The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the world’s shared plan to end extreme poverty, reduce inequality, and protect the planet by 2030. The SDGs were adopted by 193 countries in 2015 and emerged from the most inclusive and comprehensive negotiations in the history of the United Nations (UN). Achieving the goals by 2030 will require heroic and imaginative effort, a strong determination to learn about what works, and the ability to adapt to new information and changing trends. These goals have the power to create a better world, so in honor of United Nations Day on October 24th, we bring you this overview of all 17 SDGs.
1. No Poverty
Eradicating poverty in all its forms remains one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. While the number of people living in extreme poverty dropped by more than half between 1990 and 2015, many are still struggling for the most basic of human needs. Additionally, as of 2015, about 736 million people still lived on less than $1.90 a day, with many lacking food, clean drinking water, and sanitation.
A few goal targets of SDG 1 are:
- Eradicate extreme poverty for all people, which is currently categorized as people living on less than $1.25 a day.
- Half the proportion of men, women, and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions.
- Ensure that everyone, in particular the poor and vulnerable, has equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership, and control over land, inheritance, and natural resources.
- Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all.
2. Zero Hunger
The number of undernourished people has dropped by almost half in the past two decades because of rapid economic growth and increased agricultural productivity. A multitude of developing countries that used to suffer from famine and hunger can now meet their nutritional needs, such as Central and East Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. However, hunger is still a major issue. As of 2017, it’s estimated that 821 million people are chronically undernourished in developing countries, and over 90 million children under five are underweight.
A few goal targets of SDG 2 are:
- End hunger and ensure access by all people to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food all year round.
- Double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, especially women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists, and fishers.
- Ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, help maintain ecosystems, strengthen the capacity for adaptation to climate change, and progressively improve land and soil quality.
- Adopt measures to ensure the proper functionality of food commodity markets and their derivatives, as well as facilitate timely access to market information to help eliminate extreme food price volatility.
3. Good Health and Well-Being
A great deal of progress has been made against several leading causes of death and disease, which has led to life expectancy increasing and infant and maternal mortality rates decreasing. However, the world is currently facing a massive pandemic, COVID-19, which is spreading human suffering, destabilizing the global economy, and upending the lives of billions of people around the globe. Good health is essential to sustainable development and the UN’s 2030 SDG Agenda reflects the complexity and interconnectedness of the two.
A few goal targets of SDG 3 are:
- Reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.
- End the epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases, while also combating hepatitis, water-borne diseases, and other communicable diseases.
- Reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals, pollution, and contamination.
- Research and support the development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries,
- Provide access to affordable essential medicines.
4. Quality Education
Since 2000, there has been enormous progress in achieving the target of universal primary education. The total enrollment rate in developing regions reached 91% in 2015 and the worldwide number of children out of school has dropped by almost half. However, children in impoverished households are up to four times more likely to be out of school than those of the richest households.
A few goal targets of SDG 4 are:
- Ensure that all children complete free quality primary and secondary education programs that will lead to effective learning outcomes.
- Ensure equal access for all to affordable and quality technical, vocational, and tertiary education (including university).
- Build and upgrade learning facilities that are child, disability, and gender-sensitive, while also providing safe environments for all.
- Substantially increase the number of qualified teachers, with a heavy focus on the least developed countries and developing small islands.
5. Gender Equality
Ending discrimination is crucial for a sustainable future, especially considering that empowering all genders helps economic growth and development. With the help of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), there has been remarkable progress towards gender equality. There are more girls in school now compared to 15 years ago, and two-thirds of developing countries have reached gender parity in primary education. Additionally, fewer girls are forced into marriages and more women are serving in leadership roles.
A few goal targets of SDG 5 are:
- End all forms of discrimination against all genders everywhere.
- Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life.
- Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all genders at all levels.
- Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote empowerment to all genders.
6. Clean Water and Sanitation
Water scarcity affects more than 40% of people globally, an alarming figure that is projected to rise as temperatures do. Although 2.1 billion people have improved water sanitation since 1990, dwindling drinking water supplies are affecting every continent. By 2050, it’s projected that one in four people will suffer water shortages.
A few goal targets of SDG 6 are:
- Achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.
- Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management.
- Achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, ending open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.
- Protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, wetlands, lakes, forests, rivers, and aquifers.
7. Affordable and Clean Energy
Between 2000 and 2018, the number of people with electricity increased from 78% to 90%, and the number of households without electricity dipped to 789 million. As the population continues to grow, so will the demand for cheap energy; but the world’s economy is reliant on fossil fuels, causing drastic changes to our climate.
A few goal targets of SDG 7 are:
- Ensure universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services.
- Increase substantially the ratio of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
- Double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.
- Enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology.
- Promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology.
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
Over the past 25 years, the number of workers living in extreme poverty has declined dramatically despite the lasting impact of the 2008 economic crisis and global recession. In developing countries, the middle class now makes up more than 34% of total employment, which has tripled between 1991 and 2015. According to the International Labour Organization, more than 204 million people were unemployed in 2015.
A few goal targets of SDG 8 are:
- Sustain per capita economic growth per National Circumstances and, in particular, at least 7% gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries.
- Sustainably reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education, or training.
- Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including young people and those with disabilities, along with equal pay for work of equal value.
- Devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local cultures and products.
9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
With over half the world population now living in urban areas, mass transportation and renewable energy are becoming more important, as is the growth of new industries and communication technologies. Technological progress is key to finding lasting solutions to both economic and environmental challenges, such as providing new jobs and promoting energy efficiency. With 4 billion people without access to the internet, 90% of these being from developing countries, the time to bridge the digital divide is now.
