The 17 Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals – or SDGs for short – cover the topics on which the UN member states strive to make changes by 2030 to build a more sustainable future: no poverty (SDG 1), good health and well-being (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4) and peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16) are some of the areas of action included in the 2030 Agenda.
In contrast to the Millennium Development Goals set for 2015, which were explicitly formulated for developing countries, the targets of the 2030 Agenda were shaped by the developing countries and emerging economies too. They are universal and apply to the entire world. That means that everyone is responsible for addressing the global challenges and that developing countries, emerging economies and industrialised nations must all make a contribution.
The 17 SDGs are divided into 169 targets, which set more specific objectives and measures for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The goal of reduced inequality within and among countries (SDG 10) has ten targets, for example. One of these targets is to ‘sustain income growth of the bottom 40 per cent of the population at a rate higher than the national average’ by 2030. To measure whether the international community is achieving the SDGs, the UN has set out 231 globally comparable indicators.
Germany’s reporting on implementation of the 2030 Agenda
Along with the Paris Agreement, the 2030 Agenda forms the framework for Germany’s development policy, for which the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is responsible within the German Government. In 2016, the Government aligned the German Sustainable Development Strategy with the 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs in order to implement the Agenda in Germany. The strategy is updated every four years in a process involving public participation. The German Federal Statistical Office issues regular reports on the status of the indicators and the extent to which the goals have been achieved.
Annual reporting to the High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development
All UN member states, including Germany, are asked to report on their efforts and progress – both nationally and to the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). In their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), member states are requested to document their progress on implementing the 2030 Agenda at national and regional level. On the basis of the reports, the HLPF reviews implementation of the 2030 Agenda. However, the reports are also designed to promote mutual learning between the countries. The regular reviews by the HLPF are voluntary and involve stakeholder groups. From 2016 up to and including 2022, more than 180 states reported to the HLPF on the progress they have made in implementing the SDGs. In 2016 and 2021, Germany was one of the countries reporting to the HLPF.
Obstacles on the path to achieving the SDGs
The coronavirus pandemic, Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine and climate change are just some of the global challenges of our time that are having an impact on implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) is an independent body that advises the German Government on sustainability policy. In light of the war in Ukraine, the RNE published a statement entitled ‘Turning Point for a Consistent Sustainability Policy’, in which it emphasised that the global sustainability perspective is under threat as a result of the war and the SDGs have become even more difficult to achieve. The statement contains 13 recommendations to the German Government on how to address this issue. The COVID-19 pandemic has also made it more difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the SDGs, as outlined in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021. The pandemic exacerbated poverty (SDG 1) and hunger (SDG 2) across the globe, for example, and reversed all the progress made to date on achieving these two goals.
The relevance of the 2030 Agenda to GIZ’s work
The 2030 Agenda is extremely important for GIZ, providing an overarching framework that guides its work. In cooperation with partners, commissioning parties and clients, such as BMZ, we are working to realise the SDGs in our partner countries. GIZ has also launched a globally unique programme of bilateral activities commissioned by BMZ – the 2030 Implementation Initiative – to support developing countries and emerging economies in implementing the 2030 Agenda. Since 2016, this initiative has promoted measures in 32 partner countries.
THE 2030 AGENDA: FIVE PRINCIPLES FOR IMPLEMENTATION
GIZ gears its projects towards the 2030 Agenda. It follows five implementation principles in planning, implementing and reviewing activities: