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March 7, 2024 • Reading time: 7 Min

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS): 17 goals for sustainable development

The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent an ambitious plan for a sustainable future. With a total of 17 goals, they cover a wide range of topics, from combating poverty and protecting the environment to promoting education. These goals not only provide us with a clear vision for a better future, but also show that together, as a global community, we can make a difference. By taking a closer look at each of the SDGs, we can better understand why they are crucial to the prosperity of us all. In our upcoming blog article, we will take a closer look at each of the 17 goals and explain their impact and importance for sustainable development.

Summary of the 17 SDGs

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 goals set by the member states of the United Nations in 2015 to achieve sustainable development by 2030. These goals cover various aspects of sustainability and focus on social justice, environmental protection, economic prosperity, peace and global partnership. The 17 SDGs aim to reduce poverty, combat inequalities and mitigate climate change. Companies play an important role in realising these goals by integrating sustainable practices into their business processes. By acting responsibly, they can not only have a positive impact on the environment, but also strengthen their image and long-term business development.

The SDGs also emphasise the protection of the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources. Individual behaviour such as the use of renewable energies or rethinking consumer behaviour can contribute to achieving these goals. In addition, the SDGs strive for social justice and are committed to a world without poverty, inequality and discrimination. Governments have a responsibility to develop national strategies to implement the SDGs and build international partnerships.

The implementation of the SDGs is reviewed through regular monitoring. Each country has the task of measuring its own progress in implementing the goals and taking appropriate measures. In Germany, monitoring is carried out by the German Sustainable Development Strategy, which sets long-term goals and defines specific measures for implementing the SDGs. The SDGs present companies with challenges, but also offer them opportunities to position themselves as pioneers of sustainable development and achieve a positive impact on society and the environment. Cooperation between governments, businesses and civil society is crucial to the success of these goals. The importance of the SDGs extends to various areas such as the economy, environment, social affairs and politics. By participating in the implementation of the SDGs, companies can not only fulfil their social responsibility, but also promote their long-term business success.

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The Sustainable Development Goals

The world is facing various challenges in the areas of a sustainable economy, environmental protection and social justice. In order to create sustainable structures worldwide, the member states of the United Nations set themselves 17 goals by 2030 in September 2015. These goals are set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and are also referred to as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The aim is for all developing, emerging and industrialized countries to achieve these 17 goals and their 169 sub-goals by 2030. Importantly, the SDGs are indivisible and interdependent. They focus on particularly disadvantaged and discriminated population groups in order to create a fairer, healthier, more peaceful and more social world.

Core message of the SDGs

The Sustainable Development Goals take into account all aspects of sustainability: social, economic and environmental. These goals are based on five core messages as guiding principles: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership (5 P's). The aim of the SDGs is to ensure that all people can live in a just and sustainable society, have access to quality education and the opportunity to work with dignity.

The SDGs are intended to help reduce poverty, combat inequality and curb climate change. Economic growth should be designed in such a way that it is ecologically compatible. This means that natural resources must be used sparingly, sustainable agriculture promoted and sustainable consumption supported in order to ensure environmental sustainability and protect the planet. The overarching goal is to create a world without poverty and hunger, in which all people can lead a just, peaceful and healthy life.

The governments of the UN member states are primarily responsible for achieving the SDGs. However, it is also important that civil society plays its part. Governments, businesses and individuals must actively engage in the implementation of the SDGs. Only if we all work together can we achieve positive change worldwide.

The 17 SDGs at a glance

This goal aims to significantly reduce poverty (extreme poverty). According to the 2030 Agenda, poverty means that basic needs cannot be met and access to the material and non-material basics that make up a decent life is severely limited. SDG 1 is therefore important for all sustainability goals and for the implementation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy. The objectives of SDG 1 include supporting particularly poor and vulnerable people in adapting to climate change and ensuring equal access to economic and natural resources for all.

