United Nations SDGs – what are they?

In our constitution it states that we aim “To align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals”, but what exactly are they? Read on to find out.

The Rio+20 summit in 2012 created an open working group, with representatives from 70 countries. This group had its first meeting in March 2013 and published its final draft, with its 17 suggestions for sustainable development goals to which we should all aspire, in July 2014. The 17 headings are:

  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 well-being 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

On 25 September 2015, the 193 countries of the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Development Agenda titled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. This agenda has 92 paragraphs. Paragraph 51 outlines the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the associated 169 targets and 232 indicators.

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. Goal fifteen has a target to promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.

The One Planet Working Group seeks to use these goals as a way to measure where we are today and to determine the success of any measures we put in place. Whilst it is very easy to pick goal 7 (sustainable energy) and goal 13 (combat climate change) as the primary concerns, we have chosen to look at how Lyme Regis is faring in all seventeen areas.

Why not pick one yourself, do some further research on the United Nations website to fully understand what it means and then see if you can work out where we are as a town, and what we can do to improve.

1 thought on “United Nations SDGs – what are they?”

  1. For anyone that hasn’t come across The Sustainable Development Goals, I do appreciate the fact that they sound ever so highfalutin and corporate, but don’t let that put you off!

    Dive into them, have a look at their brilliantly structured blueprint for positive environmental change.

    I think the influence they are already having on communities around the world, is going to earn the SDGs a place in history, as being a firm part of the solution.


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