MDGs and SDGs: Global Goals for the next 15 Years

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The UN’s Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals (MDGs and SDGs) are fundamental to global development. But what are they? And how did they come about?

In the year 2000, a set of time-bound goals for 2015 were launched, called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The goals were created as targets to address the multiple dimensions and pathways of extreme poverty while promoting environmental sustainability, education and gender equality.

While the MDGs lead to progress around the world, it was clear there was still a long way to go. In 2012, during the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, a decision was made to build upon the efforts and achievements of the Millennium Development Goals.

A new set of targets would be developed and launched with the post-2015 development agenda called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The new set of goals focus on economic, environmental and social fields through sustainable development. Considering the idea of sustainability, the new Sustainable Development Goals promote the endurance of our world and its capacity to be maintained and sustained.



One of the new SDGs, Goal 8, seeks to “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.”

Another SDG, Goal 15, seeks to “protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.”

Interestingly, these two SDGs can be strongly linked through a green economy. A green economy is an economy which reduces ecological scarcities and environmental risks and results in social equity and improved human well-being.

The concept of a green economy is a critical pathway to sustainable development, stressing the importance of social inclusion.

This means a green economy would not only improve the sustainability of decent work for all (Goal 8) but also contribute to the sustainability of Earth’s ecosystems (Goal 15).

Additionally, given that biodiversity loss is linked with poverty, a clear focus on decent work for all in a green economy would not only contribute to economic growth and the sustainability of the environment, but also to poverty eradication (Goal 1).

The key is to consider the Sustainable Development Goals as existing in harmony with one another.

While the Millennium Development Goals had their own achievements, it is crucial that we take the new SDGs seriously and that we focus on what the green economy could do for youth employment and decent work for all, the preservation and sustainability of our environment and for the eradication of poverty around the world.

In a world that is constantly changing, presenting new challenges and obstacles, it can be difficult to think about the sustainability of today, let alone tomorrow. These goals hold the potential to benefit from sustainability not only tomorrow but the tomorrows of the future.

We just have to do our part.


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