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The evolution of Sustainable Development Goal

The evolution of Sustainable Development Goal

Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while at the same time sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depend.

Sustainable development can be classified as development that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations.

United Nations Conference on the Human Environment 1972 also known as Stockholm conference- evolved 26 principles for environment and human development.

While the modern concept of sustainable development is derived mostly from the 1987 Brundtland Report – ‘Our common future’, it is also rooted in earlier ideas about sustainable forest management and twentieth century environmental concerns.

United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, the Rio Summit, the Rio Conference, and the Earth Summit  was a major United Nations conference held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. The Earth Summit resulted in the following documents:

  • Rio Declaration on Environment and Development
  • Agenda 21
  • Forest Principles

Moreover, important legally binding agreements (Rio Convention) were opened for signature:

  • Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)- Kyoto protocol
  • United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were the eight international development goals for the year 2015 that had been established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000, following the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration. All 191 United Nations member states at that time, and at least 22 international organizations, committed to help achieve the following Millennium Development Goals by 2015:

  1. To eradicate extreme povertyand hunger
  2. To achieve universal primary education
  3. To promote gender equalityand empower women
  4. To reduce child mortality
  5. To improve maternal health
  6. To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
  7. To ensure environmental sustainability
  8. To develop a global partnership for development

The World Summit on Sustainable Development, WSSD or ONG Earth Summit 2002 took place in Johannesburg, South Africa to discuss sustainable development by the United Nations.

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), also known as Rio 2012Rio+20  or Earth Summit 2012 was the third international conference on sustainable development aimed at reconciling the economic and environmental goals of the global community resulted in adoption of the nonbinding document, “The Future We Want,”.

Earth Summit 2002 established the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). In 2013, the CSD was replaced by the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development . Green Cross International was founded to build upon the work of the Summit.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – also known as the Global Goals for Sustainable Development – are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations. The goals were developed to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which ended in 2015.   The SDGs are also known as “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” or 2030 Agenda in short.

Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

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


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

As the concept developed, it has shifted to focus more on economic development, social development and environmental protection for future generations. It has been suggested that “the term ‘sustainability’ should be viewed as humanity’s target goal of human-ecosystem equilibrium (homeostasis), while ‘sustainable development’ refers to the holistic approach and temporal processes that lead us to the end point of sustainability”.

  • Global environment facility – The GEF also serves as financial mechanism for the following conventions:
  1. CBD Convention on Biological Diversity
  2. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  3. UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
  4. Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
  5. Minamata Convention on Mercury

The Paris Agreement Paris climate accord or Paris climate agreement is successor to Kyoto protocol and an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance starting in the year 2020.

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