The United Nations released the first draft of their Sustainable Development Goals this month in preparation for the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals, which were established in 2000.

In 17 simple steps, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to eliminate poverty, grow economies, increase equality and promote sustainable industry.

The overall goals, as defined in the official draft of the United Nations Development Agenda, are:

1) End poverty and hunger

This specifically aims to “end poverty in all forms everywhere.” According to an article published by The Guardian, Goal 1 seeks to reduce global poverty by at least half by 2030. The drafted plan calls for establishing equal access to economic resources, equal rights of ownership, and the creation of a firm policy framework at all levels in order to promote sustainable and accelerated economic growth.

2) Secure education, health and basic services for all

Goal 2 seeks to eliminate global food insecurity and promote sustainable agriculture. Again by 2030, the United Nations hopes to establish sustainable and year-round access to nutritious food, especially for the most poor and vulnerable. The goal is to establish sustainable agriculture and encourage investment in rural areas. The details of Goal 2 also include measures to address inequality among markets and trade restrictions, and to ensure the proper operation of food markets.

3) Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

This goal is to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” This goal broadly encompasses many aspects of health and well-being across society. These aspects include reducing maternal mortality and the preventable deaths of newborns and infants, ending epidemics caused by communicable diseases, achieving universal healthcare coverage and more.

4) Combat inequalities within and between countries

5) Foster inclusive economic growth, shared prosperity and sustainable lifestyles for all

Goal 4 and 5 address access to education and gender equality. These goals include guaranteeing free and quality primary and secondary education for all children, providing equal educational opportunities to both boys and girls, eliminating violence against women and undertaking reform to ensure equal economic opportunity for women. The fifth goal goes further and calls for the creation of enforceable policies to protect the rights of women.

6) Promote safe and inclusive cities and human settlements

7) Protect the planet, fight climate change, use natural resources sustainably and safeguard our ocean

The remaining goals outline plans to create and maintain sustainability in multiple sectors. These goals include sustainable energy, sustainable agriculture and industry, sustainable use of the environment and sustainable economic structures. Some of the goals also specifically address the idea of “sustainable societies” and outline measures to reduce violence, increase equality between nations and promote global connections.

Although the initial response to the United Nations’ plan has been mixed, and some, according to another article by The Guardian, have warned that the plan has some serious holes, the ambitious set of goals sets a precedent for efforts to end global poverty and will serve as a benchmark for future endeavors.

– Gina Lecher

Sources: Sustainable Development, The Guardian 1, The Guardian 2
Photo: Flickr