A few goal targets of SDG 9 are:
- Develop quality, reliable, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.
- Support domestic technology development, research, and innovation in developing countries.
- Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the internet for all.
- Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and significantly raise industry’s shares of employment and gross domestic product, along with doubling shares in developing countries.
10. Reduced Inequalities
Income inequality is on the rise, with the richest 10% making up to 40% of global income whereas the poorest 10% earn only between 2% to 7%. Income inequality requires global solutions, such as improving the regulations and monitoring financial markets and institutions, encouraging developing assistance, and foreign direct investment of regions where the need is the greatest.
A few goal targets of SDG 10 are:
- Progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40% of the population at a rate higher than the national average.
- Empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, regardless of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, or religion.
- Improve the regulation and monitoring of global financial markets and institutions and strengthen the implementation of such regulations.
- Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, which includes eliminating discriminatory laws, policies, and practices, and promoting appropriate legislation.
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
By 2050, 6.5 billion people will be living in cities, which is ⅔ of the human population. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces. Slums are becoming increasingly more common around cities in developing countries due to the rapid growth of cities and the rising populations. Making cities sustainable means creating career and business opportunities, affordable and safe housing, and building resilient societies.
A few goal targets of SDG 11 are:
- Ensure access for all to adequate, safe, and affordable housing and basic services, plus upgrading slums.
- Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.
- Provide universal access to safe, inclusive, accessible, and green public spaces, in particular for women, children, and older individuals with disabilities.
12. Responsible Consumption and Production
Achieving sustainable development and economic growth requires that we urgently reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources. Agriculture is the biggest user of water worldwide, while irrigation claims 70% of all fresh water for human use. By encouraging businesses, industries, and consumers to recycle and be more aware of over-consumption, we can shift to a more resource-efficient economy.
A few goal targets of SDG 12 are:
- Achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
- Halve per capita global waste at retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains.
- Substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.
- Encourage companies to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.
13. Climate Action
Climate change is being felt and experienced all over the world. Greenhouse gas emissions are more than 50% higher than in the 1990s. Additionally, the annual average economic losses from climate-related disasters are in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Not to mention the human impact of geophysical disasters, which are 91% climate-related, and in between 1998 and 2017, killed 1.3 million people and left 4.4 billion injured. Needless to say, urgent and ambitious action is needed as soon as possible.
A few goal targets of SDG 13 are:
- Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.
- Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.
- Improve education and awareness on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning.
14. Life Below Water
The world’s oceans drive global systems that make Earth inhabitable for all humankind. How we manage this resource is essential for humanity as a whole, especially to counterbalance the effects of climate change. Over 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity in their livelihoods. However, today we are seeing 30% of the world’s fish stocks overexploited, which is the level at which sustainable yields can be produced. Marine pollution is also on the rise with an average of 13,000 pieces of litter to be found on every square kilometer of ocean.
A few goal targets of SDG 14 are:
- Prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, which includes marine debris and nutrient pollution.
- Sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse effects.
- Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels.
- Provide access to small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets.
15. Life on Land
Human life depends on Earth as much as the ocean for our livelihood and sustenance. Plant life provides 80% of the human diet, and we rely on agriculture as an important economic resource. Forests cover 30% of the Earth’s surface, provide vital habitats for millions of species, and are important sources of clean air and water. Every year, though, 13 million hectares of forests are lost. While 15% of the land is protected, biodiversity is still at risk. 7,000 species of animals and plants have been illegally traded, and wildlife trafficking is known to create insecurity, fuel conflict, and feed corruption.
A few goal targets of SDG 15 are:
- Ensure the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems.
- Promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.
- Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity, and protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.
- Enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species.
16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
Sustainable development cannot be achieved without peace, stability, human rights, and effective governance, but the sad reality is that our world is incredibly divided. Armed violence and insecurity have a destructive impact on a country’s development, which affects economic growth and commonly results in grievances that last for generations. Sexual violence, crime, exploitation, and torture are also prevalent where there is conflict or no rule of law, and countries must take measures to protect those who are most at risk.
A few goal targets of SDG 16 are:
- Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates globally.
- Promote the rule of law at national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all.
- Provide legal identity to all, including birth registration.
- Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development.
17. Partnerships For The Goals
The SDGs can only be acknowledged and put into action with strong global partnerships and cooperation. Many countries require Official Development Assistance (ODA) to encourage growth and trade. Yet, aid levels are falling and donor countries have not lived up to their pledge to ramp up development finance. Considering that the current COVID-19 pandemic is causing issues within the global economy, strong international cooperation is needed now more than ever to help countries recover and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
A few goal targets of SDG 17 are:
- Strengthen domestic resource mobilization to improve domestic capacity for tax and other revenue collections.
- Mobilize additional financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources.
- Assist countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability through coordinated policies aimed at fostering debt financing, debt relief, and debt restructuring.
- Build on existing initiatives to develop measurements of progress on sustainable development that complement gross domestic product.
Additional information about all 17 of the SDGs can be found on the UN’s website.
The Human Beauty Movement Supports The SDGs
Being a company founded to support radical inclusion, wellness, and regeneration in the beauty industry and beyond, The Human Beauty Movement (the company behind Humanist Beauty) has highlighted three of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals as key focus areas:
- SDG #3: Good Health and Wellbeing
- SDG #10: Reduce Inequality
- SDG #12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Key contract labor and employee hires are made aware of the SDGs and how The Human Beauty Movement operates to support the three focus SDGs in particular. Employees are challenged to creatively contribute to the achievement of goals through their paid work and voluntary contributions.
You can learn more about Humanist Beauty’s missions, beliefs, and values here, and more information on The Human Beauty Movement can be found here.