Poverty covers more dimensions of sustainable development than merely the economic. Poverty also means a lack of freedom, power, influence, health, education and physical safety. It’s not uncommon to talk about multidimensional poverty. Women and girls are particularly at risk. It is important that all countries are included regardless of their economic status, since there are poor people even in rich and middle-income countries.
Eradicating poverty is fundamental to enabling people to fully enjoy their human rights. The right to social security is enshrined in various instruments, including the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, yet a large proportion of people around the world lack basic security (including personal safety, food, water and sanitation).
Access to sufficient and nutritious food is a human right that each state has an obligation to guarantee its citizens. Today, some 850 million people around the world live in hunger. This in itself is a human disaster, and moreover obstructs development and growth in many countries through the impact that insufficient nutrient intake has on learning and productive work. Particular focus must be on food security for girls and boys, girls in puberty and pregnant women, who face the greatest risk of starvation and malnutrition.
Food security is particularly dependent on efficient trade and markets, and also efficient infrastructure for transport and storage, as a large proportion of the world’s population live in cities.
Food security is promoted through open and transparent trade, as is legally secure, gender-equal and equitable access to markets, research and innovation, financial services, information and adequate advisory services, in which the private sector can play an important role. At the same time, food waste and loss throughout the entire value chain is a major problem.
Goal 2 is to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
Target 2.4 Sustainable Food Production and resilient agricultural practices
Target 2 A Invest in Rural Infrastructure, Agricultural Research, Technology and Gene Banks
Good health is fundamental to enabling people to achieve their full potential and contribute to the development of society. Investments in health, for example through health care systems, are a reinvestment in the development of society as a whole. In addition, achieving optimal health, including access to necessary health care, food, water, clean air, sanitation, hygiene and medicines, is a fundamental right.
The global trend is that people are living longer, but support systems for elderly people are often lacking. The spread of globalisation also means an increased risk of spreading various types of health risks. Measures aimed at combating anti-microbial resistance are an important part of the work to provide protection against health threats and to ensure access to essential medicines. The reference to anti-microbial resistance is found in the political declaration.
Goal 3 is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
Target 3.3 Fight Communicable Diseases
Target 3.4 Reduce mortality from non-communicable diseases and promote mental health
Education is a fundamental human right. Even so, it is estimated that 250 million children still cannot read or write when they begin grade four. Some 774 million people around the world are illiterate, two thirds of whom are women. Research shows that inclusive quality education for all is one of the most important cornerstones of prosperity, health and gender equality in every society. This applies particularly to investments in education for girls, where the effects are evident when it comes to promoting inclusive economic development and reduced poverty. Education plays an important role in the achievement of several goals of the 2030 Agenda.
Education systems must meet people’s needs throughout their lives – from access to preschool and primary education to all young people being given the opportunity to go on to upper secondary, vocational and higher education. The large number of illiterate men and women reflects the vital need for adult education. All gender-based disparities in access to education must be eliminated and everyone, including people with disabilities, must be given equal access to all levels of education and the opportunity for lifelong learning.
Goal 4 is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Target 4.1 Free primary and secondary education
Target 4.5 Eliminate all discrimination in education
Target 4.7 Education for sustainable development and global citizenship
Gender equality is a goal in itself and a prerequisite for sustainable and peaceful development. Gender equality is achieved when women, men, girls and boys have equal rights, conditions and opportunities, and the power to shape their own lives and contribute to the development of society. It is a matter of equitable distribution of power, influence and resources in society. The generally subordinate position of power of women and girls compared with men and boys must end.
All forms of violence against women and girls affect both the individual and society as a whole and are an obstacle to gender equality and development. Social norms and customs that sanction inequality and violence against women and girls must be changed. The uneven distribution of unpaid domestic and household work that exists between women and men is a major obstacle to the opportunities for women and girls being able to obtain an education and participating in the labour market and in society on the same terms as men and boys.
A society’s prosperity increases when women and girls can contribute on the same terms as men and boys through their resources and knowledge. Tapping the abilities and initiative of women is an important driver of development. Poverty decreases and economic productivity and growth increase when women participate in the economy and the labour market, and have access to resources and functioning markets.
