▷ Learn about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Have you heard of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)? And what about the 2030 Agenda?

Did you know that these goals are part of a world pact in which 193 states are involved? And did you know that thanks to them, progress has been made in different countries and in various fields?

If the answer is no, nothing happens! Everything is explained below. And if the answer is yes, anyway, I invite you to stay, it will only be 5 minutes, let's do it!

So what are the Sustainable Development Goals?

Surely, we have all heard of sustainability, a concept that has been repeated lately. However, and incredibly in the year 2022, the sustainable development goals remain largely unknown to a large part of the population.

But we could not define them without first explaining the origin of everything.

In the year 2000, during a United Nations summit in New York, the heads of government of 189 states met to deal with serious problems that affected human beings. Thus arose the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to achieve peace, justice, prosperity and equality for all citizens between the year 2000 and 2015. These MDGs were 8 and consisted of 18 goals.


Source: United Nations

But once 2015 arrived an assessment of the situation was made. And as expected, and despite the different advances, the result was not 100% satisfactory. The Millennium Development Goals needed revision! They were a good prelude, but they were not entirely practical. They left important aspects out (science and innovation, sustainable cities, responsible production and consumption, water, etc.). And, in addition, its design had been focused on impoverished or low-income countries.

Continuing the path undertaken, the current SDGs, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, appear, much more complete and inclusive. For the first time, we become aware that for things to change we all must be in the same boat, both northern and southern countries, both countries that are in difficulties and those that enjoy well-being; governments, companies, civil associations, citizens, that is, all the actors of society. Only then the changes will become truly effective.

Therefore, the SDGs are a series of purposes that focus on people, planet, prosperity, peace and alliances. They seek, among other things, to eradicate poverty, end hunger, promote access to education and protect the planet.

They are collected in Agenda 2030, international agenda adopted by the UN, so that all member countries row in the same direction. The motto of this agenda is: "Transform our world, leaving no one behind"and the period to achieve the programmed objectives runs from 2015 to 2030. What nobody expected was a pandemic in between (which has turned everything upside down...). In any case, giving up is not an option, quite the contrary, efforts must be redoubled to continue achieving the goals in 2030 or around 2030.

Good, but... what are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals?

- SDG 1. End of Poverty. End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

- SDG 2. Zero Hunger. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

- SDG 3. Health and Well-being. Guarantee a healthy life and promote well-being for everyone at all ages.

- SDG 4. Quality Education. Guarantee inclusive, equitable and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for everyone.

- SDG 5. Quality Education. Achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.

- SDG 6. Clean Water and Sanitation. Guarantee the availability of water and its sustainable management and sanitation for everyone.

- SDG 7. Affordable and non-polluting energy. Guarantee access to affordable, safe, sustainable and modern energy for everyone.

- SDG 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth. Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.

- SDG 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and encourage innovation.

- SDG 10. Reduction of Inequalities. Reduce inequality within and between countries.

- SDG 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities. Making cities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

- SDG 12. Responsible Production and Consumption. Guarantee sustainable consumption and production patterns.

- SDG 13. Climate Action. Adopt urgent measures to combat climate change and its effects.

- SDG 14. Life Underwater. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.

- SDG 15. Life of Terrestrial Ecosystems. Sustainably manage forests, fight desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

- SDG 16. Peace, Justice and Solid Institutions. Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

- SDG 17. Partnerships to achieve the Goals. Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.


Source: United Nations

In turn, these objectives are developed in 169 goals that are measured by indicators.

Each country and each region is free to adapt them to their specific reality, connecting local actions with global challenges, without losing sight of the common goal. The curious thing is that these objectives are intertwined with each other, the achievement of some favors that of others. For example, if hunger is eradicated (SDG 2), more boys and girls will be better nourished (SDG 3) and will be able to develop their full potential (SDG 4). In turn, they will be able to become adults who promote the development of their country. Another example: if poverty is eradicated (SDG 1), all people will have a place to live, will have access to food (SDG 2), education (SDG 4), health services (SDG 3) and will be able to choose a job worthy (SDG 8). These are just a few examples of how everything is related.

Very nice, but... who is responsible for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals?

Something important to highlight is that the SDGs are not designed just for governments, but rather are a roadmap for ALL: everyone can do something from their own sphere. Governments can design the appropriate public policies, companies can be more aware and sustainable in their activities (corporate social responsibility), civil society (profit or non-profit organizations, associations, clubs...) can spread the message and coordinate projects that they go in line with the SDGs and the citizens with their daily actions, also have great repercussions.

We are agents of change and our decisions generate a great impact on society!


