The Sustainable development goals (SDGs). which consists of 17 goals and 169 targets, are meant to put an end to poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.
The SDGs are a bold commitment to end poverty in all forms and dimensions by 2030. This involves targeting the most vulnerable, increasing basic resources and services, and supporting communities affected by conflict and climate-related challenges and disasters.
However, the first goal involves more than just extreme poverty. It has been determined that all countries must commit themselves to better social security systems. This means, for example, the development of policies and the setting up of programs for an inclusive labor market. In addition, it should not be possible for people in poverty to suffer from unemployment, illness, age or disability. If this does occur, they must be able to fall back on social systems that support them.
All persons, men, women, and especially the poor and vulnerable, are entitled to economic resources such as land, technology, and financial services, such as micro financing. This also refers to the right to work. Goal 1 also states that all countries must ensure that the more vulnerable population needs to be protected from natural disasters, or social and economic crises.
The SDGs aim to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, making sure all people–especially children–have sufficient and nutritious food all year. This involves promoting sustainable agriculture, supporting small-scale farmers and equal access to land, technology, and markets. It also requires local commitment and international cooperation to ensure investment in infrastructure and technology to improve agricultural productivity.
The projection is that the world population will reach 9 billion people by 2050. The second goal, therefore, also focuses on sustainable food production. This means that food production has to be increased without affecting ecosystems. By 2030, the productivity and income of small and medium-sized farms should be doubled. Special attention is paid to vulnerable groups like women, native inhabitants of a country or area, fishermen and shepherds. An example of how to achieve this that should be considered is a fair distribution of land and access to financial markets.
A lot still needs to happen in regards to food safety. The targets of this goal are aimed at ending all forms of malnutrition by 2030. Special attention should be paid to the nutrition of young women, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and the nutrition of elderly people.
This SDGs establish that good health is essential to sustainable development. Universal health coverage is integral to achieving SDG 3, ending poverty and reducing inequalities, through a multisectoral, rights-based and gender-sensitive approaches are essential to address inequalities and to build good health for all.
While some countries have made impressive gains, progress has been uneven, both between and within countries. The 2030 Agenda takes into account widening economic and social inequalities, rapid urbanization, threats to climate and the environment, the continuing burden of HIV and other infectious diseases, and emerging challenges such as noncommunicable diseases. Emerging global health priorities not explicitly included in the SDGs.
This goal also calls for more attention to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Sexual and reproductive health care must be accessible to everyone by 2030. More and better information needs to be made available about reproduction and family planning so everyone can make informed choices.
By 2030 there has to come an end to epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other tropical diseases. To achieve this, more attention must be paid to vaccine and medicinal research. The targets of the third goal also state that more attention should be paid to the prevention and treatment of drug addiction and alcohol abuse. In addition the global number of fatal traffic accidents must be halved by 2020.
By 2030 the maternal mortality rate must be less than 70 per 100,000 live births. Also, the mortality rate of children under five years of age worldwide should at least be reduced to 25 per 1,000 live births.
This SDG is about achieving inclusive and quality education for all and reaffirms the belief that education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development. This goal ensures that all girls and boys complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030. It also aims to provide equal access to affordable vocational training, to eliminate gender and wealth disparities, and achieve universal access to a quality higher education.
This goal targets all levels of education from primary to tertiary education. By 2030 all children, boys and girls, must be able to complete primary and secondary schools. Additionally, all men and women must have access to affordable vocational, technical, and higher education.
Within this goal, focus is also put on the quality of education. All students should have the possibility to acquire knowledge and skills about sustainable development, sustainable lifestyles, human rights, and equality between men and women. In addition, schools must promote a culture of peace, nonviolence, diversity and global citizenship. To achieve this, skilled teachers are needed. Another focus of goal 4 is put on properly educating teachers.
