Also referred to as Global Goals, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 developmental goals that emanated from a United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. It was approved and adopted by all the United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity for all by 2030. The SDGs come in as a replacement for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which commenced a global effort in 2000 to deal with the indignity of poverty and hunger, preventing fatal diseases, and widening primary education to all children, as well as other development priorities. These 17 goals that constitute the SDGs are:
GOAL 1. No Poverty:
It is a target of the United Nations to ensure that extreme poverty is eradicated among all people [living on less than $1.25 a day] everywhere. The goal is to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030. With some disabilities identified to be linked with poverty leading to malnutrition, poor healthcare and dangerous living conditions, this goal is expected to also help reduce disabilities among people.
GOAL 2. Zero Hunger:
By 2030, hunger is expected to be ended among, in particular, the poor and people in vulnerable conditions, including infants. The goal targets availability of safe, nutritious and sufficient food through sustainable improved agriculture and other food production systems. Ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture is therefore the core of this goal.
GOAL 3. Good Health and Well-being:
The target of this goal is to reduce mortality, especially maternal and premature mortality among people, and also to achieve a universal access to good healthcare service. It aims at strengthening the prevention and treatment of all forms of substance abuse, as well as ending epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, tropical diseases, and other communicable diseases.
GOAL 4. Quality Education:
The Goal 4 of the SDGs aims at ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. This includes technical and vocational training for people.
GOAL 5. Gender Equality:
The core of this goal is to achieve gender equality and to empower all women and girls to play active roles in their society. It also seeks to end all forms of violence and discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
GOAL 6. Clean Water and Sanitation:
The target of this goal is to achieve an equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all everywhere. It is to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation.
GOAL 7. Affordable and Clean Energy:
The target of this goal is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. This is also to ensure that, by 2030, energy used is safe for life on the planet.
GOAL 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth:
This goal is targeted at promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable per capita economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. The goal, thus, is to ensure a simultaneous improvement in both the economy and lives of people in the economy.
GOAL 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure:
The SDG 9 aims to, by 2030, build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, including regional and transborder infrastructure, and foster innovation to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.
GOAL 10. Reduced Inequality:
By 2030, this goal seeks to progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40 per cent of the population at a rate higher than the national average. Thus, the focus of this goal is to reduce inequality within and among countries.
GOAL 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities:
It is a target of the SGDs to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The goal here is to ensure universal access to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, and to upgrade slums.
GOAL 12. Responsible Consumption and Production:
The 12th goal on the list of SDGs is to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. The SDGs, by 2030, aims to achieve a sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources, which includes avoiding wastage of resources.
GOAL 13. Climate Action:
Through policies, education or awareness creation, and the strengthening of resistance and adaptive capacity to climate related dangers, the goal 13 of the SDGs aims at establishing urgent actions to combat climate change and its impacts.
GOAL 14. Life Below Water:
The target here is to provide protection for aquatic life and habitat through policies and environmental protection mechanisms. This goal is meant to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
GOAL 15. Life on Land:
With this goal, the SDGs seeks to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and stop and reverse land degradation and also halt biodiversity loss.
GOAL 16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions:
In the absence of peace and justice, the realization of the above goals cannot see the participation of individuals. Therefore, promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels are what this goal seeks to achieve by 2030.
GOAL 17. Partnership to Achieve the Goals:
The realization of the SDGs can only be possible under strong global partnerships and cooperation, considering the inequality in global economies and resources of nations. According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), achieving the SDGs will require US$5 trillion to $7 trillion in annual global investment, and this as well justifies the need for partnership for the goals. So, through the pledge to “Leave No One Behind,” countries are committed to fast-track progress for those furthest behind first. And this is the 17th goal among the SDGs.
Clearly, these goal, if realized, will make our planet a better place to live on than it is today. And to achieve these goals, everyone needs to get involved. Everyone’s creativity, knowhow, financial resources and technology is needed for the realization of the SDGs.
Ebenezer Otu Sackey, volunteer at GYN