What Are The Sustainable Development Goals?

A summary of the Sustainable Development Goals for all young visionaries in Africa, and beyond who are passionate about creating a more sustainable ecosystem in their areas of interest. Whether it be in agriculture, education, entrepreneurship, or art. It is a publication meant to help you learn about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how you can make significant contributions toward achieving either of them. We believe that by reading this online material, you will have gained much on when, where, and why the SDGs came to be. Also, you will learn how you can Find Your Place in the SDGs by becoming an SDG Champion in your community. So buckle up! It’s about to get interesting in here.

The Story Behind The coinage of the 17 SDGs

Without getting deep into what the 17 goals are all about, allow me to run you through how it all started. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were first established through a deliberative process at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012 with the sole purpose of producing a set of universally recognized goals aimed at tackling or better yet addressing the urgent environmental, political, and economic challenges facing our world.  

The 17 interlinked goals are meant to create a more sustainable world for every human being. Initially, it was termed as the Millennium Development Goals dating back as far as the year 2000.  It was later renamed the Sustainable Development Goals; A broader intergovernmental agreement resolution that was not just focusing on development as was the case in MDG but rather, much emphasis was on fostering a more sustainable development inclusive of clearly defined success indicators.

By sustainable, implying that factors like economic viability, environmental protection, and social equity become paramount in achieving the development of a country. Look at it this way, a manufacturer must not blindly produce products to the growing market at the cost of depleting natural resources.

The goals are contained in paragraph 54 United Nations Resolution A/RES/70/1 of 25 September 2015. The SDGs build on the Principles agreed upon under Resolution A/RES/66/288, popularly known as The Future We Want.

As mentioned above, they are 17 in number with 169 targets aimed to be achieved by 2030.


End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Targets include:

-Eradicate extreme poverty for all people.

-Reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages.

-Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems.

-Improve access to economic resources i.e entrepreneural opportunities.

-Improve access to basic social services i.e access to quality healthcare.

-Empowering those living in impoverished state.

-Focusing on the disproportionate effects of poverty on women and girls.

-international cooperation and partnerships to eradicate poverty i.e providing funds.


It is important to get the figures right when it comes to combating extreme poverty:

About 736 million people today are still living in extreme poverty. That is, 10% of the global population half of which are under 18 years.

 Cumulatively, 1.3 billion people around the world love in multidimensional poverty; Existing in conditions with poor living standard usually characterized with members of the society lacking education, having poor health and sanitation, little access to other social amenities, living in environmentally hazardous areas which may also be prone to violence.  80% of people living on less than $1.90 are in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

In the wake of the pandemic, countries have witnessed a drastic increase of people being pushed to extreme poverty with figures estimating to about 71 million people.


An interesting fact about the SDGs is that they are all interlinked.

 Achieving SDG 1 means realizing other goals that promote gender equality through women and girls empowerment, reducing inequality among people through investing in social protection systems, providing all the members of a society with quality Education and training to see to it that young people can secure decent employment. Food security, subsidies on food items to cater for those living in impoverished areas.

What determines the achievement of the set goals are their various indicators; they paint a picture of how the world will look like when targets have been addressed.

By 2030, what percentage of people, by sex, age, geographic location, employment status, will still be living below the international poverty line.


SDG 2: Zero Hunger

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

Targets include:

-Access by all people to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.

-End all forms of malnutrition.

-Double the agricultural productivity i.e strengthening the agriculture value chain for farmers.

-Ensure sustainable good production systems/ implement resilient agricultural practices.

-Maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and domesticated animals.


SDG 3: Good Health & Well-being

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

Targets include:

-Reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100k live births.

-End preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age.

-End the epidemics of AIDS, TB, Malaria, and Neglected Tropical Diseases and combat other communicable diseases.

-Reduce by 1/3 premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment. Promote mental health and well-being.

Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse.

-1/2 the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.

-Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services.

-Achieve universal health care.

-By far reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous pollutants.

-Support research and development of vaccines

-Training and retention of the health workforce especially in developing countries.

– Strengthen health systems in counties for early warnings, risk reduction, and management of health risks.

SDG 4: Quality Education

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

Targets include:

-All girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education.

-Ensure all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development.

-Ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education.

-Significantly increase the number of youth and adults with relevant skills for employment and decent jobs and entrepreneurship.

-Scrap off gender disparities in education.

-Significantly achieve literacy among all youth ad some adults.

– Ensure all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development.

-Build and improve education facilities that are inclusive for all groups.

-Further expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries.

Increasing supply of qualified teachers.


SDG 5: Gender Equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Targets include:

-End all existing forms of discrimination against all women and girls in the world.

-End Gender-Based violence against all women and girls.

-Eliminate all harmful practices I e harmful cultural practices like FGM.

-Recognize and value unpaid care/domestic work.

-Ensure women’s full and effective participation and, equal opportunities for Leadership.

-Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive Heath, also reproductive Rights.

-Embark on reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources.

