Sustainable Development Goals – A Complete Guide

United Nations defines SDGs as, a ‘universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030’.

The United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development formed by 193 member countries in 2015. The Agenda lists 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the core of the development process. 

In the 2000 Millenium Summit, member states adopted Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) to reduce extreme poverty by 2015. They adopted the outcome document ‘The Future We Want’ and proceeded on creating the next developmental goals. The process of forming SDGs started in 2012 at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. SDGs were built on the foundation of MDGs taking into account the missed goals and new developmental challenges facing the world.

What are SDGs?

United Nations defines SDGs as, a ‘universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030’. This call to action is timebound to ensure accountability and action by member states of the United Nations. 

For measuring and evaluating these goals, the UN has developed 169 targets under the 17 SDGs. Each goal has 7-8 targets to make the goal a holistic developmental process. For example, the indicators for SDG 5 (Gender Equality) are universal access to sexual and reproductive health, recognition of unpaid care and domestic work, and accessibility of technology for women’s empowerment among others. These indicators are diverse that ensure the holistic development of the targeted social groups. 

These goals balance the three dimensions of sustainable development – the economic, social, and environmental. It aims to stimulate action for the next fifteen years (2030) to protect humanity and the planet.   

17 Sustainable Developmental Goals

Here are the 17 Developmental Goals that the member states of the UN aspire to achieve by 2030.

Source – UN Communication Materials

Five Ps of SDGs 

The SDGs are designed to cater to the 5 Ps. They are as follows. 

  1. People – SDGs are designed to end poverty and hunger thus enabling people to reach their full potential in a healthy environment. 
  2. Planet – SDGs take into account the effects of climate change and the goals will ensure sustainable ways to prevent degradation and support the present and future generations. 
  3. Prosperity – The goals will ensure there is economic, social, and technological progress in harmony with nature. 
  4. Peace – The UN believes that there can be no sustainable development without peace and vice versa. Therefore, fostering peace and ensuring inclusive societies is essential. 
  5. Partnership – Through Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, the goals will ensure collaborations to fight the global challenges to transform the world for the better. 

India’s Position on SDGs 

In 2022, India ranked 121 out of 163 countries in the Global Index of SDGs with an overall score of 60.3 out of 100. The spillover score (the effect of a country’s action on another country’s ability to achieve SDGs) is 99.3.     

Source – SDGs – India Dashboard

India has progressed in SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and SDG 13 (Climate Action). However, the country is still struggling to overcome major challenges in achieving other SDGs. Here, you can analyze the state-wise performance of SDGs developed by Niti Aayog.

How does Arthan’s work fit with SDGs? 

Arthan is a social enterprise dedicated to strengthening the social impact sector in Asia through capacity building and consulting support in human capital, organizational development, and thought leadership. Arthan supports the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Following are the forums Arthan conducted in alignment with some of the SDGs. 

SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and SDG 13 (Climate Action)

SDG 4 (Quality Education) and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth)

SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure)  

SDG 17 (Partnership for the Goals)  

SDGs give us a broad call to action that is agreed upon by the majority of countries. It creates a holistic approach to solving complex global challenges. This also ensures that shared global goals are achieved through global partnerships and collaborations to maximize the impact. 

This is our introductory article on SDGs. We will dwell deeper into each SDG to understand the indicators under each goal, India’s plan of action, and the status of its progress. Stay tuned for more on this!

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