UN Sustainable Development Goals

May 25, 2020 | BLOG

SDGs”, a blueprint for Global Sustainability“

70% of the corporate ecosystem have never heard of SDGs, especially as you move beyond the worlds largest corporations. The acronym expands to ‘Sustainable Development Goals’, framed by the United Nations in 2015.

At the turn of the millenium, the U.N laid out a 15 year strategy called the MDGs (Millenium Development Goals) to address key global issues covering poverty, education, gender equality, health & the environment. This plan was divided into 8 manageable chunks (goals) with 21 assigned targets. However, these goals limited their focus to emerging markets creating an imbalance in global progress. So, whilst strides were being made on one end, the problems of the developed world were not comprehensively addressed.

To set this right, in 2015 the UN put together a 15 year, long-range plan called the SDGs. In short, the MDGs had the responsibliity to get us started in the right direction and the SDGs were designed to finish that job. These goals are all encompassing and far more inclusive in addressing global challenges. To ensure the right level of coverage, they were split into nearly twice as many areas covering 17 goals and a 169 targets, all to be achieved by 2030. The UN enlisted the help of a 193 countries to move as ONE collective – to accelerate progress and solve global issues.

Looking back, achieving the SDGs by 2030 has become somewhat of an inflection point in our living timeline and present a real opportunity to set things right for once. The SDGs cover sustainability in its entirety, across every nation state and all its people. It encourages the private sector to pick up the mantle and support government & non-profits by bringing in investments, technology and solutions to everyday problems. And that’s one side of the coin.

On the other hand, the lack of awareness for this global blueprint has been the single largest stumbling block towards its broad adoption. Too few outside of government, non-profits and select private sector businesses have aligned to this mandate, reducing the odds of succesfuly achieving these goals. In a recent study by the Social Progress Index, given the current pace of adoption, we would hit our targets by 2094, a distant 64 years after they were intended for.

As we start 2020 and pass the 5 year marker since the launch of these goals, we enter the final decade of potential transformation. One of the most decisive areas to influence outcomes will be in the realm of partnerships. Given the lack of collaboration between the private & public sector, SDGs are well placed to change that equation and provide the necessary ingredients to get us all pulling in the same direction for the very first time.

Step 1 was the plan. Step 2 is now. To action it and ‘Deliver a better tomorrow’.

About the author(s)
Akhil Handa

Akhil Handa is the CEO and Founder at EARTH51.