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What Are The 17 Sustainable Development Goals

What Are The 17 Sustainable Development Goals

16th April 2021
By: Olivia - F&F

Heard of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but not quite sure what they are? This is the blog for you!

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, commonly known as “SDGs” or “Global Goals”, is a set of 17 interlinked goals within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In 2015, all 193 UN Member States agreed upon the 17 goals, and they came into force on January 1, 2016. Each goal targets a different area of global concern, but the 17 SDGs can be roughly split into three areas of focus: Social, Environmental, and Economic

There are two overarching SDGs that don’t fit into the above categories, which are Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals.

These two goals are interconnected and vital for sustainable development. They recognise the importance of peaceful negotiations and strong cooperation between UN Member States — without these two goals, the SDGs would be largely unachievable! 

What is the purpose of the Sustainable Development Goals?

In a nutshell, the SDGs are a pathway to a better world for all! The SGDs apply to all UN Member States and are monitored and reviewed using a set of global indicators. 

The SDGs aim to mobilise efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities, tackle climate change, promote peace and justice, all while ensuring that no one is left behind.

Within the 17 Goals are 169 separate targets — each one addresses a specific area of the broad goal.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 1: NO POVERTY

End poverty in all its forms, everywhere — because eradicating poverty is not a task of charity, it's an act of justice. 

Goal 2: ZERO HUNGER

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture — because hunger is the leading cause of death in the world.  

Goal 3: GOOD HEALTH & WELL-BEING

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages — because when we work together, we can increase life expectancy and reduce common causes of illness and death. 

Goal 4: QUALITY EDUCATION 

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all — because education is the key to escaping poverty and unlocking the potential of every child. 

Goal 5: GENDER EQUALITY

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls — because gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

Goal 6: CLEAN WATER & SANITATION

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all — because one in three people live without sanitation, and this is causing unnecessary disease and death. 

Goal 7: AFFORDABLE & CLEAN ENERGY

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all — because our current reliance on fossil fuels is harmful to the planet, and renewable energy solutions are becoming cheaper, more reliable and more efficient every day. 

Goal 8: DECENT WORK & ECONOMIC GROWTH

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all — because economic growth should be a positive force for the whole planet. 

Goal 9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION & INFRASTRUCTURE

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation — because a functioning and resilient infrastructure is the foundation of every successful community. 

Goal 10: REDUCED INEQUALITIES

Reduce inequality within and among countries — because too much of the world’s wealth is held by a very small group of people, which often leads to financial and social discrimination. 

Goal 11: SUSTAINABLE CITIES & COMMUNITIES

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable — because the world’s population is constantly increasing, and to accommodate everyone, we need to build modern, sustainable cities.  

Goal 12: RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION & PRODUCTION

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns — because our planet has provided us with an abundance of natural resources, but we have not utilised them responsibly and currently consume far beyond what our planet can provide.

Goal 13: CLIMATE ACTION

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts — because climate change is a real and undeniable threat to our entire civilisation, and it will continue to produce catastrophic impacts unless we act now.

Goal 14: LIFE BELOW WATER

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development — because healthy oceans and seas are essential to our existence, and we heavily rely on them for food, energy and water. 

Goal 15: LIFE ON LAND

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss — because a flourishing life on land is the foundation for our life on this planet. 

Goal 16: PEACE, JUSTICE & STRONG INSTITUTIONS

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels — because compassion and a strong moral compass is essential to every democratic society. 

Goal 17: PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development — because the Global Goals can only be met if we work together!

Are we making progress on the Sustainable Development Goals?

Yes and no. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, progress on the SDGs has faltered. 

In the past five years, there has been strong progress on improving maternal and child health, expanding access to electricity and increasing women’s representation in government. However, there have been setbacks with growing food insecurity, the deterioration of the natural environment, and growing inequalities.

The SDG Index, released in mid-2020, shows the progress that each country is makng on the SDGs. The report also produces a rank and a score for each country! 

Australia is ranked 37th in the world (out of 166), with a score of 74.9. We still have some pretty major challenges to overcome, especially regarding Goal 13: Climate Action, Goal 7: Affordable & Clean Energy, and Goal 12: Responsible Consumption & Production

 

In good news, we’ve fully achieved Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing — we’re also making good progress on Goal 5: Gender Equality and Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth

You can check out how each country is progressing in the SDG Index.  

To find out more about the SDGs, how people are taking positive action, plus the latest news about the SDGs, head to globalgoals.org. 

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