The Sustainable Development Goals 2015 – 2030

Last Updated on December 11, 2020 by Karl Thompson

In 2015, following the end of the 2000 -2015 Millennium Development Goals, all member states of the United Nations signed up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Sustainable Development Goals are part of this agenda, and they are much broader in scope than the original Millennium Development Goals and are more ambitious.

There are 17 Sustainable Development goals (which split into a further 169 targets):

Five main themes of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development:

  • People – many of the goals focus on lifting people out poverty and hunger and providing a decent education for all
  • Planet – there is a lot more focus on protecting the environment compared to the original MDGs – for example with the ‘life under water’ goal.
  • Prosperity – there is a focus on improving lives through enterprise and innovation, linking into partnership below
  • Peace – the agenda recognises that there can be no effective development without peace.
  • Partnership – there is much more focus on the agenda for sustainable development being a partnership between developed and less developed countries than with the original MDGs.
NB – The most important goals?
Note how goals 7 and 8 from the MDGs are now a lot more prominent in the updated SusDev goals…

Tracking progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals

You can click on any of the goals on site linked above to find out about progress towards achieving them.

This link will take you to the progress towards goal 1, for example. The latest 2020 update doesn’t look promising. It notes that:

  • Even before the Pandemic, the rate of reducing the percentage of people in extreme poverty had slowed (it was around 14% in 2010, 8% in 2015 and just down to 7% in 2019.
  • With the Pandemic, another 50 million people will be pushed back into poverty, pushing that figure back up to 8%.

The Sustainable Development Goals: Peak Bureaucracy but little Progress?

One possible criticisms of the Sustainable Development Goals might be that there seems to be A LOT of organisations involved with being ‘partners’ for development, but not so much actual progress being made! Lots of talk, LOTS of words, LOTS of info and pretty colour coded targets, but not so much actual progress…?!?

About this post

This post was written primarily for A-level sociology students studying the Global Development Option in year two.

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