Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change

The Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change


The Sustainable Development Goals SDGs (pictured to right, below) form a universal, compassionate framework of choice for both social justice and climate action.


The SDGs are described are in the document Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. From the UN: "This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom, We recognize that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development." On 25 September 2015, the 194 countries of the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Development Agenda. Climate Action (SDG #13) is "essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals". The 2016 Sustainable Development Goals Report says: Climate change presents the single biggest threat to development, and its widespread, unprecedented effects disproportionately burden the poorest and the most vulnerable. Urgent action is needed not only to combat climate change and its impacts, but also to build resilience in responding to climate-related hazards and natural disasters. On 1 January 2016, the world officially began implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—the transformative plan of action based on 17 Sustainable Development Goals—to address urgent global challenges over the next 15 years. The text of the 2030 Agenda (for which the SDGs are integral) is below.

 The 2030 Agenda aims to combat inequalities and discrimination and “leave no one behind”, and contains a strong commitment to the disaggregation of data: The 2030 agenda reaffirms the responsibility of all States, to “respect, protect and promote human rights, without distinction of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national and social origin, property, birth, disability or other status” (para. 19). The SDGs include two dedicated goals on combating inequality and discrimination (Goal 5 on achieving gender equality and Goal 10 on reducing inequalities within and between States). The goals and targets aim to “leave no one behind” and “reach those furthest behind first” (para 4). The Agenda calls for the follow-up and review processes for the SDGs to be based upon evidence and data disaggregated by “income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geo-graphic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts” (para 74, and Target 17.18).  

Here are graphics of the SDGs showing the interconnections and in box form. 


Sustainable Development - the 2030 Agenda - text



SDGs and HumanRights -TransformingOurWorld  


Climate Portal Essay: More Faith Leaders should adopt the SDGs - they have social justice and climate action

The 17 SDGs, approved by all 190+ countries including the US, are carefully constructed ambitious goals to address urgent global challenges over the next 15 years. The SDGs are increasingly being viewed as the general justice framework of choice. Faith justice issues are in the SDGs, and the SDGs resonate with faith principles. Intersectionality of social justice and climate action is integrally present in the SDGs: the elimination of poverty is SDG #1 and climate action is SDG #13. Indeed, climate action is essential to all SDGs: "Urgent action to combat climate change and minimize its disruptions is integral to the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (UN Secretary General report ). Intersectionality implies  for example when we are having a discussion on immigration, we should consider climate change that can lead to forced migration and climate refugees.

The SDGs focus largely on benefit for the vulnerable, of which a huge number live in the Global South and are people of color and also indigenous. More generally SDGs present a just survival framework for all: 'SDGs aim to “realize the human rights of all” (preamble) and emphasize “the responsibilities of all States… to respect, protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, disability or other status” ' We are all in this together.

The SDGs are increasingly being adopted as a framework for justice and action by many organizations in addition to countries, including cities, NGOs, and progressive businesses. Here is one example: How Baltimore is using the Sustainable Development Goals to make a more just city.


#SDGLive at #WEF18: Responsible Business and the SDGs 




Global Goals Message from Professor Stephen Hawking


GOAL 13 (Climate Action) and its TARGETS

  • Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries

  • Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning

  • Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

  • Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible

  • Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities

[n.b. Bold font is editorial]


American Sustainable Business Council



More Business, SDG Media Zone: Climate Goals from GlobalGoalsUN on Vimeo.


G-STIC 20 video: G-STIC 2017: The first Global Science, Technology and Innovation Conference series (October 23-25, Brussels, Belgium) from VITObelgium on Vimeo.


Sustainable Development Goals SDGs, Targets, and Indicators 




The Sustainable Development goals were preceded by the Millennium Development Goals or MDGs. The MDGs were eight development goals against poverty that all 192 UN Member States agreed to achieve by 2015. Achievement of the MDGs and mitigation of climate change are intertwined. There are a huge number of people living on less than $1.25 per day (1.4 billion people in 2005). 


The Millennium Development Goals MDGs 

HERE are country reporting guidelines (2013 addendum)

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The MDGs and Climate Change

Climate change presents significant threats to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, especially those related to eliminating poverty and hunger and promoting environmental sustainability. An increasing body of evidence are pointing to the disproportionate negative impact climate change will have on the poorest countries who, ironically, have contributed least to the problem. 

The MDGs and Climate Change (Germanwatch report)

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History - the Millennium UN Declaration (2000)

Historically, the Millennium Development Goals arose from Millennium UN Declaration 55.2, a resolution adopted in 2000. Here it is.

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Video on the MDGs

This video is by Gillian Sorensen, senior advisor at the United Nations Foundation.

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Last edit 11Apr2018