Given all the focus this week on Brexit and the future of the European Union we could all be forgiven for thinking there is nothing in the world except for EU politics. But I was reminded this week that this is definitely not the case. The Sustainable Development Goals aim to see global change in the quality of people’s lives. They have a transformative agenda, going beyond individual circumstances and looking at how communities, infrastructure and natural resources support human development. Perhaps unlike the preceding Millennium Development Goals, the SDG’s have a clear application in Europe – both for policies in Europe and for Europe’s relationships in the rest of the world. In a meeting this week we discussed how such transformative change could be measured, and in a very technical discussion various statistical measures were considered. Statistics are very important and I think overall some good measurements were proposed. However, sometimes such an approach only gives half the picture, an objective picture. But subjective pictures are also important. One of the SDGs concerns the empowerment of girls and women. Empowerment is often subjective – do I feel as if I have control over my life?  Do I believe I am protected from discrimination because of my gender? These measurements are hard to glean from statistics as transformation is often a process, not one point in time. We hope that in Diaconia we go beyond measurement by statistics and include measurement by experience and perception over a long-term period – that is often the real measurement of change.

Have a good weekend,