Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

“World leaders have an unprecedented opportunity this year to shift the world onto a path
of inclusive, sustainable and resilient development" - Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator.

At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.

The SDGs, otherwise known as the Global Goals, build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight anti-poverty targets that the world committed to achieving by 2015. The MDGs, adopted in 2000, aimed at an array of issues that included slashing poverty, hunger, disease, gender inequality, and access to water and sanitation. Enormous progress has been made on the MDGs, showing the value of a unifying agenda underpinned by goals and targets. Despite this success, the indignity of poverty has not been ended for all.

The new Global Goals, and the broader sustainability agenda, go much further than the MDGs, addressing the root causes of poverty and the universal need for development that works for all people.

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark noted: "This agreement marks an important milestone in putting our world on an inclusive and sustainable course. If we all work together, we have a chance of meeting citizens’ aspirations for peace, prosperity, and wellbeing, and to preserve our planet."

The Global Goals will now finish the job of the MDGs, and ensure that no one is left behind.

What is UNDP's role with the Global Goals?

All 17 SDGs are connected to UNDP’s Strategic Plan focus areas: sustainable development, democratic governance and peacebuilding, and climate and disaster resilience. Goals Number 1 on poverty, Number 10 on inequality and Number 16 on governance are particularly central to UNDP’s current work and long-term plans. 

Having an integrated approach to supporting progress across the multiple goals is crucial to achieving the SDGs, and UNDP is uniquely placed to support that process.

UNDP supports countries in three different ways, through the MAPS approach: mainstreaming, acceleration and policy support.

  • Providing support to governments to reflect the new global agenda in national development plans and policies. This work is already underway in many countries at national request;
  • Supporting countries to accelerate progress on SDG targets. In this, we will make use of our extensive experience over the past five years with the MDG Acceleration Framework; and
  • Making the UN’s policy expertise on sustainable development and governance available to governments at all stages of implementation.

Collectively, all partners can support communication of the new agenda, strengthening partnerships for implementation, and filling in the gaps in available data for monitoring and review. As Co-Chair of the UNDG Sustainable Development Working Group, UNDP will lead the preparation of Guidelines for National SDG Reports which are relevant and appropriate for the countries in which we work.

UNDP is deeply involved in all processes around the SDG roll out. We are bringing our extensive programming experience to bear in supporting countries to develop their national SDG efforts.


Global conversation on the post-2015 development agenda