Skip main navigation

The UN Sustainable Development Goals

What are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and why are they important? This article provides an overview.

The last step invited you to individually reflect on what your own global ‘call to action’ would be. Now, we would like to consider how some international frameworks are actually trying to implement collective global action by setting agreed targets. Specifically, we will consider the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Launched in 2015, the SDGs are a universal, internationally-agreed set of 17 Goals that provide a ‘blueprint’ of actions to be achieved globally by 2030. Despite their contested nature, the SDGs are structured around some of the key actions we need to take to ensure a truly sustainable future and so offer a range of starting points for activities or discussions.

UN Sustainable Development Goals Icons
© United Nations (2015) The content of this publication has not been approved by the United Nations and does not reflect the views of the United Nations or its officials or Member States.
(Click to expand)

The SDGs recognise the interdependency and connection between issues such as ending poverty and strategies to improve health and education and reduce inequalities, whilst also tackling the climate crisis and preserving the biodiversity of our forests and oceans. ‘Climate Action’ is Goal 13 of the 17 SDGs.

This short animation provides an overview of the SDGs. If you cannot access the video, you can find out more in the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

We now invite you to pause for a moment of Personal Reflection and to consider:

  • Which of the 17 SDGs resonate most with you in your personal life, community or national context?
  • How (if at all) do these connect with ‘Climate Action’ SDG 13?

To help guide your thinking, you may wish to build on some of your responses to the previous reflective questions.

You are welcome to share your reflections in the comments area below, but there is no obligation to do so. Should you wish to take a ‘deeper dive’, we invite you to explore the additional resources below.

This article is from the free online

Learning for a Sustainable Future: Live at COP27

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now