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Sustainable Development Goals

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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a global agenda, adopted by countries in 2015, with a vision of ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. 

The 17 SDGs and 169 targets are part of what is known as the 2030 Agenda, which recognizes "that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development." In adopting the agenda, countries resolved to take the "bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind."

The goals and targets are universal, meaning they apply to all countries around the world, not just poor countries. Reaching the goals requires action on all fronts – governments, businesses, civil society and people everywhere all have a role to play.

Discover how IISD research products relate to one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals in different regions of the world.

  • Blog
    Overseeing Agenda 2030—How to Avoid a Repeat of the Commission on Sustainable Development

    Overseeing Agenda 2030—How to Avoid a Repeat of the Commission on Sustainable Development

    The High-Level Political Forum is responsible for tracking and facilitating the implementation of Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals. Two things must happen if it is to be successful. 

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  • Speech
    IISD Speech: President and CEO Scott Vaughan at Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Fun, Profit and Saving the Earth event

    IISD Speech: President and CEO Scott Vaughan at Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Fun, Profit and Saving the Earth event

    IISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan spoke to nearly 400 business leaders about how transitioning to a green economy can help Winnipeg weather climate change.

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  • Blog
    Healthy Lives and Well-being for Everyone: Why SDG 3 matters and how we can achieve it

    Healthy Lives and Well-being for Everyone: Why SDG 3 matters and how we can achieve it

    Creating a sustainable world—and reaching economic, environmental and social goals—depends on having a thriving and healthy human population. We explore how Sustainable Development Goal 3 plans to achieve that.

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  • Blog
    Asbestos: How it endangers human health and why a worldwide ban is needed

    Asbestos: How it endangers human health and why a worldwide ban is needed

    About 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos at the workplace, resulting in roughly 107,000 occupational exposure deaths annually. In this guest article, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance explores how it endangers human health and why a worldwide ban is needed.

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  • Report
    Progressing national  SDGs implementation: An independent assessment of the voluntary national review reports submitted to  the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in 2017

    Progressing national SDGs implementation: An independent assessment of the voluntary national review reports submitted to the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in 2017

    The report identifies ten key pillars that we believe are essential to the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

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  • Blog
    Ensuring Access to Water and Sanitation for All: What SDG 6 wants to achieve and why it matters

    Ensuring Access to Water and Sanitation for All: What SDG 6 wants to achieve and why it matters

    This World Water Day, we take a look at Sustainable Development Goal 6 ("ensure access to water and sanitation for all") and explain what it is meant to acheive, and why it matters.

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  • Blog
    Four Ways Cities are Localizing the SDGs

    Four Ways Cities are Localizing the SDGs

    Four cities in North America are working to track how well their citizens are doing against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Read more.

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  • Policy Brief
    Measuring Winnipeggers' Convenient Access to Public Transit

    Measuring Winnipeggers' Convenient Access to Public Transit

    IISD has developed a method to track convenient access to public bus transit in Winnipeg, in Canada and globally. 

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  • Commentary
    The End of the Line? How to save our fish

    The End of the Line? How to save our fish

    Target 14.6 of the Sustainable Development Goals calls on the WTO for the elimination of subsidies that contribute to overexploitation of fisheries by 2020. Mark Halle explains why this matters, and where we need to go from here.

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  • Policy Brief
    Tracking the SDGs in Canadian Cities: SDG 8

    Tracking the SDGs in Canadian Cities: SDG 8

    IISD’s SDG Indicator Portal tracks SDG progress in 13 cities across Canada. The third brief in this series provides an overview of SDG 8—promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all—across cities in Canada.

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