On 1 January, 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
The SDGs build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and aim to go further to end all forms of poverty. The new Goals are unique in that they call for action by all countries, poor, rich and middle-income to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and addresses a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.
While the SDGs are not legally binding, governments are expected to take ownership and establish national frameworks for the achievement of the 17 Goals. Countries have the primary responsibility for follow-up and review of the progress made in implementing the Goals, which will require quality, accessible and timely data collection. Regional follow-up and review will be based on national-level analyses and contribute to follow-up and review at the global level.
At the global level, the 17 SDGs with 169 targets will be monitored using a set of global indicators.
In September 2015, more than 150 world leaders attended the UN Sustainable Development Summit held at UN Headquarters in New York to formally adopt an ambitious new sustainable development agenda.
Agreed by the 193 Member States of the UN, the Agenda, entitled “Transforming Our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” consists of a Declaration, 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, a section on means of implementation and renewed global partnership, and a framework for review and follow-up.
Since the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development —the Earth Summit— in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the world identified a new pathway to human well-being, that of sustainable development. The concept of sustainable development, presented in Agenda 21, is defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
The new sustainable development agenda builds on the outcome of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, the 2010 Summit on the MDGs, the outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 (Rio+20) and the views of people around the world.
In “The future We Want,” the outcome document of Rio+20, UN member States agreed to establish an open working group to develop a set of sustainable development goals. The proposal of the open working group, finalized in July 2014, is the core of the new 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.