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What are the sustainable development goals

What Are the Sustainable Development Goals? 17 Facts About Our Planet

April 14, 2022 - Martina Igini

In 2015, the United Nations created 17 goals to promote sustainable development in the world. They define the future we want, a world where everyone has enough money, food, and opportunities to live a happy life and where no one is left behind. Let’s explore what these goals are.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) define the future we want. They apply to all nations, meaning that every government in the world has to do the best they can to make the world a better, safer, and happier place. The United Nations announced these targets in 2015 and they are intended to be achieved by 2030. They address many global problems and challenges such as poverty, hunger, climate change, and inequality.

Let’s explore them together!

Goal 1: No Poverty

More than one in five people today don’t have enough money for basic needs such as food, water, and a house. Half of them are kids. Compared to 30 years ago, the number of poor people has been cut by more than half but we can do much better! 

Goal 2: Zero Hunger

Millions of people, especially in poor countries, are not lucky enough to have food to eat every day. We actually have more than enough food in the world to feed everyone but we are not good at distributing it. We can start solving this problem by understanding the consequences of food waste.

Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being

While we still cannot cure all illnesses on this planet, there are some that are preventable, like the ones caused by air pollution. This is one of the biggest threats of our lifetime and we have to do whatever we can to stop it.

Goal 4: Quality Education

Education is a crucial part of our lives. Unfortunately, more than 100 million children around the world do not have access to education and more than 60% of them are women. 

Goal 5: Gender Equality

Gender equality means that men and women enjoy the same rights and have equal access to all aspects of life, like education, health care, and work. We are still far from reaching this goal!

Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

We need water for many things, like drinking and growing our food. To ensure that people have access to clean water, we have to make sure we do not waste it or pollute it!

Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Energy is the main contributor to climate change and it accounts for 60% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. If we want to change this, we have to invest in renewables, the cleanest source of energy we have.

Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Everyone in the world should have the right to have a job in a safe environment. In 2019, 22% of the world’s young people could not work. Things have gotten worse since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Infrastructures are facilities that support modern human life, like housing, roads, schools, and hospitals and it is important that every country has a safe and modern infrastructure. The internet is another essential part of modern life on Earth. But today, just 54% of the global population can access it.

Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

We are very far from a world where everyone is treated the same. Almost two in 10 people across the world are discriminated against based on factors such as their sex, age, nationality, and religion.

Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

This goal is all about making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, and sustainable. A big issue in modern urban areas is air pollution. Currently, 90% of people living in cities breathe polluted air. 

Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

We have to treat our natural environment and resources like water and food with respect. This means, for example, stopping using strong fertilisers to grow our food to avoid polluting the soil. 

Goal 13: Climate Action

Climate change is a worldwide problem and all countries around the world have to do their part to limit global warming to 1.5C and promote renewable energy, as was decided in the Paris Agreement

Goal 14: Life Below Water

We need to conserve and sustainably use the world’s ocean, seas, and marine resources. The ocean is also crucial for the fight against global warming, as it absorbs around 23% of annual CO2 emissions and more than 90% of the excess heat in the climate system. That is why we have to take care of it!

Goal 15: Life on Land

Around 1 million animals and plants are considered endangered. To save them, we have to protect and restore ecosystems, sustainably manage forests and combat desertification.

Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

We need to promote equal access to justice for all as well as build inclusive institutions and laws to prevent conflicts and inequalities.

Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Last but not least, if we want to tackle all these global problems, we cannot do it alone. We need worldwide action and international partnerships.


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About the Author

Martina Igini

Martina is an environmental journalist based in Hong Kong. She holds two Bachelor's degrees, one in Journalism and one in Translation and Interpreting Studies as well as a Master's degree in International Development. Passionate about writing and languages, her interests include sustainability and the role of public policy in environmental protection, especially in developing countries. She has extensive experience working as a journalist and in 2020, she joined the outreach team of the United Nations Global Communication Department. She currently works for Earth.Org and is the website's main writer and editor.