Fig. 4. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals positioned in relation to the biosphere foundation and the safe operating space for humans on Earth. Redrawn from Rockström and Sukhdev (2014) as presented at the 2016 EAT Forum ( The global goals logo and icons are from the Global Goals (, see also the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform of United Nations (

Sustainable Development Goals

United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development is the largest assignment of our time.

We are the first generation that can end poverty,
the last that can end climate change

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (2007-16).

Sustainable Development, an appealing phrase, first used by Gro Harlem Brundtland in what is later known as the Brundtland Report; Our Common Future; World Commission on Environment and Development 1987.

“Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains two key concepts:

  • The concept of¬†needs, in particular, the essential needs of the world‚Äôs poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
  • The idea of¬†limitations¬†imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment‚Äôs ability to meet present and future needs.‚ÄĚ

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,¬†adopted by all United Nations Member States in September 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth ‚Äď all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

The SDGs build on decades of work by countries and the UN, including the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

  • In June 1992, at the¬†Earth Summit¬†in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, more than 178 countries adopted¬†Agenda 21, a comprehensive plan of action to build a global partnership for sustainable development to improve human lives and protect the environment.
  • The Member States unanimously adopted the Millennium Declaration at the¬†Millennium Summit¬†in September 2000 at UN Headquarters in New York. The Summit led to the elaboration of eight¬†Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)¬†to reduce extreme poverty by 2015.
  • The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development and the Plan of Implementation, adopted at the¬†World Summit on Sustainable Development¬†in South Africa in 2002, reaffirmed the global community’s commitments to poverty eradication and the environment and built on Agenda 21 and the Millennium Declaration by including more emphasis on multilateral partnerships.
  • At the¬†United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)¬†in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012, Member States adopted the outcome document¬†“The Future We Want”¬†in which they decided, inter alia, to launch a process to develop a set of SDGs to build upon the MDGs and to establish the¬†UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. The Rio +20 outcome also contained other measures for implementing sustainable development, including mandates for future programs of work in development financing, small island developing states and more.
  • In 2013, the General Assembly set up a 30-member¬†Open Working Group¬†to develop a proposal on the SDGs.
  • In January 2015, the General Assembly began the negotiation process on the¬†post-2015 development agenda. The process culminated in the subsequent adoption of the¬†2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with¬†17 SDGs¬†at its core, at the¬†UN Sustainable Development Summit¬†in September 2015.
  • 2015 was a landmark year for multilateralism and international policy shaping, with the adoption of several major agreements:

Today, the Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG) in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) provides substantive support and capacity-building for the SDGs and their related thematic issues, including water, energy, climate, oceans, urbanization, transport, science and technology, the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), partnerships and Small Island Developing States. DSDG plays a key role in the evaluation of UN systemwide implementation of the 2030 Agenda and on advocacy and outreach activities relating to the SDGs. In order to make the 2030 Agenda, a reality, broad ownership of the SDGs must translate into a strong commitment by all stakeholders to implement the global goals. DSDG aims to help facilitate this engagement.

Follow DSDG on Facebook at and on Twitter at @SustDev.


In DNV GL‚Äôs report ‚ÄúThe Future of Spaceship Earth ‚Äď Business Frontiers‚ÄĚ DNB GL makes an extrapolation of the world‚Äôs development until 2050 and estimates the probabilities towards the achievement of the 17 SDGs within 2030. DNV GL sees the SDGs as platforms for innovation towards which companies can align their strategies.

Bergensia acknowledges this approach and has made it the center of its purpose.

Bergensia pushes and inspires leaders, businesses, and organizations to innovate and realign their strategy and purpose towards the Sustainable Development Goals.


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