UN General Assembly’s Open Working Group proposes sustainable development goals


The UN General Assembly’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals forwarded to the Assembly its proposal for a set of Goals that consider economic, social and environmental dimensions to improve people’s lives and protect the planet for future generations at the conclusion of the Group’s thirteenth and final session at UN Headquarters on Saturday, 19 July.

The proposal contains 17 goals with 169 targets covering a broad range of sustainable development issues, including ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change, and protecting oceans and forests.

With most targets of the Millennium Development Goals concluding at the end of 2015, new goals set the stage for an ambitious future development agenda

As stated by UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo, “The proposal of the Open Working Group brings together a breadth of economic, social and environmental issues in a single set of goals like never before. All those involved in crafting these 17 goals can be proud of themselves. Member States have shown a determination and willingness to work together for people and planet that bodes well for the General Assembly’s negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda.”

In commenting on the outcome, UN DESA’s Assistant Secretary-General Thomas Gass hailed it as a milestone, highlighting the key role played by the Co-Chairs Ambassador Csaba Kőrösi of Hungary and Ambassador Macharia Kamau of Kenya, the high-level engagement of Member States and the active involvement of civil society.

The proposed sustainable development goals are:

Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

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

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

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all

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

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

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

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

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

Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

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

Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

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

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

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

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

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

From Millennium Development Goals to sustainable development goals

“The proposal of the Open Working Group brings together a breadth of economic, social and environmental issues in a single set of goals like never before”

Wu Hongbo
UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been the most successful global anti-poverty push in history. With a number of sub-targets covering a range of poverty, hunger, health, gender equality, education and environmental indicators, the MDGs were embraced by all UN Member States. Major progress at the global, regional, national and local level shows in the many millions of people whose lives have improved due to concerted, targeted efforts by many countries, groups and individuals. Several targets have already been met, such as halving the number of people living in extreme poverty. It is expected that more targets will be reached by the end of 2015 when most MDGs are set to be achieved.

World leaders have called for an ambitious long-term sustainability agenda to succeed the MDGs. The new agenda must address the unfinished business of the MDGs, beginning with the eradication of extreme poverty. Building on the success es of the MDGs, it will also need to address pressing global sustainable development challenges like environmental degradation and promote sustained and inclusive economic growth in poor countries if poverty eradication is to be irreversible.

The Group’s proposal on goals will be considered by the in the upcoming General Assembly as part of the broader post-2015 development agenda that world leaders are expected to adopt at a Summit in September 2015.


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