Zannatul Ferdous, Dialogue Associate (Communication), CPD
In 2015, the world leaders agreed a new set of global goals to achieve sustainable development. Build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), these global goals are known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Goals are exclusive in a way that they call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income, to promote prosperity while protecting the earth.
Overview of the SDGs
The SDGs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development officially came into force in January 2016. Over the next fifteen years, the countries will implement the goals while ensuring that no one is left behind. While the MDGs had only eight goals with 18 targets, the SDGs have a total of 17 goals with 169 targets. They include traditional areas such as poverty, hunger, health, education, and gender inequality, but also add new topics like energy, infrastructure, economic growth and employment, inequality, cities, sustainable consumption and production, climate change, forests, oceans, and peace and security. These goals are listed in the following.
- No Poverty: End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
- Zero Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
- Good Health and Well-being: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.
- Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
- Gender equality: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
- Clean Water and Sanitation: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
- Affordable and Clean Energy: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
- Decent Work and Economic Growth: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
- Reduced Inequalities: Reduce inequality within and among countries.
- Sustainable Cities and Communities: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
- Responsible Consumption and Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
- Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
- Life below Water: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
- 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.
- Peace, Justice and 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.
- Partnerships for the Goals: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
The Big Shifts from MDGs to SDGs
The MDGs were intended for action in developing countries only. But The SDGs are universal, meaning that these goals are equally applicable to all countries. They include challenging targets for rich countries and for the poor ones as well. The MDGs emphasised mainly on the social development issues. The SDGs, in contrast, includes economic, social and environmental dimensions. Most governments had little input when the MDGs were adopted. Whereas, the SDGs commit to ‘leave no one behind’, paying particular attention to the voices of the poorest and the most vulnerable.
Therefore, actions will need to take place at the national, regional and global level to bring about the real change. Besides, there is a need for a strong political commitment and wider public participation for dealing with the challenges in the implementation of the SDGs.