UN Sustainable Development Goals
To say that the 2020 highlighted the need for change would be a gross understatement. 2020 and 2021 have both thrown the global community into wildly new circumstances, drawing attention to issues like inequality and unsustainable practices all around the world.
One of the most important measures of change to know about is the UN Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the UN SDGs. These sustainability goals underpin the focus of this website and as such it is important to know;
17 Goals - What Are The UN SDGs
To start off with, let’s dive into what the UN Sustainable Development Goals actually are.
At the turn of the century the the UN Member States published a series of goals known as the Millennium Development Goals. There were eight goals, including poverty, hunger, education, health, equality and the environment. In 2015, the UN superceeded these with new, more ambitious and broader reaching goals known as the Sustainable Development Goals. These goals might seem lofty and ambitious, however they are intended to act as a blueprint for a sustainable, positive and fair future for all.
There are 17 different goals, which are as follows;
- No poverty.
- Zero hunger.
- Good health and well-being.
- Quality education.
- Gender equality.
- Clean water and sanitation.
- Affordable and clean energy.
- Decent work and economic growth.
- Industry, innovation and infrastructure.
- Reduced inequalities.
- Sustainable cities and communities.
- Responsible consumption and production.
- Climate action.
- Life below water.
- Life on land.
- Peace, justice and strong institutions.
- Partnership for the goals.
I have deliberately not numbered these goals, as the numbering has been criticised of causing confusion and a sense of order of importance or priority.
These Sustainable Development Goals are aimed at providing a holistic view of exactly what needs to change in the world. There are some that apply to supporting communities, some that apply to supporting countries as a whole and some that apply to ensuring a good quality of life for wildlife, too.
However, this is where there is another stumbling block in many people's mind. These goals are BIG, so big that they can seem impenetrable, unapproachable and irrelevant - and that, in part, is what Well That's Interesting Tech! is trying to help overcome. Each of these big goals is broken down into smaller bit size items that can be measured and addressed at a smaller scale. These targets and indicators can still seem too much to get a hold of for many. What I am to do here on the site is to find demonstrable examples of technology doing good in the world, which is aligned with an SDG or two, and help explain the importance in a way we can all understand. With that, I hope to inspire and encourage us all to find small steps toward these important goals.
It’s important to note that whilst these goals were put into action by the UN Member States in 2015, progress has been slow in many areas, with the global pandemic being blamed for slowing things further. Indeed, the Forest and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) stated that in 2021 we are already 25 years behind the 2020 target for controlling deforestation.
So if we are already late, what's the point?
The aim was to bring about peace and prosperity for everyone around the world, recognising the inextricable links that the different goals have with one another. Change in one area, like wildlife protection, for example, will bring about change in another area, like access to food and agricultural opportunities, too.
The pandemic is a great example of this; a global focus on health has ended up derailing work in many other areas. Likewise, our focus on controlling climate change could undermine efforts to balance societies and provide good work and equality for all.
And that is one of the main points of these tightly couple goals - to help use realise that a siloed approach to our problems creates more problems than it solves - does anyone remember the industrial revolution? Great progress at great cost. What about the agricultural revolution?
The target date is 2030
As set out on the official website, the target date for the UN Member States to reach the terms set out in this agenda is 2030. To achieve this, the member states must work in harmony when aiming to make tangible changes in their community - yet there are many people involved in the conversation of sustainability that see this as being unrealistic.
As mentioned above, whilst the goals may seem lofty, it’s important to break them down into steps that individuals, businesses and organisations can take to help these goals become a reality. This website contains ideas and inspiration for individuals and organisations, so make sure you check out the articles below.
Long term change
Finally, it’s worth noting that the UN Sustainable Development Goals are a long term commitment, not a short term fix. Every single goal listed in this document is aiming for a long term, sustainable change that will help the global community over time. The idea is to create lasting change that future generations will benefit from.
All in all, it’s hard to ignore the future that the UN Sustainable Development Goals promise. While the date that they’re achieved may potentially be further away than planned, there are steps that individuals, small businesses and corporations around the world can take to help bring these goals into fruition for all of us.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Which goal do you think we’re closest to achieving as a global community? Which goals are the most important to you? Leave a comment to let me know.