Goal 5 is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Target 5.1 End discrimination against women and girls
Water is essential for all life on Earth, and therefore key to sustainable development. A very large proportion of those living in poverty lack access to clean water and basic sanitation. Untreated industrial and household wastewater leads to polluted water and creates unhealthy environments that particularly affect people living in poverty.
Water is also essential for the world’s production of food and energy, and shortage of water can therefore be a cause of conflict. Integrated and transparent water management, both within and between states, is necessary for long-term sustainable water use. The effects of climate change are clearly evident at an early stage through the change in access to water. Restoring the water storage capacity of ecosystems is a necessary adaptation.
The lack of a reliable, nearby water source and safe, private toilets has profound effects on the lives of millions of people around the world. The consequences are devastating and hit women and girls the hardest, affecting their health, safety, education, income opportunities and family relations. Women and girls are often responsible for the family’s water supply, which leads to women losing income opportunities and girls missing school days. This affects their political, economic and social opportunities.Access to clean water and toilets at school is central to girls remaining at school, particularly when they reach puberty. Many women and girls risk their personal safety when they are forced to go to isolated areas to relive themselves or fetch water.
Goal 6 is to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Target 6.3 Improve Water Quality, Wastewater treatment and safe Reuse
Target 6.6 Protect and Restore Water-related Ecosystems
Global access to modern and renewable energy and clean fuel is fundamental to meeting several of the challenges currently facing the world, including poverty, food security, climate change, clean water, health and inclusive economic growth.
A large proportion of the increased greenhouse gas emissions come from the way we extract, convert and use fossil energy. Fossil energy makes up almost 80 per cent of the total global energy supply. More forceful measures will be introduced to speed up the transition to a more sustainable energy system.
According to the International Energy Agency, demand for energy is expected to increase by 37 per cent by 2040. At the same time, a large proportion of the world’s population is without access to electricity and an even larger proportion only has charcoal as their energy resource for cooking, which is a major environmental and health problem, primarily for women and girls. The lack of electricity and health and environmentally sustainable fuel is a major challenge to combating poverty.
Goal 7 is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
Target 7.1 Universal Access to Modern Energy
Target 7.2 Increase Global Percentage of Renewable Energy
Target 7.A Promote Access to Research, Technology and Investments in Clean Energy
Investments in alternative energy sources which reduce, or totally cease, the dependency of fossil fuels:
Target 7.3 Double the Improvement in Energy Efficiency
Inclusive and sustainable industrialization, together with innovation and infrastructure, can unleash dynamic and competitive economic forces that generate employment and income. They play a key role in introducing and promoting new technologies, facilitating international trade and enabling the efficient use of resources.
Innovation and technological progress are key to finding lasting solutions to both economic and environmental challenges, such as increased resource and energy-efficiency.
Goal 9 is to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
Target 9.5 Enhance Research and Upgrade Industrial Technologies
Economic development can lead to reduced poverty for the individual and for society. We must act to ensure that access to resources and the opportunity to participate and influence developments in society are fair, both within countries and among countries. Even if many countries have experienced positive economic development and reduced poverty, gaps between individuals and groups, based on gender, age, ethnicity, and economic and social status, etc. have widened.
States have the main responsibility for promoting equality in society, since inequality stems from structural conditions. An equal society is based on the principle of the equal rights of all people regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or belief, disability or origin, which also serves as a basis for an equitable distribution of resources, and economic and political influence in society.
Inequality is also a matter of disparities related to access, opportunities, resources and the ability to contribute to and make use of potential development opportunities. This is true at all levels, from differences in the opportunities individuals have to the varying development potential among countries. Inequality tends to perpetuate poverty since extreme poverty in different dimensions makes it more difficult for people and society to benefit from development. Inequality is often a matter of inequitable access to resources and utilities, such as access to clean water, and is therefore also a source of conflict.
The issue of equality is linked to most of the other goals. Quality lifelong learning for all is key to building a democratic society and promoting social and gender equality. Equitable access to health services and to conditions that promote good health also promote good quality of life and opportunities for people to support themselves, including people with limited resources. Clear regulations on the ownership, sale and inheritance of land and any return from it, that cover both women and men and different groups in society, form the basis of sustainable use of natural resources and consequently also food security. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are key to achieving greater equality in society. Peace and freedom from all forms of violence are essential for building sustainable societies in which all individuals and groups can use their abilities.