This SDG addresses ending all discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, it is crucial for sustainable future; it’s proven that empowering women and girls helps economic growth and development. Remarkable progress has been made, but although there are more girls receiving education and more women than ever in the labour market, there are still large inequalities remaining. Sexual violence and exploitation, the unequal division of unpaid care and domestic work, and discrimination in public office all remain huge barriers. Climate change and disasters continue to have a disproportionate effect on women and children, as do conflict and migration. It is vital to give women equal rights, land and property, sexual and reproductive health, and to technology and the internet.
The position of girls and women has improved considerably in recent years. For example, in 1984, 74 girls per 100 boys went to primary school in Southern Asia, but in 2012 this number was equal. Worldwide, more female politicians are joining the political field; nevertheless, male politicians still form the vast majority.
By 2030, women should have as many opportunities as men and have equal opportunity to decide in politics, economics, and public life. Countries must specifically adopt policies and adopt laws that give women and girls equal rights in all areas. We must also end all violence against women and girls such as trafficking in human beings, sexual exploitation, child marriages, and women’s circumcision.
The SDGs aim for ensuring universal safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030 and requires we invest in adequate infrastructure, provide sanitation facilities, and encourage hygiene. Protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems is essential.
Goal six states that everyone should have access to clean drinking water by 2030 and must be able to make use of clean and proper sanitation. As a lot of waste is still being discarded in water, measures need to be taken to stop this type of pollution and improve the quality of water. Wastewater also needs to be cleaned more often, and, by 2030, all countries must have a well-functioning water management system.
This SDG strives for affordable and clean energy for all by 2030. Yet as the population continues to grow, so will the demand for cheap energy. An economy reliant on fossil fuels is creating drastic changes to our climate. Investing in solar, wind and thermal power, improving energy productivity, and ensuring energy for all is vital . Expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology to provide clean and more efficient energy will encourage growth and help the environment.
By 2030 everybody should have access to affordable, reliable and renewable energy. Sustainable energy can be extracted from natural sources such as water, wind, and sun. Both these natural resources, and the technology in which renewable energy is generated, need to be researched further. Better infrastructure and technological progress must be made in order to make modern and renewable energy accessible to developing countries.
The SDGs promote sustained economic growth, higher levels of productivity and technological innovation. Encouraging entrepreneurship and job creation are key to this, as are effective measures to eradicate forced labour, slavery and human trafficking. With these targets in mind, the goal is to achieve full and productive employment, and decent work, for all women and men by 2030.
There is still a lot to do within this goal. The global number of unemployment grew from 170 million people to 202 million between 2007 and 2012. Young adults make up 75 million of that total. In order to provide jobs for the future workforce 470 million additional jobs are required between 2016 and 2030. To make this happen, policies need to be in place that enables entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation. Financial institutions need to be strengthened for everyone to have access to banks, insurances, and other financial services.
In addition to the above mentioned measurements, countries need to take action against modern slavery, trafficking and forced labor, including child labor and child soldiers. By 2025 all forms of child labor must be put to an end.
The SDGs stands for promoting sustainable industries and investing in scientific research and innovation. Technological progress is key to finding lasting solutions to both economic and environmental challenges, such as providing new jobs and promoting energy efficiency. Bridging the digital divide is crucial to ensure equal access to information and knowledge, as well as foster innovation and entrepreneurship.
These are all important ways to facilitate sustainable development.
To achieve improvement in the quality of life technological progress is needed. In addition, we need progress to achieve climate and renewable energy goals. Industrialization and innovation are therefore also important in this regard. According to the United Nations there will be no development without industrialization, and there will be no industrialization without technology and innovation.
In addition to being sustainable and inclusive, infrastructure needs to be accessible and affordable to all by 2030. Sustainable and inclusive industrialization needs to increase both jobs and the GDP. By 2020, the least developed countries should also have access to the Internet and more research will need to be done on technology in the industrial sector.
