SustainableDevelopmentGoalsAction towards 2030We are faced not with two separatecrises, one environmental and the othersocial, but rather with one complex crisiswhich is both social and environmental.Strategies for a solution demand anintegrated approach to combatingpoverty, restoring dignity to the excluded,and at the same time protecting nature.- Pope FrancisLaudato Si’ 139In 2015, the world agreed a new set of global goals to eradicateextreme poverty and achieve sustainable development. Buildingon the Millennium Development Goals, they are known as theSustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. But how did these goalscome about, what are they, and how can civil society get involved intheir realisation? This short booklet gives an overview of the SDGsand suggests some actions for coming years.The SDGs reflect an opportunity for us to come together to advocatefor positive change built on the values of solidarity, human dignity,care for creation, and inclusive participation. Actions to achievethese global goals should always have those furthest behind – thepoorest and most marginalised people – at their heart, so that nogoal or target is considered met unless met for all people, whoeverand wherever they are.
What are the SustainableDevelopment Goals?21The SDGs cover a wide range ofissues. They include traditionalMDG areas such as poverty, hunger,health, education, and genderinequality but add new topics suchas energy, infrastructure, economicgrowth and employment, inequality,cities, sustainable consumption andproduction, climate change, forests,oceans, and peace and security.6Freedom from hungerEnd poverty in all itsforms everywhereEnd hunger, achievefood security and improvednutrition, and promotesustainable agriculture78Clean waterand sanitationSustainableenergy for allDecent work andeconomic developmentEnsure availability andsustainable management ofwater and sanitation for allEnsure access to affordable,reliable, sustainable andmodern energy for allPromote sustained, inclusive andsustainable economic growth1213Sustainableconsumptionand productionEnsure sustainable consumptionand production patters2End poverty for all14Action onclimate changeHealthy oceansTake urgent action to combatclimate change and its impactsConserve and sustainablyuse the oceans, seas andmarine resources forsustainable development
34Health andwellbeingEnsure healthy lives and promotewellbeing for all at all ages95Quality educationGender equalityEnsure inclusive and equitablequality education and promotelifelong learning opportunitiesfor allAchieve gender equality andempower all women and girls1011Innovation andinfrastructureReducinginequalitiesSustainable citiesand communitiesBuild resilient infrastructure,promote inclusive andsustainable industrializationand foster innovationReduce inequality withinand among countriesMake cities and humansettlements inclusive, safe,resilient and sustainable151617SustainableecosystemsPeace andjusticeGlobalpartnershipsProtect, restore and promotesustainable use of terrestrialecosystems, sustainably manageforests, combat desertification,and halt and reverse landdegradation and haltbiodiversity lossPromote peaceful andinclusive societies for sustainabledevelopment, provide access tojustice for all and build effective,accountable and inclusiveinstitutions at all levelsStrengthen the means ofimplementation and revitalize theglobal partnership for sustainabledevelopment, on finance,technology, capacity-building,trade and systemic issues3
Arriving at the SDGsThe MDGsIn 2000, the UN agreed eight MillenniumDevelopment Goals with the aim of addressingsome of the most pressing issues of the time. TheMDGs galvanised unprecedented efforts to addressglobal development challenges and shaped thetone and direction of development over the lastdecade. There is a lot to celebrate, with fewerpeople now living in extreme poverty, more girlsand boys in primary school, and far more peoplewith access to clean water and essential medicines.But progress across different goals and in differentcountries has been mixed. Sub-Saharan Africa andSouthern Asia consistently lag behind. The MDGsfocused on national averages, obscuring whathappens with different groups within a country.The poorest and most marginalised peopleoften experience the least progress. Factorssuch as gender, disability, ethnicity and locationdetermine who is excluded.While the target to halve the proportion of peopleliving on less than 1 a day has been met, thespirit of MDG1 – to eradicate extreme poverty andhunger – is far from being achieved. 800 millionpeople still live in extreme poverty. People livingin poverty are more vulnerable to the impacts ofclimate change and environmental degradation.Years of hard-won progress can be wiped out byeven small-scale conflicts or natural disastersThe MDGs galvanisedunprecedented effortsto address globaldevelopment challenges4
Lessons have beenlearned and the SDGsattempt to address theroot causes of povertyLessons have been learned and the SDGs attemptto address the root causes of poverty, inequalitywithin and between countries, climate change andenvironmental degradation, and peace and justice,as well as other important issues. Since 2011 theinternational community has been discussing whatshould follow on from the MDGs in a process thatincluded governments, academics, the privatesector and civil society.The SDGs have more ability to respond to theexperiences and priorities of people on the ground.While the MDGs focused mainly on poverty indeveloping countries, the new goals are applicableto every country. This ambitious agenda movesbeyond the MDGs by addressing the root causesof poverty and calling for all to take action forsustainable development.To understand how people’s lives are changing,better information is needed on progress towardsthe goals and targets. When data is brokendown along the lines of age, gender, location anddisability, it can give a more accurate picture ofwho is benefiting and who is being excluded.New technology can create exciting opportunitiesto improve data but open, accessible data anddata literacy for all will be key for the success ofthe SDGs.How the SDGs were createdThe SDGs were created with input from stakeholders but the finaldecisions were taken by governments at the UN. There were manyopportunities for civil society to have their voices heard and it’scrucial that this continues throughout implementation over thenext 15 years.In 2011, civil society began to discuss what should follow on from theMDGs. