2021 / 09 / 15
Last June, the Federation of Business and Professional Women BPW Spain and the Starlight Foundation announced an initiative to create a new Sustainable Development Goal for the Sky Quality and Access to Starlight SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) (Goal No. 18) and both signed an agreement in the Parliament of the Canary Islands to cooperate as guarantors of the project.
In the context of the 1st International Conference Astrotourism by Starlight held in Évora (Portugal) from September 8 to 11, with the participation of international entities such as the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), BPW Spain and the Starlight Foundation launch the website to support #SDG18 for the protection of the night sky, and they commit to bring it to the United Nations.
The Starlight Foundation is a non-profit organization emerged by the Institute of Astrophysics of Canary Islands to enforce the principles of La Palma Declaration (2007) in which, representatives of IAC, UNESCO, UNWTO, IAU, UNEP-CMS, CE, SCBD, COE, MAB and Ramsar-Convention among others institutions launched this international movement in “Defense of the Night Sky and the Right to the Starlight”. The main goals of the Starlight Foundation are the disclosure of science and particularly of astronomy, the development of actions intended to protect the starry sky and to mitigate of the climate change, promoting, at a global level, a different way of caring for and defending the sky, of valuing it as a necessary resource for life and as an intangible heritage of humanity, guaranteeing the ability to enjoy starlight and the development of activities based on this resource.
The starry sky is also an opportunity for development and empowerment for many women in rural settings who suffer from dramatic depopulation. These environments are precisely those with the best skies, and the Starlight Foundation works to help those skies become an engine of sustainable economy through star tourism. Women from indigenous and local communities are often repositories of traditional knowledge, which is critical to ensuring the livelihoods, resilience and culture of their communities.
In this way, the sky becomes a resource to be safeguarded not only for science, but also as a cultural, environmental, biodiversity, health and quality of life heritage, and as an engine of sustainable economy through astrotourism.
The International Federation of Business women BPW Spain, in turn, an entity with consultative status with the United Nations, has always been strongly committed to the Sustainable Development Goals of the Global Compact, being signatories since 2019.
They are focused on its fulfillment from a gender perspective so that equality and the empowerment of women and girls is a reality.
Last March, during a high-level event at the United Nations Social and Legal Convention for Women, BPW Spain presented a round table in which Antonia Varela participated as partner of BPW Canarias and director of the Starlight Foundation.
“Hence the idea of taking a step further, creating a new SDG: Sky quality and access to starlight. #SDG18 ”explained the president of BPW Spain.
After hard work by the GREEN Committee of BPW Spain, both entities presented the new website and made an invitation to be signatories and support and share this new objective of sustainable development.
In the act of the I International Conference Astrotourism by Starlight in Évora, the president of BPW Spain, Silvia Vigatá, reflected on the importance of the SDGs as guidelines to safeguard the planet and guarantee the development and prosperity of all peoples, emphasising on the problems of inequality still suffered by a large percentage of women in the world.
The director of the Starlight Foundation, in turn, stressed that “we cannot talk about preserving the planet if we do not take care of its sky, a sky that has enormous cultural and scientific connotations, in addition to being essential for the preservation of biodiversity and human health, and also a socioeconomic engine for local communities through astrotourism”.
“This SDG18 - continued Antonia Varela - is an urgent call to protect dark and clean skies for present and future generations (referring to the Declaration of La Palma) from its three main threats: artificial night light (ALAN), the emission of radio wavelengths and the contrails of the satellites of the low Earth orbit (LEO), in addition to space debris ”.
Thus, in line with the objectives for which both entities work, this proposal was born, in which BPW Spain and the Starlight Foundation join forces to create a new Sustainable Development Goal for Sky Quality and access to starlight # ODS18.
The right to an uncontaminated night sky that allows us to enjoy the contemplation of the sky, must be considered as an inalienable right of Humanity, comparable to the rest of the environmental, social and cultural rights, taking into account its impact on the development of all peoples. and its impact on the conservation of biological diversity. (Art.1-Declaration of La Palma).