Some situations in the world are the result of inequality, corruption, natural disasters, armed conflicts, etc. But behind that inequality, that corruption and those conflicts are always people. Natural disasters, a priori, are fortuitous and happen "without advance warning", but they are also being increased due to global warming (and guess who is behind it). Sometimes it's hard to believe that the way things are done in one place has a direct influence on another. But yes, it certainly does. In future articles you will be able to delve into these influences and howWe are more interconnected than we think.

And what has been achieved in recent decades?

For certain people, it is enough to say that poverty and hunger continue and will continue to exist (a situation that would certainly be unacceptable), but looking back and with a little information, it is observed that the number of impoverished people has decreased in recent decades. Specifically, from 36% in 1990 to 10% in 2015. Other examples of interesting changes in health, between 2000 and 2017, have been:

– 38% reduction in maternal deaths per 100.000 live births.

– Decrease in neonatal mortality from 31/1000 live births to 18/1000.

– Decrease in mortality of children under 5 years of age from 77/1000 live births to 39/1000.

– Increase in DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccination coverage, from 72 to 85%; MCV (meningococcal conjugate), from 15 to 67%, and PCV (pneumococcal), from 4 to 44%.

– 80% fewer deaths from measles thanks to vaccines.

In relation to HIV, it goes from 3 million new infections in 1997 to 1,5 million in 2020.

Other infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and hepatitis B have decreased their incidence, although greater efforts are required. Progress around them has stalled in recent years.

The percentage of boys and girls under 5 years of age who suffered from stunted growth in 2000 was 33% and in 2020 it was 21,3% (still a sad figure... but progress is being made).

With this information, do you think it is not worth continuing to fight to achieve the SDGs? 

Yes, things take time, but they go (although not at the required speed, it must be said). But as the proverb says: who wants to do something finds a way, who does not want to do it finds an excuse”. And although it sounds ugly to say it, the excuses we make and the complaints towards the outside only serve to not take responsibility (and this is extrapolated to any situation in life). When I take responsibility, I am aware of my actions and what my changes can generate. When I don't take responsibility for my actions, I blame others because looking inside and being the change you want to see is not easy.

What world do we want to leave to our children (or grandchildren, nephews, etc.)?

What lessons do we want to pass on to them?

What is the attitude that we want them to develop towards the world and life? Remaining indifferent, assuming their personal responsibility or waiting for others to act for them?

If more and more people know the direction in which many of us are rowing, it will be easier for the boat to sail alone and at full sail.

The SDG philosophy should be incorporated into the daily life of any citizen.It should be taught in all schools and educational centers. By sharing the message with others (and especially with the little ones in the house), you are already contributing. Although you can also contribute by reducing unnecessary consumption, reducing waste, recycling, reusing, respecting the environment, buying local products, getting more information, collaborating with a cause you believe in, reducing meat consumption (It is by far the most polluting food, with beef cattle on the podium), etc.

Below, as a summary, a very nice video of the SDGs:


What do you think about it? Had you ever heard about the SDGs? Leave your comment! 🤗

I hope a little curiosity has been awakened in you and you want to know more about what you can do as a citizen to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals!


If you liked the content, share it! 🙃


If you wish to cite this article in your academic works:

Martín-Rubio L. Learn about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) [Internet]. Nutrition and Zero Hunger; 2022 [consulted day/month/year]. Available on: https://nutricionyhambrecero.com/objetivos-desarrollo-sostenible-ods/

  • C
    Posted at 09:54 a.m., April 19 Reply

    Very interesting! Is there a Dashboard of the SDGs? where you can see all the progress more or less in real time?

  • Laura Martín Rubio
    Posted at 18:28 a.m., April 20 Reply

    Hi Carlos!
    Thank you very much! Regarding the evolution of the SDGs, each country is responsible for collecting its own data and preparing a report. The UN is the one in charge after giving it a global shape. In fact, each year it issues the document: “Report on the Sustainable Development Goals [current year]”. The last one is from 2021. I leave it below in case it is of interest to you 😉:
    A greeting!

  • diana gutierrez
    Posted at 01:39 p.m., June 12 Reply

    The sustainable development goals should be everyone's goals! It is the only way to walk towards a peaceful, self-sustaining society with high health standards, with a preventive and educational approach.

  • Laura Martín Rubio
    Posted at 17:20 p.m., June 13 Reply

    Hi, Diana!
    Indeed. Many times we look for solutions for things that with good prevention would not have happened. Prevention and education are the best medicines in any context. Thanks for your comment! Greetings

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