Last June, the Federation of Businesswomen and Professionals BPW Spain and the Starlight Foundation announced the launch of an initiative to create a new Sustainable Development Goal for the Quality of the night sky and access to starlight SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) (Goal No. 18) and both parties signed an agreement in the Parliament of the Canary Islands to cooperate as guarantors of the project.
In the framework of the I Starlight International Astrotourism Conference 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 Starligh Foundation launch the website to support # SDG18 for the protection of the night sky, and commit to bring it to the United Nations.
Night Sky as SDG18
The Starlight Foundation is a non-profit organization that emerges from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias to enforce the principles of the Declaration of La Palma (2007) in which representatives of the IAC, UNESCO, UNWTO, IAU, UNEP-CMS, CE, SCBD, COE, MAB and Ramsar Convention among other institutions launched this international movement in “Defense of the Night Sky and the Right to Starlight”. The main objectives of the Starlight Foundation are the dissemination of science and in particular astronomy, the development of actions aimed at the protection of the starry sky and the mitigation of climate change, promoting a different way of caring for and defending the world at a global level. Heaven, to value it as a necessary resource for life and as an intangible heritage of humanity, guaranteeing the possibility of enjoying the light of the stars 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 that tend to be dramatically depopulated. It is precisely these environments that have 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 also 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 tourism in stars.
For its part, the International Federation of Businesswomen BPW Spain, an entity with consultative status before the United Nations, has always been strongly committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, being signatories of the Global Compact since 2019. 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 Manager of the Starlight Foundation.
“From there came the idea to take a step further, giving life to the creation of 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.
Launch #SDG18 at the I Starlight International Astrotourism Conference
In the act of the I International Starlight Astrotourism Conference 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, emphasizing in the problems of inequality that still suffer a large percentage of women in the world.
For her part, the director of the Starlight Foundation 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 health human, in addition to being the socioeconomic engine of local communities through astrotourism ”.
“This SDG18 – continued Antonia Varela – is a call to the urgent need to protect dark and clean skies for present and future generations (referring to the Declaration of La Palma) from its three main classes of threats: artificial night light (ALAN), the emission of radio wavelengths and the contrails of the satellites of the low Earth orbit (LEO), to which the space debris is added ”.
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 the starlight #SDG18.
SDG Bpw Spain
The right to an uncontaminated night sky that allows enjoying the contemplation of the firmament, 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).