Urbanisation is extensive and transformational around the world. Over half of the world’s population live in urban areas. By 2050, this proportion is expected to have risen to 70 per cent. Cities often take the lead when it comes to development, and are a hub of innovation and new ideas. The rapid and large-scale move to cities places new demands that must be met in an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable manner.
Growing cities can create new opportunities for economic growth but also contribute to increased social disparities and strains on ecosystems. A rights perspective and the right to housing are important challenges. Today, one billion people live in slum areas. Poverty, poor administration and insufficient planning capacity lead to the development and expansion of slums. These have major deficiencies concerning access to healthy housing, clean water, adequate sanitary solutions, secure energy supply and waste management, as well as the safety and security of those who live there. Disaster risk reduction and reconstruction of housing in post-conflict areas contribute to sustainable development.
Sustainable urban development covers sustainable construction and sustainable planning including housing, public spaces such as parks and squares, transport, recycling and safer chemicals management, which in turn require institutional capacity, new technologies and other components.
Sustainable urban development requires cross-sectoral cooperation and governance at several levels simultaneously (national, regional, municipal and local level), including advanced forms of dialogue with citizens and the business sector. In particular, sustainable urban development should take account of women’s and girls’ infrastructure and sanitation needs. Account should also be taken of people with disabilities, children and the needs of older people.
Goal 11 is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Target 11.1 Safe and Affordable Housing
Target 11.A Strong National and Regional Development Planning
Target 11.3 Inclusive and Sustainable Urbanization
Target 11.6 Reduce the Environmental Impact of Cities
Target 11.7 Provide Access to Safe and Inclusive Green and Public Spaces
Target 11.5 Reduce the Adverse Effects of Natural Disasters
The transition to sustainable consumption and production of goods and services is necessary to reduce the negative impact on the climate and the environment, and on people’s health. Developing countries in particular are greatly affected by climate change and other environmental impacts, which lead to increased poverty and reduced prosperity.
Sustainable consumption and production involve using resources efficiently, taking account of ecosystem services that are key to making a living, and reducing the impact of dangerous chemicals. This not only means environmental benefits but also social and economic benefits such as increased competitiveness, business sector development in a global market, increased employment and improved health, and consequently reduced poverty. Sustainable consumption and production patterns are therefore a prerequisite for the transition to a green economy and sustainable development.
Sustainable consumption and production is a cross-cutting issue that complements other goals. The transition to sustainable consumption and production patterns requires a range of tools and measures at various levels that must be implemented by various actors. Education is an important cornerstone. Through education, people can acquire the values, knowledge and skills to enable them to contribute to sustainable development. Another cornerstone is information. Clear and easily accessible information in the form of environmental labelling, consumer information services, product information in shops and online information, etc. enables consumers and other actors to make responsible and sustainable choices of products and services, and to adopt more sustainable lifestyles.
Goal 12 is to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Target 12.1 Implement the 10-year Sustainable Consumption and Production Framework
Target 12.2 Sustainable Management and Use of Natural Resources
Target 12.4 Responsible Management of Chemicals and Waste
Target 12.8 Promote Universal Understanding of Sustainable Lifestyles
The climate goal promotes poverty reduction and sustainable development, and can provide positive synergies and conditions with which to meet several of the challenges currently facing the world, such as food security, clean water, sustainable use of natural resources and ecosystems, human safety, gender-equality, health and economic growth. There is a great need to adapt to current and future climate change, particularly for the least developed countries and the most vulnerable population groups. Action is needed to reduce the risks and consequences of natural disasters.
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. A major proportion of the increased greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere come from the way we extract, convert and use fossil energy. As a result of the increased emissions, we risk moving towards an average global warming that exceeds 2 degrees Celsius, which would have serious consequences for ecosystems, ocean acidification, human safety, food production, access to water, health and an increased risk of weather-related natural disasters. Climate impact must be limited to create the conditions for poverty reduction and long-term sustainable development.
Goal 13 is to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
Target 13.A Implement the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
Target 13.3 Build Knowledge and Capacity to meet Climate Change
Many of the oceans’ fish stocks are overexploited and global action is therefore needed to adopt measures that promote restoration of the threatened stocks. To ensure fish stocks that are sustainable in the long term, fishing should be based on achieving the maximum sustainable yield and account taken of special conditions in specific regions and ocean areas. Growth based on marine resources shows the inherent potential of oceans for global development, including poverty reduction. In this regard, aquaculture plays a key role and is one component in ensuring food security, provided that this is done in a sustainable manner.
