17 Goals for People, for Planet

The Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. The 17 Goals were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which set out a 15-year plan to achieve the Goals.

Today, progress is being made in many places, but, overall, action to meet the Goals is not yet advancing at the speed or scale required. 2020 needs to usher in a decade of ambitious action to deliver the Goals by 2030.

A Decade of Action

With just under ten years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, world leaders at the SDG Summit in September 2019 called for a Decade of Action and delivery for sustainable development, and pledged to mobilize financing, enhance national implementation and strengthen institutions to achieve the Goals by the target date of 2030, leaving no one behind.

The UN Secretary-General called on all sectors of society to mobilize for a decade of action on three levels: global action to secure greater leadership, more resources and smarter solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals; local action embedding the needed transitions in the policies, budgets, institutions and regulatory frameworks of governments, cities and local authorities; and people action, including by youth, civil society, the media, the private sector, unions, academia and other stakeholders, to generate an unstoppable movement pushing for the required transformations.

Numerous civil society leaders and organizations have also called for a “super year of activism” to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, urging world leaders to redouble efforts to reach the people furthest behind, support local action and innovation, strengthen data systems and institutions, rebalance the relationship between people and nature, and unlock more financing for sustainable development.

At the core of the 2020-2030 decade is the need for action to tackle growing poverty, empower women and girls, and address the climate emergency.

More people around the world are living better lives compared to just a decade ago. More people have access to better healthcare, decent work, and education than ever before. But inequalities and climate change are threatening to undo the gains. Investment in inclusive and sustainable economies can unleash significant opportunities for shared prosperity. And the political, technological and financial solutions are within reach. But much greater leadership and rapid, unprecedented changes are needed to align these levers of change with sustainable development objectives. #ForPeopleForPlanet

SDG Report 2020

The annual SDG reports provide an overview of the world’s implementation efforts to date, highlighting areas of progress and where more action needs to be taken. They are prepared by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, with input from international and regional organizations and the United Nations system of agencies, funds and programmes. Several national statisticians, experts from civil society and academia also contribute to the reports.

SDG Report 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Sustainable development has been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
  • Sustainable development calls for concerted efforts towards building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future for people and planet.
  • For sustainable development to be achieved, it is crucial to harmonize three core elements: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. These elements are interconnected and all are crucial for the well-being of individuals and societies.
  • Eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions is an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. To this end, there must be promotion of sustainable, inclusive and equitable economic growth, creating greater opportunities for all, reducing inequalities, raising basic standards of living, fostering equitable social development and inclusion, and promoting integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems.
  • The Addis Ababa Action Agenda that came out of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development provided concrete policies and actions to support the implementation of the new agenda.
  • Implementation and success will rely on countries’ own sustainable development policies, plans and programmes, and will be led by countries. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be a compass for aligning countries’ plans with their global commitments.
  • Nationally owned and country-led sustainable development strategies will require resource mobilization and financing strategies.
  • All stakeholders: governments, civil society, the private sector, and others, are expected to contribute to the realisation of the new agenda.
  • A revitalized global partnership at the global level is needed to support national efforts. This is recognized in the 2030 Agenda.
  • Multi-stakeholder partnerships have been recognized as an important component of strategies that seek to mobilize all stakeholders around the new agenda.
  • At the global level, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets of the new agenda will be monitored and reviewed using a set of global indicators. The global indicator framework for Sustainable Development Goals was developed by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and agreed upon at the 48th session of the United Nations Statistical Commission held in March 2017.
  • Governments will also develop their own national indicators to assist in monitoring progress made on the goals and targets.
  • Chief statisticians from Member States are working on the identification of the targets with the aim to have 2 indicators for each target. There will be approximately 300 indicators for all the targets. Where the targets cover cross-cutting issues, however, the number of indicators may be reduced.
  • The follow-up and review process will be informed by an annual SDG Progress Report to be prepared by the Secretary-General.
  • The annual meetings of the High-level Political Forum on sustainable development will play a central role in reviewing progress towards the SDGs at the global level. The means of implementation of the SDGs will be monitored and reviewed as outlined in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, to ensure that financial resources are effectively mobilized to support the new sustainable development agenda.
  • To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, annual investment requirements across all sectors have been estimated at around $5-7 trillion. Current investment levels are far from the scale needed. With global financial assets estimated at over $200 trillion, financing is available, but most of these resources are not being channeled towards sustainable development at the scale and speed necessary to achieve the SDGs and objectives of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
  • Interest and investment in the Sustainable Development Goals are growing and investment in the Goals makes economic sense. Achieving the SDGs could open up US$12 trillion of market opportunities and create 380 million new jobs by 2030.
  • The Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance, a UN-supported coalition of 30 business leaders announced in October 2019, works to provide decisive leadership in mobilizing resources for sustainable development and identifying incentives for long-term sustainable investments.Net Official Development Assistance totaled $149 billion in 2018, down by 2.7% in real terms from 2017.
  • Climate change is already impacting public health, food and water security, migration, peace and security. Climate change, left unchecked, will roll back the development gains we have made over the last decades and will make further gains impossible.
  • Investments in sustainable development will help address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building climate resilience.
  • Conversely, action on climate change will drive sustainable development.
  • Tackling climate change and fostering sustainable development are two mutually reinforcing sides of the same coin; sustainable development cannot be achieved without climate action. Conversely, many of the SDGs are addressing the core drivers of climate change.
  • No. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are not legally binding.
  • Nevertheless, countries are expected to take ownership and establish a national framework for achieving the 17 Goals.
  • Implementation and success will rely on countries’ own sustainable development policies, plans and programmes.
  • Countries have the primary responsibility for follow-up and review, at the national, regional and global levels, with regard to the progress made in implementing the Goals and targets by 2030.
  • Actions at the national level to monitor progress will require quality, accessible and timely data collection and regional follow-up and review.
  • The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 targets are broader in scope and go further than the MDGs by addressing the root causes of poverty and the universal need for development that works for all people. The goals cover the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection.
  • Building on the success and momentum of the MDGs, the new goals cover more ground, with ambitions to address inequalities, economic growth, decent jobs, cities and human settlements, industrialization, oceans, ecosystems, energy, climate change, sustainable consumption and production, peace and justice.
  • The new Goals are universal and apply to all countries, whereas the MDGs were intended for action in developing countries only.
  • A core feature of the SDGs is their strong focus on means of implementation—the mobilization of financial resources—capacity-building and technology, as well as data and institutions.
  • The new Goals recognize that tackling climate change is essential for sustainable development and poverty eradication. SDG 13 aims to promote urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.