- In today’s fast-changing world, we face complex problems like poverty, inequality, climate change, and environmental degradation. To tackle these challenges and make a better future for everyone, the international community came together to work on a plan called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals are a set of targets that are all connected and aim to solve these global issues. Let us discuss what are Sustainable Development Goals and how they can help us make the world fairer, stronger, and more sustainable for everyone.
What are Sustainable Development Goals?
- The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015.
- The target set to achieve these SDGs is 2030.
- All 193 United Nations member states signed the SDGs.
- They are a call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.
- The SDGs are a universal agenda that applies to all countries, regardless of their level of development.
- The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are as follows:
- No Poverty
- Zero hunger
- Good health and well-being
- Quality education
- Gender equality
- Clean water and sanitation
- Affordable and clean energy
- Decent work and economic growth
- Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
- Reduced inequality
- Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Responsible consumption and production
- Climate action
- Life below water
- Life on land
- Peace, justice, and strong institutions
- Partnerships for the goals
Importance of Sustainable Development Goals:
- Addressing global challenges: The SDGs are a set of goals that tackle different problems all over the world. These problems include things like poverty, hunger, education, gender equality, and climate change.
- Universal applicability: The SDGs apply to all countries, regardless of their development status. They promote a shared responsibility among nations to work towards sustainable development and ensure that no one is left behind.
- Inclusivity and equity: The SDGs prioritize vulnerable and marginalized populations, aiming to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities, and promote social justice. They foster inclusivity to build a fair society.
- Long-term vision: The SDGs set targets for 2030, encouraging sustainable practices and investments. They enable progress monitoring and accountability and guide policies and strategies for a sustainable future.
- Global poverty has significantly reduced, with the number of people living on less than $1.90 per day decreasing from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 689 million in 2022, indicating a substantial decline.
- Access to quality education has improved globally, with primary school enrollment rates increasing and gender disparities in education being reduced. The global primary school enrollment rate rose from 82% in 1990 to 91.6% in 2022.
- Progress in promoting gender equality is evident through increased representation of women in decision-making roles and the implementation of legal reforms protecting women’s rights. The Global Gender Gap Index shows a 68% reduction in the global gender gap since 2006.
- The transition to renewable energy has gained momentum, leading to affordable and clean energy and a reduced reliance on fossil fuels. The share of renewable energy in global electricity generation increased from 17% in 2000 to 29.5% in 2022.
- Countries have taken significant actions to address climate change, including the Paris Agreement, resulting in global cooperation and limited global warming. Global greenhouse gas emissions have plateaued since 2015, according to the UNFCCC.
- Access to healthcare and related services has made notable progress, resulting in reduced maternal and child mortality rates and improved efforts against infectious diseases. The global maternal mortality rate has declined by 44% since 1990, according to the WHO.
- Climate Change: Extreme weather events, such as floods, droughts, and heatwaves, are exacerbating challenges related to food security, displacement, and agricultural productivity, posing significant obstacles to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Conflicts: Conflict disrupts economies, displaces people, and makes it difficult to provide basic services.
- Corruption: It diverts resources away from important programmes and projects. It also undermines trust in government and institutions.
- Inequality: The gap between the rich and the poor is widening in many countries. This makes it difficult to ensure that everyone has a fair chance to succeed.
The achievements made towards the SDGs highlight the progress made in reducing poverty, improving education and healthcare, promoting gender equality, transitioning to renewable energy, and addressing climate change. However, persistent challenges remain, and collective efforts must continue to ensure inclusive and sustainable development for all. Governments, businesses, civil society, and individuals need to work together to build a better future, leaving no one behind on this transformative journey.
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok
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