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon set up a panel to define avision for development. In 2012, Member States at the UN Conferenceon Sustainable Development, Rio 20, launched a process to developthe SDGs. The aim was to create universal goals, addressing thesocial, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainabledevelopment together. The UN held consultations in more than 100countries. In 2013, a High Level Political Forum (HLPF) was establishedthat will review global implementation. being agreed. The SDGs wereagreed at the UN General Assembly in September 2015.5
The big shiftsfrom MDGs to SDGsUniversalityThe MDGs focused on poverty in developing countries. Most MDGtargets were for action in low income countries; only MDG 7 onenvironmental sustainability and MDG 8 on the global partnershipheld rich countries responsible for action. Learning from thatexperience, the SDGs take a different approach. They are universal,meaning they are equally applicable to all countries with challengingtargets for rich countries as well as poor. They can be used toadvocate for more equitable development based on tackling theroot causes of poverty and unsustainable development.6cialmicEnr on me nlA strongersense ofownershipshould makethe SDGs amore effectivetool for changeSoSustainable development includes social, economicand environmental dimensions. The MDGs focusedheavily on important social development issues,such as poverty, health and education, to theexclusion of economic and environmental aspects.The SDGs attempt to balance the three dimensionsand they are the first attempt that has been madeto integrate this approach across such a broadrange of issues at the UN. The effort to movebeyond single issues is not perfect and thereare contradictions between some of the goalsand targets.vitaIntegratingsustainable developmentEconoParticipation – whose voice is heard?Most governments had little input when the MDGs were being createdin 2000, let alone people on the ground who were meant to benefitfrom them. This delayed actions to implement them and reducedtheir impact. The process to create the SDGs has been much moreopen, with national dialogues and thematic consultations involvingmany people around the world. Every government at the UN hassigned up to implement them. This stronger sense of ownershipshould make them a more effective tool for change over the next15 years.
The SDGs are universal,meaning they areequally applicable to allcountries. They includechallenging targets for richcountries as well as poor.Looking at the SDGs through Laudato Si’The SDGs are a useful tool for engaging withgovernments when used with a clear vision for abetter world and as part of a wider strategy fortransformational change – alone, they do notprovide the answer to all problems or tackle majorstructural issues. In 2015 Pope Francis released anencyclical, Laudato Si’, on the connection betweendignity, development and human ecology. In it, heinvites us all to enter into dialogue on our commonhome and the environmental crises we face. Hecalls for us to re-examine our relationships to eachother, the planet and the economy. How do theSDGs meet this challenge?The dignity of the human person is at the heart ofboth the SDGs and Laudato Si’. The SDGs committo leaving no one behind, reaching the furthestbehind first and paying particular attention to thevoices of the poorest and most vulnerable. If this iswhat happens over the next 15 years it will be, asLaudato Si’ asks, hearing the cry of the poor.The SDGs were created through an open process,reflecting the more equitable power balancebetween nations called for by the encyclical. Theyare universally applicable to all countries, breakingdown the paradigm where poor countries carry theburden for change, and aligning them with a visionwhere ‘everything is connected’ as articulated byLaudato Si’.Laudato Si’ calls for us to understand ‘themysterious network of relations between things’The SDGs werecreated throughan open process,reflecting the moreequitable powerbalance betweennations called forby the encyclical.and the dangers of solving ‘one problem onlyto create others’. The SDGs are interlinked andindivisible, addressing the environmental,economic and social together.However, the SDGs rely on economic growth toend poverty. Laudato Si’ criticises the concept of‘infinite or unlimited growth. It is based on thelie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’sgoods, and this leads to the planet being squeezeddry beyond every limit.’ (LS 106). The SDGs fail torecognise that the current global economic modelis incapable of addressing our shared challengesand do not challenge the existing definitionof progress.7
