Sustainable Development Goals

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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were born at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. The objective was to produce a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world.

One of the main outcomes from this conference was an international agreement to negotiate a new set of global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to guide the path of sustainable development in the world after 2015. Building on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SDGs were established following the largest multiple stakeholder consultation process of its kind.

It was determined that these goals should be "action-oriented, concise and easy to communicate, limited in number, aspirational, global in nature and universally applicable to all countries, while taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities". They should be "focused on priority areas for the achievement of sustainable development". They should also reflect "the moral principles that no-one and no country should be left behind, and that everyone and every country should be regarded as having a common responsibility for playing their part in delivering the global vision".

On the 25th of September 2015, during the UN General Assembly in New York, an unprecedented 193 countries adopted the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals with 169 specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. In the words of the United Nations Development Program, the goals are designed "to end poverty, hunger and inequality, take action on climate change and the environment, improve access to health and education, and build strong institutions and partnerships, and more".

All of the goals have been conceived as applying ambitions and challenges to all countries. All of the goals and targets contain important messages and challenges for developed and developing countries alike. However, for the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like us.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals

1 No poverty

End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

7 Affordable and clean energy

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

13 Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

2 Zero hunger

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

8 Decent work and economic growth

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

14 Life below water

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

3 Good health and well-being

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation.

15 Life on land

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

4 Quality education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

10 Reduced inequalities

Reduce inequality within and among countries.

16 Peace, justice and strong institutions

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

5 Gender equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

11 Sustainable cities and communities

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

17 Partnerships for the goals

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the Global Partnership for sustainable development.

6 Clean water and sanitation

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

12 Responsible consumption and production

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Scouts for SDGs

On the 16th of November 2018, "Scouts for SDGs" was launched at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York. In response to the campaign, SCOUTS South Africa introduced a number of challenges and SDG badges for members across all the branches.