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Sustainable Development Goals: The Way of the Future

On 25 September 2015, countries around the world adopted a set of goals, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The SDG was designed to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. This was part of a new sustainable development agenda where each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. Everyone, including governments, the private sector, and people like you and me, must do their part to ensure that the goals set are achieved.

The SDG is a set of 17 ‘Global Goals’ with 169 targets. It is a non-binding document released as a result of the Rio+20 Conference held in 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. What Ban Ki-moon (the United Nations Secretary-General) said was very true – ‘We don’t have plan B because there is no planet B’. If we mess up Earth by polluting it, for example, we cannot just leave it and move to another planet.

So, on 1 January 2016, the 17 goals officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, countries will actively work towards realising the end of poverty, rectify inequalities and fight climate change.

The new global goals are special because they want all countries to participate, regardless of whether they are poor, rich or middleincome. This is because strategies to end poverty must go hand-in-hand with encouraging economic growth and addressing social needs which include education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while overcoming climate change and strengthening environmental protection.

Governments are expected to take charge by carrying out the activities to realise the 17 goals, although the SDG is not legally binding. Countries are responsible for monitoring and reviewing the progress made in implementing the goals. It is necessary to collect quality, accessible and timely data for this purpose.

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sustainable development – development that is conducted without
destroying or harming natural resources
rectify – put right; correct
inequality – lack of equality
legally binding – in a way that is permitted or required by the law
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