What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

In September 2015, world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), after three years of negotiations and the most comprehensive consultation process ever undertaken by the UN, and committed to 17 goals to eradicate poverty, promote peace and equality, fuel inclusive growth, and protect the environment.  

The SDGs consist of 17 goals and 169 targets that are integrated and interconnected and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental dimensions.  

These 17 SDGs build on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals, while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. The goals are interconnected – often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another. It is a more ambitious agenda, seeking to eliminate rather than reduce poverty. It has more demanding targets on health, education, gender equality etc. In addition to this, it is an universal agenda, applying to all countries and all people, with an explicit recognition that international collective action is required. 

The SDGs work in the spirit of partnership and pragmatism to make the right choices now to improve life, in a sustainable way, for future generations. They provide clear guidelines and targets for all countries to adopt in accordance with their own priorities and the environmental challenges of the world at large. The SDGs are an inclusive agenda. They tackle the root causes of poverty and unite us together to make a positive change for both people and planet. “Poverty eradication is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda, and so is the commitment to leave no-one behind,” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said. “The Agenda offers a unique opportunity to put the whole world on a more prosperous and sustainable development path. In many ways, it reflects what UNDP was created for.” 

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