Every person has its own role to play in this world. Small but collective actions can bring massive real change to the world. In the year 2015, the United Nations General Assembly sets a collection of 17 goals for sustainable development. Few of the main areas which covers these 17 goals are economic inequality, peace and justice, innovation, climatic shift and many others. These goals are also known as the Global Goals and is a universal call to protect the earth and end poverty so that every human can enjoy peace and harmony. From 2016, these goals are to be implemented till 2030.
Below are the details of the 17 goals of sustainable development.
1. No poverty: About half the population of the world lives in extreme poverty with no access to basic human needs like proper food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, proper shelter, education or health care facilities. The first goal in sustainable development is to end poverty globally by 2030. The international target figure is $1.90 per day per person to be above the extreme poverty category.
Children make up more than half the population that lives in conditions of extreme poverty globally. The data that is gathered is potentially unreliable as most countries have insufficient data on child poverty.
The fact that without a proper economic baseline a country will not be able to face the impact of the changing climate and environmental needs is obvious. Achieving goal number 1 is necessary globally if we are looking at developing ways to counter the increasing environmental damage. The lack of economic growth in many countries is contributing to poverty and the lack of resources to combat the environmental changes.
2. Zero hunger: The term hunger does not just imply access to food to satisfy hunger. It refers to the access of an individual to food that provides the required nutrition which is beyond the common notion of filling one’s stomach to satisfy hunger. The “Zero Hunger” goal aims to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030.
Large sections of human population living in the developing countries are undernourished, of which the number of children is the highest. Malnutrition is the major cause of death in children under 5 years old every year. It is estimated that about 3.1 million children die every year due to malnutrition. While a whopping 155 million children’s’ growth and development is impacted globally each year.
Three pathways were suggested to bring about the access to nutrition by all i) enhanced agriculture ii) social protection and nutrition iii) a combination of both these pathways.
Agricultural productivity needs to be doubled to meet the global demand for food. This is aimed to be achieved by ensuring sustainable food production systems and improving the fertility of the tillable land. Other steps to be taken include prevention of trade restrictions, and control inflation in the cost of food products, raw materials and other agricultural needs. Improvement of Agriculture is not just to improve food availability; agriculture is the major source of income to most of the world population. This will ensure advancement in economic conditions of an individual and of the nation.
3. Good health and well-being: Access to health care facilities has been a major challenge for the developing and underdeveloped countries. The life expectancies of children have reduced significantly in the last few years. Although there has been a decrease by 47% of mortality of children under five years, still about 56 million of them succumb to malnutrition and the lack of medical care that is much needed.
Another area of concern is the neonatal and maternal deaths. Many of the deaths that are reported are caused by preventable causes. With simple access to medical care and medicines, many of the deaths could have been avoided. The occurrences of teenage pregnancies are a major contributing factor to the increasing number of maternal deaths. Improved access to birth controls methods and health education can curb this by a long way.
The aim of Goal 3 is to reduce the mortality rates by i) reducing adolescent pregnancies, ii)improve access to medical facilities, iii) achieve greater coverage of skilled birth attendants, iv) educate on health and hygiene, v) improve living conditions including access to sanitation and safe water and vi) improve the access to medicines and vaccines.
4. Quality education: Education does not just improve the potential of a person to improve his earning capacities, with greater awareness that education gives it improves the overall understanding and living condition of a person and his community.
The fourth goal is to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” The main point of concern here is not access to education. Even though a large section of children has access to an education they do not have access to quality education which can improve their proficiency and productivity. This goal aims to improve i) early childhood education for both boys and girls and ii) provide effective learning environments and facilities.
There has been a major improvement in the number of schools and students attending them in the past few decades. But the quality of the education that is provided has not been at par and many lacks the basic literacy skills. The target is that by 2030 all boys and girls have access to free, equitable and quality education in both the primary and secondary levels.
5. Gender equality: Gender inequality has been an age-old issue and this is not just relevant for the developing or underdeveloped nations. We find gender inequality is relevant to the developed nations as well. The fifth goal is to“Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” Gender equality, though not a fundamental right is a must to achieve a “peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world“. A large percentage of women and girls are exempted from higher education, decent jobs, and a functional position in society. About 143 countries have assured equality for women and girls in their constitutions however 52 countries have not come forward to give this assurance.
Gender equality is only achievable if the government of the nations of the world together work towards the empowerment of women by ending discrimination in all fields including work, education and social fields.
There has been a considerable amount of progress in this area with increase in female literacy rate and decreasing the rates of child marriages.
6. Clean water and sanitation: Clean and safe drinking water increasingly become difficult. The 6thsustainable development goal is to,” Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all“. This goal consists of 8 target and various indicators which will be monitored to check on the progress towards each target.
Many of the developing nations do not have adequate safe water supply and hygienic sanitation facilities which leads to a number of deaths every year due to the consumption of unsafe water. Pollution and climate change are a major reason for the drop in the groundwater and freshwater resources. Many environmental laws have been slated out to ensure that the natural sources of water can be kept free from pollution and the conditions leading to an exhaustion of these resources are controlled.
Many governments in various nations have taken up the task of providing sanitation facilities to the rural and urban areas keeping in mind the specific needs of women, girls and the elderly or people with special needs. There has been slow progress in the direction to achieve these targets. To be able to reach the target by 2030 a much more aggressive approach is required by the developing and underdeveloped countries of the world.
