United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the #sdgs #globalgoals #UNglobalgoals or #developmentgoals are a framework set by the United Nations, set in 2015 with a target of guiding global development towards 2030.

This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. 


Tackling world issues

We are facing numerous huge challenges and issues in the world, which can be completely overwhelming. What I particularly like about this initiative is that by breaking things down, it helps make it feel more manageable. This does not mean of course that it will be easy. However I believe we need to continue to try to tackle these world issues and this gives us a place to start. By creating and sharing a common global framework, it allows all of us worldwide to work on those which are more important to us individually, and connect and learn from others who are doing the same. I also like that it is presented in a way that is simple enough for children to understand, but robust enough to encompass the complexity we are facing.

The 17 goals

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. Reducing Inequality
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life On Land
  16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships for the Goals

How much do you know about the SDGs?

The goals kept crossing my path in interesting ways over the last few months. If you take a look at my Zestee logo, you’ll see I love colour, so the flashes I saw here and there of the SDG colour wheel immediately got my attention. I can’t even remember where I first saw it, perhaps from the train on the side of the FMO bank – they have a big wall mural near Laan van NOI station in The Hague, the Netherlands.

In June, I attended an event at the bank in conjunction with the Global Entrepreneurship Summit , where I noticed the badge that director Idsert Boersma was wearing. When I commented on it, he gave it to me! I’ve worn it regularly since and it’s a good starting point for discussion.

Once home, I researched more about these online and talked to my children about them. It was really interesting to hear their interests and perceptions. My eldest (12) feels particularly connected to #goal5 of #genderequality – partly because one of her role models, Emma Watson, has spoken about this but also as she feels girls everywhere “should have the chances I have”. My youngest (10) said that #goal14 #lifebelowwater and #goal15 #lifeonland were most interesting to her as she loves nature – and “if we don’t have life on water and land then we can’t reach other goals”!

In August, I travelled to beautiful Waiheke Island in New Zealand to visit friends Mike and Kathy Voyles. At the amazing Waiheke Sustainability Centre, there were the goals!

These were presented in a really interesting and interactive way – each small cupboard opened to show projects for that goal.

In September, the academic opening for 2019-20 at The Hague University of Applied Sciences (where I work) was focussed around the SDGs. Chairman of the board, Leonard Geluk, and Professor Christine De Lille both went into detail as how, especially being a UNESCO school, we support the goals in our education. Of course #goal4 of providing #qualityeducation is very important to us, but we also have active projects on the rest as well.

So the Global Goals keep crossing my path, and perhaps yours too? Now I have actively made the choice to learn about them and be more involved.

What can you do?

Though the #SDGs have been led by heads of state, we all need to be involved individually to achieve change. Personally I am simply starting by learning more about these goals, talking to my children about them, and selecting those which resonate most with us as a start.

There have already been a huge number of positive projects around the world for decades. The #globalgoals allows us all to take this one step further and organise these international initiatives into a common global project plan. What will you do? If it all still feels too much, you can start with “The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World“!

Tracking the goals

When setting any goals, it’s important to track progress. This website is a good start: http://17goals.org/the-sdg-tracker/

More information

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