The Story Behind the Goals


In 2012 the member states of the United Nations came together in Rio de Janeiro for the purpose of creating a new, global agenda for sustainable development.

They agreed, in a document called “The Future We Want,” to create a set of goals that would build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals, or “MDGs” — a set of 8 objectives that guided countries and the UN from 2000 through 2015 in the battle against poverty.

The MDGs were considered relatively successful. The world made rapid progress on combating poverty during those years. But the MDGs didn’t go far enough. The new goals would need to target more than poverty-related issues. They should apply not just to the world’s poorer nations, but to all. And they would have to raise the bar even higher.

The new goals would have to be universal, integrated, and transformative.

The new Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, would cover all nations. And they would cover the whole sustainability agenda: poverty, human development, the environment, and social justice.

The United Nations was given the task of developing these new goals. It took three years of countless meetings and consultations, ultimately involving the participation of hundreds of thousands of people.

On August 2, 2015, the long process of consultation and negotiation came to a stunningly successful conclusion. On that day, in a large conference room at UN headquarters, all the world’s nations came to a consensus on a document called “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Want to go deeper? Read Transforming Our World here

The 2030 Agenda was formally adopted on September 25, 2015, at a UN Summit attended by over 150 heads of state. It includes the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, supported by 169 specific targets (several targets under each Goal). The 2030 Agenda also includes recommendations on how nations should proceed in the implementation of the goals.

The 2030 Agenda marks the first time in human history that the nations of the world have come to agreement on a comprehensive vision, with clear goals and targets, for the development of our civilization on planet Earth.

One of the key recommendations in “Transforming Our World” basically boils down to this: involve everybody. Governments, businesses, communities, education—everyone has a role to play in making the SDGs a reality.

That’s why we created 17Goals.

What are you willing to do, to help realize the SDG vision? Learn more here …

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