7. Affordable and clean energy: With the increase in the pollution level and its global impact the use of clean and alternative energy source has attained utmost importance. Fossil fuel which is the main source of energy is fast depleting which is resulting in higher cost as well. The pollution caused by the carbon emission during the combustion of fossil fuel is the main contributor of air pollution. To counter the issue of a depleting energy resource that increases pollution it has become important to use alternative sources of energy that are clean and is renewable.
The 7th goal is to, “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”. By 2030 it is hoped that 95% of the world population will have access to a clean energy source. This would mean higher investment in clean energy infrastructure and cooperation between nation to support each other with the technology to help generate renewable and clean energy.
8. Decent work and economic growth: For the economic growth of a nation it is important all of the sustainable development goals are met. For economic growth, it will be important that the individuals of the nation have proper income sources that will contribute to the GDP of the nation. The 8thgoal is to. “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.”
Every member nation is required to prioritize infrastructure investment to create jobs and attain higher productivity. Technologically advanced methods of production need to be promoted among the developing and underdeveloped nations along with a conducive environment for growth and innovation for each individual such that the targets can be achieved by 2030.
9. Industry, innovation, and infrastructure: The economic growth of a nation and its people are dependent to a large extent on the industrial development which in turn is dependent upon the infrastructure that is available and the facilities for research and innovation. The 9th goal is to, “Build resilient infrastructures, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation“. In the developed countries, manufacturing contributes significantly to the per capita of the nation while this is not possible with the developing and underdeveloped nations. As per this goal suitable environment is to be provided to the developing nations to help better their infrastructure to support a higher capacity of manufacturing output.
10. Reduced inequalities: The main status symbol or categorizing factor in society is the financial standing of an individual. The 10thgoal is to, “reduce income inequality within and among countries.” This goal is related to the 1st goal which talks about eradicating poverty. This goal is also known as “Shared prosperity”. The main aim of the goal is to uplift the lower strata of society with lower income by giving them the opportunity to earn at a rate that is higher than the national average. This is also applicable not just within a nation but to the international community as well.
11. Sustainable cities and communities: The living conditions in cities are not always affordable which results in slums and other unhealthy living habitats. The rising population in the cities is leading to a shortage of housing facilities. This has contributed to the increase in the criminal activities making communities unsafe. The 11thgoal aims to, “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.” The movement of population from the rural areas to the urban areas will continue in search of better opportunities. It is hoped that 2030 safe and affordable housing can be ensured to all living within the city limits
12. Responsible consumption and production: The resources in our planet are not inexhaustible. They cannot be used up for our consumption alone without the concern towards future generations. The aim of the 12thgoal is to, “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns“. To achieve this goal eco-friendly production method needs to be used and reduce wastage to the maximum in all the developed and developing countries. As per the goal companies are required to adopt sustainable production methods and publish their sustainability reports as well.
13. Climate action: Several treaties have been signed by the international community to help mitigate the damage caused to the environment by the uncontrolled pollution and degradation caused by human activities. The main objective of this goal is to “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts by regulating emissions and promoting developments in renewable energy.” The possibility of achieving some sort of control over climate change is possible only if the sustainable goals are met. Economic development is needed to ensure that a country is able to invest on renewable energy technology to help reduce environmental degradation.
The Paris Summit 2015 and the G20 conference emphasized the need for climatic changes and the urgency of the matter was established.
14. Life below water: The target for this goal is to, “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.” The ocean is the largest ecosystem on our planet and it influences the life and the climate on the terrestrial ecosystem to a large degree. The water cycle and the carbon cycle are dependent on the ocean for its completion. Millions of people depend on the ocean for their livelihood on the ocean and it resources. The ocean supports over 200,000 species in its vast ecosystem.
But with the rising pollution and global warming, there has been a shift in the marine environment which has resulted in the extinction of various species and loss of numerous ecosystems.
The restoration and the preservation of the marine ecosystem in its natural condition is guided by several environmental laws that were framed to safeguard and prevent the further deterioration of this essential natural habitat.
15. Life on land: This goal aims to, “Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”. This goal is supported by the numerous environmental laws that have been laid out not just for the international community but regional as well.
The preservation of biodiversity in all forms is a must to sustain life. The target is to achieve a “land degradation-neutral world” by combating the loss of forests and other ecosystems to human invasion.
The Mountain Green Cover Index helps to monitor progress towards achieving the target of preserving mountain ecosystems. The Red Index monitors and documents the progress of the endangered species.
16. Peace, justice and strong intuitions: This main aim of this goal is to, “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”Some of the targets of paramount importance for this goal is the reduction of sex trafficking of women and girls, against violent crime, child abuse, and forced labor. There has been a significant reduction in sexual exploitation of women and girls but there has been a constant rise in forced labor of children. It becomes difficult to track crime against children as birth registration is still not a very common practice in many countries.
This Sustainable development goal aims to achieve universal legal identity for all and birth registration. This will ensure access to justice and social services for all especially the children.
17. Partnership for the goals: The main aim of this goal is to, “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”. International cooperation is necessary to achieve all the goals that have been listed out. The last and the most important goal is to assure the participation of all the countries with an aim to improve and develop all the nations together without any sense of competition. The above goals can be achieved by considerate partnerships that share knowledge and technology and provide each other with the support to achieve the goals by 2030.