In the year 2000, the United Nations began their Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a list of 8 identifiable, measurable goals – to tackle the problem of poverty in the Least Developed Countries. These goals included cutting the number of people in extreme poverty (less than $1.25 a day) by 50%; primary schooling for all boys and girls; reducing child mortality by 2/3; etc. These goals were to be attained in 15 years – 2015 – this year.
Many of these goals were reached. Extreme poverty was actually reduced by 50% by the year 2010 – 5 years ahead of the goal period. Other goals were not met but were close to being met. Of those that were not met, they came closer to being met than if the goals had never been set. As a result, the MDGs have been a tremendous success
Now in 2015 the United Nations is migrating from an emphasis of the MDGs to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the years 2015 to 2030. These SDGs will be for the entire world – the Most Developed Countries as well as the Least Developed Countries – such as the United States and Australia. There are 16 major SDGs which will be presented to the full body of the United Nations in September for their official approval.
The success of the MDGs was primarily the result of the collaborative work of the Non Government Organizations (NGOs), the civil society sector, with the UN Agencies of UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO, etc. However the success of the SDGs will require the collaborative efforts of all sectors of society – government, business, civil society, and education. These 16 SDGs present a good all-inclusive set of goals that cover the broad spectrum of what is included in the label “Sustainability”.
(I should mention that the United Nations has defined Sustainability as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Another way to look at Sustainability is “What do we need to do today to insure that we are just as viable 50 years from now?”
I have created and attached a graphic which lists the 16 Sustainable Development Goals in an attractive, artistic way. These include the currently identified problems of water, climate change, income distribution, oceans, sustainable cities, etc.