End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 1 calls for an end to poverty in all its manifestations by 2030. It also aims to ensure social protection for the poor and vulnerable, increase access to basic services and support people harmed by climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters. Expanding social protection programmes and targeting appropriate schemes to the poor and most vulnerable can further reduce poverty. Social protection programmes include social assistance, such as cash transfers, school feeding and targeted food assistance, as well as social insurance and labour market programmes, including old-age pensions, disability pensions, unemployment insurance, skills training and wage subsidies, among others. Disaster risk reduction is also essential to ending poverty and fostering sustainable development.

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

Goal 2 aims to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030. It also commits to universal access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food at all times of the year. This will require sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices, equal access to land, technology and markets and international cooperation on investments in infrastructure and technology to boost agricultural productivity. Genetic diversity in livestock breeds is crucial for agriculture and food production. One of the targets for Goal 2 calls for correcting and preventing distortions in world agricultural markets, including the elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies.

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Goal 3 seeks to ensure healthy lives and well-being for all, at every stage of life. The Goal addresses all major health priorities, including reproductive, maternal and child health; communicable, non-communicable and environmental diseases. Reducing adolescent childbearing through universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services are critical to further advances in the health of women, children and adolescents. Unhealthy environmental conditions increase the risk of both non communicable and communicable diseases, which is reflected in the strong integrated nature of the SDGs. Goal 3, in particular, pushes health equity to the forefront and sets forth to ensure achieving universal health coverage; and access “for all” to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and vaccines. It also calls for more research and development, increased health financing, and strengthening health systems capacity of all countries in health risk reduction and management.

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

Goal 4 aims at achieving universal primary and secondary education by 2030 and strongly supports the reduction of persistent disparities. Measuring learning achievement, starting in the early grades, will help to identify where schools are failing to meet their commitments to children and to formulate appropriate remedial action. At the end of primary school, children should be able to read and write and to understand and use basic concepts in mathematics. By the end of lower secondary education, young people should be able to master subject-related knowledge and skills and possess personal and social skills.

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 5 seeks to achieving gender equality and women empowerment and commits to improving girls’ access to education, reducing the rate of child marriage and enhancing the areas of sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights. Assuring women’s rights through legal frameworks is a first step in addressing discrimination against them. Violence against women and girls violates their human rights and hinders development. The harmful practice of female genital mutilation/cutting is another human rights violation that affects girls and women worldwide. The responsibilities of unpaid care and domestic work, combined with paid work, means greater total work burdens for women and girls and less time for rest, self-care, learning and other activities. Increasing women’s participation in the political spheres is also one of the priorities of this goal. 

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Water and sanitation are at the very core of sustainable development, critical to the survival of people and the planet. Goal 6 not only addresses the issues relating to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, but also the quality and sustainability of water resources worldwide. Holistic management of the water cycle means taking into account the level of “water stress”, calculated as the ratio of total fresh water withdrawn by all major sectors to the total renewable fresh water resources in a particular country or region. Already, water stress affects countries on every continent and hinders the sustainability of natural resources, as well as economic and social development. Integrated water resources management aims to address this urgent situation. Better targeting and tracking of water aid within the context of national situations is also needed. Effective water and sanitation management also depends on the participation of stakeholders and the participation of local communities.

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

Energy is crucial for achieving almost all of the Sustainable Development Goals, from its role in the eradication of poverty through advancements in health, education, water supply and industrialization, to combating climate change. Goal 7 aims at increasing the populations’ access to electricity, clean fuels and technologies for cooking and the consumption of modern renewable energy sources.

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

Increasing labour productivity, reducing the unemployment rate, especially for young people and persons with disabilities, and improving access to financial services and benefits are essential components of sustained and inclusive economic growth. While economic growth and employment are important for economic security, access to financial services is also an essential component of inclusive growth.  Goal 8 also calls for taking immediate actions to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms. Protecting labour rights and promoting safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment and increasing Aid for Trade support for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, are also major targets.

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Goal 9 encompasses three important aspects of sustainable development: infrastructure, industrialization and innovation. Infrastructure provides the basic physical systems and structures essential to the operation of a society or enterprise. Industrialization drives economic growth, creates job opportunities and thereby reduces income poverty. Innovation advances the technological capabilities of industrial sectors and prompts the development of new skills. Along the same lines, innovation and the creation of new and more sustainable industries are spurred by investments in research and development. Infrastructure and economic development also rely on information and communications technology. 

