The United Nations Announces New Sustainable Development Goals

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The United Nations (UN) has announced a set of new global sustainable development goals that aim to protect the environment, end poverty, end hunger, achieve equality and promote sustainable energy.

The new agreements are outlined within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030.  They will be officially adopted in September 2015 by the UN’s 193 member states at the Sustainable Development Summit in New York, which also marks the organisation’s 70th anniversary.  

The SDG agreement includes 17 core goals and 169 related targets.  They aim to build on the success of the millennium development goals which were adopted in 2000 and are estimated to have helped more than 700 million out of poverty.

Announcing the agreement, UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon said: “This is the people’s agenda, a plan of action for ending poverty in all its dimensions, irreversibly, everywhere, and leaving no one behind. It seeks to ensure peace and prosperity, and forge partnerships with people and planet at the core.”

The UN says the goals and targets aim to tackle key “systemic barriers to sustainable development such as inequality, unsustainable consumption and production patterns, inadequate infrastructure and lack of decent jobs.” 

A number of goals have been developed that specifically address the environment, such as energy use, climate change, ecosystems and biodiversity.  These include:

  • Goal 7 – Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all;
  • 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; and  
  • Goal 15 – Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Each of these goals also include specific targets that have been developed to drive forward the wider objectives.  They have been generally well received by governments, environmental NGOs and civil society groups.

UN chef de cabinet, Susana Malcorra, described the agreement as "historic" but also warned that the work ahead is immense, adding that "the sheer size, the depth and the complexity of this agenda challenges all of us, challenges the UN,".

Full details of all of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals are available on the UN website here

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