‘Just 17’

24 Jan 20

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals set ambitious targets for a world without poverty, hunger and pollution. Three years on from their adoption, what progress has been made and how is it best assessed?

Glance over the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and John Lennon’s song Imagine might spring to mind: a vision of a world free from poverty, hunger, disease and conflict, with resources and prosperity enjoyed by all. It’s easy to be glib, but the SDGs do represent a hugely bold and ambitious agenda for global change.

Adopted in September 2015, the SDGs – also known as the 2030 Agenda – are a universal call to action to end poverty and protect the planet. They cover wellbeing, education and sanitation as well as infrastructure development, economic growth, sustainable cities and gender equality. The agenda even recognises the importance of strong institutions and governance. Each goal is underpinned by a range of indicators to help countries
monitor progress.


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