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What are Sustainable Development Goals?

In total there are 17 different Sustainable Development Goals with 169 separate targets contained within them
© UCL Institute for Global Prosperity

The Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, are a “universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity”.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were agreed upon by governments in 2001, and sought to focus the attention of the global community on development of policies and aid programmes that would help those who need it most.

However, while they guided us toward many great improvements, it is widely agreed that they were too narrow in scope.

Adopted in 2016, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development significantly expands upon the aims of the MDGs, including new goals relating to human rights, gender quality, and economic development, and with an expectation that all nations should work to attain the targets.

What are the goals?

In total there are 17 different Sustainable Development Goals with 169 separate targets contained within them. Here they are:

  1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation
  10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
  11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
© UCL Institute for Global Prosperity
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