What are the SDGs?

What are the SDGs?

- The World's Sustainable Development Goals -

The SDGs are goals that countries and regions around the world are cooperating on to achieve sustainable development. "What are the SDGs? It's too hard. I don't understand." Mole has some questions for Professor Earth.

Achieving 17 goals by 2030

I've been seeing and hearing about the SDGs a lot lately, but what are they all about?
The SDGs were decided at the UN Summit in 2015. The leaders decided to achieve 17 goals for the world’s “sustainable development” over the 15 years from 2016 to 2030.
Professor Earth

For a future in which everyone on Earth can live a happy and abundant life

Sustainable development? What does that mean?
Oh, well, yes, that phrase is a bit hard to understand, isn’t it? Let’s break it up into two words.

“Sustainable” originally meant for something to be able to continue on forever, not just for now. What “sustainable” means in the SDGs is for the economy, environment, society, and systems to function properly in a way that we can all continue to have an abundant and happy future.

“Development” means to solve the various problems we have now so that everyone can live a secure and satisfying life. No more poverty or hunger. Healthy, long lives. A proper education. Equality protected without discrimination. The list of issues goes on and on.
Okay, so what does it mean for development to be sustainable? Does it mean “solving various problems and creating an abundant and happy future while protecting our lifestyle and the Earth?”
That’s exactly right.

Advanced and developing nations cooperating to solve the world’s problems

I get it. The SDGs are about everyone working hard for a bright future for the world. But, how did the SDGs come to be started?
Well, actually, before we had the SDGs, the world worked on something called the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) for 15 years from 2000. There are still many people living in poverty and hunger in the developing countries. There are many children who are dying from disease or who are unable to go to school because they have to work. The aim of the MDGs was for the developed nations to cooperate in solving these problems.
Oh, I see. They’re like the SDGs, aren’t they? How are the MDGs and SDGs different?
When the MDGs reached their time limit in 2015, there were still many problems that had not yet been solved. Also, the aim of the MDGs was to solve the problems in the developing world, but those problems also have a lot to do with the advanced countries. Not only that, the advanced countries also had problems of their own.

So the countries of the world held discussions, and they decided that it would be better if the advanced countries and the developed countries were to get together and to try to solve all of those problems as if they were their own.

Many different people working together to deliver on the SDGs

So that’s why there are 17 goals. How did they decide on those goals?
That’s a good question. More than just eliminating poverty, hunger and conflict like wars, they are about making it possible for the whole world to become economically abundant together. Protecting the Earth’s environment and living creatures. Making it possible for everyone to work with satisfaction. There are many different goals in the SDGs. They were decided not just by national governments, but also by listening to the voices of companies, academics, regular citizens, and various other people.
So all those different people got together and thought about them!
That’s right. They have created systems so that companies can actively participate, and children can learn about the SDGs in school, making it easier for everyone to think about the SDGs. For companies, especially, working on the SDGs will, of course, allow them to be of benefit to society, but it will also mean new business opportunities for them for the future. Companies’ spending money and taking action on the SDGs will probably become a major driving force that will change everyone’s lives.

Look for SDGs in your daily life

If I wanted to help with the SDGs, where should I start?
There are plenty of hints for thinking about the SDGs in our own daily lives. In the morning, when you wake up and brush your teeth, remember that there are people in the world who have no access to safe water, and use less water. Think about where the wood that your desk at school came from. It just might be that a child about the same age as you made that desk, and was unable to attend school.
Wow! You’re right! I’ll have to tell all my friends and family!
That’s really important. Goal No. 17 in the SDGS is something called “partnership.” That is a major key point of the SDGs. It means different people telling each other what they know and finding ways to cooperate. That will become a force for changing the society of the future.
You’ve made me want to find out more about the SDGs.
Ha, ha, ha. I’m glad. Why don’t you first find out more about the SDGs in your own world? There are also many events taking place, so you could also go to them with your parents and friends.

By the way, apparently, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics that will be held in 2020 are also going to contribute to the SDGs. At these Games, various protections will be put in place, such as whether they are friendly to the environment, and whether the rights of diverse people are being protected properly.

For example, the merchandise sold at the Games will be checked to ensure that they are made with materials that meet the criteria for valuing the environment and people’s rights in accordance with the SDGs.

Really? It looks like the SDGs are going to get even more exciting in the lead-up to the Games. I hope that a lot of the SDGs have been achieved when I grow up. To make sure of that, I’ll think about what sort of things I can do now to help.
That’s a good idea. Let’s all work hard as we move toward 2030.

Writer: Nikkei Business Publications, Inc. & TOKYO SHOSEKI CO., LTD.

Sekisui Chemical Co Ltd