What are the UN’s SDGs?

July 2, 2021

In today's blog we're going to answer the question "What are the SDGs?". Those of you who’ve chatted to me about my business will probably have heard me say I work with “for-purpose” organisations and companies working to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But, as many of us know, there’s often a lot of jargon in the conservation sector. So, if you’re not sure what the SDGs are, don’t worry. Here’s a quick overview to get you up to speed.

What are the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

In 2015, all Member States of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. Central to this plan is something called the Sustainable Development Goals, or the SDGs. These 17 goals are based on years – and even decades – of work by countries globally in partnership with the UN. They aim to improve global healthcare and education, reduce inequality, boost economic growth, end poverty and tackle climate change and destruction of the environment. Because plans for solving these issues and for economic growth can’t happen in silo: they must go hand in hand.  

The SDGs provide a call to action for all countries around the world – however poor or rich – to address social and environmental issues while promoting economic growth. Today, as countries attempt to recover post-pandemic, these goals are more important than ever.

What are the 17 SDGs?

The 17 different goals focus on a range of issues including oceans, climate, education, health, equality, justice and more. They are:

Goal 1: No poverty

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 2: Zero hunger

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Goal 3: Good health and wellbeing

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Goal 4: Quality education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Goal 5: Gender equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities

Reduce inequality within and among countries

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Goal 13: Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*

Goal 14: Life below water

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Goal 15: Life on land

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Goal 16: 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

Goal 17: Partnership for the goals

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

What are you doing to achieve the SDGs?

I hoped you found this brief intro to the SDGs interesting. If you’re intrigued and want more information, visit the SDGs website to find out more. By taking action to address the Sustainable Development Goals, you can help achieve a better, more sustainable future for everyone.  I'd love to hear what you're doing to meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Do get in touch on Twitter to let me know.

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