The new SDGs recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth while tackling climate change and environmental protection.
In September 2015, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were adopted by world leaders at a historical UN summit. While the SDGs build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), they aim to go further to end all forms of poverty. The new SDGs are unique in that they call for action by all countries, poor, rich and middle-income to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and addresses a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.
The SDGs also differ from the MDGs in taking a more consultative approach in the formulation of the goals, and including stakeholders such as civil society and the private sector to a greater extent. Many argue that this has created a greater ownership to the SDGs among various groups, and that Agenda 2030 has created a shared platform for different actors and sectors to work towards the same goals. The role of the private sector has especially been highlighted in 2030 Agenda, as it is widely recognized that none of the goals can be met without a dedicated commitment from the business community.
The 2030 Agenda is not legally binding, but national governments are expected to establish national frameworks for the implementation and monitoring of progress on the 17 goals, which are accompanied by 169 targets. At the heart of the ambitious agenda lies the promise to leave no one behind, but critics have raised concerns of the dangers that the SDGs might only help those who live in states with administrative capacity, the political will to act and a certain sense of social legitimacy.