Reduce inequality within and among countries

Goal 10 calls for reducing inequalities in income as well as those based on age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status within a country. The Goal also addresses inequalities among countries, including those related to representation, migration and development assistance. Among the targets, Target 10.1 seeks to ensure that income growth among the poorest 40 per cent of the population in every country is more rapid than its national average. Preferential treatment for developing countries and the least developed countries in trade can help reduce inequalities by creating more export opportunities. At the same time, official development assistance and financial flows contribute to reducing inequalities within and among countries.

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

Despite numerous planning challenges, well-managed cities and other human settlements can be incubators for innovation and ingenuity and key drivers of sustainable development. Goal 11 calls for ensuring access to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums and sustainable transport systems and green and public spaces for all. As population growth outpaces available land, cities expand far beyond their formal administrative boundaries. Unplanned urban sprawl undermines other determinants of sustainable development. Likewise, managing solid waste and air population are often problematic in densely populated areas.

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Economic growth and development require the production of goods and services that improve the quality of life. Sustainable growth and development require minimizing the natural resources and toxic materials used, and the waste and pollutants generated, throughout the entire production and consumption process. Achieving Goal 12 requires a strong national framework for sustainable consumption and production that is integrated into national and sectoral plans, sustainable business practices and consumer behaviour, together with adherence to international norms on the management of hazardous chemicals and wastes.

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Climate change presents the single biggest threat to development, and its widespread, unprecedented impacts disproportionately burden the poorest and most vulnerable. Urgent action to combat climate change and minimize its disruptions is integral to the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The global nature of climate change calls for broad international cooperation in building resilience and adaptive capacity to its adverse effects, developing sustainable low-carbon pathways to the future, and accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions. On 22 April 2016, 175 Member States signed the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The new agreement aims to reduce the pace of climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low-carbon future. Parties to the Paris Agreement are expected to prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions. The nationally determined contributions reflect official country responses to climate change and contributions to global climate action.

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

Oceans, along with coastal and marine resources, play an essential role in human well-being and social and economic development worldwide. Oceans provide livelihoods and tourism benefits, as well as subsistence and income. They also help regulate the global ecosystem by absorbing heat and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and protecting coastal areas from flooding and erosion. The sustainable use and preservation of marine and coastal ecosystems and their biological diversity is essential to achieving the 2030 Agenda, in particular for small island developing States.

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Preserving diverse forms of life on land requires targeted efforts to protect, restore and promote the conservation and sustainable use of terrestrial and other ecosystems. Goal 15 focuses specifically on managing forests sustainably, restoring degraded lands and successfully combating desertification, reducing degraded natural habitats and ending biodiversity loss.

Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies

Peace, justice and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions are at the core of sustainable development. Several regions have enjoyed increased and sustained levels of peace and security in recent decades. But many countries still face protracted armed conflict and violence, and far too many people struggle as a result of weak institutions and the lack of access to justice, information and other fundamental freedoms. Progress towards promoting peace and justice, together with effective, accountable and inclusive institutions, remains uneven across and within regions. Goal 16 aims to significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere; end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children; substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms; develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels and ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements, among others.

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Achieving the ambitious targets of the 2030 Agenda requires a revitalized and enhanced global partnership that brings together Governments, civil society, the private sector, the United Nations system and other actors and mobilizes all available resources. Enhancing support to developing countries, in particular the least developed countries, is fundamental to equitable progress for all. Enhancing global macroeconomic stability, including through policy coordination and policy coherence is also considered critical to sustainable development. Goal 17 commits to strengthening domestic resource mobilization, including through international support to developing countries, to improve domestic capacity for tax and other revenue collection and mobilizing additional financial resources for developing countries from other sources. It also aims to assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability and least developed countries to implement investment promotion regimes.Among the top priorities are enhancing North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and knowledge sharing and promoting the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies. Targets also entail enhancing international support for implementing effective and targeted capacity-building in developing countries to support national plans to implement the sustainable development goals and promoting a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization.

Sustainable Development Goals

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with 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.