With income inequalities having increased nearly everywhere in recent decades, this SDG sets forth to reduce these inequalities. These disparities require sound policies to empower lower income earners, and promote economic inclusion of all regardless of sex, race or ethnicity. Income inequality requires local and global solutions. This involves improving the regulation and monitoring of financial markets and institutions, encouraging development assistance and foreign direct investment to regions where the need is greatest. Facilitating the safe migration and mobility of people is also key to bridging the widening divide.
Goal ten states that countries should pay more attention to the income growth of low-income people. The income of the poorest 40% of the national population should therefore show a faster growth than the national average in 2030. Global financial institutions should be regulated better and receive need to be checked more.
This goal also requires improved migration by improving the organization of people mobility and increasing the safety thereof. Laws and practices that are discriminatory only increase inequalities and need to be stopped. Everyone must have equal opportunities and be involved in all social, economic and political aspects of society.
This SDG aims to address making cities sustainable by creating career and business opportunities, safe and affordable housing, and building resilient societies and economies. It involves investment in public transport, creating green public spaces, and improving urban planning and management in participatory and inclusive ways. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces.
Sustainable growth is the biggest challenge for future cities. Despite the large number of people living in cities, the cities cover only 3% of the total land area. Nevertheless, cities can make a big difference: they account for around 60-80% of all energy consumption and about 75% of carbon emissions. The rapid urbanization places a heavy burden on obtaining or maintaining fresh water supply, functioning sewers, the living environment and public health.
At the same time, the high population density in the city also has advantages. It’s easier to use resources more efficiently, implementing technological innovations more broadly, and using less commodities and energy. The city of the future must provide opportunities for everyone with the help of innovation and progress, including access to basic facilities, such as clean drinking water, housing, energy, transport and more.
This SDG aims to create a waste free world. Achieving economic growth and sustainable development requires that we urgently reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources. The efficient management of our shared natural resources, and the way we dispose of toxic waste and pollutants, are important targets to achieve this goal. Encouraging industries, businesses, and consumers to recycle and reduce waste is equally important, as is shifting towards a more resource efficient economy.
The use of polluting energy sources needs to be reduced because, in spite of technological advances, OECD-countries are estimated to consume 35% more energy by 2020.
We need to ensure that the small percentage of drinking water there is – only 3% of the world water supplies consists of fresh water – is less polluted and wasted.
Our production needs to become cleaner: the goal is to reduce chemicals and other waste in the air, water and soil. The intention is to raise awareness of the problems throughout the entire food production and consumption chain and to assist in the solutions. From farmer to supermarket, to municipalities, water companies and ultimately the consumer: we need to make sure that everyone has enough information about a green and sustainable lifestyle.
In terms of food production, distribution needs to be better. While nearly 800 million people are living in hunger, there is a surplus (unhealthy) food in some parts of the world causing cardiovascular diseases among other illnesses. It is estimated that approximately one third of what the world produces on food does not reach our plate. The goal is to halve the world’s food waste by 2030.
This SDG galvanizes tacking action to tackle the climate crisis. There is no country that is not experiencing the drastic effects of climate change. Global warming is causing long-lasting changes to our climate system, which threatens irreversible consequences if we do not act. Greenhouse gas emissions are more than 50 percent higher than in 1990.
It is still possible, with strong political will, increased investment, and using existing technology, to limit the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, aiming at 1.5°C, but this requires urgent and ambitious collective action. These actions must also go hand in hand with efforts to integrate disaster risk measures, sustainable natural resource management, and human security into national development strategies.
Drought, flooding and extreme storms are more common due to climate change. Our emission of greenhouse gases cause the temperature on earth to rise rapidly. This causes the Arctic Ice to melt and the sea level to rise. Low-income people, who are already very vulnerable, will be the first to be faced with the consequences. Often they depend on agriculture in areas that are sensitive to extreme conditions.
In December, a climate agreement was signed in Paris whereby countries agreed to keep the global warming temperature below two degrees. To achieve this, greenhouse gases need to be reduced significantly and fossil energy sources need to be replaced by renewable energy. Furthermore, it is important for developing countries in particular to take measures to cope with the effects of climate change.