Objective 1 is intended to achieve the following:

  • Extreme poverty is to be completely eradicated for all people worldwide by 2030.
  • By 2030, the number of people living in poverty, regardless of gender and age, is to be reduced by at least half.
  • All people should have access to social protection systems and measures. This includes basic protection. The aim is to guarantee comprehensive care for the needy and vulnerable by 2030.
  • By 2030, the aim is to ensure that all people, especially the disadvantaged, have equal rights to economic resources and access to basic services, ownership of land and property, inheritance, natural resources, modern technologies and financial services.
  • It also aims to strengthen the resilience of people in need. This can reduce their vulnerability to extreme climate-related events or economic, social and ecological disasters.
  • The aim is to ensure that a large amount of resources are mobilized from various sources. This can be done through improved development cooperation in order to provide sufficient financial resources to developing countries, especially the least developed countries. These should be used to implement policies aimed at ending poverty.
  • Stable political frameworks are to be created at various levels - national, regional and international. These should be based on poverty-oriented and gender-sensitive development strategies in order to promote investment in poverty reduction measures.

It is estimated that just over 2 billion people worldwide currently suffer from malnutrition. Of these, around 828 million are affected by hunger and chronic malnutrition. The goal is to end hunger and provide all people with year-round access to nutritious and safe food. It also aims to ensure that producers can use productive resources. Due to population growth, productivity and yields are to be increased through more resilient agricultural methods.

Objective 2 is intended to achieve the following:

  • A constant supply of sufficient food for all people all year round.
  • Ensure a healthy and varied diet.
  • Increasing the efficiency and income of small farmers.
  • The use of environmentally friendly agricultural practices.
  • Preservation of genetic diversity.
  • Investments in agriculture.
  • Compensate for and prevent trade restrictions and distortions.
  • Ensure that the markets function smoothly.

In many countries, adequate healthcare is still not a matter of course. Around 14,000 young children still die every day, many of them from diseases such as infections that could now be cured cost-effectively or even completely avoided through prevention. New pandemics such as Ebola or corona and diseases of civilization such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and dementia pose a threat to our lives. Of particular concern is the fact that around 39% of the world's population has no health insurance - in developing countries the figure is even higher than 90%.

Goal 3 focuses in particular on promoting the health of the world's population. An important sub-goal here is to significantly reduce the number of deaths and illnesses caused by hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution.

Objective 3 is intended to achieve the following:

  • Reduction in the number of premature deaths to 100 (women) and 190 (men) per 100,000 inhabitants by 2030.
  • Reduce the smoking rate among young people to 7 percent and among adults to 19 percent by 2030.
  • Curbing the steady rise in obesity rates among young people and adults.
  • Reduction of air pollutant emissions by 45 percent by 2030 compared to 2005.
  • To achieve the guideline value for particulate matter pollution set by the World Health Organization (WHO). It should not exceed 0 micrograms per cubic meter of air by 2030.

A high-quality education is crucial for individual opportunities. It promotes the willingness to change and serves as a basis for innovation as well as a prerequisite for the sustainable development of our planet. Education is seen as a human right - it enables people to improve their political, social, cultural and economic situation.

Every child has the right to education; every person should have the opportunity to fulfill their basic learning needs - throughout their lives. The 4th goal therefore calls for equal access to affordable and quality education for all.

Objective 4 is intended to achieve the following:

  • Free primary and secondary education for girls and boys by 2030.
  • The promotion of education is to be further strengthened as a central element of German development policy.
  • Access to high-quality early childhood education, childcare and pre-school education as well as to high-quality technical and vocational training opportunities for all by 2030.
  • Overcoming gender-specific disparities in the education system.
  • All young people and many adults who are unable to read and write should have the opportunity to learn their reading, writing and arithmetic skills.
  • Promoting education for sustainable development.
  • Educational facilities that are equally accessible to children, people with disabilities and different genders.

Gender equality is a fundamental human right that should apply worldwide. Unfortunately, women and girls in many parts of the world still experience injustices in terms of access to education, healthcare, career opportunities and everyday life. The goal of gender equality is to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls.

Access to economic and natural resources should be guaranteed regardless of gender. It also calls for the equal participation of women in leadership positions at all levels of decision-making in all areas of society.

