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True Transformation: What do UN’s Sustainable Development Goals indicate?

30 Nov, 2019
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True Transformation: What do UN’s Sustainable Development Goals indicate?

It was in the year 2015 when the United Nations came up with Sustainable Development Goals, popularly known as SDG’s to transform the world. The UN laid down 17 goals and 169 targets and stated that in order to fulfill these goals by 2030, each participant country will have to do their bit.

As we all grow, learn and evolve, we realize that it’s time to #GiveBack- and understanding, spreading awareness and working on these goals is the most effective way to start- simply because these goals have been meticulously laid down after much thought and debate.

The goals encompass every issue that the world is riddled with today and represents what we need to work on, in a nutshell. Read on to know more about the goals and how you, individually and as a community, can contribute to each of them.

17 Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Poverty seems to be one of the most obvious realities in our times today. This goal is precisely to end all forms and causes and repercussions of poverty. Two of the many important targets under this are:

  • By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular, the poor and the vulnerablehave equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership, and control over land and other forms of 13 property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology, and financial services, including micro-finance.
  • By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters.

Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Commonly called ‘Zero Hunger’ this goal is a commitment to ensure that nobody will remain hungry in their day. Irrespective of any man/woman’s condition, this goal targets to eradicate hunger and promote sustainable agriculture. This goal has various set targets for itself, few of those are:

  • By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular, the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.
  • By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons.

Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Any goal can be achieved only if the people living in the state are healthy. Unless the people are not healthy, nothing can be done about the quality of living of the citizens. That’s why this goal is highly important.

  • By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.
  • Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Education and it’s fair distribution are a cause of great concern in every part of the world. This goal is to ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to better learning outcomes. A couple of important targets to focus on this goal are:

  • By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations.
  • By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.
  • Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all.

Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Gender disparity is a concept that each of us have been learning since we were in school (well, that means it is quite an old concept!). Here, the goal focusses on gender parity and how every gender must be treated neutrally completely devoid of any inequality. Here are a few targets to be achieved:

  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
  • Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.

Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Access to clean drinking water is genuinely a necessity. We CANNOT afford to ignore this in any way. UN has laid down some of these targets under this goal:

  • By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.
  • By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.

Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Modern energy is just like the most important need in today’s time. These goals are further divided into technology, finance, and other categories. Here are the targets for the same:

  • By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services
  • By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix
  • By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.

Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Achieving productive employment and decent work for all women and men is one of the pivotal goals laid down by the UN. This includes young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value. Here are the targets to be achieved:

  • Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading, and innovation, including through a focus on high-value-added and labor-intensive sectors
  • Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
  • Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, with developed countries taking the lead

Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Innovation, infrastructure and sustainable development is the rightful need of the hour. The idea is to enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, by encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers. This goal also includes:

  • Supporting domestic technology development, research, and innovation in developing countries, including by ensuring a conducive policy environment for, inter alia, industrial diversification and value addition to commodities.

Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

By this goal, we have the responsibility to empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status. The targets for the same include:

  • Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.
  • Implement the principle of special and differential treatment for developing countries, in particular, least developed countries, in accordance with World Trade Organization agreements.
  • Encourage official development assistance and financial flows, including foreign direct investment, to States where the need is greatest, in particular, least developed countries, African countries, small island developing States and landlocked developing countries, in accordance with their national plans and programmes.

Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Making cities that are safe, inclusive, resilient and sustainable is more or less about creating dignified and safe places of settlement.

Moreover, it also about substantially increasing the number of cities and human settlements by adopting and implementing integrated policies as well as plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels.

Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Just when we thought that the damage done to the environment is irreversible, some fashion brands or such companies carve their own niche to remain as a ray of hope. Take the example of Sheep Inc, a fashion brand based in New Zealand.

By becoming the world’s first carbon-negative fashion brand, Sheep Inc has set a new benchmark in terms of both quality and sustainability for others to look up to and strive for. ‘Carbon-negative’ essentially means the amount of carbon produced is lesser than the amount of carbon absorbed.

Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Greta Thunberg seemed to shake us completely with her powerful speech at the UN. Perhaps, it was one of those times when we felt that we weren’t doing enough. Seems like we haven’t done enough, so Gen-Z has taken over- and they are doing a great job indeed. Working towards a cleaner, greener planet is the need of the hour and though we cannot reverse the process overnight, we can kick start it with sincerity, dedication and most importantly- hope.

Taking action to improve and implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020. Some of the targets needed are:

  • Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
  • Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning
  • Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning.

Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

In current times, marine pollution is one of the worst. Conservation and sustainability of marine resources are just too crucial in the present time.

Increasing scientific knowledge, developing research capacity and transferring of marine technology by taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries.

Goal 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

Life on land is more than just humans. It could be about all the ecosystems and balances in and across the earth. Whether it is about combating desertification or reversing land degradation, life on land has to be planned and sustained more thoughtfully. Let’s take the example of beaches or lakes. What do the movies tell you it looks like?

Surrounded by a lush green valley, deep & clean blue sea, and happy faces- right? But that image of a beach is far from what it really is- plastic wrappers, polythene bags, and heaps of garbage are the only things that adorn the face of the beaches today. Terrible right? That’s why we say you must MUST wake up and do your bit today! 

Goal 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

Peace and justice are two pillars of quantifiable life. Justice that is denied and delayed is a wrongful act in any humanitarian society, that’s why maintaining independence as well as the sanctity of this institution is beyond stressable importance. Legal equality, enforcement of non-discriminatory laws and policies, protection of fundamental rights as well as reduction of corruption are some of the many core targets of this goal.

Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

The integration of various sustainable resources is some of the obvious things we need to take care of. This one, therefore, is one of the most important goals.

To say that one of the many goals is more important than the rest would be unfair. However, it is not wrong to say that all goals and their sustainability is the collective responsibility of everyone.

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