Sustainable development goals

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

By 2030, the UN's Sustainable Development Goals will set us on a path towards more sustainable development for both humans and the planet we live on. The goals are 17 concrete goals and 169 sub-goals that oblige all 193 UN member states to completely eradicate poverty and hunger in the world, reduce inequalities, ensure good education and better health for all, decent jobs and more sustainable economic growth.

Goal 1: No poverty

Extreme poverty is one of the largest challenges for our global society, and although tremendous progress has been made, far too many people are still struggling with this problem. In 2015, it was estimated that 736 million people were living on less than $1.25 a day, and without regular access to sufficient food, clean water and sanitary conditions. Especially in the poorest countries, the effort must be increased, as the population is in a more vulnerable position because of conflicts and climate changes. The first UN global goal is for us, together, to end poverty in all its forms everywhere.

Goal 2: Zero hunger

Though the number of starving people has decreased by almost 50% during the last 20 years, hunger and malnourishment continues to be a challenge, repressing development in many parts of the world. Especially in Africa, where every fourth person is undernourished, malnourishment is a huge issue, and an international effort is required if the problem is to be solved. The second UN global goal is, then, to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and to promote sustainable agriculture.

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

In many parts of the world, mortality is far too high. Many children do not live past the age of five, and hundreds of women die due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Deaths caused by infectious diseases such as AIDS, malaria and hepatitis are frequent, and lack of mental well-being is an issue still growing. The third UN global goal is to accommodate these issues and to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

Goal 4: Quality education

Quality education is a necessity for sustainable development and for our future. Over time, huge improvements have been made to ensure that everyone is given the opportunity of education, however especially in developing countries, big challenges still lie ahead as a result of poverty, armed conflicts and other emergencies. Still more often, poor children do not attend school compared to children coming from rich families, and, likewise, inequality between genders is a barrier to many. The fourth UN global goal is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong opportunities for all.

Goal 5: Gender equality

Equality between genders must be achieved. Though there are far more girls attending school than ever before, and although big steps have been taken by the developing countries to further equality in primary school compared to just 15 years ago, discrimination and violence against women is still a huge challenge. The same applies for women’s rights, women’s access to economic resources and participation in leadership and decision-making, and this must be stopped, if we wish for a better, more sustainable world. That is why the fifth UN global goal is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation

The world is changing, and we feel it through the climate changes. Since 1990, 2,1 billion people have been provided improved access to clean water, but water scarcity still serves as a problem for more than 40% of the world’s population. It is also a problem expected to grow as a result of increasing drought and desertification, and come 2050, we risk that every fourth person in the world will be affected by recurring water shortage. The sixth UN global goal is to accommodate this problem and to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy

Sustainable energy sources are essential for the future. Today, every fifth person lacks access to electricity, and the demand for affordable energy rises with the ever-growing world population. Greater energy production will, at this time, lead to higher CO2-emission and severe climate changes to follow, whilst clean and sustainable energy is a must, if we wish for our planet to persist while also providing affordable energy to all. It is therefore the seventh UN global goal to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

Unfortunately, decent work and economic growth is not a given. Despite a growing middle-class in the developing countries and a decrease in the number of employees living in poverty, we see the global growth slowing, rising inequality, and an employment rate, which can not keep up with the growing work force. Furthermore, forced labour and human trafficking is still a threat to a sustainable future. The eighth UN global goal is then to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Goal 9: Industry, innovations and infrastructure

In order to overcome our economic and environmental challenges, we must invest in our global society, develop new technologies and promote sustainable industry. We need to create more workplaces and further energy effectiveness, if we are to accelerate sustainable development and secure our future. We need to close the digital divide showing in that 90% of 4 billion people without access to the internet live in developing countries. The ninth UN global goal is to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities

Worldwide inequality is still growing. The wealthiest 10% of the population earns up to 40% of the overall global income, whereas the poorest 10% earns only 2-7%. There are also far too grand economic and technological differences between the various countries in the world. Discrimination based on gender, race and ethnicity is also widespread, but everyone should have the right to be included in the global society, and we need everyone if we are to secure a sustainable future with room for all. The tenth UN goal is to reduce inequality within and among countries.

Goal 11: Sustanable cities and communities

Today, most of the world’s population live in urban areas, and more are moving to. It is expected, that come 2050 the number of inhabitants will have reached 6,5 billion people, and that presents more challenges. In 1990, there were ten so-called megacities, each with a population of 10 million inhabitants. In 2014, there were 28. This requires increased investment in city planning and city management. Moreover, extreme poverty is often concentrated in the slums, and new initiatives are needed in order to include everyone and develop safe, sustainable cities for the world’s population. The eleventh UN global goal is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable for all.

Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

The way we consume and produce today affects nature heavily. Pollution and overconsumption is a large problem, and if we want to achieve economic growth and sustainable development, we need to change our pattern of thought regarding the way we consume and produce. It is imperative that we recycle, stop wasting food, think new ways of disposing our toxic waste and polluting substances, and promote new patterns of consuming in order to reach the twelfth UN global goal, which is to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Goal 13: Climate action

Climate changes cost our world dearly. The global average temperature is rising, and climate related natural disasters are happening more frequently than ever before, presenting a threat for especially vulnerable regions such as island states and countries with no coasts. Even then, the human emission of CO2 is now more than 50% higher than it was in 1990, and it is still rising. Global action is necessary, and if we do not act now, the consequences will be irreparable. The thirteenth global goal is therefore that we, together, take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Goal 14: Life below water

The oceans and seas are the driving forces making the planet inhabitable for the human species. They feed us and absorb 30% of the CO2 emitted by humans. It is, then, a large problem, that the fish are not able to reproduce sustainably due to severe overfishing. Furthermore, the seas and oceans have soured with 26% since the beginning of the industrial revolution as a result of the continued rise of CO2-emission. Marine pollution also presents a growing problem, and, today, there is an average of 13.000 pcs. of plastic waste floating in every square kilometer of the ocean. In order to achieve a sustainable future, the fourteenth UN global goal is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Goal 15: Life on land

Life on land is just as important to us as life in the ocean. 80% of our diet comes from plants and agriculture, and forests are sources of clean air and water as well as habitats for millions of plants and animal species. However, land degradation and deforestation happens much more than ever before, and drought and desertification is increasing. It is a threat against thousands of species, of which 22% are in danger of extinction, but it is also a threat against mitigation of the climate changes. The fifteenth UN global goal is therefore to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and to halt biodiversity loss.

Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

Unfortunately, strife, armed conflict and repression is still everyday life in many parts of the world. It destroys life for a lot of people, who stand without protection as a result of absent governance. If we wish for a world with equality and sustainable development, this destructive behavior must be stopped, and so it is the sixteenth UN global goal to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and to build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals

The global goals are ambitious, and enormous challenges lie ahead of us. Only as a global community can we reach the goals, but fortunately, the world is much more closely connected than ever before, and that is our strength. It is important that we keep improving our cooperation across countries, and that we do not forget those in need of help, as there must be room for all, and we need everyone, if the mission is to succeed. That is the reason why the seventeenth UN global goal is to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

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