Sustainable Development Goals


Millennium Development Goals

In September 2000, the United Nations adopted a United Nations Millennium Declaration chalking out 8 time-bound targets with a deadline of 2015 known as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Eight Millennium Development Goals are:
1. to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;
2. to achieve universal primary education;
3. to promote gender equality and empower women;
4. to reduce child mortality;
5. to improve maternal health;
6. to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases;
7. to ensure environmental sustainability; and
8. to develop a global partnership for development.


The MDGs are interdependent; all the MDG influence health, and health influences all the MDGs. For example, better health enables children to learn and adults to earn. Gender equality is essential to the achievement of better health. Reducing poverty, hunger and environmental degradation positively influences, but also depends on, better health.

The final MDG Report found that the 15-year effort produced the most successful anti-poverty movement in history:

Since 1990, the number of people living in extreme poverty declined by more than half.
The proportion of undernourished people in the developing regions fall by almost half.
The primary school enrolment rate in the developing regions reached 91 percent, and many more girls were in school compared to 15 years ago.
Remarkable gains were made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
The under-five mortality rate declined by more than half, and maternal mortality was down 45 percent worldwide.
The target of halving the proportion of people who lacked access to improved sources of water was also met.

The concerted efforts of national governments, the international community, civil society and the private sector helped expand hope and opportunity for people around the world.

Yet the job was unfinished for millions of people and there was a need to go the last mile on ending hunger, achieving full gender equality, improving health services and getting every child into school.

Sustainable Development Goals

Thus the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or Global Goals, were adopted with a historic pledge on 25 September 2015, to end poverty. Everywhere. Permanently.

The SDGs, set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and intended to be achieved by the year 2030, are part of UN Resolution 70/1, the 2030 Agenda.

The Sustainable Development Goals are:

  1. No Poverty
  2. Zero Hunger
  3. Good Health and Well-being
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  10. Reducing Inequality
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life On Land
  16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships for the Goals


The goals are broad based and interdependent. The 17 sustainable development goals each have a list of targets which are measured with indicators. There are 169 targets for the 17 goals. Each target has between 1 and 3 indicators used to measure progress toward reaching the targets. In total, there are 232 approved indicators that will measure compliance.

The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. The 17 Goals are all interconnected, and in order to leave no one behind, it is important that we achieve them all by 2030.

Progress on SDGs

The online publication SDG-Tracker was launched in June 2018 and presents data across all available indicators. It relies on the Our World in Data database and is also based at the University of Oxford.

The publication has global coverage and tracks whether the world is making progress towards the SDGs. It aims to make the data on the 17 goals available and understandable to a wide audience.

The website “allows people around the world to hold their governments accountable to achieving the agreed goals”.

The SDG-Tracker highlights that the world is currently (early 2019) very far away from achieving the goals.

The Global SDG Index and Dashboards Report is the first publication to track countries’ performance on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The annual publication, co-produced by Bertelsmann Stiftung and SDSN, includes a ranking and dashboards that show key challenges for each country in terms of implementing the SDGs.

The publication features trend analysis to show how countries performing on key SDG metrics has changed over recent years in addition to an analysis of government efforts to implement the SDGs.

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