The UN Sustainable Development Summit last week projected a new set of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) for the next 15 years to replace the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were in place from 2000 to 2015.
The U.N. website tells us that the SDGs address five critical areas of “people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership.” U.N. Development program administrator Helen Clark stated that “This agreement marks an important milestone in putting our world on an inclusive and sustainable course. If we all work together, we have a chance of meeting citizens’ aspirations for peace, prosperity, and wellbeing, and to preserve our planet.” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that the adoption of the SDGs was “a defining moment in human history,” calling it a “universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.” President Obama pledged his support.
The Guardian reported that the general consensus of the conference was that the MDGs “failed to consider the root causes of poverty and overlooked gender inequality as well as the holistic nature of development. The goals made no mention of human rights and did not specifically address economic development. While the MDGs, in theory, applied to all countries, in reality they were considered targets for poor countries to achieve, with finance from wealthy states. Conversely, every country will be expected to work towards achieving the SDGs. The new agenda, with 17 sustainable development goals at its core, recognizes that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with a plan that builds economic growth and addresses a range of social needs, while tackling climate change.”