SDGs will usher in a 'radical shift in development'

'Encouraging sustainable investment can put us on a path to achieve Sustainable Development Goals'

Liu Bolin art
(Image credit: Global Goals/United Nations)

Governments and private companies have been urged to "set smart policies" and encourage sustainable investment to help countries across the world attain the new 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The goals, which were recently adopted by 193 countries, include wiping out extreme poverty and hunger, ensuring inclusive education, promoting healthy living and taking urgent action to combat climate change.

The new SDGs differ from the Millennium Development Goals, a 15-year agenda set in September 2000 to tackle poverty, in that they are even more expansive and will apply to all countries, not just developing nations.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

After celebrating the achievement of persuading so many heads of state to sign up to the new ambitious 15-year plan, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said the task is now to "get to work on meeting the SDG targets".

Manish Bapna, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the World Resources Institute, described the SDGs as a "remarkable achievement that set a bold new agenda for international development".

However, she added: "Of course, it's not enough to have good goals. Now, it's up to governments – and others in the private sector, international organisations, and civil society – to follow through on this vision. By setting smart policies, encouraging sustainable investment, and measuring progress, countries can put us on a path to achieve these goals.

"If successful, the SDGs will usher in a radical shift in development. We can move away from today's imbalanced approach, to one that benefits all people and protects the planet at the same time."

Each of the goals are broken down into 169 more specific targets, which include promoting investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology, and increasing investment to help achieve sustainable food security and improve nutrition.

Paloma Durán, Director of the Sustainable Development Goals Fund at the UN Development Programme, has previously said that achieving sustainability "requires us to go the extra mile" and it is "only when businesses are part of development programmes can we achieve this".

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals aim to:

1. End poverty

2. End hunger and achieve food security

3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all

4. Ensure inclusive education

5. Achieve gender equality

6. Ensure sustainable management of water and sanitation

7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy

8. Promote sustainable economic growth and productive employment for all

9. Build resilient infrastructure and sustainable industrialisation

10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

13. Take urgent action to combat climate change

14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources

15. Protect and restore sustainable use of land ecosystems and sustainably manage forests

16. Provide access to justice for all

17. Revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.