Sustainable Development Goals: An Introduction

Please Share with maximum friends to support the Initiative.

A Brief History

  • 1980: United Nations set up Brundtland Commission on Environment and Development, which came up with a report titled, “Our Common Future” that defined “Sustainable development as the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”
  • 2000: UN General Assembly approved 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with 18 associated targets, to be achieved by 2015
  • 2012: Earth Summit in Rio, Brazil in 2012, also called Rio+20 summit
    • Leaders announced to prepare “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) for the post-2015 era when MDGs would expire
  • 2015: United Nations General Assembly approved 17 goals with 169 associated targets. They became effective from 1/1/2016 and were to be achieved by 2030

What are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)?

  • The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were 8 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 helping achieve the following Millennium Development Goals by 2015

What are Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”
  • The SDGs, set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and intended to be achieved by the year 2030, is a part of UN Resolution 70/1, the 2030 Agenda
  • They are officially referred to as “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”

List of SDGs

  1. No Poverty
  2. Zero Hunger
  3. Good Health and Well-being
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  10. Reduced Inequality
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships to Achieve the Goal

Need for SDGs

  • Even though MDGs were in place,
    • Around 800 million people still live in extreme poverty and suffer from hunger, with fragile and conflict-torn states experiencing the highest poverty rates
    • Between 2008 and 2012, 144 million people were displaced from their homes by natural disasters, a number predicted to rise as the planet warms, bringing more extreme weather and rising seas
    • Water scarcity affects 40 percent of the global population and is projected to increase
    • Some 946 million people still practice open defecation
    • Gender inequality persists in spite of more representation for women in parliaments and more girls going to school
  • Hence, a more comprehensive list of goals and targets was needed to foster sustainable development
  • This led to the replacement of MDGs with SDGs post-2015

What is new and different about the SDGs?

  • The United Nations says the SDGs go much further than the previous goals because they address the root causes of poverty and pledge to leave no one behind, including vulnerable groups
  • They also emphasize the need to tackle climate change urgently and protect the environment through a shift to sustainable consumption and production
  • The SDGs are intended to be universal, applying to all countries rather than just the developing world
  • They recognize the key role of the private sector in pursuing and financing sustainable development, in partnership with governments and civil society

SDGs and NITI Aayog

  • NITI Aayog has been tasked to monitor the SDG implementation in India, tie-up with Union ministries, State governments, academia, civil society, and other stakeholders
    • In December 2018, NITI Aayog prepared the “Baseline Report of the SDG India Index”, which correlates baseline targets to be achieved for each goal and how much progress has been made by the States
    • Accordingly, NITI Aayog assigns “SDG Goal Score (0-100)” to each State & UT and classifies them into the following categories:






Assam, Bihar, UP



Remaining States and UTs

Front Runner





No One Here Yet

  • In 2018, Haryana became the first state in India whose State Budget had specific allotments for SDG Goal achievements
  • An Achiever State/UT is one that has achieved all SDG Goals


  • SDG goals recognize that
    • Ending poverty requires economic growth
    • While ending socioeconomic disparities requires economic development
  • But neither the economic growth nor the economic development should come at the cost of harming future generations
  • Accordingly, the 17 goals have been framed to provide education, health, social protection, and job opportunities to all, while tackling climate change and environmental protection
  • Achievement of SDG goals is therefore necessary for
    • Reaping India's demographic dividend
    • Reducing India’s socio-economic disparities
    • And at the same time protecting India's vast biodiversity
  • As Gandhiji noted, “The earth, air, land, and water are not an inheritance from our forefathers but on loan from our children. So we have to handover to them at least as it was handed over to us. Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed
  • Therefore, the timely achievement of SDG goals must become India’s top priority

Please Share with maximum friends to support the Initiative.

Enquire now

Give us a call or fill in the form below and we will contact you. We endeavor to answer all inquiries within 24 hours on business days.