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5 minutes to help you understand what is Sustainable Development Goals

The previous article introduced the UN SDGs goals and benefits for business development. In this article, we will introduce the content and environmental status of each program, that you can have a better understanding of SDGs and be motivated to implement SDGs sustainability programs.

The SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) are global goals set by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity for all by 2030. They include 17 comprehensive SDGs that prioritize the development of countries that are lagging behind and cover issues such as gender equality, closing the wealth gap, and climate change.

In order to balance social, economic and environmental sustainability and to combat poverty, hunger, AIDS and discrimination against women and girls, the United Nations has developed 17 goals to address serious development challenges. More than 100 countries now support the integration of sustainable development goals into national planning, and the 17 goals include

We will first introduce the details of each SDGs goal, then explain its progress as well as the current state of the world, leading to the urgency and importance of implementing each SDGs sustainability plan.

Goal 1. No Poverty - End poverty in all its forms everywhere

The goal is to end extreme poverty for all people everywhere by 2030, to reduce by at least half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions, to implement appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, and to achieve substantial coverage of the poor and vulnerable.

(Source:United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

The first SDG aims to "end poverty in all its forms everywhere", including extreme poverty, is essential to sustainable development. Extreme poverty is defined as people living below the "international poverty line" (measured as less than $1.25 per day). Governments around the world have designated 1,600 short-term social protection programs in response to the new Covid-19 pandemic, yet 4 billion people are still without social protection. It is estimated that by 2030, the global poverty rate will reach 7% and poverty will not be completely ended. Priority actions to eradicate poverty include:

  • Improving access to sustainable livelihoods, entrepreneurial opportunities and productive resources

  • Universal access to basic social services

  • Progressive development of social protection systems to support those who are unable to provide for themselves

  • Empowering people living in poverty and their organizations

  • Addressing the disproportionate impact of poverty on women

  • Working with interested donors and recipients to allocate an increased share of official development assistance to poverty eradication; and

  • Strengthening international cooperation to eradicate poverty

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

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of "Ending Hunger, Achieving Food Security and Improved Nutrition, and Promoting Sustainable Agriculture" (SDG2) support the interplay between sustainable agriculture, empowering smallholder farmers, promoting gender equality, eradicating rural poverty, ensuring healthy lifestyles, and addressing climate change. That links the changes and other issues addressed in the 17 SDGs, with the expectation of good nutrition for all and improved sustainability of food systems worldwide.

(Source:United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

In 2020, 2.37 billion people worldwide will have no food or access to a healthy, balanced diet; nearly 70-161 million people worldwide will experience hunger as a result of the epidemic, and more children will be malnourished. As a result, the goal is to end hunger by 2030 and ensure that all people, especially the poor and vulnerable, including infants, have access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.

The Zero Hunger Challenge, which is widely supported by many member countries and other entities, calls for:

  • Zero children under the age of two with developmental delays

  • 100% access to adequate food year-round

  • All food systems are sustainable

  • 100% increase in smallholder productivity and income

  • Zero loss or waste of food

Goal 3. Good Health and Well-being - ensure healthy lifestyles and promoting the well-being of all people of all ages

SDG 3 focuses on health and population, sustainable transportation, and national strategies and sustainability. SDG 3 targets the aspect of reproductive, maternal and child health, communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, mental health and environmental risks, health systems, and financing, with the expectation that by 2030 all countries, especially developing countries, to early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks by 2030, and to provide medicines for all to achieve universal health.

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(Source:United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

According to the United Nations, 90 percent of countries still had one or more disruptions in basic health services during the epidemic. The epidemic has also exacerbated the shortage of health care workers in many countries, such as North America, where there are only 150 nurses or midwives for every 10,000 people. Expanding investment in universal health coverage is therefore critical.

Goal 4. Quality Education - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

SDG 4 aims to provide quality education for students including to ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education that leads to relevant and effective learning outcomes, and that all students have access to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education by 2030. According to UN data for the period 2017-2019, more than one in five elementary school worldwide lack access to basic drinking water and more than one in three lack basic hand-washing facilities. Many countries also experience gender and wealth disparities in education, with boys having higher literacy rates than girls and only a few countries and regions showing parity in higher education enrollment rates.

Source:United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

The emergence of the coronavirus has also erased the educational gains made over the past 20 years, and two-thirds of the world's students are still be affected by total or partial school closures in 2020. Many schools still lack good infrastructure, including water, electricity and hand-washing facilities. As the outbreak has partially or completely closed schools in most countries and regions, this unprecedented lockdown has severely impacted teaching staff as well.

Goal 5. Gender Equality - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

SDG 5 aims to end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere, to eliminate all forms of violence and all harmful practices, such as child and forced marriage, against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, and to ensure their full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making.

Source:United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

The United Nations has seen an increase in violence against women and girls as a result of the epidemic, and with the increase in family care work particularly affecting women, child marriage is expected to increase after declining in previous years. Nearly 10 million girls are threatened with forced child marriage. The epidemic has also increased the stress and time of women spend caring for their families, with average about 2.5 times more time per day than men on unpaid housework and caregiving.

Goal 6. Clean Water and Sanitation - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

The goal is to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all, and adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, globally by 2030. Improving water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing the release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater, and significantly increasing global recycling and safe reuse to support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management.

(Source:United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Billions of people worldwide still lack access to safely managed drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene services that are critical to protecting human health and containing the spread of COVID-19. In 2020, 129 countries and territories are not on the track to meet the 2030 target for implementing integrated water resources management, including financing and intersectoral coordination mechanisms, basin management, and monitoring.

Goal 7. Affordable and Clean Energy - ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 7 aims to ensure affordable, reliable and modern energy services for all by 2030, significantly increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, and double the rate of improvement in global energy efficiency.

(Source:United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs )

With more than one-third of the world's population still using inadequate and dangerous cooking equipment as of 2019, and 759 million people worldwide without access to electricity. It is estimated that the Covid-19 pandemic will impede future electricity access. Furthermore, countries need to step up their efforts to promote the use of renewable energy sources now, especially in transportation, to reduce reliance on non-renewable energy sources and to reduce the serious cardiovascular and respiratory impacts on technicians engaged in harvesting polluting fuels.

Goal 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Goal 8 helps develop a green economy and sustainable tourism, with appropriate employment, decent work and social security for all.

The goal is to sustain economic growth per capita in line with national circumstances, especially in the less developing countries (LDCs) with at least 7% GDP growth per year, and to achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation. It also promotes development-oriented policies that support productive activities, the creation of decent jobs, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourages the formalisation and development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. By 2030, equal pay for equal work for all men and women with different physical conditions, protection of labor rights, effective measures to eliminate forced labor, and an end to modern slavery and human trafficking.

(Source:United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the world to face the most severe economic downturn, costing the equivalent of 255 million full-time jobs worldwide in 2020, roughly four times the amount of time lost during the 2009 global financial crisis. The pandemic has also contributed to the loss of employment, education or training opportunities for more than one in five young people worldwide, and young women are already twice as likely as young men not to be employed, educated or trained, exacerbating the gender gap among unemployed young people.


As the world faces a variety of crises, both in daily life and in the development of nations and businesses, the UN's SDGs program focuses on different aspects and sets different goals to achieve sustainable development by 2030.

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