Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), known officially as “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” are a series of seventeen goals developed by the United Nations. The extreme disparity between developed nations and underdeveloped nations is growing as the world becomes more globalized. Naturally underdeveloped nations want the same opportunities to industrialize and develop as the richer countries had. But the prosperous countries industrialized and developed by doing significant damage to the environment and perpetuating systems of injustice. The SDG’s are designed to help developing nations do so in a manner where they do not compromise the environment or human rights and to ensure that already developed nations can continue to develop but in a more sustainable manner.

The goals outline a concrete plan for the participating countries and provide targets for them to aim for and meet by the year 2030. The goals arose out of the previous plan the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) which terminated in 2015. The MDG’s were largely unsuccessful and member states failed to meet these goals. The SDG’s provided a more in depth plan and provided specific targets for states to meet and indicators by which to measure their progress. The SDG’s take a  multidisciplinary approach to sustainable development. Instead of focusing solely on environmental and health issues as in previous years, the SDG’s broadened their reach. Sustainable development means focusing on economic, political, and social issues as well.

The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) is a forum conducted by the United Nations General Assembly every four years. The HLPF took this role in 2013, after they were created at Rio+20. The upcoming HLPF in 2017 will focus on the theme of “eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity.” It will incorporate the SDG’s and use them to strengthen their work as well as aid them in implementing new procedures. One of these procedures is national voluntary reviews (NVR) where member states release their progress on inclusive development as public knowledge. This is designed to increase transparency and help states learn from one another’s successes and failures.

Sustainable development is a process that requires multiple disciplines and actors to come together and create stronger and more effective policy. Without collaboration and cooperation nothing will get done. The SDG’s and HLPF are processes that link multiple actors on a global scale and ensure that these actors have the same resources to make change.