Why We Must All Care About the SDGs – And What They Are

The Global Goals for Sustainable Development lay out key parameters for creating a more just, humane, and environmentally sustainable planet.

Do you know all 17 of the sustainable development goals adopted by the UN in January of 2016?  If so, good for you. Up until today, I was mainly familiar with SDG 5: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” Now that I read Equal Measures 2030’s research showing that many policy leaders in the development sector do not know very much about the SDGs, I decided it was time to do my homework and learn more about the SDGs myself.

So here they are. They read kind of a like a very long human rights mantra.  Let’s break it down and start with the first five:

1) End poverty in all its forms everywhere

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

3) Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages

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

5) Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

That all sounds awesome. Each one relates to health and well-being, and by number five, we are recognizing that gender equality is part of that agenda. Onward to basic sanitation, access to energy, and economic growth and work for all:

6) Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

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

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

9) Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation

The goals then span out to address inequality, climate change, conservation, and an ongoing commitment to cooperation among nations for global sustainability:

10) Reduce inequality within and among countries

11) Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

12) Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

13) Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 

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

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

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

17) Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

Particular to women and girls, let’s take a look at the specific targets for SDG5:

  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
  • Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate.
  • Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decisionmaking in political, economic and public life.
  • Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.
  • Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws.
  • Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women.
  • Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.

This is a lot of information to take in, but its important to read it over, probably a couple times a year at least, to remember all the aspects that need to be worked on for a better planet, particularly for women and girls.

Related:

How This Nonprofit is Using the SDG’s to Help Women Thrive Globally

The Global Women’s Philanthropy Network Aligning Health with Human Rights for Women and Girls

With 30 Years of Activism, this Mobile Company Continues the Fight for Gender Equality

 

 

Author: Kiersten Marek

Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work in Cranston, Rhode Island, and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.

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