The Concept of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations (UN)

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 global goals that are all interconnected. These are intended to create a better and more sustainable future for everyone. The UN General Assembly established the SDGs in 2015 AD, intending to achieve them by 2030 AD. These objectives are also known as Agenda 2030 Global Goals. In this context, this article begins with the concept of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: 17- Development Goals.

Concept of Sustainable Development Goals of United Nations: The 17-SDGs

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the universal agreement reached by all United Nations member states. These are also referred to as Global Goals. It aimed to end poverty in all forms by 2030 and to create an equal, just, and secure world for people, the planet, and prosperity. The 17 SDGs and 169 targets are part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by 193 member countries at the historic UN General Assembly Summit in September 2015 and took effect on January 1, 2016. The SDGs have replaced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs: 2001-2015) as the globally agreed-upon common development framework for the planet, people, and their prosperity.

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Planet (protect our planet’s natural resources and climate for future generations), people (end poverty and hunger in all forms and ensure dignity and equality), prosperity (ensure prosperous and fulfilling lives in harmony with nature), peace (foster peaceful, just, and inclusive societies), and partnership are the five principles (5Ps) of sustainable development (implement the agenda through a solid global partnership). The following are the 17 SDGs:

SDG Goal 1. No poverty:

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal -1, No Poverty, aims to eradicate poverty in all its forms worldwide by 2030. Some of the targets of this goal include eradicating extreme poverty for all people everywhere by 2030, reducing by half the proportion of men, women, and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions, achieving substantial social protection coverage for the poor and vulnerable, ensuring equal rights to economic resources as well as access to basic services, and building capacity to cope with vulnerable situations.

SDG Goal 2. Zero hunger:

The Zero Hunger Sustainable Development Goal aimed to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. The targets of this goal include ending hunger and ensuring access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food for all people, including infants, all year round, ending all forms of malnutrition, doubling agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, ensuring sustainable food production systems, and implementing resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production by 2030.

SDG Goal 3. Good health and well-being:

The third Sustainable Development Goal, Good Health, and Well-Being aim to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all people of all ages. Some of the proposed targets for this goal are: by 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births; end preventable deaths of newborns and children under the age of five; end epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and neglected tropical diseases; combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases, and other contagious diseases; and improve mental health and well-being.

Also read: Sustainable Development Goals and Nepal

SDG Goal 4. Quality education:

The SDG-4, Quality Education, aimed to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote opportunities for lifelong learning. SDG-4 includes seven targets. This goal includes the following targets: ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable, and high-quality primary and secondary education by 2030; and ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and high-quality technical, vocational, and tertiary education, including university.

SDG Goal 5. Gender equality:

The Gender Equality SDG-5 sought to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. This goal’s targets are as follows: by 2030, end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere; eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation; eliminate all harmful practices; recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work as nationally appropriate; ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels, and ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels.

SDG Goal 6. Clean water and sanitation:

The SDG-5, Clean Water and Sanitation, aimed to ensure universal access to and sustainable management of water and sanitation. The goals’ targets are as follows

  • achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water by 2030;
  • achieve adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, and end open defecation;
  • improve water quality, and implement integrated water resource management at all levels.

SDG Goal 7. Affordable and clean energy:

The SDG-7, Affordable and Clean Energy, aims to ensure everyone can access affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy. These goals’ targets are to ensure universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services by 2030, significantly increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix and double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.

SDG Goal 8. Decent work and economic growth:

The SDG-8, Decent Work and Economic Growth, aimed to promote inclusive, long-term economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. Some of the goals are to

  • sustain per capita economic growth following national circumstances;
  • achieve higher levels of economic productivity;
  • promote development-oriented policies;
  • significantly reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education, or training;
  • encourage the formalization and growth of all-sized enterprises; and
  • provide universal access to banking, insurance, and financial services.

Also read: Sustainable Development Goals Challenges for Nepal

SDG Goal 9. Industry, innovation, and infrastructure:

Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure (SDG-9) aimed to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation. Some of the goals’ targets include: developing quality, reliable, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being; promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly increasing industry’s share of employment and GDP; and enhancing scientific research and upgrading the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, particularly developing countries.

SDG Goal 10. Reduced inequalities:

The SDG-10, Reduced Inequalities, aimed to reduce inequality within and between countries. This goal includes the following targets: by 2030, progressively achieve and sustain income growth for the bottom 40% of the population at a rate greater than the national average; empower and promote social, economic, and political inclusion for all; ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies, and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies, and action in this regard.

SDG Goal 11. Sustainable cities and communities:

Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG-11, aimed to make cities and human settlements more inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. The proposed targets for this goal are as follows: by 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe, and affordable housing and basic services, as well as the upgrading of slums; provide access to safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable transportation systems for all; strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage; significantly reduce the number of deaths and people affected by disasters, including water-related disasters; and provide universal access to basic services.

SDG Goal 12. Responsible consumption and production:

The SDG-12, Responsible Consumption, and Production sought to ensure long-term consumption and production patterns. Some proposed targets for this goal include: achieving sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources by 2030; halving per capita global food waste at retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses; significantly reducing waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse; and encouraging companies, particularly large and transnational corporations, to adopt sustainable practices.

SDG Goal 13. Climate action:

Climate Action, SDG-13, aimed to take immediate action to combat climate change and its consequences. This goal aims to strengthen all countries’ resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters; integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning; and improve education, awareness-raising, and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning.

SDG Goal 14. Life below water:

The SDG-14, Life Below Water, aims to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas, and marine resources for long-term development. This goal and its objectives are irrelevant to inland countries.

SDG Goal 15. Life on land:

Life on Land, the 15th Sustainable Development Goal, aims to prevent biodiversity loss, stop land degradation, restore degraded areas, and manage forests sustainably. It also aims to combat desertification. The following are some of the targets of this goal: by 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains, and dry lands, under obligations under international agreements.

SDG Goal 16. Peace, justice, and strong institutions:

The SDG-16, Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, aim to foster inclusive and peaceful societies for sustainable development, to ensure that everyone has access to justice, and to create inclusive, effective institutions at all levels. The following are some of the targets of this goal: significantly lower death rates worldwide due to all forms of violence; stop child abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all other forms of violence; guarantee equal access to justice for all; promote the rule of law at the national and international levels; significantly lower corruption and bribery in all of its forms; and create effective, accountable, and transparent institutions at all levels.

SDG Goal 17. Partnerships for the goals:

Partnerships for the Goals is the final and 17th SDG. The global partnership for sustainable development was intended to be revitalized along with the means of implementation. The targets for achieving this goal span finance, technology, capacity-building, trade, and systemic problems. The systemic problems include data, monitoring, accountability, multi-stakeholder collaborations, and institutional and policy coherence.

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