The Summit for Sustainable Development, which brought a new agenda for the future direction of the world in the area of sustainability, was held at the end of September in the UN headquarters in New York. All 193 UN member states officially accepted the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, within which 17 new ambitious goals (SDGs = Sustainable Development Goals) were introduced. The new sustainable development objectives are linked to the so-called Millennium Development Goals (MDGs = Millennium Development Goals) that were approved in 2000. MDGs consisted of eight specific goals that the world pledged to achieve by 2015.
According to the UN, a good progress has been accomplished towards meeting the MDGs. For example, we managed to reduce the number of people living below poverty line ($1.25 a day) and reduce infant mortality rates by more than a half. Progress has also been achieved in terms of access to education. However, despite the success we can still see big differences between individual regions and countries. Traditionally the slowest pace towards headway has the region of sub-Saharan Africa. An issue is the fact that nearly half of the population in the developing world has no access to a sewage system and basic hygienic facilities. One of the goals that remain for the future is also reduction of gender inequality and fight against persistent violence against women.
So there are still a lot of areas that need to be addressed. Therefore, the new sustainable development goals (SDGs) are defined in order to grasp the existing problems in a more comprehensive way. SDGs are the result of a three-year negotiation, which began at the Rio de Janeiro conference in 2012.
Here are the new sustainable development goals:
- End poverty in all its forms everywhere
- End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
- Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
- Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
- Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
- Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
- Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
- Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
- Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
- Reduce inequality within and among countries
- Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
- Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
- Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
- Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
- Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
- Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
- Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
To achieve the goals of sustainable development, involvement of business is crucial in the long term. Many firms, however, see fitting generally defined objectives into their business as too complicated. Therefore, specifically in relation to the new goals of sustainable development initiative, Global Compact and GRI, along with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development published a special publication SDG Compass, which should act as a guide for companies looking to incorporate SDGs into their own strategies.
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