Sustainable development has been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It calls for concerted efforts towards building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future for people and planet.
The Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development
“In a world in which everything is global, in which the problems are global – from climate change to the movement of people – there is no way countries can do it by themselves. We need global responses, and global responses need multilateral institutions able to play their role.” UN Secretary-General, António Guterres’s remarks at the World Government Summit 2017.
The 2030 Agenda is a major milestone in sustainable development. Since 2016, it has provided a globally applicable framework for national and international efforts to find shared solutions to the greatest challenges facing the planet and humanity, such as extreme poverty, climate change, environmental degradation and health-related crises. The 2030 Agenda is universal: it is binding for all states, whether north or south of the equator, and sets the framework for national policies on sustainable development until 2030.
The Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) form the core of the 2030 Agenda. These replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which ended in 2015, as well as Agenda 21 adopted in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. The SDGs build on the success of the MDGs and aim to go further to end all forms of poverty. The goals are unique in that they call for action by all countries, both developing and developed, to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognise the need to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable economic growth while tackling climate change and environmental protection as well as ensuring a more equal distribution of resources.
In contrast to the UN Millennium Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda made it possible to break away from the logic that prevailed with the MDGs, where the Northern Hemisphere brought its solutions to the Southern Hemisphere. It is above all about helping the majority of states to raise the necessary funds at the national level. This is the only way to achieve genuinely sustainable development.
It is not possible to achieve the ambitious sustainability goals with traditional state development aid alone. The implementation of the 2030 Agenda is everyone’s business and the private sector must contribute financially. Sustainable finance presents many opportunities.
In order to leave no one behind, it is important that all Goals and targets are achieved by 2030. They take account in equal measure of the economic, social and ecological dimensions of sustainable development, and place sustainable development and the fight against poverty on the same agenda for the first time. In addition, the 2030 Agenda takes into account the fact that sustainable development requires peace, security and respect of human rights.
The 17 goals are: