The Sustainable Development Goals: An Overview

September commonly marks a time of year that presents a period of change for many, however this September brings a huge wave of change worldwide in the form of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a set of 17 goals set to achieve three primary objectives. End extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and fix climate change. On September 25th 2015, 193 world leaders will commit to these goals that set out new development priorities for all countries post 2015.

The SDGs replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and will provide targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. They differ from the MDGs in that they are set to target every country and not only those of poorer economic stance. The 2015 SDGs are also more mindful of the root causes of issues, and have more specific guidelines and strategies to tackle these.

The SDGs were chosen by an open working group consisting of representatives from 70 countries. Alongside the discussions of the open working group, the UN also conducted the largest consultation programme in its history in order to assess what the SDGs should entail. Door-to-door surveys, thematic and national conversations as well as an online worldwide survey were fed into the working group’s discussions.

There are, as with most worldwide proposals, a certain amount of governments who are dubious about the new SDGs. Some NGOs believe there are too many goals but, in general, the majority of governments agree on the areas targeted within the proposed goals. Another key concern is how the goals will be funded, the committee have said that public finance and aid will be central to support the implementation of the SDGS, but insisted that funds generated from the private sector, tax reforms and corruption is equally as vital.

The SDGs will be officially approved at a UN summit in New York on September 25th and will come into action from January 2015. The deadline for the SDGs is 2030.

For more information, this simple yet comprehensive video gives a great 3-minute overview.

Alternatively, browse through the publications addressing the SDGs available on the UN website here.

Victoria Tait

SEEd Projects Manager