Objective 5 is intended to achieve the following:

  • The goal is to end all forms of discrimination against women and girls worldwide by 2030.
  • The aim is to put an end to all forms of violence and exploitation against women and girls.
  • The aim is to end child marriage, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
  • The aim is to create an appreciation for unpaid care and domestic work.
  • Women should have the same rights to participate actively in political, economic and social life.
  • Women and girls should have unrestricted access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Women and girls should have equal rights to land, property and financial services.
  • Promoting the use of information and communication technologies should help to strengthen women's self-determination.
  • Laws and regulations should be enacted with the aim of promoting gender equality.

Water is essential for all life on earth. It is needed in households, agriculture and industry. Unfortunately, around two billion people do not have safe access to clean drinking water. Half of the world's population has to make do without adequate sanitary facilities.

The sixth goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the first international goal that takes into account both access to drinking water and sanitation as well as water protection. It focuses on the long-term availability of water, the efficient use of water and the promotion of sustainable water management. SDG 6 thus combines development policy aspects with environmentally relevant challenges.

Objective 6 is intended to achieve the following:

  • Everyone should have the opportunity to obtain clean and affordable drinking water.
  • Everyone should have the opportunity to receive adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene.
  • The quality of water is to be improved globally by treating it and reusing it safely.
  • The plan is to significantly increase the efficiency of water use in all areas.
  • The aim is to implement holistic management of water resources at all levels.
  • It is important to protect and revitalize water ecosystems.

Energy is of crucial importance for progress in the economy and society. Clean energy sources play an important role in protecting the environment and the climate. Nevertheless, the majority of energy produced worldwide is still generated from fossil fuels. The goal is to be achieved by 2030 so that everyone has access to affordable, reliable and, above all, sustainable energy.

The share of renewable energies in the global energy mix is to be increased and the rate of increase in energy efficiency doubled. The countries of the global South in particular are to be helped to expand their energy infrastructure and develop new energy technologies.

Objective 7 is intended to achieve the following:

  • Everyone should have the opportunity to use affordable, reliable and modern energy sources.
  • The plan is to increase the share of renewable energies in the global energy mix.
  • The aim is to double the global rate of increase in energy efficiency.
  • In addition, increased international cooperation will be sought to facilitate access to research and technology in the fields of renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and clean fossil fuel technologies. The aim is to promote investment in clean energy.
  • The plan is to expand and update the infrastructure in developing countries in order to make modern and sustainable energy services accessible to all.

SDG 8 deals with the economic side of sustainable development and aims to create a sustainable economy that ensures social prosperity and in which all people can participate. Through technological innovations, global resource efficiency in consumption and production is to be improved by 2030. This will make it possible to decouple economic growth from environmental pollution.

In the next decade, the rich countries of the global North should make a strong effort to deal more responsibly with their consumption and products. This also means that they should take care of more sustainable tourism. Such tourism should not only help to strengthen local economies and jobs, but also support cultural diversity.

Objective 8 is intended to achieve the following:

  • The economy in poorer countries should grow by at least seven percent annually.
  • An increase in economic efficiency and greater involvement of women in economic life.
  • Extended opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, especially those under female management, to make use of financial services.
  • Improving the competence of domestic financial institutions.
  • Separate economic performance and prosperity from the use of natural resources.
  • Achieving dignified work and full employment for everyone.
  • Abolish forced labor and human trafficking.
  • Child labor is to be completely eliminated by 2025.
  • Sustainable tourism is to be promoted more strongly.

This sustainability goal is committed to creating sustainable and resilient infrastructures. It is also aimed at industries that introduce environmentally friendly processes, use resources efficiently, use clean technologies or even develop them themselves. SDG 9 therefore calls for an increase in scientific research and the promotion of innovation (economic growth).

Objective 9 is intended to achieve the following:

  • Create a stable and reliable infrastructure that is both regional and cross-border. The aim is to promote economic growth and the well-being of people. The focus should be on affordable and fair access for all.
  • Promote comprehensive and long-term support for industrialization in order to significantly increase the share of industry in employment and economic output by 2030. The share in the least developed countries is to be doubled.
  • The aim is to improve access to financial services, such as affordable loans, for small industrial and other companies, particularly in developing countries. They are also to be more closely integrated into value chains and markets.
  • By 2030, the infrastructure is to be brought up to date and the industry retooled to make it more sustainable. The aim is to use more efficient resources, clean and environmentally friendly technologies and production processes. Each country should take measures according to its individual capabilities.
  • Promote scientific research and strengthen the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, especially in developing countries. By 2030, innovations are to be promoted and the number of people working in research and development per 1 million inhabitants is to be increased. Both public and private investment in research and development should also be significantly increased.

