Creating a framework for a sustainable future, together

This year world leaders will meet to negotiate a global agreement on climate change and a new framework for sustainable development through the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals, echoing in a new post-2015 development agenda that replaces the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These agreements will have a profound impact on the future of our people and planet.

sustainable future

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to create a globally agreed upon, collective vision and truly transformative agenda to guide the world over the next 15 years in addressing global challenges including ending poverty, improving health, making cities more sustainable and addressing climate change. While countries may have differing priorities regarding the development agenda, consensus must be reached and a visionary set of integrated goals, targets and indicators adopted that are supported by strong and effective global partnerships, sustainable development financing and monitoring mechanisms to ensure implementation.

The development of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was agreed on at the Rio Earth Summit of 2012 (in the The Future We Want  outcome document) and has been an inclusive and transparent intergovernmental process open to all stakeholders. An inter-governmental Open Working Group has been coordinating the consultative process of developing the SDGs which has engaged all major groups within the UN system. This includes the MyWorld survey which has been taken by 7.3 million people and consultation with 193 governments.

The proposed SDGs currently contain 17 goals with 169 targets covering a broad range of sustainable development issues:

  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 wellbeing 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

The SDGs will be decided upon at a conference in September and there is an unprecedented opportunity for civil society and organisations to raise their voices and ensure that a truly ambitious, action-oriented and transformative development agenda is adopted. There are numerous resources for information, engagement and advocacy related to the SDGs. These include the CIVICUS Advocacy Toolkit on the SDGs, Towards New Social Contracts Toolkit and Engaging with the Media Guide, the Sustainable Development 2015 website, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform website.

There are also many events taking place around the world that offer people opportunities for engaging in advocacy, awareness raising, collaboration and partnerships towards the adoption of the SDGs. In Africa, the World Economic Forum on Africa takes place 3 – 5 June under the theme “Then and Now: Reimagining Africa’s Future” and is focused on identifying innovative approaches to accelerate inclusive growth and sustainable development across the continent. The Plus Social Good, Connect4Climate and UN Foundation event ‘New Vision, New Voices +SocialGood‘ in Cape Town on 4 June, will also be engaging people around the world on issues such as the role of new media in sustainable development via livestream.

“World leaders have an unprecedented opportunity this year to shift the world onto a path of inclusive, sustainable, and resilient development” – Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, January 2015.


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