SDG 14 – Conserve and sustain the oceans, seas and marine resources

Oceans are the biggest ecosystems on planet earth, and they are essential to our survival. They cover 65% of the surface of the earth, generate nearly half of the air we breathe in and also 16% of animal protein, besides playing an important role in the global economy.

Over 3 billion people across the world depend on coastal and marine resources, generating many jobs in various industries such as tourism, biotechnology, fishing, and shipping. The ocean has a significant part to play in the worldwide development, and it can help fight poverty. However, marine ecosystems across the world are currently being threatened by our human activities. We must start protecting our oceans’ health if we are to prosper and survive.

Introducing SDG 14 on conserving the oceans

There is optimism that with the latest dedicated goal of ocean conservation under the Sustainable Development Goals, companies will acknowledge the value and importance of our coastal areas and oceans. In the previous Millennium Development Goals, oceans were covered in the broader target of securing environmental sustainability. The new SDGs, however, give oceans the important dedicated attention with distinctive underlying targets. Goal 14 seeks the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, seas, and oceans.
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SDG 13 – Fight Climate Change and Its Effects

Introducing SDG 13 on Climate Change

Sustainable development and climate change are goals that should not be pursued independently by any country. Members of the UN have finally recognised the interrelatedness of these two crucial goals through the inclusion of climate change as a single Sustainable Development Goal.

This SDG emphasises a major milestone since the challenge of climate change in the earlier Millennium Development Goals was not fully exhausted. Everyone is now waiting for the imminent climate talks that will be held in Paris in December 2015 where new international treaties aimed at ensuring global warming stays below 20 degrees celsius will be established.

A climate that continues warming up will affect food security, freshwater availability and energy among other necessities of life.
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SDG 12 – Ensure sustainable consumption and production

The proposed SDG 12 on guaranteeing sustainable consumption and production patterns, despite highlighting a relatively modest concept, likely represents one of the most exemplary changes in the new SDGs. In an increasingly consumption-influenced world, where many admire the Western culture, producing and consuming less is a weighty paradox. This goal is also quite important because the planet cannot sustain the increasing demand for energy, food, water and other vital necessary for sustaining the rising global population, especially the middle class.

An Essential Development Goal

SDG 12 is quite important as it underpins every other Sustainable Development Goal, from Zero Poverty to Peace and Justice. Nevertheless, its idea creates lots of resistance since it poses a significant threat to the status quo, despite being a great social, environmental and economic opportunity. Humankind must now look for ways of doing better and more with less. It is vital to note that this particular SDG covers the consumers and business sectors, and also basic services, supply chains, better jobs and an improved life quality for all.

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SDG 11 – Sustainable, Safe and Inclusive Cities and Communities

Introducing the SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities

Given the strongly transformative effect of urbanisation and the vitality of cities, a stand-alone and dedicated urban sustainable development goal was formed. The SDG 11 is part of the broader Sustainable Development Goals developed by the UN member states as a blueprint for equitable, sustainable development for all people.

It is essential for mobilising stakeholders, promoting cohesive, city-level strategies and accelerating progress towards truly sustainable development, which includes ending extreme poverty. Sustainable cities goal is a transformative agenda that believes everyone must have a dignified life and creating preconditions that allow people to grow and flourish.

Implications of Urbanisation

Urbanisation has proven to be very effective in transforming the economic and social fabric of countries. In fact, cities are largely responsible for most of the consumption and production globally, and they serve as the main engines of development and economic growth. Nearly 75% of worldwide economic activity occurs in an urban setting. Thus, the urban percentage of worldwide investments and GDP will also increase with time, especially with a rising urban population.

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SDG 10 – Reduce inequality in people, within and among countries

Introducing SDG 10 on reducing inequality

The universal response to decreasing inequality through SDG 10 is much more comprehensive than in the previous MDGs. By referencing within and among nations, this SDG highlights how much inequality is a challenge for every country and not just the developing ones.

Progress made through the MDGs

The previous MDGs have made some progress in addressing the issue of inequality. There has been a significant reduction in poverty, which means that 750 million fewer people are now living on less than $1 per day while gender equality has made some gains with more girls being enrolled in school in the developing countries. However, data shows there is an increase in income inequality in both developing and developed countries. In fact, income equality rates are at their highest levels for the last half century.