The aim of SDG 10 is to promote equality in prosperity and the distribution of income. Everyone should have equal opportunities regardless of age, gender, disability, ethnicity, origin or religion.

Objective 10 is intended to achieve the following:

  • The aim is for the income of the bottom 40 percent of the population to rise faster than the national average by 2030.
  • Everyone should have the same opportunities, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental abilities, ethnic origin, religion, nationality or social and economic circumstances.
  • Discriminatory laws and policies should be completely eliminated.
  • Injustice can be combated even more effectively through social, wage and tax policies that are geared towards combating poverty.
  • Greater participation of developing countries in global financial and economic organizations is necessary.
  • Structured, safe, responsible and orderly migration and mobility.

The aim is to ensure that cities are made more environmentally friendly. This means that the way cities are developed and transport is organized should be more sustainable. The environmental impact in cities should be reduced and everyone should have access to green spaces, public spaces and environmentally friendly transportation. It is therefore important that more cities introduce programs aimed at using resources more efficiently, tackling climate change and preparing for emergencies.

It is also important that cities and rural areas are better connected. Thoughtful development planning can ensure that urban and rural areas benefit from each other economically, socially and environmentally.

Objective 11 is intended to achieve the following:

  • Everyone should have the right to adequate housing and basic services.
  • Everyone should have the opportunity to access safe, affordable and environmentally friendly transportation systems.
  • Supportive and long-term urban development is to be further expanded.
  • The aim is to better preserve the world's cultural and natural heritage.
  • The aim is to reduce the number of people affected by disasters.
  • The responsibilities of local authorities in the area of civil protection are to be expanded.
  • The aim is to reduce the environmental impact of cities, particularly in the areas of air quality and waste treatment.
  • The aim is to ensure that everyone has access to safe green spaces and public places.

The objective of SDG 12 is to change the way we live and do business. It is important that consumption and production are in harmony with the ecological limits of our planet. To achieve this, consumption and production activities must consume significantly fewer resources and emit fewer greenhouse gases.

SDG 12 concerns both our individual consumption and the transformation of the foundations of our production. The circular economy, sustainable supply chains and the reduction and environmentally friendly disposal of waste play an important role here. In addition, food waste is to be halved by 2030.

Objective 12 is intended to achieve the following:

  • It is important to use natural resources sustainably and efficiently.
  • Waste should be avoided or recycled, while hazardous waste must be disposed of safely.
  • The aim is to reduce the amount of food wasted.
  • Companies should be encouraged to minimize their social and ecological risks.
  • Consumers should be more comprehensively informed about sustainable shopping.
  • It is recommended that public authorities show a preference for sustainable products when procuring goods and services.
  • The aim is to make the use of chemicals more environmentally friendly.

Goal 13 includes both climate protection measures and concrete steps to adapt to the effects of climate change. This includes not only the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, but also education, awareness-raising and capacity building for adaptation to climate change. To this end, measures to protect the climate should be included in all national political strategies and plans. The German government is also calling for international funding for climate protection to be doubled - especially for the benefit of countries in the Global South.

Objective 13 is intended to achieve the following:

  • The aim is to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius and to achieve global greenhouse gas neutrality by the middle of the century.
  • Improving the political framework conditions for climate protection in emerging and developing countries.
  • Seize the opportunity to use the economic upturn after the coronavirus pandemic for environmentally friendly measures.
  • Ensure that international financial institutions are compatible with the Paris climate goals.
  • Activate the private sector to drive forward global climate protection.
  • Supporting 50 emerging and developing countries in setting and achieving ambitious climate targets by 2025.
  • By 2025, 500 million poor and vulnerable people are to be protected from the risks of climate change.
  • Mobilizing personal commitment to environmental protection and long-term development in the countries we work with.