The SDGs aim to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution, as well as address the impacts of ocean acidification. The world’s oceans – their temperature, chemistry, currents and life – drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. How we manage this vital resource is essential for humanity as a whole, and to counterbalance the effects of climate change. Marine pollution, an overwhelming majority of which comes from land-based sources, is reaching alarming levels, as is the overexploitation of the world’s fish stocks.
Oceans and seas absorb 30% of the total CO2 output, and phytoplankton accounts for 50% of our oxygen. Over the centuries our oceans and seas have remained crucial for trade and transport. The current value of marine economic activity is estimated at 3 to 6 trillion dollars. Nowadays, oceans and seas carry 90% of all transport, and underwater cables account for 95% of global telecommunications. Fisheries and aquaculture provide over 4.3 billion people with over 15% of their animal protein consumption.
This SDG pursues to protect our land and nurture, our planet’s plants, forests, insects and animals. Human life depends on the earth as much as the ocean for our sustenance and livelihoods. Plant life provides 80 percent of the human diet, and we rely on agriculture as an important economic resource in addition to providing vital habitats for millions of species, and important sources for clean air and water, as well as being crucial for combating climate change.
Urgent action must be taken to reduce the loss of natural habitats and biodiversity which are part of our common heritage and support global food and water security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and peace and security.
Deforestation and desertification – caused by man and climate change – pose enormous challenges for sustainable development and impact millions of people’s lives in their fight against poverty. Action is being taken to manage the forests and to fight the desertification.
Deforestation must be stopped by 2020 and afforestation must increase worldwide. In that same year, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems should be protected, especially forests, marshes, mountain areas and steppes. By 2030 the desertification must be countered.
The SDGs aim to significantly reduce all forms of violence, and work with governments and communities to end conflict and insecurity. We cannot hope for sustainable development without peace, stability, human rights and effective governance, based on the rule of law. Sexual violence, crime, exploitation, and torture are also prevalent where there is conflict, or no rule of law, and countries must take measures to protect those who are most at risk. Promoting the rule of law and human rights are key to this process to achieve peace, justice and governments that work for us all.
The violence in the world must be greatly reduced by 2030. There must also be an end to violence against children. Children are still victims of exploitation, abuse and trafficking every day. Corruption must go down, as well as illegal arms trafficking.
In addition, legal systems need to be strengthened and improved, at national and international level. Information needs to be more transparent, and fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression, must be better protected.
The SDGs can only be realized with strong local and global partnerships and cooperation. While humanitarian crises brought on by conflict or natural disasters continue to demand more financial resources and aid.
The world is more interconnected than ever. The goals aim to enhance North-South and South-South cooperation by supporting national plans to achieve all the targets. Improving access to technology and knowledge is an important way to share ideas and foster innovation. Promoting international trade, and helping countries increase their exports is all part of achieving a universal rules-based and equitable trading system that is fair and open and benefits all.
To achieve all the goals by 2030, governments, companies, citizens and organizations must work together. This involves technology, knowledge transfer, trade, data, policy coherence and financial flows. The Official Development Assistance (ODA) amounted to $135.2 billion in 2014, the highest level ever. The debt burden of developing countries remains stable at around 3% of export revenues. The number of Internet users in Africa has almost doubled over the last four years, but more than 4 billion people do not use the internet, and 90% of them live in developing countries.
A successful agenda for sustainable development requires partnerships between governments, industry, and civil society. Common principles and values, a shared vision and shared goals are needed at a global, regional, national and local level.
Long-term investments, including direct foreign investment, are needed, especially in developing countries, in renewable energy, infrastructure and transport, as well as information and communication technologies. Regulations need to be adapted to attract investment and promote sustainable development. National supervisory mechanisms, such as audit rooms and legislation, should be strengthened.