Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs as well.

Dimensions of Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development requires simultaneous and balanced progress in three dimensions that are totally interdependent. For example, a farm that pays workers fairly (economy), and supports a local community school (society), but produces large amounts of greenhouse gases in its farming process would not be sustainable, because it would be contributing to climate change (environment), which will undermine the other two elements in the long term.

Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable development goals

In September 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development which could mean an end to extreme poverty, inequalities and climate change by 2030. The Sustainable Development Goals follow the Millennium Development Goals. Each of the 17 Goals are broken down into targets which both explain the Goal and will help in focusing efforts. A target is an action – a specific, measurable and time-bound outcome which contributes directly to reaching a goal.

From MDGs to SDGs

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were adopted in 2000 as a global ambition to reduce extreme poverty by 2015. They were divided into 8 goals, each tackling a key area of development: poverty, education, child mortality, gender equality, maternal health, disease, environmental protection and global partnerships.

Progress was uneven. Millions of people were not reached by the MDGs. For instance, although income poverty was greatly reduced, roughly 1 billion people still live below the poverty line (under $1.25 a day) and many face daily challenges of discrimination and exclusion, denying them access to basic resources, services and opportunity. One possible reason for the uneven progress is that the level of global awareness for the MDGs remained low with little popular drive to monitor and accelerate progress.

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