The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) address global challenges we face and aims to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all without leaving anyone behind. SDGs involve17 goals that are interconnected and should be gained by 2030.
First proposed in 2012 in the Conference for Sustainable development at Rio Janeiro, the sustainable development goals came to action in 2015. SDG replaces the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of 2000, which was a global effort to solve extreme poverty, hunger, access to education, and health issues. The MDG was a 15 years project that helped lift more than 1 billion people out of extreme poverty, reduced the child mortality rate by half, and reduced the drop-rates of students by half.
The Sustainable Development Goal is a 15-year roadmap to consolidate previous efforts and scale the benefits on a global level.
17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2015)
SDG 1: No Poverty
More than 700 million people still live in extreme poverty (measured as people living on less than 1.25$ a day. Thus, it is desired for economic growth to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality.
The SDG aims to eradicate all forms of poverty globally by creating better opportunities, mobilizing resources efficiently, promoting cooperation, and developing sound policy frameworks.
SDG 2: Zero Hunger
A third of the world's food is wasted yet 821 million people are undernourished. The SDG aims to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
Most of the malnourished or hunger prone people are relying on agriculture. And, improving agricultural productivity, empowering local farmers with access to better tools, technology, technique, and distribution system will be the key to providing safe, nutritious, and sufficient food to more than 2 billion people.
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being
Vaccinations resulted in an 80% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2017. Covid19 has made us more aware on a global scale that our complex health systems and governing style are insufficient to handle the threat of a worldwide pandemic.
The SDG focuses on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages of life by tackling problems of epidemics, maternal and child mortality, as well premature mortality, increasing health access, and supporting the research and developments in medicines.
SDG 4: Quality Education
Obtaining a quality education is the foundation for improving people's lives and achieving sustainable development. Significant progress has been made over the past decades to increase access to education. However, in light of the current pandemic, the numbers are not looking good. 1.6 billion children and youth were out of school, while 369 million people who relied on school meals needed to look at other sources.
Around 10% of people globally lack minimum proficiency in reading and is one of the primary reasons why they get stuck in the poverty cycle. The SDG aims to provide equal access to education for all, reduce the gender disparities, and empower students with proper training and vocations for jobs by upgrading facilities, expanding scholarships globally, and increasing the number of qualified teachers.
SDG 5: Gender Equality
Women make up more than half of the world population and without equal opportunities and treatment; we are only working half of the potential for a sustainable future. 1 in 3 women experiences physical or sexual violence, and women hold only 1/4th of managerial jobs worldwide. While we were created equal, the girls have been victims of society from home to the nation.
The SDG 5 aims to end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls while eliminating all forms of violence or harmful practices. Access to economic resources, education, and adopting strong policies and enforceable legislation will be critical to balance gender equality. The use of technology enabling information and communications will be a significant cornerstone to achieve the goals of gender equality.
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Clean, accessible water for all is essential for the world we want to live in. Currently, one in three people does not have access to safe drinking water, while two out of five people do not have necessary hand-washing facilities. The SDG aims to provide universal and equitable access to safe drinking water and sanitation and hygiene.
Moreover, it seeks to protect and restore water-related ecosystems, along with the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management.
SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
Sustainable Development Goal 7 is the first time collective effort has been made to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. Energy is the essential requirement of all households. However, currently, 860 million people do not have access to electricity, and 2.6 billion people do not have access to clean cooking facilities.
The SDG aims to promote clean energy, provide technical assistance, funding, and encourage local participation to solve the energy problems of the world.
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
One in five youth is not involved in education or employment. A sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth with full and productive work is desirable to reduce the global unemployment rate. Many jobs are at risk, mainly due to the pandemic.
The sustainable development goal aims to sustain per capita economic growth by national circumstances, achieve higher levels of economic productivity, and promote development-oriented policies to support productive activities. Diversification, innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship will be vital to achieving equal opportunities for work and growth.
SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Even today, roads, water, sanitation, and electricity remain scarce in many developing countries. Thus SDG 9 aims to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation to unleash dynamic and competitive economic forces that generate employment and income. Going local and promoting industrialization and innovation at all levels will be crucial to achieving the goal.
Currently, half of the world population is online with up to 95% 2G coverage. Technology will help gain the pace for achieving this goal.
SDG 10: Reducing Inequalities
The SDG aims to reduce inequality within and among countries ensuring no one is left behind. Currently, 40% of the poorest people earn less than 25% of global income. The lowest and most vulnerable communities are hit the hardest in crisis which is even worsened by the social, political, and economic inequalities. Equal opportunities need to be created, while the inclusion of all socially, economically, politically must be ensured to progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40% at a higher rate.
The principle of special and differential treatment in developing countries should be encouraged and at the same time policies must be adopted for social protection, wages, as well as safe regulation of migration for job opportunities.
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Cities and metropolitan areas are the powerhouses of economic growth- contributing about 60 % of global GDP while also accounting for 70 % of global carbon emissions. The cities of the future must provide equal opportunities for all, with access to essential services, energy, housing, transportation, and more.
Currently, 9 out of 10 urban residents breathe polluted air, thanks to the big industries and successful sales of automobiles. SDG aims to protect and safeguard the world's cultural and natural heritage while also ensuring access to safe, inclusive, and accessible, green, and public spaces for all.
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption
All we have got is one earth, so we need to ensure we are doing more and better with less. Economic growth must be devoid of environmental degradation while focusing on increasing resource efficiency and promoting sustainable lifestyles.
Water, Energy, and Food are the basics to sustain humankind so we must focus on sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources, reduce the global food waste as well as chemical and household waste by prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse. It is required to develop and implement tools to assess the impact of developments, tourism, and other industries.
SDG 12: Climate Action
Climate change is not a hoax, and it is essential to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact. CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions rose to new records in 2019 with a 50% rise from 2019. 2020 hopes to be lower on emissions primarily due to the lockdown impacting industry and tourism.
However, all countries need to confront the climate risk and make a green transition into resilient economies decarbonizing all aspects of our economy. Similarly, education and awareness regarding climate change mitigation are also essential.
SDG 14: Life Below Water
Over 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. The 26% increase in ocean acidity as a result of human activities has endangered not only sea life but also the lives of people dependent on it. It is essential to keep the oceans clean and avoid plastic bags at all costs.
Prevention and reduction of marine pollution, sustainable management of marine and coastal ecosystems, regulating overcapacity and overfishing while continuously increasing scientific knowledge and research capacity for marine technology will be crucial for the life below water and life on earth.
SDG 15: Life On Land
Humans are dependent on natural resources for everything. But, in the name of use and survival, human activities have altered almost 75 % of the earth's surface. Biodiversity loss is happening at an accelerated rate with more than 1 million animal and plant species threatened with extinction. Desertification has been a real problem while land degradation is affecting one-fifth of the earth's land area and the lives of 1 billion people.
The Sustainable Development goals aim to protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss. Proper planning at all levels, adequate financing, sound policies, and local participation will be crucial to ensure sustainable life on land.
SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
Security, strong institutions, and equal access to all are the cornerstone for sustainable development. It is desirable to reduce all forms of violence, abuse, and exploitation by promoting the rule of law at national and international levels. Moreover, responsive, participatory, and representative decision making is required at all levels.
Curbing corruption and bribery in all forms will be essential to develop effective, accountable, and transparent institutions at all levels.
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
The only way to realize the sustainable development goals is through global partnership and cooperation that is inclusive and built upon a shared vision and shared plans for a sustainable future with people and planet in focus. Inclusive partnerships are suitable for finance, technology, trade, systemic issues, and capacity building.