3 keys to understand the SDGs

If you ended up here it is very likely that you already heard something about the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. But why are they so important and how they can be achieved? Here we present you 3 keys to understand the SDGs in essence:


  • key#1: The SDGs are intended to be universal, which means they apply to all countries and all people.

In 2015, in an historic UN summit, all Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that contained the 17 SDGs. On that occasion, all world leaders in the room agreed on what a “better and more sustainable future” would look like. They also shared the intention to work together to reach that in the next 15 years. In this sense, the SDGs intended to put everybody in the same page.

Importantly, they concern not only the world’s nations but also every one of us: individuals, local governments, big and small companies, social organisations and so on. For the goals to be achieved, it is crucial that different agents at different scales work together, joining forces in partnerships.

  • key#2: The SDGs are interrelated; it is impossible to achieve one without addressing at least a few others.

The SDGs are intended to be implemented together; they have many links to one another and cannot be tackled individually. Although the goals are not listed in a priority order, it is no coincidence that SDG1 is eradicating poverty. Not only it is one of the biggest global challenges but it is also a basic requirement to achieve all the other goals.

Researchers from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, for example, demonstrated how eradicating poverty requires gender equality (SDG 5), decent jobs (SDG 8) and reduced inequality (SDG 10). They also concluded that all the goals were directly or indirectly connected to sustainable and healthy food.

  • key#3:The SDGs are a starting point, not an end in themselves.

Setting an intention and defining goals are usually seen as indispensable steps for reaching them. However, the value of the SDGs lies in their actual achievement, which in this case means arriving at a more just and sustainable future. Therefore, making the SDGs famous or merely swearing allegiance to them won’t be enough.

The goals intend to guide transformative change in individual’s actions, companies’ strategies and government’s policies, leading to real impact. In order to achieve the SDGs our way of living, consuming and producing will need to change radically in the next years. That is our biggest challenge.

Now that you understand the SDGs, it´s time to start acting for them

* About us: MAIA for the SDGs is an intensive program that will provide you with tools, skills and a support network to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

images: www.globalgoals.org/resources

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