co-sponsors, the United States of America reaffirms its strong support for sustainable development goals and its fight for peace, prosperity and the well-being of every inhabitant of Earth.
– Kana Ruhalter