The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are a set of 17 goals that were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015. The broad goals are interrelated though each has their own specific targets to be met by 2030. The goals are a call to action for all countries to work together to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
By 2030, it is estimated that the UN Sustainable Development Goals could help save the lives of millions of people and improve the quality of life for billions more. These goals are important because they provide a framework for countries to work together to achieve a more sustainable future. It is only through international cooperation that we can hope to achieve these goals.
There are many things we as individuals can do to help meet this goal such as conserving energy, using renewable energy sources, supporting policies that promote sustainability and offsetting our carbon footprint.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals include:
No Poverty – The first UN Sustainable Development goal is to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. This includes reducing the number of people living in extreme poverty by half, ensuring access to basic needs like food, water, and shelter, and providing social protection systems for the most vulnerable.
Zero Hunger – The second goal is to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. This means ensuring everyone has enough nutritious food to eat, working towards zero hunger, improving agricultural productivity, and protecting ecosystems.
Good Health & Well Being – The third goal is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. This includes reducing the global maternal mortality rate, ending preventable deaths of newborns and children, ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health care, and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases.
Quality Education – The fourth UN Sustainable Development goal is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. This means providing free primary and secondary education for all children, increasing literacy rates, improving access to vocational training and higher education, and eliminating gender disparities in education.
Gender Equality – The fifth goal is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. This includes empowering women politically, economically, socially, and culturally; eliminating all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls; and ensuring women have equal opportunities in leadership and decision-making.
Clean Water & Sanitation – The sixth goal is to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. This means expanding access to safe drinking water, improving sanitation facilities, protecting freshwater ecosystems, and increasing water efficiency.
Affordable & Clean Energy – The seventh goal is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. This includes expanding renewable energy sources like solar and wind power, improving energy efficiency, investing in clean cookstoves and other clean technologies, and providing universal access to modern energy services.
Decent Work & Economic Growth – The eighth goal is to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. This means promoting economic growth that benefits everyone, creating jobs, reducing inequalities, and protecting workers’ rights.
Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure – The ninth UN Sustainable Development goal is to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation. This means investing in infrastructure like transport systems and renewable energy networks that are environmentally sustainable and help reduce poverty and inequality. It also includes promoting industrialization that is green and clean, as well as investing in research and development of new technologies.
Reduced Inequalities – The tenth UN Sustainable Development goal is to reduce inequality within and among countries. This includes ensuring equal opportunities for all people regardless of background or identity; reducing the gap between rich and poor; and promoting social inclusion.
Sustainable Cities & Communities – The eleventh goal is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. This means making cities more livable for all residents by reducing pollution, improving access to basic services, investing in public transportation, and making buildings more resilient to climate change.
Responsible Consumption & Production – The twelfth goal is to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. This means changing the way we produce and consume goods so that they are environmentally sustainable and have a smaller carbon footprint. It also includes reducing waste generation, increasing resource efficiency, and investing in green infrastructure.
Climate Action – The thirteenth United Nations Sustainable Development goal is to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to the impacts of climate change, and protecting forests and other ecosystems.
Life Below Water – The fourteenth goal is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development. This means reducing pollution in our oceans, sustaining fisheries, and conserving coastal areas.
Life on Land – The fifteenth goal is to protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss. This means taking action to prevent deforestation; restoring degraded landscapes; promoting sustainable agriculture; protecting wildlife; and combating soil erosion.
Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions – The sixteenth goal is to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice all, reduce violence worldwide build effective, accountable institutions at all levels. This means working to end conflict and promote justice and rule of law; reducing violence and crime; and ensuring that all people have access to essential services like education, health care, and social protection.
Partnerships for the Goals – The seventeenth United Nations Sustainable Development goal is to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. This means providing financial resources; increasing international cooperation; improving technology transfer; capacity building; and South-South cooperation.