It is important to continue developing measures and management tools to be able to manage known influencing factors such as pollution, overfishing and the extraction of natural resources. Protection and restoration of coastal and marine areas are key measures to preserve biodiversity and fishery resources, and also to strengthen resilience to climate change. Additional new challenges for ensuring marine production of food are marine debris including microplastics, and in particular ocean acidification, which shows the importance of linking marine issues with climate change action.
Goal 14 is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
Target 14.1 Reduce Marine Pollution
Target 14.3 Reduce Ocean Acidification
Target 14.A Increase Scientific Knowledge, Research and Technology for Ocean Health
Biodiversity is a vital foundation for Earth’s life sustaining systems and forms the basis of our current and future welfare, as is stated in the Convention on Biological Diversity. Long-term sustainable use of natural resources and ecosystem services is an important factor for enabling people to lift themselves out of poverty permanently. It is up to both developed and developing countries to take responsibility for this.
Most often, it is people living in poverty, particularly girls and women, who are most vulnerable to the challenges of ecosystem services, such as drinking water, water purification and regulation, erosion protection and fertility. Climate change also has a negative impact on natural resources and ecosystem services.
Sustainable use of forest resources, including reducing deforestation, has a positive impact on our climate and our livelihood. Biodiversity contributes to increasing ecosystem resilience. An important challenge is therefore to satisfy people’s need for food, energy, water, minerals, medicines and renewable raw materials without undermining biodiversity and by sustainably using ecosystem services while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Goal 15 is 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.
Target 15.1 Conserve and Restore Terrestrial and Freshwater Ecosystems
Target 15.5 Protect Biodiversity and Natural Habitats
Target 15.8 Prevent Invasive Alien Species on Land and in Water Ecosystems
Target 15.9 Integrate Ecosystem and Biodiversity in Governmental Planning
Target 15.B Finance and Incentivize Sustainable Forest Management
Peaceful societies and freedom from violence are both a goal and a means of sustainable development. No permanent progress can be achieved in a context marked by violence, conflict and the threat of violence.
An effective state administration with responsible institutions, transparency and the rule of law all have an intrinsic value of their own. They constitute the basis of good governance including anti-corruption measures, and are important driving forces for development.
Everyone is equal before the law and must have equal access to justice and the opportunity to exert influence and demand accountability from decision-makers. Good governance and the rule of law are fundamental goals and means for development.
Violence in all its forms is one of the greatest threats to development at both the individual and community level. Reducing and preventing violence, particularly against women and girls, and conflict-related violence are major challenges for the 2030 Agenda. Repeated cycles of violence must be broken. The risk of conflict-torn countries relapsing into violence is great – and the risk of a child who has been subjected to violence using violence against others as an adult is imminent.
Freedom from violence is fundamental for enabling people to freely take their own decisions and for the development and governance of society. Violence not only entails human suffering and the loss of life, it destroys the trust between people and the social cohesion that forms the basis of a society’s economic, environmental and social development.
Goal 16 is to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
Target 16.5 Substantially Reduce Corruption and Bribery
The scope and ambition of the new Agenda require revitalising the global partnership to ensure implementation of the Agenda. Robust global engagement will be needed to support implementation of the Agenda. The Agenda is characterised by a multi-stakeholder perspective, which will also be necessary during its implementation. Governments, the private sector, civil society as a whole, the UN system and other actors must work together to accomplish what we set out to achieve through the 2030 Agenda.
Implementation of the Agenda requires mobilising financial resources as well as capacity-building and transferring environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms. Public finances, both domestic and international, will play an important role in providing basic services and public goods, and catalysing other sources of financing.
Mobilising the funds needed to implement the 2030 Agenda builds on the spirit of global solidarity and focuses particularly on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable people, with the participation of all countries, all relevant parties and all people.
Goal 17 is to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.
Target 17.6 Knowledge Sharing and Cooperation for Access to Science, Technology and Innovation
The UN’s global goals are the most ambitious sustainable development agenda that nations have ever signed. The 17 goals aim to achieve four fantastic things by 2030: ending extreme poverty and reducing inequality and injustice around the world. Promoting peace and justice and tackling the climate crisis