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What are the first five sustainable development goals?

Have you heard of the sustainable development goals (SGDs)? If you’re like me, you’ve heard about them but never really knew what they were. I decided to find out. It turns out there are a lot of them, so I’ll discuss them over the next three articles. 

In 2015, all United Nations (UN) member states committed to peace and prosperity for people and the planet by 2030. To help, the UN came up with the seventeen SGDs. But what are they and what can we do to achieve their aims?

The goals are an urgent call to action by all countries. They cover three main areas: economic growth; social inclusion; and environmental protection. They are independent but interconnected. That means that action in one area impacts outcomes in another.

Countries ahead of achieving the goals will support those who are behind. The intention is to end hunger, poverty, AIDS and discrimination against women and girls. 

It’s obvious that radical change is needed from corporations and policymakers. But individual action is important too. After all, you have the power to create shifts in society, even on a global scale! 

Come with me as I take a closer look at the first five SDGs.

1. No poverty

The aim of the first goal is to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. Global poverty has increased for the first time in decades. And more than 700 million people still live in extreme poverty.

What can you do? 

  • Choose companies that pay their workers fairly and look for labels such as Fairtrade
  • Donate what you don’t need to those who need help
  • Store your money with an ethical bank

2. Zero hunger

A third of the world’s food is wasted while 821 million people go hungry. This goal aims to end hunger, achieve food security and nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

What can you do?

  • Reduce your food waste by regularly cleaning out your fridge and cupboards
  • Buy locally and seasonally where possible
  • Check your cupboards before shopping and buy only what you know you will use
  • Join a sharing network to help limit waste

3. Good health and wellbeing

This goal aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all people of all ages.

What can you do?

  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat daily portions of fresh vegetables and wholegrains
  • Get plenty of sleep

4. Quality education

Six hundred and seventeen million children and adolescents are not meeting proficiency standards in maths and reading. This goal aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

What can you do?

  • Share your knowledge and inspire others by joining or starting local community groups
  • Keep your brain active by learning throughout your life
  • Help those around you understand they have a right to education

5. Gender equality

Did you know that one in three women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence? This goal aims to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls around the world.

What can you do?

Check out article two in this series to discover the next six sustainable development goals and tips on what you can do to help achieve them.