IN 2000, 189 COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD CAME TOGETHER TO FACE THE FUTURE.
And what they saw was daunting. Famines. Drought. Wars. Plagues. Poverty.
The perennial problems of the world. Not just in some faraway place, but in their own cities and towns and villages. They knew things didn’t have to be this way. They knew we had enough food to feed the world, but that it wasn’t getting shared. They knew there were medicines for HIV and other diseases, but that they cost a lot. They knew that earthquakes and floods were inevitable, but that the high death tolls were not.
They also knew that billions of people worldwide shared their hope for a better future. So leaders from these countries created a plan called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This set of 8 goals imagined a future just 15 years off that would be rid of poverty and hunger. It was an ambitious plan.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been one of the leading organizations working to achieve the MDGs. Present in more than 170 countries and territories; we funded projects that helped fulfill the Goals. We championed the Goals so that people everywhere would know how to do
their part. And we acted as “scorekeeper,” helping countries track their progress. And the progress in those 15 years has been tremendous. Hunger has been cut in half. Extreme poverty is down nearly by half. More kids are going to school and fewer are dying.
Now these countries want to build on the many successes of the past 15 years, and go further. The new set of goals, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aims to end poverty and hunger by 2030. World leaders, recognizing the connection between people and planet, have set goals for the land, the oceans and the waterways. The world is also better connected now than it was in 2000, and is building a consensus about the future we want. That future is one where everybody has enough food, and can work, and where living on less than $1.25 a day is a thing of the past. UNDP is proud to continue as a leader in this global movement.
Introducing the new Sustainable Development Goals. What’s your Goal?
END POVERTY IN ALL ITS FORMS EVERYWHERE
End extreme poverty in all forms by 2030. Yes, it’s an ambitious goal—but we believe it can be done. In 2000, the world committed to cutting the number of people living in extreme poverty by half in 15 years and we met this goal. However, more than 800 million people around the world still live on less than $1.25 a day—that’s about the equivalent of the entire population of Europe living in extreme poverty. Now it’s time to build on what we learned and end poverty altogether.
END HUNGER, ACHIEVE FOOD SECURITY AND IMPROVED NUTRITION AND PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
In the past 20 years, hunger has dropped by almost half. Many countries that used to suffer from famine and hunger can now meet the nutritional needs of their most vulnerable people. It’s an incredible
accomplishment. Now we can go further and end hunger and malnutrition once and for all. That means doing things such as promoting sustainable agriculture and supporting small farmers. It’s a tall order.
But for the sake of the nearly 1 out of every 9 people on earth who go to bed hungry every night, we’ve got to try. Imagine a world where everyone has access to sufficient and nutritious food all year round.
Together, we can make that a reality by 2030.
GOOD HEALTH AND WELL BEING
ENSURE HEALTHY LIVES AND PROMOTE WELL-BEING FOR ALL AT ALL AGES
We all know how important it is to be in good health. Our health affects everything from how much we enjoy life to what work we can perform. That’s why there’s a Goal to make sure everyone has health
coverage and access to safe and effective medicines and vaccines. Since 1990, we’ve made big strides—preventable child deaths are down by more than half, and maternal mortality is down by almost as much. And yet some other numbers remain tragically high, like the fact that every year 6 million children die before their fifth birthday, or that AIDS is the leading cause of death for adolescents in sub-Saharan
Africa. We have the means to turn that around and make good health more than just a wish.
ENSURE INCLUSIVE AND EQUITABLE QUALITY EDUCATION AND PROMOTE LIFELONG LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL
First, the bad news on education. Poverty, armed conflict and other emergencies keep many, many kids around the world out of school. In fact, in developing regions, kids from the poorest households are four
times more likely to be out of school than those of the richest households. Now for some good news. Since 2000, there has been enormous progress on the goal to provide primary education to all children worldwide. The primary school enrolment rate in developing regions reached 91%. By measures in any school, that’s a good grade. Now, let’s get an even better grade for all kids and achieve the goal of universal primary and secondary education, affordable vocational training, access to higher education and more. The great progress the world has made in becoming more prosperous and fair is worth celebrating. And yet, in just about every way, women and girls lag behind. There are still gross inequalities in work and wages, lots of unpaid “women’s work” such as child care and domestic work
and discrimination in public decision-making. But there are grounds for hope. More girls are in school now compared to in 2000. Most regions have reached gender parity in primary education. The percentage of women getting paid for their work is on the rise. The Sustainable Development Goals aim to build on these achievements to ensure that there is an end to discrimination against women and girls everywhere. It’s a basic human right.
CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION
ENSURE AVAILABILITY AND SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF WATER AND SANITATION FOR ALL
Everyone on earth should have access to safe and affordable drinking water. That’s the goal for 2030. While many people around the world take clean drinking water and sanitation for granted, many others don’t. Water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of people around the world, and that number is projected to go even higher as a result of climate change. If we continue the path we’re on, by 2050 at least one in four people are likely to be affected by recurring water shortages. But we can take a new path—more international cooperation, protecting wetlands and rivers, sharing water-treatment technologies and more—that leads to accomplishing this Goal.
AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY
ENSURE ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE, RELIABLE, SUSTAINABLE AND MODERN ENERGY FOR ALL
Between 1990 and 2010, the number of people with access to electricity increased by 1.7 billion. That’s progress to be proud of. And yet, as the world’s population continues to rise, still more people will need
cheap energy to light their homes and streets, use phones and computers and do their everyday business. The way we get that energy is at issue; fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions are making drastic changes in the climate, leading to big problems on every continent. Instead, we can become more energy-efficient and invest in clean energy sources such as solar and wind. That way we’ll meet electricity needs and protect the environment. How’s that for a balancing act?
DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
PROMOTE SUSTAINED, INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH, FULL AND PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYMENT AND DECENT WORK FOR ALL
An important part of economic growth is that people have jobs that pay enough to support themselves and their families. The good news is that the middle class is growing worldwide—almost tripling in size in developing countries in the last 25 years, to more than a third of the population. But in 2015, we also have widening inequalities, and job growth is not keeping pace with the growing labour force—over
200 million people don’t have jobs. That’s the equivalent of the entire population of Brazil. Things don’t have to be that way. We can promote policies that encourage entrepreneurship and job creation. We can eradicate forced labour, slavery and human trafficking. And in the end we can achieve the goal of decent work for all women and men by 2030.
INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
BUILD RESILIENT INFRASTRUCTURE, PROMOTE INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE INDUSTRIALIZATION AND FOSTER INNOVATION
Technological progress helps us address big global challenges such as creating jobs and becoming more energy efficient. The world is becoming ever more interconnected and prosperous thanks to the
internet. The more connected we are, the more we can all benefit from the wisdom and contributions of people everywhere on earth. And yet four billion people have no way of getting online, the vast majority of them in developing countries. The more we invest in innovation and infrastructure, the better off we’ll all be. Bridging the digital divide, promoting sustainable industries, and investing in scientific research and innovation are all important ways to facilitate sustainable development.
REDUCE INEQUALITY WITHIN AND AMONG COUNTRIES
It’s an old story: the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. The divide has never been starker. We can and must adopt policies that create opportunity for everyone, regardless of who they are or where they come from. Income inequality is a global problem that requires global solutions. That means improving the regulation of financial markets and institutions, sending development aid where it is most needed
and helping people migrate safely so they can pursue opportunities. We’ve made so much progress on poverty in the last 15 years, and now we can change the direction of the old story of inequality.
SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES
MAKE CITIES AND HUMAN SETTLEMENTS INCLUSIVE, SAFE, RESILIENT AND SUSTAINABLE
If you’re like most people, you live in a city. More than half the world’s population now lives in cities, and that figure will go to about two thirds of humanity by the year 2050. Cities are getting bigger. In 1990 there were ten “mega-cities” with 10 million inhabitants or more. In 2014, there were 28 mega-cities, home to 453 million people. Incredible, huh? A lot of people love cities; they’re centers of culture and business and life. The thing is, they’re also often centers of extreme poverty. To make cities sustainable for all, we can create good, affordable public housing. We can upgrade slum settlements. We can invest in public transport, create green spaces and get a broader range of people involved in urban planning decisions. That way, we can keep the things we love about cities and change the things we don’t.
RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
ENSURE SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION PATTERNS
Some people use a lot of stuff, and some people use very little—in fact, a big share of the world population is consuming too little to meet even their basic needs. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can
have a world where everybody gets what they need to survive and thrive. And we can consume in a way that preserves our natural resources so that our children can enjoy them, and their children and
their children after that. The hard part is how to achieve that goal. We can manage our natural resources more efficiently and dispose of toxic waste better. Cut per capita food waste in half globally. Get businesses and consumers to reduce and recycle waste. And help countries that have typically not consumed a lot to move towards more responsible consumption patterns.
TAKE URGENT ACTION TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS IMPACTS
Every country in the world is seeing the drastic effects of climate change, some more than others. On average, the annual losses just from earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones and flooding count in the hundreds of billions of dollars. We can reduce the loss of life and property by helping more vulnerable regions—such as land-locked countries and island states—become more resilient. The impact of global warming is getting worse. We’re seeing more storms, more droughts and more extremes than ever before. It is still possible, with political will and technological measures, to limit the increase in global
mean temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels— and thus avoid the worst effects of climate change. The Sustainable Development Goals lay out a way for countries to work together to meet this urgent challenge.
PEACE, JUSTICE AND STRONG INSTITUTIONS
PROMOTE PEACEFUL AND INCLUSIVE SOCIETIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, PROVIDE ACCESS TO JUSTICE FOR ALL AND BUILD EFFECTIVE, ACCOUNTABLE AND INCLUSIVE INSTITUTIONS AT ALL LEVELS
How can a country develop—how can people eat and teach and learn and work and raise families—without peace? And how can a country have peace without justice, without human rights, without government based on the rule of law? Some regions of the world enjoy relative peace and justice, and may come to take it for granted. Other regions seem to be plagued by armed conflict, crime, torture and
Exploitation, all of which hinders their development. The goal of peace and justice is one for all countries to strive towards. The Sustainable Development Goals aim to reduce all forms of violence and propose
That governments and communities find lasting solutions to conflict and insecurity. That means strengthening the rule of law, reducing the flow of illicit arms and bringing developing countries more into the center of institutions of global governance.
PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS
STRENGTHEN THE MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION AND REVITALIZE THE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The Sustainable Development Goals are pretty big to-do list, don’t you think? In fact, it’s so big, you may just want to throw your hands up in the air. “Forget it! Can’t be done! Why even try!” But we’ve got a
Lot going for us. The world is more interconnected today than ever before, thanks to the internet, travel and global institutions. There’s a growing consensus about the need to work together to stop climate change. And the Sustainable Development Goals are no small matter either. 193 countries agreed on these Goals. Pretty incredible, isn’t it? 193 countries agreeing on anything? The final Goal lays out a way for nations to work together to achieve all the other Goals. Empowered lives. Resilient nations.