What are Sustainable Development Goals?

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Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Each goal has a specific set of targets and indicators to be achieved by 2030, and they are interrelated and mutually reinforcing.

Overview of SDGs

The SDGs build on the progress made by the Millennium Development Goals, but also address a wider range of interconnected issues such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice. The SDGs are important because they provide a roadmap for a sustainable future that is equitable, just, and inclusive.

What are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals?

SDG Goal 1 – No Poverty

To eradicate extreme poverty and reduce inequality, and ensure that everyone has access to basic needs and services.

648 million people in the world, about eight percent of the global population, live in extreme poverty, which means they subsist on less than US$2.15 per day.

World Bank

Achieving this goal requires providing universal access to basic needs such as food, water, sanitation, and healthcare. It also involves creating economic opportunities and social protection systems to reduce poverty and inequality.

SDG Goal 2 – Zero Hunger

To ensure that everyone has access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food, and to support sustainable agriculture.

The number of people affected by hunger globally rose to as many as 828 million in 2021, an increase of about 46 million since 2020 and 150 million since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic


This goal aims to eliminate hunger and malnutrition by improving food production, distribution, and consumption. It also involves promoting sustainable agriculture practices that conserve natural resources and reduce environmental degradation.

SDG Goal 3 – Good Health and Well-being

To ensure access to quality health care, including mental health care, and to promote healthy lifestyles.

Over half of the world’s population lacks access to essential health services, and the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of investing in strong health systems.


This goal focuses on improving access to health care, especially for vulnerable populations. It also involves promoting healthy behaviors and lifestyles, preventing and treating communicable and non-communicable diseases, and strengthening health systems.

SDG Goal 4 – Quality Education

To provide inclusive and equitable education for all, from early childhood to tertiary level.

Approximately 244 million children and youth are out of school, and many who do attend school do not receive a quality education.


This goal aims to ensure that everyone has access to quality education, regardless of their background or circumstances. It involves expanding access to education, improving the quality of teaching and learning, and promoting lifelong learning opportunities.

SDG Goal 5 – Gender Equality

To empower women and girls, and promote their full and equal participation in all spheres of life.

forestnation empowering women farmers in tanzania

This goal seeks to eliminate discrimination and violence against women and girls, and promote their full and equal participation in society. It involves ensuring equal access to education, employment, and political representation, as well as addressing harmful practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.

SDG Goal 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation

To ensure universal access to clean water and sanitation, and to improve hygiene and water management.

Over 2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and 4.2 billion people lack access to safely managed sanitation services.


This goal aims to improve access to clean water and sanitation, particularly in rural and marginalized communities. It also involves promoting hygiene practices and improving water resource management to ensure sustainable access to water.

SDG Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy

To promote sustainable energy sources, improve energy efficiency, and ensure access to affordable and reliable energy.

775 million people lack access to electricity, and many more rely on traditional fuels that contribute to indoor air pollution and environmental degradation.


This goal focuses on improving access to clean and affordable energy, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainable energy practices. It involves expanding access to renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency, and promoting sustainable transportation.

SDG Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth

To promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.

This goal seeks to promote economic growth that is inclusive and sustainable, and creates opportunities for decent work and livelihoods. It involves creating policies and programs that support entrepreneurship and innovation, promoting sustainable economic development, and improving access to financial services and markets.

SDG Goal 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

To build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.

sustainable development

This goal aims to promote sustainable and resilient infrastructure that supports economic growth and sustainable development. It also involves promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization that provides decent jobs and reduces negative environmental impacts. Additionally, this goal seeks to foster innovation and technology transfer that supports sustainable development.

SDG Goal 10 – Reduced Inequalities

To reduce inequalities within and among countries, and promote social, economic and political inclusion for all.

This goal aims to address the root causes of inequality and promote social, economic, and political inclusion for all people. It involves reducing disparities in income, wealth, and access to services, as well as promoting policies that reduce discrimination and increase social mobility.

SDG Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities

To make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

This goal seeks to make cities and human settlements more sustainable and livable, particularly for vulnerable and marginalized populations. It involves improving urban planning and management, reducing environmental impacts, and promoting sustainable and resilient infrastructure and services.

SDG Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production

To promote sustainable consumption and production patterns, and ensure sustainable management of natural resources.

sustainable development

This goal aims to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns that reduce waste, increase resource efficiency, and minimize negative environmental impacts. It involves promoting sustainable lifestyles, supporting sustainable business practices, and improving the management of natural resources.

SDG Goal 13 – Climate Action

To take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

tanzania green schools program

This goal seeks to address the urgent threat of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting adaptation to its impacts. It involves promoting clean energy and sustainable transportation, improving land use and management, and enhancing climate resilience and disaster risk reduction.

SDG Goal 14 – Life Below Water

To conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

How Trees help Life Below Water

This goal aims to conserve and sustainably use the world’s oceans and marine resources, which are vital for global biodiversity and ecosystem services. It involves reducing marine pollution, protecting marine ecosystems, and promoting sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

SDG Goal 15 – Life on Land

To protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, forests and biodiversity.

life on land and trees

This goal seeks to protect and restore terrestrial ecosystems, forests, and biodiversity, which provide essential ecosystem services and support human well-being. It involves reducing deforestation and land degradation, promoting sustainable agriculture and land use, and conserving biodiversity.

SDG Goal 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

To promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

peace justice and strong institutions with trees

This goal aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all people, and build effective and accountable institutions. It involves reducing violence, promoting human rights and equality, and strengthening the rule of law and governance at all levels.

SDG Goal 17 – Partnerships for the Goals

To strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

How Trees help Partnership for the UN SDG Goals

This goal seeks to promote effective partnerships and collaboration to achieve the SDGs. It involves strengthening international cooperation and aid, promoting private sector engagement and innovation, and enhancing data and monitoring systems.


The Sustainable Development Goals provide a comprehensive and integrated framework for achieving a sustainable future for all. By addressing a wide range of interconnected issues and promoting inclusive and equitable development, the SDGs can help make the world a better place for everyone.

It is the responsibility of all stakeholders, including governments, civil society, the private sector, and individuals, to work together to achieve these goals and create a sustainable and prosperous future for all.

The SDGs are more comprehensive and inclusive than the previous Millennium Development Goals, addressing social, economic, and environmental issues in an integrated way.

The main objectives of the SDGs are to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.

The 17 SDGs have 169 targets, which provide specific and measurable indicators for achieving the overall goals.

The idea of SDGs came from the Rio+20 conference in 2012, where world leaders recognized the need for a new development agenda to address global challenges.

The 17 SDGs were officially adopted by the United Nations in September 2015 and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.

Developing a solution for one of the SDGs requires a comprehensive and integrated approach, involving stakeholders from different sectors and utilizing innovative and sustainable practices and technologies.

Corporations are supporting the SDGs by integrating sustainable practices and technologies into their operations and supply chains, partnering with governments and NGOs to advance the goals, and reporting on their progress towards achieving the goals.


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