What are the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

What are the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

Oct 1, 2019

Creating a fair and sustainable society right around the globe is our ambition as well as that of many other organisations - including the United Nations. In 2015, the United Nations Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a way of creating peace, prosperity and sustainability for everyone – now and in the future. At the heart of the agenda are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

So what are these goals calling for?

The goals are ambitious. They call for urgent action by all countries around the world, whatever their level of development, to join in a global partnership to challenge and change the problems that the natural world and human race face.

So while working towards ending poverty (SDG1), and recognising that we also need good health and well-being (SDG3) and education (SDG4) to achieve this, we also need to take action on the climate (SDG13), look after life below water (SDG14) and life on land (SDG15), while having decent work and economic growth (SDG8), sustainable cities and communities (SDG11) and to have responsible consumption and production (SDG12).

You can find a full list of the goals here.

How did we get to these goals?

From the moment member states met in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, 178 countries agreed to work together under Agenda 21 to forge sustainable development to protect people as well as the planet. After the Millennium Summit, eight Millennium Development Goals were created to end extreme poverty by 2015.

Following years of further discussion and progress, in 2015 the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development solidified the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which were at its core.

And here we are, helping to work towards them – and helping you to do the same.

So what do the goals mean?

Here in the UK, our government has made a commitment to implementing the SDGs and they are building them into the work of each of their departments. It has also been acknowledged that businesses have a big role to play in achieving their goals and many are now integrating the goals into their strategies.

The role of CDEC and that of schools in Cumbria is to share the goals with children, help them to understand what the SDGs mean for them and then to encourage them to take action to help their community – whether it be the school, their local club or their town or village. Some schools are so committed to the goals and find them so useful that they are a corner stone of the school’s strategic plans – you can read about some case studies here.

CDEC too find them crucial and they are now referenced clearly in our list of resource boxes, and many of the boxes include activities that help children think about what the goals mean to them and how they can work towards them to make the world a better place. They are also central to our courses - you can get going with the SDGs by booking our half day SDG course for your school.