A reminder of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

The UN launched the Sustainable Development Agenda in 2015, providing a blueprint for peace and prosperity, agreed by all UN member states. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the evolution of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) launched in 2000 to reduce global poverty by 2015. The idea is that lasting and meaningful change in eradicating poverty and deprivation requires improving health and education, reducing inequality, encouraging economic growth, and tackling climate change while preserving oceans and forests.

The UN department of economic and Social Affairs list 169 different targets collected under seventeen goals:

Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*

Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

UN Sustainable Development Goals

Each of the goals is broken down into specific targets. For example, Goal four, Quality education is split into ten targets.

Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

4.1 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes

4.2 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education

4.3 By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university

4.4 By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship

4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations

4.6 By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy

4.7 By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development

4.a Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all

4.b By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries

4.c By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States

Quality Education Targets

Each Target then has its own set of indicators. For example, Goal 4.3 covering technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university, has one indicator:

4.3.1 Participation rate of youth and adults in formal and non-formal education and training in the previous 12 months, by sex

The UK government has a website dedicated to the SDGs that provides data on how the UK measures each indicator. Looking at the example above, 10% of adults had participated in formal or non-formal learning in the last 12 months in 2016—participation rates by sex 11.2% for females and 9.6% for males. 

I would highly recommend you spend a little time this weekend reviewing the SDGS website and looking at the overviews of the goals that specifically interest you. Each goal has overview and progress sections that cover the implications of Covid-19 on the progress towards the targets.

Let me know what you think about the goals, targets, and progress on Twitter. How do we extend remote learning to more students?