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Six SDGs in a circle: SDG 3 Good Health and Wellbeing, SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG 16 Peace Justice and Strong Institutions, SDG 5 Gender Equality, and SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation.

Bringing together the last three weeks

Over the past four weeks, we’ve explored the topic of sustainable development. We’ve looked at what it means when we talk about sustainability and what the key challenges to achieving sustainable development are. Some of these key challenges related to the idea of how we know what sustainability is.

We looked too at the frame of the Sustainable Development Goals, overarching targets and indicators for measuring our work in Sustainable Development. And we focused on particular topics, highlighting specific goals within the 17 SDGs.

What we could see, was that while each of the Goals focus on a particular topic, they are also linked and interconnected.

In Week 1, the focus was on Peace, Goal 16. But at various points we saw how this linked to several of the other Goals, such as Goal 5 on Gender Equality, and Goal 3 on Good Health. The building of peace at local level relies on the participation of women, and the presence of conflict has important implications for the delivery of healthcare.

Goal 3 on Good Health also links to Goal 2 No Hunger and Goal 6 Clean Water and Sanitation. And all of these topics matter when it comes to Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities.

We have seen throughout this course that each of the topics are inextricably interconnected and need to be taken into consideration alongside each other. They should also be taken into consideration within the full range of the 17 goals.

For example, the achievement of Goal 4 Quality Education and Goal 8 Good Jobs and Economic Growth rest on Peace, Good Health and Clean Water and Sanitation.

Highlighting certain aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals in these few weeks has demonstrated just how interconnected they all are.

We also saw how sustainable development matters in the Global North as well as in the Global South. We examined cases of peacebuilding in Northern Ireland, and the challenges that exist for rural sanitation in Ireland. The question of development is not only a focus for developing nations: developed nations also have to pay attention to the better advancement of their societies and economies.

So, given that there is so much interconnectedness between all of the SDGs, how can we know that we are actually achieving sustainable development around the globe?

How can we measure sustainability?

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This article is from the free online course:

Achieving Sustainable Development

Trinity College Dublin