The world's oceans cover over 70 percent of the earth and are crucial for the ecological balance. They serve as an important source of energy and food for many people and play a central role in food security. The oceans regulate the climate, produce oxygen and store CO₂. With their biodiversity, they contribute to the preservation of life on Earth.

Although many people cover their protein requirements with fish, a third of fish stocks are still overfished. Coastal populations in particular suffer as a result. It is important to promote sustainable fishing practices in order to protect marine resources in the long term.

This goal calls for a significant reduction in pollution of the oceans and seas, particularly from nutrients and waste. This includes measures such as reducing acidification, sustainable use of coastal ecosystems and fish stocks and the creation of marine protected areas. It is also important to learn more about the oceans and to recognize the Convention on the Law of the Sea as the legal basis for the protection and sustainable use of the oceans.

Objective 14 is intended to achieve the following:

  • The aim is to significantly reduce plastic pollution in the oceans.
  • It is important to keep marine and coastal ecosystems healthy and preserve their diversity. They should therefore be sustainably managed, protected and restored where necessary.
  • The aim is to reduce ocean acidification as much as possible.
  • It is important that fish stocks are used sustainably and that measures are taken to stop overfishing and illegal and unregulated fishing. Harmful fishing practices should also be curbed.
  • It is planned that at least 10 percent of the oceans will be defined as marine protected areas and managed more efficiently.
  • There should be no more financial support that leads to an oversupply of fishing capacity and encourages illegal, unregulated or unreported fishing.
  • Small island states and the least developed countries in particular should be able to achieve greater economic gains through the sustainable use of the oceans and coasts.
  • It is important that we deepen our scientific knowledge and expand our research capacities in order to ensure technology transfer.

The aim of SDG 15 is to comprehensively protect, restore and sustainably use ecosystems at national and international level. This includes land and inland waters, forests and soil. It also aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and protect endangered species.

Objective 15 is intended to achieve the following:

  • The focus is on the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of intact terrestrial ecosystems and their services.
  • A decrease in the quality of natural habitats and a decline in biodiversity lead to a reduction.
  • Consistently enforce environmentally friendly laws.
  • Stopping deforestation and sustainable management and restoration of forests.
  • Combating desertification and regenerating damaged land and soil are important measures to protect the environment.
  • Stopping poaching and illegal trade in protected species
  • Integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into planning, strategies and accounting systems

Sustainable development is closely linked to peace and justice. Peace is one of the most important pillars of the 2030 Agenda for global sustainability. The goal is to promote societies that are peaceful, based on the rule of law and inclusive. This also includes the creation of strong, transparent institutions and political decision-making processes.

It is important that these facilities are needs-oriented, inclusive and representative. Public access to information must also be guaranteed.

Objective 16 is intended to achieve the following:

  • Reduction of all forms of violence and violence-related mortality.
  • Ending abuse, exploitation of children and all forms of violence against children.
  • The focus is on promoting the rule of law at both national and international level and ensuring equal access to justice for all citizens.
  • Reduction of illegal financial and arms flows and organized crime.
  • Reducing corruption and bribery in all its forms is of great importance.
  • Ensure that decision-making processes at all levels are needs-based, inclusive, participatory and representative.
  • Ensure that information is accessible to the public and protects fundamental rights.

SDG 17 focuses on cooperation between countries. In particular, the countries of the global North should help the countries of the global South to build their capacities for sustainable development. They should do this by providing additional financial resources and introducing investment promotion systems. This directly addresses one of the five main messages from the preamble of the 2030 Agenda: Partnership.

The "leave no one behind" (LNOB) principle emphasizes the shared responsibility to include all people on the path to sustainable development. It serves as a guiding principle for tackling global challenges in accordance with the 2030 Agenda and as a guideline for international partnerships.

LNOB (Leave No One Behind) means that no one is forgotten, especially the poor and most disadvantaged. It is about ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities to participate socially, economically and politically. A society in which everyone is welcome and a fair order worldwide are important for long-term peace and sustainable development.

