Understanding the UN Sustainable Development Goals

By Harshini Gadudasu
June 26, 2024
5 min read

In 2015, the United Nations launched the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, outlining a comprehensive plan to foster development towards global peace and wellbeing. These 17 goals address the most pressing challenges that face our world today. From eradicating hunger to providing sufficient education, take a look at what these goals entail and how they will impact the future of the planet.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals

The sustainable development goals target the social, environmental, and economic challenges that our world faces today. Each goal lists a set of targets to reach by 2030, each considering the policy frameworks and cultures that must be implemented to achieve them.

  • SDG 1: No poverty. End poverty in all its forms everywhere. 
  • SDG 2: Zero hunger. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. 
  • SDG 3: Good health and well-being. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. 
  • SDG 4: Quality education. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. 
  • SDG 5: Gender equality. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  • SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
  • SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
  • SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
  • SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  • SDG 10: Reduced inequalities. Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
  • SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  • SDG 13: Climate action. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • SDG 14: Life below water. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
  • SDG 15: Life on land. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
  • SDG 16: Peace, justice, and strong institutions. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
  • SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development

The Impact of the SDGs

The UN Sustainable Development Goals have influenced socio-economic policies worldwide. Goals such as No poverty, Quality education, Decent work and economic growth target the uplifting of millions of people in poverty, improving their quality of life and supplying opportunities for financial growth. Countries globally have adopted strategies that shift the focus towards quality education, eradicating poverty, and increasing food security. These protection services have direct impacts on economic growth and social stability.

Furthermore, the goals aim to address the challenges that climate change will bring in the future. Climate action, Affordable and clean energy, and Sustainable cities and communities are only a few of the goals that are moving to alleviate the stress of climate doom on global communities. These efforts include renewable energy and conservation projects and sustainable practices in corporations and individuals–all to achieve a greener, more sustainable future.

The goals also hope to improve gender equality and female empowerment. Each of the goals individually acknowledge the frameworks necessary to improve the quality of life for women around the world. This includes promoting women’s rights and their right to property ownership, full reproductive rights and sexual health, and decreasing violence and harmful practices against women, such as child marriages and sexual slavery. These policies drive equitable economic prosperity and social wellbeing for women. 

Ongoing Progress and Challenges

There have been many strides taken in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Issues such as reducing infant mortality rates, HIV prevention, increasing access to clean water, sanitation and energy have all shown tremendous progress. Countries remain committed to sustainable development. 

As we approach the second half of the timeframe, there is still a lot of progress to be made. According to the 2024 SDG Progress Report, only 15% of the targets are showing progress, with the remaining targets either moderately progressing or stalled. In order to make a significant leap in achieving these targets, there must be an emphasis on SDG17: Partnerships for the goals. Partnership between the private and public sectors, governments, international organizations, and individuals must be fostered in order to drive outstanding results.

Business’ Role in Achieving SDGs

With environmentally friendly practices, ethical labor conditions, and developing transparency between stakeholders, businesses have a pivotal impact on achieving the SDGs. Businesses of all sizes have the opportunity to utilize sustainable and ethical products across their supply chain, addressing water scarcity, clean energy usage, and waste management. Through corporate social responsibility measures, businesses promote philanthropy and community engagement. By embracing the SDGs, companies uphold their reputation and advantages, unlocking new market opportunities, innovation, and proactively mitigating environmental and social risks. SDGs not only encourage a more sustainable future, but a more ethical and effective future for businesses themselves. 

How Ecolytics fits in

Ecolytics plays a key role in partnering with entities in numerous sectors, measuring their impact on a single platform. Using our platform allows your brand to track your progress towards achieving your environmental, social, and governance goals, ultimately aiding in the progress of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and a more sustainable future. 

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