How to get involvedThe SDGs will influence government planning and donor priorities overthe coming decades. Already, institutional donors have started touse the SDGs to shape funding flows. Many governments are creatingnational sustainable development plans that integrate action on thegoals. As a UN agreement, they will also be important to differentUN agencies and national offices. This means that there will beopenings and opportunities to influence policy at global, regional,national and local levels. The SDGs are a voluntary framework,meaning that governments are not legally required to implementthem, or report on progress towards them. Civil society will need tohold governments’ feet to the fire to ensure they are not forgotten.Women from a community-based green energy project with solar panels in Isiolo, KenyaAction will need to takeplace at the national,regional and global levelto effect real changeNational governments will be responsible for implementation ofthe global goals from 2015 through to 2030, with support from theinternational community. The UN has set up a mechanism for globalfollow up and review but action will be needed at the national,regional and global level to effect real change.8
Ask your nationalgovernment to:1. Develop a national sustainabledevelopment strategy. This should bedone with the participation of people experiencingpoverty and marginalisation, and the organisationswhich represent them, and make meaningful,measurable commitments on the realisation of5. Call upon decentralisedadministrations and localgovernment to work closelywith civil society and other relevant actorsto ensure ownership of the goals at national andsub-national levels.all goals.2. Commit to implementationof all the global goals and include thisin national development plans and priorities.Universality is one of the keys for successfulimplementation at both global and national level.It should address not only the achievement of thegoals within that country but also each country’sfair contribution to global achievement ofthe goals.3. Set up cross-departmentalcommittees including ministries offinance, planning, the environment, and foreignaffairs, as well as national statistical offices, onimplementation and monitoring.4. Build on the experience of MDGParliamentary Committees6. Ensure that national andlocal resources are allocatedto the implementation of the SDGs.7. Establish public, participatoryand inclusive monitoring and reportingmechanisms for the implementation of the goals,led by a national review body which includesmembers of the public - especially from thepoorest and most marginalised groups - and theirlegitimate representatives.8. Participate fully and actively inagreed international follow upand review processes.Developed from the Beyond 2015toolkit ‘From Policy to Action’by creating multi-party SDG ParliamentaryCommittees, which will reinforce and supportexecutive efforts on implementation. CSOsand local level institutions should be able toactively participate.9
Principles for engagingPope Francis has called on us all to participate in a globalconversation on the future of our planet. In light of the encyclicalLaudato Si’ there is an opportunity to use these global goals as atool to discuss human flourishing and care for our common home,based on the values of solidarity, inclusion, participation andenvironmental consciousness. These principles are based onparticipatory research with people on the ground.Make connectionsFind out who is interested in action towards realising the goals.See if national or local platforms already exist, and how you can join.With a wide range of goals, working collaboratively with others willbe essential.Build the power of peoplePeople know their own problems and the solutions that will workbest in their contexts. Their voices must be heard. Processes tosupport implementation should include citizens and civil societyorganisations, especially those from marginalised and excludedgroups, and commit to the values of inclusivity and respect for allpeople as a guiding principle.Strengthen participationReal dialogue on implementation of the goals is needed, especiallywith marginalised and excluded groups. One way of doing this isthrough public dialogues and debates within community, parliamentand local government. National conferences , public forums, andmeetings with decision-makers to discuss implementation and sharebest practices can strengthen impact.People in Soroti, Uganda, discuss the changes they want to see10
ReflectionsWhat important issues that were missingfrom the MDGs are included in the SustainableDevelopment Goals?What are the similarities and differences between theSDGs and the Laudato Si?How do you think that these global goals canstrengthen your advocacy, whether at the local,national, regional or global level?How can we best hold governments accountable at thenational level for commitments they have made at theglobal level?How can we ensure that the implementation of theglobal goals puts the poorest people first? How can weavoid some people and groups being ignored, forgottenor excluded?Who else is working on this at the national level thatyou can join in with?Which issues are your government prioritising initially?Which issues do you think they should prioritise,and why?What proposals do you already have for SDGimplementation at the local and national level?ResourcesBeyond 2015 global campaign website:www.beyond2015.orgBeyond 2015 ‘From Policy to Action’ toolkitWorld We Want website:www.worldwewant2015.orgUN Sustainable Development Knowledge Dwww.cafod.org.ukThe Global Goals for Sustainable Development’:www.globalgoals.org11
September 2015DRAFT COPY FOR COMMENTSThis booklet was produced by CAFOD, the Catholicdevelopment agency for England and Wales.CAFOD is a member of Caritas Internationalis.For more information please contactDiego Martinez [email protected]
Sustainable Development Goals In 2015, the world agreed a new set of global goals to eradicate extreme poverty and achieve sustainable development. Building on the Millennium Development Goals, they are known as the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. But how did these goals come about, what are they, and how can civil society get involved in