The Sustainable Development Goals stress zero poverty, zero hunger, good health, clean water and sanitation, and affordable clean energy.

UN's Sustainable Development Goals Now in Place

The 17 goals build on the eight Millennium Development Goals that sought to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, reduce child mortality; ensure environmental sustainability, and more.

The United Nations introduced a new set of Sustainable Development Goals on Jan. 1, 2016, attempting to build on progress made on the 15-year cycle of its anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals. The SDGs are in place until 2030.

"The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world's leaders and the people," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted unanimously by 193 heads of state and other top leaders at a summit at UN headquarters last September. "They are a to-do list for people and planet and a blueprint for success."

The 17 goals and 169 targets aim to wipe out poverty, fight inequality, and tackle climate change. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls on countries to begin efforts to achieve them -- addressing social, economic, and environmental sustainable development by mobilizing financial resources, technology development and transfer, and partnerships.

These new goals attempt to build on progress made on the 15-year cycle of its anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals, not all of which were met globally. According to the UN, significant progress was made in several areas, including:

  • In November, global leaders, diplomats, and health experts announced the target to halt and begin reversing malaria incidence had been met. Progress since 2000 averted more than 6.2 million malaria deaths.
  • Globally, the number of people living in extreme poverty fell from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 836 million in 2015. Net primary school enrollment in developing regions has reached 91 percent, up from 83 percent in 2000.
  • New HIV infections fell by approximately 40 percent between 2000 and 2013, from an estimated 3.5 million cases to 2.1 million. By June 2014, 13.6 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy globally, up from 800,000 in 2003. This therapy has averted 7.6 million deaths from AIDS.

The SDGs stress everything from zero poverty, zero hunger, good health, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, and affordable clean energy to decent work and economic growth, innovation, sustainable cities, climate action, unpolluted oceans and land, and partnerships.

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