Transforming Our World: The UN's New Sustainable Development Agenda

It’s been a busy week in the US, between visits by Pope Francis and China’s president, and now the United Nations meeting.

At the UN, after two years of negotiations, 193 countries formally adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda: Transforming Our World, which includes 17 goals (with 169 targets) that build on the last set of 15-year goals – Millennium Development Goals that expire at the end of this year.

Sustainable Development Goals 2030

The 17 Goals Are:

1. No Poverty: End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
2. Zero Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
3. Good Health & Wellbeing: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
4. Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
5. Gender Equality: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
6. Clean Water & Sanitation: Ensure available and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
7. Affordable & Clean Energy: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
8. Decent Work & Economic Growth: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
9. Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
10. Reduce Inequalities: Reduce inequality in and among countries.
11. Sustainable Cities & Communities: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
12. Responsible Consumption & Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
13. Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
14. Life Below Water: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
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.
16. Peace, Justice & 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."
17. Partnerships For the Goals: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

The goals "are the result of the most open and transparent consultation process in the history of the United Nations, in which individuals, community organizations, businesses, scientists, academics and other partners worked with Governments. Millions of people shared their vision for a better world and what is needed to attain it. The result is truly the people’s agenda," says Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

"The Goals are universal; they apply to all countries, since we know that even the wealthiest have yet to conquer poverty or achieve full gender equality. No one goal is more important than any other; they are integrated and mutually reinforcing. For instance, access to energy will allow a child to study at night. This energy might come from a solar source and therefore be tackling climate change. In turn, the solar-panel industry might be helping a developing country grow its economy. Greater opportunity to study, in turn, can lead to better job opportunities, innovation, and stronger national institutions," he adds.

According to the White House, over the years, the UN’s sustainable development goals have cut the number of people that live on less than $1.25 per day by more than two-thirds;  more than halved the child mortality rate; and helped to reach gender parity in primary school enrollment.

"The first opportunity to prove that we are serious about these goals comes this December in Paris, where leaders will gather to find a way forward on climate change. An ambitious and universal climate agreement is an absolute must," says Mogens Lykketoft, president of the UN General Assembly.

Learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals:

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