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What are the sustainable development goals?

The (SDGs) are a new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years.

The SDGs follow and expand on the (MDGs), which were agreed by governments in 2001 and are due to expire at the end of this year.

Why do we need another set of goals?

There is broad agreement that, while the MDGs provided a focal point for governments – a framework around which they could develop policies and overseas aid programmes designed to end poverty and improve the lives of poor people – as well as a rallying point for NGOs to hold them to account, they were too narrow.

The eight MDGs – reduce poverty and hunger; achieve universal education; promote gender equality; reduce child and maternal deaths; combat HIV, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; develop global partnerships – failed to consider the root causes of poverty and overlooked gender inequality as well as the holistic nature of development. The goals made no mention of human rights and did not specifically address economic development. While the MDGs, in theory, applied to all countries, in reality they were considered targets for poor countries to achieve, with finance from wealthy states. Conversely, every country will be expected to work towards achieving the SDGs.

As the MDG deadline approaches, about 1 billion people still live on less than $1.25 a day – the World Bank measure on poverty – and more than 800 million people do not have enough food to eat. Women are still fighting hard for their rights, and millions of women still die in childbirth.

What are the proposed 17 goals?

1) End poverty in all its forms everywhere

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

3) Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages

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

5) Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

6) Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

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

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

9) Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation

10) Reduce inequality within and among countries

11) Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

12) Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

13) Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (taking note of agreements made by the UNFCCC forum)

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

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

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

17) Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

Within the goals are 169 targets, to put a bit of meat on the bones. Targets under goal one, for example, include reducing by at least half the number of people living in poverty by 2030, and eradicating extreme poverty (people living on less than $1.25 a day). Under goal five, there’s a target on eliminating violence against women, while goal 16 has a target to promote the rule of law and equal access to justice.

 

What is Global Schools? 

Global Schools is an initiative led by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Youth Initiative (SDSN Youth) in support of UNESCO’s Global Action Program on Education for Sustainable Development (GAP-ESD).

“Empowering schools and teachers globally to educate children on the SDGs”  

The vision of the program is to generate interest about sustainable development in schools in an effort to educate and engage students with the SDGs and to encourage them to prioritize the goals in their lifestyles, behaviors, education and professional careers as these goals provide framework for a better world that children could live in the future. The program aims to do this by transforming learning environments globally and making schools the hubs of education and leadership on SDGs, ultimately becoming vehicles for empowering and mobilizing students and young people to help implement the SDGs in their communities.  

  1. Integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into school settings.

  2. Increase the capacities of educators and teachers to more effectively deliver education on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

  3. Provide youth with opportunities to engage with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the local level.