An Overview of the SDGs


Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The 70th Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly held on 25th September 2015 adopted the document titled "Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" consisting of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and associated 169 targets. The SDGs seek to address not only the root causes of poverty but also the universal need for development to provide a life of dignity to all. The SDGs are a comprehensive list of global goals integrating social, economic and environmental dimensions of development. Countries have the primary responsibility for follow-up and review, at the national level with regard to the progress made in implementing the goals and targets over the next 15 years.


At the Millennium Summit held in 2000 at the UN Headquarters in New York, eight development goals known as the ‘Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) were adopted, which formed the blueprint for countries to pursue their national development strategies from 2000 to 2015. The MDGs comprised eight Goals and addressed various development issues. The MDGs targets were unevenly achieved across the countries and a need was felt to start fresh discussions to explore possible successor to guide development cooperation in the world beyond 2015.

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2012, commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the 'Rio Earth Summit' (held in 1992), initiated the debate and work towards post-2015 development agenda targets. Accordingly, the UN General Assembly in its 70th Session considered and adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and associated 169 targets for the next 15 years. The 17 SDGs came into force with effect from 01st January, 2016.Though not legally binding, the SDGs have become de facto international obligations and have potential to reorient domestic spending priorities of the countries during the next fifteen years. Countries are expected to take ownership and establish a national framework for achieving these Goals. Implementation and success will rely on countries’ own sustainable development policies, plans and programmes. Countries would be responsible for follow-up and review at the national level, with regard to the progress made in implementing the Goals and targets. Actions at the national level to monitor progress under SDGs will require quality, accessible and timely data. The 2030 Agenda also underscored that quality, reliable and disaggregated data will be needed for measurement of progress on the targets and to ensure that “No One is Left Behind”.

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