Each year, the United Nations General Assembly (a division within the UN) meets for a three-day meeting called a summit. In its most recent summit, representatives from 193 countries formally adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The agenda is made up of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to be used by all participating governments to frame political policies over the next 15 years. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon of South Korea praised the agenda as a vision for achieving a better world.
Developing the Goals
Back in 2001, the same group created a set of millennium development goals (MDGs). There were eight covering the following topics—poverty, education, gender equality, child mortality, maternal health, disease, the environment, and global partnership. Each goal was supported by 21 specific targets and more than 60 indicators. All of the millennium development goals are due to expire at the end of this year. The sustainable development goals are intended to build upon the foundations provided in the MDGs.
Recently, Vlogbrother John Green gave his opinion on the progress made with the MDGs.
During the Rio+20 Summit in 2012, a work group made up of representatives from 70 countries was created to draft the goals that would later be presented to the general assembly for approval. The 17 goals, which cover three major categories are as follows:
- End Extreme Poverty – 1. no poverty; 2. zero hunger; 3. good health and well-being
- Fight Inequality and Injustice – 4. quality education; 5. gender equality; 6. clean water and sanitation; 7. decent work and economic growth; 8. industry, innovation and infrastructure; 9. reduced inequalities; 10. peace and justice strong institutions; 11. partnerships for the goals
- Fix Climate Change – 12. affordable clean energy; 13. responsible consumption and production; 14. sustainable cities and communities; 15. climate action; 16. life below water; 17. life on land.
Together with a long-list of “founding” and “delivery” partners, the UN has created a campaign to spread the word about the goals to 7 billion people in 7 days.
John Green’s brother Hank (the other half of the Vlogbrothers) posted his own views on the Global Goals. Check it out below.
Criticism and Challenge
Some critics believe that both the number and the scope of the SDGs may be too ambitious. Especially in a time when the UN in particular is also trying to help manage the largest flow of refugees since World War II.
On the other hand, all eight goals put forth in the MSGs have been successful, many by a large percentage. For example, the number of people around the world living on less than $1.25 a day has been reduced from 1.9 billion (in 1990) to 836 million this year. Ninety percent of the countries in the world have more women in parliament since 1995. The amount of global Internet penetration has increased from 6% in 2000 to 43% today. Supporters of the SDGs say that success will be dependent upon aid groups finding new ways to operate.
Learn much, much more about the UN’s Global Goals by visiting the official site: www.globalgoals.org