Background to SDGs
In 2000, the UN Member Countries agreed to focus aid and development activities on 7 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to some of the biggest global problems facing mankind such as poverty, hunger and maternal health etc. Whilst significant progress was made in some of these areas by 2015 (eg poverty rate was halved), this was achieved because, for the first time, collective efforts and resources were focused on addressing the same major gaps in human development. MDGs proved that collective, targeted action can be effective. These successes have raised hope that something quite amazing might be done if the whole World can be mobilized to work together on the key issues. However, despite the successes of the MDGs in some important areas, much still remains to be done. In some aspects (eg Climate Change), the problem has become worse and more urgent in the intervening years!
World Leaders agreed in September 2015 to replace the MDGs with the more comprehensive Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These 17 SDGs are to be implemented during the years 2016-2030 and will build on the work already done under the MDGs. These SDGs are much broader in their scope (ie 17 goals instead of just the 7 under MDGs). They seek to eradicate poverty, fight inequalities, protect the Planet, promote prosperity and partnerships. For convenience, the 17 SDGs can be grouped into 5 sub groups related to People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnerships - known as the 5 Ps.
Unfortunately, the SDGS are not legally binding on countries. It is therefore up to individuals to ensure that they hold their respective political leaders to account and ensure they follow through on all their promises of funding and the commitments made at the UN. This can best be done by encouraging and motivating individuals, their friends and families to start taking small actions in their own day to day activities in support of SDGs and to push local and national politicians and large corporations to fulfill the commitments they have made in relation to SDGs.