Some level of income inequality cannot be controlled and is even welcome as it helps in driving progress. However, high and rising income inequality levels are a great threat to stability for both in and across countries. Inequality is related to several challenges including environmental degradation, poverty, persistent unemployment, conflict, violence and political instability.
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SDG 7 – Ensure Access to Affordable, Reliable, Sustainable and Modern Energy for All

Opening the Sustainable Development Goal 7 sitting at the September Summit, United Nations Deputy Secretary General Mr. Jan Eliasson spoke of this as the first time the UN agreed on a universal goal.

The SDG 7 aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, and Mr. Jan Eliasson insisted on how positive the international body is in ending energy struggles in developing nations before the end of the decade.

He also noted that progress was too slow in some regions, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, but expressed his belief in the foundations already laid and the leaders charged with the responsibility to spearhead implementation of this goal. The UN Deputy Secretary General believes that agreeing on a universal course on energy through SDG 7 is great news not only to the energy community, but also to the whole Sustainable Development agenda, as sustainable energy is needed in the implementation of almost all the other goals in the agenda, from eradicating poverty to fighting climate change.
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SDG 8 – Promote Sustainable Economic Growth and Employment for All

With over 2 billion people living below the $2 poverty line, and eradication of this being only possible through creation of stable and well-paying employment opportunities, one of the Sustainable Development Goals as set by the UN during the September global summit in New York is to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.

Creating employment and ensuring sustainable economic growth is a dream the modern world has been trying to turn into reality for a long time but no noteworthy progress has been made so far. The number of jobs and the number of people employed is increasing, but so does the population. The population is actually growing more rapidly than job opportunities, and thus the proportion of employed people is falling.

The following targets regarding Sustainable Development Goal 8 were set by the UN to be met by 2030:

1. Sustain per capita economic growth with respect to national circumstances and, particularly, at least 7 percent GDP growth per annum in developing countries, especially the least developed countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. By increasing the productivity of all working persons at individual levels, the total productivity will follow suit and economic growth will take a new pace. This can best be achieved by ensuring all employed and potential workers are equipped with the best and up to date skills on their fields of specialisation.
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SDG 6 – Ensure Access to Water and Sanitation for All

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 is to ensure access to water and sanitation for all by 2030. Clean water for drinking and domestic use has been a long-term challenge in developing countries mainly due to lack of sufficient material to make available water safe for domestic use, and partly due to the dry settings of some of these countries where fresh water sources are scarce.

Apparently, 71% of the total earth surface is covered with water, a reality the UN, through its SDG 6, wants to make the most of. Of course not all of this water is clean enough for consumption and general domestic use – as only 2.5% of it is fresh – but then, according to a new Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report, there is enough fresh water, if well exploited, to comfortably sustain every living creature on earth.

The report however issues a warning that the situation might worsen due to overconsumption, and that by 2050, one in four people is likely to live in a geographical location affected by recurring or chronic shortage of fresh water.
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SDG 5 – Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls

Gender equality is a right as fundamental as any other in the national and international bills of rights, because in the long run, discrimination against a gender consequently breeds violation of the discriminated persons’ other basic rights such as education and expression.

It is a necessary piece in the foundation for a peaceful and prosperous world, and its observation can help fuel economic growth and benefit societies and the human race at large.

At the September 2015 global summit held in New York, Gender Equality and Girl and Women Empowerment was the fifth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 5) discussed and the following targets were set with regard to achievement of the goal by 2030:

1. End all forms of gender inequality, particularly discrimination against women and girls, all over the world. While there has been a substantial increase in the proportion of women who are fully enjoying their rights in most countries in developing regions, the UN still believes total eradication of discrimination against girls and women is an achievable goal. In developed nations too, there have been a few cases of gender inequality, particularly in the form of domestic violence, but this has been left to respective governments to deal with.
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SDG 4 – Improve Quality of Education and Promote Lifelong Learning

Ensuring quality and inclusive education for all and promoting lifelong learning is the Sustainable Development Goal 4 of the United Nations’ new SDG 2030 agenda as was set by international leaders during the September global summit.

In a century where education is the paramount aspect of every facet of life, some people can still not access quality formal education because either it’s not available in their geographic locations, they cannot afford it, or they do not see the essence of it.

Most developing countries are facing this challenge, and though the ratio of the educated to the uneducated has been on a gradual upsurge lately, the current number of uneducated persons in the world is still unbearably colossal.

The following are the SDG 4 targets:

1. Ensure that all children, both boys and girls, enrol in and complete free, quality and equitable primary and secondary education.

The UN plans to achieve this by pushing governments of developing countries into allocating more funds towards the education sector so that free, or at least affordable, education can be made available, more schools and classes can be built, more qualified teachers can be hired and reading and writing materials can be obtained.
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