Everything you need to know about the SDGs

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which consist of 17 goals and 169 targets, are meant to put an end to poverty, inequality, and climate change by 2030. What are these goals? How have they been set up? What does Aruba do in regards to the goals? These questions will be answered below and, in much more detail, in the singular goals found on the home page. Want to read the 2030 Agenda for yourself? Click on Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for the United Nations report.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions after reading through the information found on this website.


What should I imagine with the SDGs?

SDGs are 17 Sustainable Development Goals that were created to “improve and transform our world for the better”, the United Nation writes in their proposal. The first and most important goal is to end extreme poverty, which, according to the UN “is the greatest global challenge”. Furthermore, there are objectives regarding health, education, and clean drinking water, but also goals that focus on renewable energy, reduced inequalities, and tackling climate change.


Didn’t we already have the Millennium Development Goals to end poverty?

In 2000 the UN first drafted global development goals: the eight Millennium Development Goals that end this year. It is difficult to measure exactly what has been achieved with the goals and we don’t know how the world would have looked without these goals. According to the UN, the goal of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty was reached, but would not have been successful without China’s economic growth. Goals on maternal and child mortality were less successful: 300,000 women still die during pregnancy, childbirth or in the days following the delivery. The UN Summit first mentioned the Sustainable Development Goals as a follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals during the RIO+20 in 2012.


What is so different about these new goals?

The SDGs continue where the Millennium Development Goals left off but are much more ambitious, the UN states. They are not only about development but sustainability as well. In addition, in contrast to the Millennium Development Goals, the SDGs were not created behind closed doors within the UN. Everyone was given the chance to voice his or her opinion. Through the online survey MyWorld, citizens could vote on topics they considered to be important, ranging from education to Internet access. UN employees travelled to the poorest regions with pen and paper in hand. Thus, nearly 7.8 millions people worldwide voted on their favorite theme. Additionally, a special High Level was appointed and a UN workgroup, consisting of 70 countries, set up the list with the 17 goals, which was then negotiated upon by the 193 member states in the months preceding the UN Summit. The 2030 agenda applies to all countries, and are not just “aid” from wealthier countries to the poorer countries. The SDGs focus on human right, economic growth, peace and security, and climate, whereas the Millennium Goals in 2000 did not address those themes.


How are the goals financed?

According to the World Bank, these goals will not cost billions, but trillions with estimates running from 2 trillion to 4.5 trillion US dollar per year, or about 4% of the global GDP. During the third International Conference on Financing for Development, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in July of 2015, wealthier countries again promised to spend 0.7% of their Gross National Income on Official Development Assistance (ODA). In addition, countries have agreed that funding for the new goals should also come from the private sector and not only funded by the public sector.


Great! But what do the goals have to do with me?

They are also about you. Clothing that you buy from the store largely comes from countries abroad, such as China and India. Through your clothes you are connected to working conditions there, the amount of water used and contaminated during production, and how sustainable the cotton is being grown. This is the case for many of the items you buy and use. On Aruba, more than 99% of the food is imported. Importing so much affects the planet and economy in more ways than one. One way in which you, as a consumer, can contribute is by finding more local retailers to by your produce and other goods from. By doing so you contribute to a stronger economy and reduce the pressure put on the planet that come from every stage from production, to importing, to selling. The exhaust gases that are expelled from our cars cause drought or more rain in other countries, but also Aruba. Through your choices and actions, you can contribute to achieving the SDGs.


What is happening on Aruba already?

Actually, quite a bit is happening on Aruba already, ranging from the public to private sector. To find out more, read the individual goals or look up the partnerships here, the NGOs here, and the Private Sector here.


What now?

The SDGs officially began in January 2016. The priorities for implementing the goals are different for each member state. For example, where one country needs to work hard on healthcare, the other country may need to work harder on improved education. However, this does not mean that countries can choose the most important goals for them and ignore other goals. Companies, governments, NGOs, knowledge institutions and citizens will all have to work together to achieve the goals by 2030. On Aruba, a MAPS Mission was hosted in collaboration with the UNDP to narrow down what goals would need the most attention and would make it easier to implement the remaining goals.