– Encourage the use of modern technology as a tool for empowerment.

-Adopt and strengthen social policies and legislations that address gender equality and empowerment.

SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Targets include:

-Achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.

-Achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene.

-Improve water quality by reducing pollution.

-Significantly increase water-use efficiency across all sectors.

Implement integrated water resources management at all levels.

-Protect and restore water-related ecosystems i.e forests and rivers.

– Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management.


SDG 7: Affordable & Clean Energy

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

Targets include:

-Ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services.

-Increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

-Double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.

-Enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology.

-Expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all.

SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth

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

Targets include:

-Sustain per capita economic growth following National circumstances.

-Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and Innovation.

-Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities i.e entrepreneurship, innovations, decent jobs.

-Gradually improve global resource efficiency in consumption and production to fight environmental degradation.

-Achieve full and productive decent employment.

-Reduced the proportion of youth not in employment, education, or training.

-Take effective measures to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery, Huma trafficking.

-Protect labour rights to ensure a safe and secure working environment for all workers.

-Devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism and locally made cultural products.

-Strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions i.e to encourage more banking.

-Increase aid for Trade Support for developing countries

-Develop and operationalize a global strategy for youth employment.


SDG 9: Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Targets include:

-Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure.

-Promote include and sustainable industrialization i.e raise industry’s share of employment and GDP.

-Increase the access of small-scale industries and other enterprises to financial services.

-Upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable. To protect the environment.

-Enhance scientific research, technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries.

-Facilitate sustainability, support domestic technology development in developing countries.

-Significantly increase access to information and Communications technology.


SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

Reduce inequality within and among countries

Targets include:

-Progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40% of the population at a rate higher than the national average.

-Empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all.

-Ensure equal opportunity and reduced inequality of income.

-Adopt policies (fiscal, wage and social protection policies) to achieve greater equality.

-Improve the regulation and monitoring of global financial markets and institutions and strengthen their implementation.

-Ensure enhanced representation and voice for developing countries in decision-making in global international economic and financial institutions.

-Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people i.e well-managed migration policies.

-Implement the principle of special and differential treatment for developed countries.

-Encourage official development assistance.

– Reduce to less than 3% the transaction cost of migrant remittances.

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities

Make cities and Human Settlements Inclusive, Safe, Resilient and Sustainable

Targets include:

-Access to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services for all i.e slum upgrade.

-Provide access to safe, affordable and sustainable transport systems.

-Enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries.

-Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

-Significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected by disasters. Decrease the direct economic losses relative to global GDP.

-Reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities’ pollution.

-provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces for all.

-Increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion.

-Support least developed countries in achieving sustainable cities and communities.


SDG: 12 Responsible Consumption & Production

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Targets include:

-Implement the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production.

-Achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.

-1/2 per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels. Reduce food losses along production and supply chains.

-Achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their lifecycle.

-Substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.

-Encourage adoption of sustainable practices and integrate sustainability information into reporting cycle for large companies and transitional companies.

-Promote sustainable Public Procurement practices per National policies and priorities.

-Ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness of sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature.

-Support developing countries, develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts.

-Rationalize inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption.


SDG 13: Climate Action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and it’s impacts

Targets include:

-Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.

-Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.

-Improve education, awareness-raising and human institutional capacity on climate mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warnings.

-Promote mechanisms to climate action in least developed countries.


SDG 14: Life Below Water

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

Targets include:

-Prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds from land-based activities particularly.

-Sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems.

-Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification.

-Regulate harvesting and end overfishing.

-Conserve at least 10% of coastal and marine areas.

-Prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies that cause overcapacity and overfishing.

-Increase the economic benefits to small island developing states and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources.

-Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and marine technology, provide access for small scale


SDG 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.

Targets Include:

-Ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services.

-Promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests

-Combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil.

-Ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems.

-Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats.

-Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources.

-Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna.

-Introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems.

-Integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts.

-Mobilization of significant resources.

-Global support for this goal.

SDG 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.

Targets include:

-significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere.

-End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children

-Promote the rule of law, ensure access to justice for all.

-Significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows.

-Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all forms.

-Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions of all levels.

-Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.

-Broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance.

-Provide legal identity for all, including birth registration

-Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms in accordance with national and international laws.

-Strengthen relevant national institutions.

-Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development.


SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Targets include:

-Strengthen domestic resource mobilization.

-Implement fully their official development assistance commitments by developed countries.

-Mobilize additional financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources.

-Assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability through coordinated policies aimed at fostering debt financing, debt relief and related items.

-Adopt and implement investment-promoting regimes for least developed countries.

-Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on access to science, technology and innovation.

-Promote the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries of favorable terms.

-Fully operationalize the technology bank and science, technology, and innovation capacity-building mechanisms.

-Enhance international support for implementing effective and targeted capacity-building on developing countries to support rational plans for the SDGs.

-Promote the function of the World Trade Organization.

-Significantly increase the exports of developing countries.