Objective 17 is intended to achieve the following:

  • Global problems require international and joint efforts.
  • The organization of the global system (finance, world market, knowledge and technology) should aim to ensure that all individuals worldwide can benefit from it equally and have fair access to it.
  • It is important that developing countries are in a position to achieve their development goals with their own financial resources and can pursue progress independently. Efforts should be made to ensure that public spending in these countries is sustainable.
  • All donor countries are expected to make 0.7 percent of their gross national income available to poorer countries.
  • All members of society - be it business, science, organized civil society or local authorities - are called upon to play their part in achieving the sustainability goals.
  • Migrants play an important role in society. It is important that they do not have to pay excessive fees to send money to their families in their home countries.
  • Efforts should be made to actively support and promote cooperation with private companies.
  • Länder and municipalities should contribute to achieving the sustainability goals at national level and assume their international responsibility through the exchange of expertise, partnership work and public relations.

Significance of the sustainability goals for various areas


Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals is important in order to promote sustainable economic development that benefits all people. Companies play a central role in this. They are called upon to integrate sustainable practices and behaviors into their business processes in order to actively contribute to achieving the SDGs. The sustainable development of the economy does not only mean economic growth, but also focuses on justice and environmental protection. 

By acting responsibly and aligning their business practices with the goals of the SDGs, companies can make a positive contribution to the environment. This creates long-term added value for society and strengthens the company's image at the same time.

It is important that companies rethink their actions and take targeted measures to promote sustainable development. This also requires a rethink in terms of resource consumption, working conditions and dealing with social challenges such as poverty or inequality. When companies integrate the SDGs into their business strategies, they not only contribute to solving global problems, they are also seen as pioneers of a new way of doing business. 


An important part of the SDGs is to protect the environment and use natural resources sustainably. Measures such as protecting the climate and ecosystems can reduce environmental damage and pollution and preserve the balance in nature. By using renewable energy, producing less waste and rethinking our consumption habits, we can all contribute to achieving the SDGs. Through our behavior, each and every one of us can contribute to protecting the environment and leaving nature intact for future generations.


The SDGs are also committed to social justice and strive for a world without poverty, inequality and discrimination. The aim is to improve the well-being of all people and promote equal opportunities. It is important that society works collectively to achieve these goals.

To ensure that everyone can give their best, we must act in solidarity and work for a fairer world. This means fighting poverty, making education accessible to all and combating all forms of discrimination. In this way, a better future can be created for future generations and social cohesion can be strengthened.


The SDGs serve as guidelines for political decision-makers worldwide. Governments have a responsibility to develop concrete national strategies to ensure that the goals are achieved by 2030. This requires a coordinated approach at national level and strong international partnerships.

It is important that governments take various measures to achieve the SDGs more quickly. Special programs and investments can bring about positive changes. Global partnerships are particularly important here. This is the only way to jointly support countries with fewer resources or weak infrastructure. 

Achieving sustainability goals and implementing CSRD

Our CSRD tool supports you in achieving sustainability goals in line with the SDGs. In addition to comprehensive insights into environmental impacts, you also benefit from user-friendly functions.


Background to the SDGs

Challenges and opportunities of the SDG goals

The Sustainable Development Goals present companies with both challenges and opportunities. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals form a complex agenda that requires a fundamental transformation of business models. The challenge lies in integrating the SDGs into the corporate strategy, setting clear and measurable targets and pursuing a holistic approach to sustainable development.

However, the SDGs also offer a significant opportunity for companies. By actively working towards a more sustainable world, they can help to tackle social and environmental problems. At the same time, they can strengthen their image and their own business in the long term through their commitment. By integrating the SDGs into their business strategy, companies can gain a competitive advantage, promote innovation and have a positive impact on the environment and society at the same time.

The emergence of the goals

The UN member states agreed on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in July 2015. The Sustainable Development Goals are part of this draft and are considered a continuation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were adopted by the United Nations in 2000 and have not yet been achieved. The MDGs focused mainly on combating poverty and improving living conditions in developing countries by 2015.

