What are the Sustainable Development Goals?
In 2015 the United Nations and its 193 member countries adopted the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a 15-year plan that addresses 17 global and interconnected issues, including the reduction in poverty and hunger, putting an end to discrimination and preventing the long-term consequences of climate change. They are seen as “the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.1
Combining social, economic and environmental factors to address the stand-out problems of our age means that the solutions that are pursued are more likely to be of long-term benefit and won’t be at the cost of the environment or social justice and human rights.
This represents a significant shift in previous approaches that made a distinction between economic, environmental and social objectives. Despite each goal having its own dedicated targets to be achieved, the 15 year plan of action outlined in Agenda 2030 also aims to move away from siloed implementation by acknowledging the interconnected nature of the world’s wicked problems and the need for joined-up approaches.
The SDGs recognise that economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection are closely related and, and that for these goals to be achieved, they need to be addressed together in order to create lasting and positive change. Global poverty and hunger cannot be separated from climate change and environmental degradation. The need to grow economies sustainably goes hand-in-hand with the need to create more equitable and peaceful societies.
The aim is for governments – as well as stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, academia and the community - to embrace these SDGs and work in partnership to achieve them by 2030. The goals are about more than just creating change. They are about shaking up global conversations and approaches to problems that have plagued people and the planet for years.
The SDGs apply to all countries, regardless of whether they are developed or developing; each country will contribute, depending on their unique challenges and available resources. With just 10 years to go, an ambitious global effort is underway to deliver the 2030 promise—by accelerating sustainable solutions to all the world’s biggest challenges — ranging from poverty and gender to climate change, inequality and closing the finance gap.