THE UNITED NATIONS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS and  How we’re faring, 8 years down the road

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  • What are the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

In 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) as a global call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all global citizens enjoy peace and prosperity.

The goals are;

  1. No poverty
  2. Zero hunger
  3. Good health and well being
  4. Quality education
  5. Gender equality
  6. Clean water and sanitation
  7. Affordable and clean energy
  8. Decent work and economic growth
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  10. Reduced inequalities
  11. Sustainable cities and communities
  12. Responsible consumption/production
  13. Climate action
  14. Life below water
  15. Life on land
  16. Peace, justice and strong institutions
  17. Partnership for the goals

As we look at the list of goals above it seems that they fall into overlapping categories.

  1. Geographic Resources & Climate (  Those who plan the future of business investments as well as those who study science need to be in dialogue about these goals.
  2. Political Action & Citizenship (11. 16.17. ) Solutions to problems that exist at the global level require political compromise and the education of citizens willing to act.
  3. Socioeconomics & Justice   ( 1.3. 4. 5. )  Education is a human right that is necessary to address issues of inequality.

Overall it is clear that these 17 goals are interconnected.  Just as the problems affect all the solutions must be shaped by all.  Compromises bring progress on the global level.


 How significant are the UN sustainable development goals(SDGs)?

The SDGs are significant because they provide a framework for addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges such as poverty, inequality and climate change. 

By setting clear goals and targets, the SDGs help focus interest and resources towards these issues and encourage collaboration between stakeholders to create viable solutions.

They are designed to be universal goals, meaning that they are applicable to  all nations, regardless of their level of development or their economic status and ensures that each country has a role to play towards achieving a more sustainable and equitable world.

  • How well are the SDGs being implemented? Is there significant progress?

The implementation of these goals involves a common effort between governments, the civil society and private sectors with each country being responsible for developing its own strategies and plans for achieving the goals with the support of the United Nations and other related international organizations.

The implementation of the goals overall, however, has been all but a straight path. Following the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the barbaric ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Putin’s Russia whose negative impact goes without saying, much of the progress made in many of the goals has been severely limited and even backtracked to a certain extent.

The pandemic strained health systems, causing multiple economic disruptions and inflation. It led to the closing of schools and made them much more inaccessible to the public on re-opening and deepened existing social inequalities in categories such as healthcare. All this limited improvement in goals# 3, 1, 4 ,and 8.

However, the pandemic has also had positive effects towards the progress in the SDGs. One example is how it highlighted the importance of universal healthcare for all and the need for strong health systems to respond to global crises (goal#3). It also spurred innovation and collaboration in areas such as digital connectivity and remote work which could have long term positive impacts on global development (goal#9).

Nevertheless, the United Nations has still certainly made significant progress in the achievement of the SDGs. Some of the most notable being the reduction of extreme poverty globally from 10% to 8% and the increase in access to clean water and sanitation which has improved the lives of millions worldwide. 

Massive strides have also been made in promoting gender equality as the number of women in positions of power continues to grow.

Overall, the UN and its constituent members have made commendable progress towards the achievement of the goals. However, much work remains to be done in the journey towards sustainable development and prosperity for all. 


  • How can you contribute towards the achievement of these goals?

The first step to take is to try achieving a unique perception of each of the SDGs that relates to you and your society. This perception will help you view the goals in a way that  feels relevant to you as an individual, which is the first step towards your own personal engagement.

For instance, in my case, as a student from Uganda who recently moved to the United States, I have realized that service provision, for example in a sector like  education, is much more proficient here than in Uganda. This drives me to ask the question,”Why?”. Is it because of corruption, to which the answer is “yes!” If so, what can I do about this?  Well, I can write articles such as this one, spreading awareness on corruption in Uganda and many African states. While this may not seem as the most effective of actions, overtime, awareness is often the first step towards revolution.

The same is applicable to any other individual. Say, for instance, you love going to the beach and surfing. How enjoyable do you think the beach would be if the shores were loaded with garbage? The answer? “not fun at all !”. So taking all this into consideration, what can you do about it? Well you can write articles or spread awareness through social media or even take physical action and attempt to clean out as much of the beach as you can, the list goes on.

So, by creating this unique perspective of the problems that these goals are aimed at solving, you become that much more emotionally attached  to each individual goal and that brings you a lot closer to your own kind  effective action.

Check out UNsdgspage if you wish to learn more about the UN sustainable development goals, events and how you can help.