THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
With input from governments, the private sector, NGOs, and citizens, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (also known as the SDGs or Global Goals) were adopted unanimously to tackle the structural hurdles to ending extreme poverty and utilizing goals that would be reinforced throughout. The goals target a full set of development challenges, including promoting good governance, ending preventable diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria and maternal deaths, improving access to education, food, and sanitation, and ensuring gender equality.
The SDGs align with many of our development priorities, and several mayors and governors in the U.S. have even seen the framework as a way to make their cities and states more livable. For instance, New York City launched a movement to encourage cities to report on their local SDG efforts, garnering support from 22 cities from around the world. Hawaii demonstrated how to ground the SDG framework in locally sensitive measures, Pittsburgh has coordinated their effort at achieving the goals with city officials, universities, and foundations, and Los Angeles developed a shareable data tool to track progress locally that is being used in other cities.
Over the last five years, we have witnessed important progress on a number of these targets, including:
- The mortality rate of children under the age of 5 fell to 39 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2017, a 6.7 percent reduction from 42 deaths in 2015;
- In 2000, 28 percent of people had access to sanitation services, rising to 43 percent in 2015 and to 45 percent in 2017;
- In 2018, 81 percent of births took place with the assistance of a skilled birth attendant, a significant improvement from 69 percent in 2012; and
- Between 2010 and 2017, participation rates in early childhood education increased to 69 percent.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has termed this the Decade of Action, asking all countries and partners to accelerate action to achieve the SDGs.