As human development increases rapidly, so does people’s overall well-being. Despite much progress, the challenges humanity faces remain. To combat these problems, the UN formed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2001, which consisted of 8 goals that ranged from ensuring environmental sustainability to combating HIV/AIDs, malaria, and other diseases by the target date of 2015. After the MDGs ‘expired,’ the UN developed a new and improved set of goals which this article focuses on. 

In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly drafted a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a list of 17 integrated global goals intended to protect people and the planet and are set to be achieved by the year 2030. All 195 states adopted the SDGs, reaffirming their commitment to defining new methods and exploring new business opportunities as a part of strategies “that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.”

What are the Sustainable Development 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, manage forests, combat desertification and biodiversity loss, and halt and reverse land degradation.

Goal 16 – Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions.

Goal 17 – Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Are we on track to meet all goals by 2030? 

In short, no. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the majority of the process. However, it affected many positive changes in consumption and production patterns which work towards achieving a more sustainable future, such as working from home and thus minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. With 8 more years left and UN indicators monitoring our development, we have the encouragement needed to keep working towards all goals. 

If you’re interested in reading the official report from 2020 that provides an overview of the world’s implementation, areas of progress, and areas where more action need to be taken, you can find it on the following link:

How can you help?

By signing up as an official UN volunteer – find out more at the following link:

By donating directly to the United Nations Joint SDG Fund