The emergence of the SDGs began with the Rio+20 summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012. At this summit, the member states of the United Nations decided to initiate a process to develop a new sustainable development agenda that would extend beyond 2015. This agenda should build on the successes of the MDGs while enabling a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to the global development goals.

An important milestone was the establishment of an Open Working Group (OWG) by the UN General Assembly in 2013. This working group consisted of 30 member states and was tasked with developing a proposal for the SDGs. Over a period of one and a half years, the OWG worked on a draft for the SDGs, which was incorporated into its recommendations and proposals.

Discussions on the final SDGs began in 2014 and continued until the 2030 Agenda was adopted in September 2015. The agenda comprises a total of 17 goals and 169 specific targets. These goals address a variety of issues such as poverty, hunger, health, education, gender equality, clean water, affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, climate action and more.

The SDGs were conceived as a universal agenda that should apply to all countries, regardless of their level of development. They are to be achieved by 2030 and require close cooperation and partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders at national, regional and global level.

Monitoring and measurement of targets

Monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals

In addition to defining the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs, the 2023 Agenda also stipulates that all countries should regularly review the progress made in implementing the SDGs. Monitoring is the central instrument for tracking sustainability policy and understanding the progress of the SDGs. In order to measure the goals, the international community has agreed on 169 sub-goals. At the same time, 231 international SDG indicators were defined, which are constantly being further developed by the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG indicators at UN level.

For example, the entire set of indicators is completely revised every five years. Each country is responsible for setting up its own SDG monitoring and can therefore decide for itself which of the 231 indicators are used for monitoring. Each country must also collect the data independently, which is why there are many different approaches to SDG monitoring.

Every year, the United Nations (UN) invites leaders from around the world to a meeting in New York known as the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). This is where they discuss how far the individual countries have come with the sustainable development goals and what still needs to be done.

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) is part of the United Nations and was established to promote social and economic development worldwide. It works to develop policy recommendations to support global development and coordinates the activities of UN member states on economic and social issues. DESA is active in various areas, including poverty reduction, sustainable development, demography, social inclusion and environmental policy.

How implementation is measured in Germany

In Germany, the 2030 Agenda is monitored by the German Sustainable Development Strategy (DNS), the central association for tracking and reviewing national sustainability policy. A national sustainability strategy was adopted by the German government for the first time in 2002. Since 2004, it has been updated every four years. The introduction of such a strategy was an important part of Agenda 21, which was adopted at the World Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Following the decision to implement the 2030 Agenda, the German Sustainable Development Strategy was also adapted in line with the SDGs. It specifies which indicators are to be used to measure progress in Germany and which measures are to be taken to implement the SDGs. The Federal Statistical Office publishes an indicator report every two years to highlight the status of implementation. The analyses are also incorporated into the further development of the DNS, which is adopted by the cabinet with the participation of the general public.

The German Sustainability Strategy

The German Sustainability Strategy (DNS) is an important tool of the Federal Government for the implementation of sustainability in Germany. It was first adopted in 2002 and is regularly updated. The strategy sets long-term goals, defines concrete measures and uses indicators to assess progress in the environmental, economic and social areas. The DNS is based on the principle of sustainable development, which means that the environment, economy and society are given equal consideration. Learn more about sustainability.

The sustainability strategy aims to create a society and environment in which life is good and everyone is treated fairly. The strategy's most important areas of responsibility include, for example, protecting the climate, promoting renewable energies, using natural resources responsibly, combating poverty, promoting education and research and supporting social participation and social cohesion. The strategy was developed by various federal government ministries and is intended to guide political decisions. It also serves as a guide for companies, organizations and people.


Shared responsibility for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an ambitious plan by the United Nations to create a better world for all by 2030. These 17 goals cover important areas such as poverty reduction, education, climate protection and sustainable development. The SDGs serve as a guide for governments, businesses and civil society to work together to create a better future for all. It is important that all stakeholders work together and actively engage in the implementation of the SDGs to realize a sustainable and just world.

Only through concerted efforts can we ensure that no one is left behind and that everyone has access to the basic necessities of life. Governments must take political action, companies should operate sustainably and civil society must also play an active role. Every individual can make a contribution - be it through conscious and sustainable consumption or volunteering.

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