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What are SDG?

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals SDG

What are SDG

The Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations were adopted three years ago and target the challenges of global society. 17 SDG goals should pave the way to a better world.

We see a world that is free of poverty, hunger, disease and need and in which all life can thrive

The world is facing numerous challenges. Climate change, poverty and hunger are some of them. In the year 2015, on the 25. September, so have the United Nations the 2030 Agenda adopted for sustainable development. This includes the 17 SDGs - the Sustainable Development Goals or translates 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

For the first time, such goals were set equally for all member nations. This is called a new networked thinking of the United Nations, which has recognized that poverty, environmental degradation, inequality, production and consumption, corruption and many other problems are no longer regional challenges. The agenda states that all goals apply to all countries. The 2030 agenda has been signed by all 193 member states of the United Nations. In doing so, they are committed to implementing the SDGs at national and international level.

The 17 SDGs at a glance

The 17 SDGs 2030 Agenda formulate further 169 subgoals. Overall, the SDGs should lead to a "transformation of our world": "We see a world that is free of poverty, hunger, disease and need and in which all life can thrive"is about in the agreement. But the goals go much further and include environmental protection as well as education and equality, and a sustainable and stable economy:

  • SDG 1: poverty in all its forms and ending everywhere

Until 2030 extreme poverty should be eliminated. This currently applies to people who have to make do with less than 1,25 dollars a day. The proportion of poverty "in all its dimensions" should be halved.

  • SDG 2: No hunger

Ending hunger, achieving food security and nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture are top priorities in SDG 2.

  • SDG 3: health and well-being

Ensuring a healthy life for all people of all ages and promoting their well-being is a declared goal of the United Nations. For example, maternal and infant mortality should be reduced. Just as the number of deaths from accidents has decreased. The reduction of drug abuse is among other things anchored in the subgoals.

  • SDG 4: High quality education

With its agenda, the UN wants to ensure inclusive, equal and high-quality education in the future and to promote opportunities for lifelong learning for all.

  • SDG 5: gender equality

Discrimination against women and girls wants to end the UN worldwide.

  • SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation

Until 2030, the United Nations wants to achieve universal and equitable access to clean and affordable drinking water for all.

  • SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy

To achieve the 7. One of the goals is to significantly increase the share of renewable energies and increase energy efficiency.

  • SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

One goal is to promote sustainable, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, productive full employment and decent work for all.

  • SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Building a resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and supporting innovation are other goals of the UN.

  • SDG 10: Less inequalities

This affects inequalities in and between countries and is intended to increase equal opportunities. These include the strengthening of developing countries and a well-managed and well-planned migration policy.

  • SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Affordable living space, the rehabilitation of slums and the provision of public transport are among the programs on offer here.

  • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production Patterns

Until 2030, the UN wants to achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources and halve food waste, for example.

  • SDG 13: measures for climate protection

Climate protection should be increasingly integrated into national policies, strategies and plans. Also education and sensitization should be strengthened according to UN.

  • SDG 14: life under water

Maintaining and sustainably using oceans, seas and marine resources in the interests of sustainable development is at the forefront of this SDG.

  • SDG 15: Life on land

Here are the following goals in the foreground:

  • Protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems,
  • Farming forests sustainably,
  • Fight desertification,
  • End soil degradation and reverse and
  • put an end to the loss of biodiversity
  • SDG 16: peace, justice and strong institutions

This includes promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

  • SDG 17: partnerships to achieve the goals

For example, it encourages public development aid donors to consider targeting at least 0,20 per cent of their gross national income to Least Developed Countries.

The sub-points of all SDGs in detail can be found for example here.

The SDGs in practice

All 193 member states of the United Nations are committed to working towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda with its 17 sustainable development goals at national, regional and international level by the year 2030. In Austria, with the resolution of the Council of Ministers of January 12, 2016, all federal ministries were committed to the coherent implementation of the “Agenda 2030” commissioned.

However, recently the organization SDG Watch Austria - a civil society platform for the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals with 130 member organizations - criticized the implementation of the SDGs in Austria: "Compared to most countries, Austria lacks a strategy to implement the 2030 agenda. There is no coordinated and long-term plan on how to achieve the goals. It also needs a systematic involvement of civil society and more transparency "says Annelies Vilim, managing director of AG Global Responsibility on the occasion of the publication of the Report of the Court of Auditors for Implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals in July 2018.

Monitoring and report

For the international monitoring of the SDGs, a global indicator framework of 230 indicators was developed by the UN Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs). The data is published (online at in a Sustainable Development Goals Report published annually by the United Nations. The 2018 report confirms, among other things, the reduction of maternal and infant mortality rates in Africa and found that access to electricity has doubled. Nevertheless, according to the report, numerous problems remain, such as youth unemployment, poor sanitary facilities in many regions or lack of health care, and thus also describe the challenges for the future.

What are SDGs (in German):

Understanding the Dimensions of Sustainable Development

Understanding the dimensions of sustainable development

What are SDGs:

Understanding the dimensions of sustainable development

The 2030 Agenda and its 17 Goals for Sustainable Development are an ambitious commitment of the world community to ensure sustained and economic growth, soci ...

The SDG explained in English.

Photo / Video: Shutterstock.

Written by Karin Bornett

Freelance journalist and blogger in the Community option. Technology-loving Labrador smoking with a passion for village idyll and a soft spot for urban culture.


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  1. Thank you for your great article! The working group “Decentralized Sustainability Strategies - Local Agenda 21” also ties in with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) nationwide. Maybe that would be an idea for another article (topic implementation of the SDGs in Austria)?

  2. It would also be interesting to know how the SDGs are implemented in Austria. A good example of this could be the Local Agenda 21 processes in Austria, which are based on the SDGs. Best regards, Claudia

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