Sustainable Development Goals/Background

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Background[edit | edit source]

Young people holding the SDGs banners in Lima, Peru

The history of the SDGs can be traced to 1972 when governments met in Stockholm, Sweden, for the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, to consider the rights of the human family to a healthy and productive environment.[1] It was not until 1983 that the United Nations decided to create the World Commission on Environment and Development which defined sustainable development as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". In 1992 the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was held in Rio. The first agenda for Environment and Development, also known as Agenda 21, was developed and adopted in Rio.

In preparation for the Rio+20 Conference, Indonesia held a July 2011 government retreat in Solo, Indonesia. At this event, Colombia proposed the idea of the SDGs. This was picked up by the United nations Department of Public Information 64th NGO Conference in September 2011 in Bonn, Germany where the outcome document proposed 17 sustainable development goals and associated targets. In the run-up to Rio+20 there was much discussion about the idea of SDGs. At the Rio+20 Conference, a resolution, known as The Future We Want[2] was reached by member states. Among the key themes agreed on were poverty eradication, energy, water and sanitation, health, and human settlement.

Paragraph 246 of the Future We Want outcome document forms the link between the Rio+20 agreement and the Millennium Development Goals: "We recognize that the development of goals could also be useful for pursuing focused and coherent action on sustainable development. The goals should address and incorporate in a balanced way all three dimensions of sustainable development (environment, economics, and society) and their interlinkages. The development of these goals should not divert focus or effort from the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals". Paragraph 249 states that "the process needs to be coordinated and coherent with the processes to consider the post-2015 development agenda".

Taken together, paragraph 246 and 249 paved the way for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).[3] The MDGs were officially established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000 and the agreement in the Future We Want outcome document. The Rio+20 summit also agreed that the process of designing sustainable development goals, should be "action-oriented, concise and easy to communicate, limited in number, aspirational, global in nature and universally applicable to all countries while taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities".[4]

Because the MDGs were to be achieved by 2015, a further process was needed. Discussion of the post-2015 framework for international development began well in advance, with the United Nations System Task Team on Post 2015 Development Agenda[5] releasing the first report known as Realizing The Future We Want.[6] The Report was the first attempt to achieve the requirements under paragraph 246 and 249 of the Future We Want document. It identified four dimensions as part of a global vision for sustainable development: Inclusive Social Development, Environmental Sustainability, Inclusive Economic Development, and Peace and Security. Other processes included the UN Secretary General's High Level Panel on the Post 2015 Development Agenda,[7] whose report[8] was submitted to the Secretary General in 2013.

Learning Tasks[edit | edit source]

  • Identify the lessons learned from Millenium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Describe the implications on your own professional and private environment, if there are any? Are there ideas you follow already for a long time, but you might not know, that your activities are related to any SDGs or MDGs. Would you recommend other approaches, that create awarenees about objective behind the SDGs.

References[edit | edit source]

  2. "Future We Want - Outcome document .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform". Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  3. "Millennium Development Goals". United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  4. "UN General Assembly Creates Key Group on Rio+20 Follow-up, Press Release United Nations Division for Sustainable Development" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  5. "UN DESA | DPAD | UNTT | UN Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda". Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  6. "Realizing The Future We Want" (PDF). Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  7. "High Level Panel - The Post 2015 Development Agenda". Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  8. "The Report - High Level Panel". Retrieved 11 October 2016.