What are the Sustainable Development Goals | Action Against Hunger

The world's to-do list post-2015

What are the Sustainable Development Goals and why do they matter? We explain... 

By Leah Oatway

Sep 9 2015

What is the post-2015 development agenda all about?

In 2000, world leaders came together to agree to work together on a set of goals and targets – known as the Millennium Development Goals – aimed at changing the world for the better.

Their success has been well documented but with the timeframe for those goals expiring at the end of this year, focus has now turned to what's next.

The Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a new set of 17 goals aimed at dramatically improving living conditions for everyone.

They follow on from, and expand on, the Millennium Development Goals.

The SDGs are more detailed than the Millennium Development Goals, which were to: eradicate extreme hunger and poverty; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development. 

Why do the Sustainable Development Goals matter?

This is our chance to determine what our world should look like in 15 years time – to make decisions about the kind of world we want to live in.

The Millennium Development Goals proved that the world could come together and make a difference when it had agreed on common goals. During the last 15 years extreme poverty has been cut in half, more children than ever are accessing primary education and child deaths have dropped significantly.

There’s lots of work still to be done though. This is a chance to bring the world together again to drive progress further progress, including to end child hunger. The post-2015 agenda is about leaving no one behind. About getting to zero – zero child deaths from hunger. Who wouldn’t want to live in a world like that? 

What are the 17 goals?

Goal 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Goal 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Goal 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Goal 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Goal 7 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Goal 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Goal 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries

Goal 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Goal 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*

Goal 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Goal 15 - 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 - 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 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

* Acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change 

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