The Global Goals for Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


“Transformation of our world:
The Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development”

At its meeting on September 25, 2015, the UN General Assembly used the term above to headline the “Sustainable Development Goals” or “SDGs” for short.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets which we are announcing today “demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda. They seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what these did not achieve” (Quote from the preamble).

History of the Sustainable Development Goals

1992: The Rio Conference
The history of sustainable development targets began in 1992. This year, the United Nations launched a conference on environment and development in Rio de Janeiro to discuss environmental and development policy issues of the coming century.

In the course of this conference, the concept of sustainable development was defined as an international model in order to create important conditions for a good life for all through economic efficiency, social justice and the preservation of natural living conditions.
2000: The Millennium Development Goals
In the year 2000, eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were adopted by 2015 at the UN Millennium Summit. Seven of these goals in relation to

  • the fight against extreme poverty and hunger,
  • primary schooling for all,
  • gender equality and the empowerment of women,
  • the reduction of child mortality,
  • the improvement of health care for mothers,
  • the fight against HIV / AIDS, malaria and other serious diseases
  • the safeguarding of ecological sustainability

took primarily the developing countries into duty. The eighth objective concerns all member countries, but above all the developed countries, to use their global position to

  • to build a global partnership for development.

In order to measure the objectives, the UN also established sub-items and indicators as well as reference data for the evaluation of the objectives. The objectives have been criticized for a number of reasons, including their one-sided perspective on development from the perspective of the developed countries and the far too small consideration of environmental issues.

According to the United Nations report of 2015, the targets were almost but unequally fulfilled. For example, gender inequality, climate change and environmental degradation, and peace and conflict prevention are still in need of further action. Progress has been made particularly in the eradication of poverty, hunger and health.
2015: Sustainable Development Goals
As the MDGs expired in 2015, the need for a new Agenda (Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development) was formulated at the 2010 MDG Summit. An important aspect in the formulation of this agenda is the integration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which combine economic, environmental and social objectives.

In 2012, the decision was made at the Rio+20 conference, at which an open working group (OWG) was commissioned to develop the objectives. After consultation processes were carried out at national, regional and global level, the working group eventually proposed 17 sustainable development objectives in July 2014.

In contrast to the MDGs, the new target system applies equally to developing, newly industrialized and industrialized countries, and to develop developed countries to reduce their pre-eminence. In addition, the new development targets include all aspects of sustainable development, thus putting more emphasis on the environmental component of sustainable development.

The Agenda adopted in 2015 includes, aside from 17 Sustainable Development Goals, 169 targets as well as indicators and reference data. In addition to the 17 fields of action defined by the European Union as a reaction to the SDGs for its member states, Germany has taken a pioneering role with regard to the SDGs, which is to be achieved, among other things, on the National Program for Sustainable Consumption and the Update of the German Resource Efficiency Program.

The national sustainability strategy, which has been further developed in 2016 and approved by the Federal Government, serves as a fundamental basis for sustainability.

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