Without you we can't change the world.
Without your help, we wont achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
This is the first course in a series about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
While all the goals are important, some of the goals may matter more to you personally than others. That's totally normal. After the intro course, you can dive into any goal you like, and you can focus on anything from climate action to universall access to education.
What is the 2030 Agenda?
In September 2015, world leaders at the United Nations' General Assembly in New York adopted 17 SDGs and they came into effect on January 1st, 2016. For the next fifteen years until September 2030, every country must make action plans to address some to all of the goals. But what are the goals all about? And why do they matter to you. Because they do matter to everyone on this earth. Yes, you included.
One of the actors or drivers behind the SDGs are governments. But under the framework of the SDGs, other majors actors are the United Nations, civil society organizations, the private sector, and finally you and I - if we choose to take part.
Through the SDG framework we can debate and take action to fight social and structural inequalities, find solutions to climate change, ensure a more balanced socio-economic development across the globe, improve access to basic health care, quality education and decent jobs, end world hunger, promote the use of technology and strengthen institutions and legislation to protect refugees, children and minorities, just to mention a few. Isn't that exciting?
So dive into the materials below to learn more about the SDGs and
check out the exercises in this unit to find out how you can train new skills and competences while learning more about the SDGs.
Why are there 17 goals?
Between 2000 and 2015, the United Nations worked on what is called Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs focus on issues that are very serious in developing countries. On the other hand, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) address issues that are relevant to both developing countries, middle-income countries, and developed countries.
Did you know that the United Nations have passed many agreements leading up to the SDGs? They include the Rio Declaration of 1992 on the environment and sustainability, the Vienna declaration of 1994 on human rights, the Cairo Declaration on Population and Development, the Copenhagen Declaration on Social developments, the Beijing Platform for Action from 1995 on women’s rights and gender equality, just to name a few!
Check out the exercises in this unit to learn about why we need the Sustainable Development Goals now.
There are 169 targets related to 17 SDGs. 169!
Each of the 17 SDGs covers a wide area of work that involves not only the United Nations but also governments and civil society organizations. In order for the goals to turn into concrete actions with impacts, they are divided into smaller units called "targets".
As the name suggests, the targets specify, in one sentence, what needs to happen, in order for the Goals to be achieved by 2030. Because the targets are specific, it is also easier to connect them to numbers, or "indicators", to measure our progress.
There are 169 targets in total - and don't worry if you cannot remember all of them. What's important is that you understand the connection between goals, targets, and indicators, which is what we will focus on in this unit.
Who is doing all the work?
It starts with the United Nations, who, through various mechanisms, consults and involves different actors, from governments, companies, civil society, to faith-based organizations and communities, schools and universities to think tanks. These actors not only ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals are relevant to their communities at all levels but also work collaboratively to achieve the goals. In fact, Goal 17 is called Partnerships for action and it is all about how these actors can work together. This requires a lot of new thinking, especially for the private sector which historically does not invest in issues such as social responsibility, human rights, and sustainability.
You can make a difference!
We are at the last unit of the course and it's time for you to transform your knowledge into actions and become an agent of change. Start small with some social media activism, or introducing small changes to make your habit more sustainable. It will only take 5 minutes and you will instantly feel more empowered!
A bigger step that you can take is to join forces with the many initiatives, products, and activities out there that support the Sustainable Development Goals. We include two examples in the syllabus from Bornefonden and Unilever, and you can surely find many awesome initiatives like these in your community.
Are you a mad scientist, a crazy artist or a fearless entrepreneur? Do you want to design and put into motion your original plan to save the world? Share your brilliant idea with us!
These are just a few of the many actions that you can take to bring the world one step closer to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Find out more in the exercises for this unit.