4 things to know about the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals


The 193 member states present at the United Nation’s sustainable development summit 2015, which started on Monday September 25th in New York, have adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG is a new global plan of action to reduce poverty and hunger, advance equality and protect the environment.

When were they developed

In June 2012 when world leaders came together at the UN Conference on sustainable development in Brazil called Rio+20 they decided to set the SDGs. An open working group of 70 nations was set up, and the next three years saw negotiations leading to a 24-page document of proposed set of goals. While the working group was busy drafting the proposal the UN ran public consultations around the world and an online survey asking people about their priorities for the goals. The SDGs are to be achieved between January 2016 and 2030.

How they’re different from Millennium Development Goals

From MDGs the world moves to a sustainable journey of development. The SDG is set to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which expire by the end of this year after 15 years of implementation. The MDGs were a set of eight goals with 21 targets while SDG is a set of 17 goals with 169 targets.

The SDG set of 17 goals

The SDG is a set of 17 goals with 169 targets that are aimed at resolving global social, economic and environmental problems by 2030. These are the 17 goals:

  1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture
  3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all
  9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation
  10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
  11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss
  16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Why the SDGs are important

SDGs are expected to shape political policies worldwide. They promise a little respite for indebted poor countries. They are also expected to address the root cause of poverty and pledge to leave no vulnerable group behind. They intend to be universally applied to all countries rather than just the developing countries.

There are speculations that without adequate financing, strong data collection and the political will to implement the goals, 2030 will not deliver the transformation agenda desired. 

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