The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) aka Global Goals were adopted by the United Nations member states in 2015. The objectives behind the goals are to end poverty, protect our planet Earth from environmental damages and ensure equality, peace and prosperity among the citizens of the world by 2030. The United Nations has formed 17 integrated sustainable development goals to achieve all its objectives by 2030. Let us briefly understand the 17 SDGs formed with an intention to transform the world for betterment.
SDG 1. No Poverty
The first sustainable development goal is titled ‘No Poverty’. The aim is to end poverty in all its forms. As of 2015, 736 million people lived in extreme poverty i.e. on less than 1.90 US dollars. Many of the poor people are devoid of basic human necessities like proper food, clean drinking water and sanitation. The ‘No Poverty’ SDG is a bold commitment towards increasing basic resources and services and supporting vulnerable communities like those affected by conflict and climate-related disasters.
SDG 2. Zero Hunger
While eradicating poverty is a multi-dimensional goal, Zero Hunger focuses solely on eradicating hunger and malnutrition. As of 2017, 821 million people around the globe were chronically undernourished. The goal is to ensure sufficient and nutritious food for everyone all over the year. To meet this goal the member nations are to promote sustainable agriculture, support small farmers and provide equal access to land, technology and market. International cooperation for developing infrastructure and improving farm technologies is also expected.
3. Good Health and Well Being
Universal Health Coverage is one of the top priorities in the 2030 agenda to attain the global goal of good health and well-being. The global estimates point that at least 400 million people do not have access to the basic healthcare. The biggest challenge in achieving this SDG is the uneven progress in the health sector. The country with the shortest life expectancy is 31 years behind the country with the longest life expectancy. The approach needs to be right-based, gender-sensitive and multi-sectoral in order to address inequalities and build good health for all.
SDG 4. Quality Education
Education is a sector that has witnessed dramatic improvement since 2000, but a lot remains to be done. The SDG aims at providing free and compulsory primary as well as secondary schooling to all. Further, the aim is to provide equal access to affordable vocational training, end gender and wealth disparities and provide equal access to quality higher education.
SDG 5. Gender Equality
Gender Equality in SDG is not only about creating equal opportunities for women in the workplace but also about addressing the issues of sexual violence, domestic exploitation, social barriers etc. The aim is to provide women equal rights on land and property, sexual and reproductive health and access to technology and the internet. UNDP aims at achieving gender equality in all forms by 2030.
SDG 6. Clean Water and Sanitation
“Water water everywhere, not a drop to drink” this might not be relatable for all of us. But, more than 40% of people on earth live a life with water scarcity. And this alarming figure is expected to rise due to the rising temperature of the earth. This SDG aims at providing safe and affordable drinking water to everyone by 2030. To reach this goal it is essential to invest in infrastructure, providing sanitation facilities and encouraging hygiene. Moreover, the protection and restoration of the water ecosystem are also very important.
SDG 7. Affordable and Clean Energy
The number of people with access to electricity has increased dramatically in the last decade. But, with the growing population, the demand is also increasing rapidly. The SDG of affordable and clean energy hence focuses on investing in solar, wind and thermal energies so that the energy demand is fulfilled without putting much adverse impact on the environment. It is expected that all countries will be made energy efficient by expanding infrastructure and upgrading technologies to provide clean and affordable energy to all.
SDG 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
The SDG aims to achieve full and productive employment for all by 2030 in addition to providing decent work conditions. It is to promote sustained growth in the economy and an increased level of productivity and innovations. The key to increasing job opportunities is to encourage entrepreneurship. Further, eradication of forced labor, slavery and human-trafficking also forms the part of this global goal.
SDG 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
The basic aim is to promote economic growth by investing in industry, innovation and infrastructure. The statistics point that more than 4 billion people do not have access to the internet. The SDG also emphasizes on bridging this digital divide in order to ensure equal access to knowledge, information and opportunity to entrepreneurship. Innovation and technological advancement are the keys to deal with environmental challenges too.
SDG 10. Reduced Inequalities
Income inequality has expanded in the recent decades almost everywhere. The richest 10% earn 40% of the global income while the poorest 10% earn between 2 to 7% of the global income. The aim is to provide global solutions to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor. This may include steps like improving the regulation and monitoring of the financial markets and institutions. The facilitation of easy migration is also the key to bridge the gap between rich and poor countries.
SDG 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
Keeping in view the growing urbanization, it is estimated by 2050 two-third of all the human population will be dwelling in cities and urban centers. The unplanned growth of urban centers leads to the formation of slums that causes humans to live in sub-par living condition. The aim of the SDG is to create sustainable job opportunities and develop safe and affordable housing societies. The goal also involves creating affordable public transport facilities, green public spaces and improving urban planning and management.
SDG 12. Responsible Consumption and Production
The basic goal is the efficient management of our shared natural resources. No growth and development can be sustainable unless we reduce our ecological footprints by changing the way we use our natural resources for production and consumption. It is aimed that by 2030 we have to change our production and consumption pattern to make it more sustainable and environment friendly. It is estimated that while 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted globally each year, 2 billion people go hungry. The global goal is to change this sad state.
SDG 13. Climate Action
The global community is experiencing drastic effects of climate change. SDG 13 i.e. Climate action aims at limiting the global rise in temperature to two-degree Celsius above the pre-industrial level. This is one of the most ambitious sustainable development goals. It is estimated if bold actions are taken to achieve this goal, an economic benefit at least of 26 trillion US dollars will be triggered by 2030 in addition to the other non-monetary benefits.
SDG 14. Life Below Water
The aim is to manage and protect the marine and coastal ecosystem from environmental and human pollution. The SDG also aims at addressing the impact of acidification of the oceans. International laws are to be formed and implemented to mitigate the challenges to the oceans as well as for conservation and justifiable use of ocean-based resources. More than 3 billion people are dependent on the marine ecosystem for their livelihood.
SDG 15. Life on Land
The importance of land and its biodiversity for the human race needs no explanation. The aim of the SDG is to take immediate actions to reduce the loss of natural habitats and biodiversity. It aims at supporting global food and water security, mitigation of climate change affecting the natural resources and environment and promoting global peace and security.
SDG 16. Peace Justice and Strong Institutions
No goal of any sustainable development can be achieved without ensuring peace and stability in human life. The aim is to work with the government of countries to significantly reduce all forms of violence against human beings and end conflicts between communities. The key to achieving this goal is to promote rule of law and to encourage human rights everywhere. There are at least 10 million stateless people who have been denied nationality of any country. Solving this type of human crisis also comes under the purview of SDG of Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
SDG 17. Partnership for the Goals
All the Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved only with strong global cooperation and partnership. The world today is much more interconnected than ever. The aim of the SDG is to promote the global partnership to achieve all the targets. It further aims at promoting universal rule-based equitable global trading systems that are fair and beneficial to all. The SDG is based on the notion that cooperation is a better way than competition.