The Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and addresses a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities while tackling climate change and environmental protection. The sustainable development goals (SDGs) are a new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies until 2030.
What are the proposed 17 goals?
- End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Despite the fact that the global poverty rate has been halved since 2000, intensified efforts are required to boost the incomes, alleviate the suffering and build the resilience of those individuals still living in extreme poverty, in particular in sub-Saharan Africa. Social protection systems need to be expanded and risks need to be mitigated for disaster-prone countries, which also tend to be the most impoverished.
- End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Efforts to combat hunger and malnutrition have advanced significantly since 2000. Ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition for all, however, will require continued and focused efforts, especially in Asia and Africa. More investments in agriculture, including government spending and aid, are needed to increase capacity for agricultural productivity.
- Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Since 2000, impressive advancements have been made on many health fronts. However, to meet the Sustainable Development Goals health targets by 2030, progress must be accelerated, in particular in regions with the highest burden of disease.
- Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Achieving inclusive and equitable quality education for all will require increasing efforts, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia and for vulnerable populations, including persons with disabilities, indigenous people, refugee children and poor children in rural areas.
- Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Gender inequality persists worldwide, depriving women and girls of their basic rights and opportunities. Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will require more vigorous efforts, including legal frameworks, to counter deeply rooted gender-based discrimination that often results from patriarchal attitudes and related social norms.
- Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Access to safe water and sanitation and sound management of freshwater ecosystems are essential to human health and to environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.
- Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Progress in every area of sustainable energy falls short of what is needed to achieve energy access for all and to meet targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency. Meaningful improvements will require higher levels of financing and bolder policy commitments, together with the willingness of countries to embrace new technologies on a much wider scale.
- Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Increasing labour productivity, reducing the unemployment rate, especially for young people, and improving access to financial services and benefits are essential components of sustained and inclusive economic growth.
- Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Despite steady improvements in manufacturing output and employment, renewed investment will be needed in the least developed countries to build needed infrastructure and ensure the doubling of industry’s share of GDP in those countries by 2030.
- Reduce inequality within and among countries
Progress in reducing inequality within and among countries has been mixed. The voices of developing countries still need to be strengthened in decision-making forums of international economic and financial institutions. Moreover, while remittances can be a lifeline for families and communities of international migrant workers in their countries of origin, the high cost of transferring money continues to reduce such benefits.
- Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
In recent decades, the world has experienced unprecedented urban growth. In 2015, close to 4 billion people — 54 per cent of the world’s population — lived in cities and that number is projected to make cities more vulnerable to disasters. Better urban planning and management are needed to make the world’s urban spaces more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. As of May 2017, 149 countries were developing national-level urban policies.
- Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Achieving Goal 12 requires a strong national framework for sustainable consumption and production that is to international norms on the management of hazardous chemicals and wastes.
- Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*
Planetary warming continued in 2016, setting a new record of about 1.1 degrees Centigrade above the in 2016, the second lowest extent on record. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels also reached a record high of 400 parts per million that year. Mitigating climate change and its impacts will require building on the momentum achieved by the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which entered into force on 4 November 2016. Stronger efforts are needed to build resilience and limit climate-related hazards and natural disasters.
- Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. The increasingly adverse impacts of climate change (including ocean acidification), overfishing and marine pollution are jeopardizing recent gains in protecting portions of the world’s oceans.
- Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Progress in preserving and sustainably using the Earth’s terrestrial species and ecosystems is uneven. The pace of forest loss has slowed and improvements continue to be made in managing forests sustainably and protecting areas important for biodiversity. However, declining trends in land productivity, biodiversity loss and poaching and trafficking of wildlife remain serious concerns.
- Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Violent conflicts have increased in recent years, while homicides have declined slowly and more citizens around the world have better access to justice. A few high-intensity armed conflicts are causing large numbers of civilian casualties. Progress promoting peace and justice, together with effective, accountable and inclusive institutions, remains uneven across and within regions.
- Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
Despite some positive developments, a stronger commitment to partnership and cooperation is needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. That effort will require coherent policies, an enabling environment for sustainable development at all levels and by all actors and a reinvigorated Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.