FAQs

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. At the heart of the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 related targets that address the most important economic, social, environmental and governance challenges of our time.
A development is sustainable if it ‘meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are in principle voluntary and so are not binding. This means there will be no consequences should certain countries not achieve certain goals. The political and moral pressure to achieve the Agenda, however, is significant. Moreover, many SDGs refer to existing international agreements, which are legally binding, such as ILO conventions around decent work or Human Rights, for example.

The SDGs are certainly ambitious and so they are meant to be. The SDGs form a kind of common dream with noble targets for a better world: something to reach for.
Achieving the SDGs will require money - a lot of money. The estimates range from 2 billion to 5 billion dollars per year. This amount equates to 4 percent of global GNP. On the one hand, these goals will be funded by the public sector (including through bilateral development aid). But everyone agrees that the private sector will need to do its bit too.
There are a number of ways individuals can help achieve the global goals: Raise awareness by talking to your friends and family. Get involved in an issue you care about. Make sure your leaders know that the goals matter to you. And check out MYWorld 2030.
The pledge to leave no one behind is embedded at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals. It means that the international community has agreed to make a concerted effort to identify and lift up those who are furthest behind first. This means targeting the most vulnerable people who societies so often miss: from youth, and especially girls; to refugees and migrants; to rural farmers and indigenous populations – and so many others living on the margins of society. It’s about giving voice to those who are furthest behind, but who stand to gain the most as we embark on implementing this ambitious agenda over the next 15 years.
It’s significant because it means we have learned a key lesson from the Millennium Development Goals. While they were successful in many ways, it turned out that most countries measured progress in averages – which means that we were leaving out core segments of society. For example, while the world made important progress in reducing poverty overall, often the poorest and most disadvantaged populations, such as adolescent girls in rural communities who face gender discrimination and geographic barriers, did not share in that progress. This time around, governments have pledged to leave no one behind, which means working toward shared progress – so that progress does not only benefit those near the top of society, but also those who are so often on the margins. It’s taking a bottom up approach to development, which has not been the norm.
Yes, the SDGs are identical for all countries. Of course the context differs from one country to another. India will approach poverty and hunger in a different way than Kenya. So every country will have to decide for itself on the way to achieve the SDGs.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 targets are broader in scope and go further than the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by addressing the root causes of poverty and the universal need for development that works for all people. These goals cover the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic growth, social Inclusion and environmental protection. Building on the success and momentum of the MDGs, the new global goals cover more ground with ambitions to address inequalities, economic growth, decent jobs, cities and human settlements, industrialization, energy, climate change, sustainable consumption and production, peace and justice. The new goals are universal and apply to all countries, whereas the MDGs were intended for action in developing countries only. A core feature of the SDGs has been the means of implementation–the mobilization of financial resources– as well as capacity–building and the transfer of environmentally sound technologies. The new goals recognize that tackling climate change is essential for sustainable development and poverty eradication.

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