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17 Sustainable Development Goals Explained

Head of Marketing and Brand at Alpian
Roman Balzan
Group 7 Article, 3 min read

In 2015, world leaders agreed to create a more equitable and prosperous future for everyone.

Adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, all United Nations Member States committed to improving current economic, social, and environmental conditions by way of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

These goals are urgent calls to action that recognize the uniting ties between the world’s largest problems. The goals acknowledge that to reduce poverty and deprivation, we must also address climate change, health and education, inequality, and economic growth. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals require all countries to come together in global partnership to address these issues and develop solutions that benefit everyone.

These goals are urgent calls to action that recognize the uniting ties between the world’s largest problems. The goals acknowledge that to reduce poverty and deprivation, we must also address climate change, health and education, inequality, and economic growth.

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The 17 Sustainable Development Goals

To tackle a diverse set of global issues, the UN has developed the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and outlined a series of targets for each goal. The below defines each of the 17 goals and provides an example of their targets.

1. No Poverty

Eliminate every form of poverty – for everyone.

Target: Reduce poverty by 50%.

2. Zero Hunger

Ensure food security, improve nutrition, and encourage sustainable agriculture.

Target: Eliminate all forms of malnutrition.

3. Good Health & Wellbeing

Achieve health and wellbeing for everyone.

Target: Implement universal health coverage.

4. Quality Education

Make quality education inclusive and equitable and make learning opportunities available for everyone at any stage of life.

Target: Ensure all youth are literate.

5. Gender Equality

Ensure gender equality for all women and girls.

Target: Eliminate violence and exploitation against women and girls.

6. Clean Water & Sanitation

Ensure water and sanitation are available and sustainably managed for everyone.

Target: Make safe and affordable drinking water accessible to everyone.

7. Affordable & Clean Energy

Make affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy accessible for everyone.

Target: Make modern energy services affordable for everyone.

8. Decent Work & Economic Growth

Promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth and productive, decent work for everyone.

Target: Achieve 7% annual GDP growth in the least developed countries.

9. Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure

Develop innovation and inclusive and sustainable industrialization and infrastructure.

Target: Make the internet affordable and accessible in every country.

10. Reduce Inequalities

Minimize inequalities between and throughout each country.

Target: Advanced the regulation of financial markets around the world.

11. Sustainable Cities & Communities

Make all cities and communities inclusive, safe, and sustainable.

Target: Make housing accessible, safe, and affordable for everyone.

12. Responsible Consumption & Production

Make consumption and production sustainable.

Target: Reduce global food waste by 50%.

13. Climate Action

Fight climate change and its residual impacts.

Target: Increase awareness and education on climate change mitigation and impact reduction.

14. Life Below Water

Ensure all bodies of water are maintained and used for sustainable development.

Target: Conserve 15% of coastal and marine areas.

15. Life on Land

Ensure all terrestrial ecosystems are protected, restored, and used for sustainable development.

Target: Restore land and soil affected by desertification.

16. Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions

Achieve peaceful and inclusive societies, justice, and effective and accountable institutions for everyone.

Target: Reduce all forms of corruption and bribery.

17. Partnerships for the Goals

Improve implementation of the goals and unite global partnerships for sustainable development.

Target: Double the share of global exports of the least developed countries.

Get involved by taking small steps every single day that align with the goals and promote a more peaceful and prosperous future.  

How are Countries Promoting the Goals?

To achieve the targets set by each of the 17 Goals, the UN Member States are adopting new initiatives, policies, and behaviors. The compounded effect of the initiatives taken by each country has resulted in some progress to date in achieving the goals, including:

  • 17% of waters under national jurisdiction have been converted into protected areas as of December 2019.
  • The Global Strategy for youth employment has been implemented by almost one-third of UN Member States.
  • In a survey conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Invasive Species Specialist Group, National Governments showed an increased commitment to prevent the spread of invasive species and protect land and water ecosystems.

Be Part of the Change!

There is still a ton of work that needs to be done to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. A lot of this work is being undertaken by various countries, governing bodies, and institutions, however, every step towards achieving the goals count. Get involved by taking small steps every single day that align with the goals and promote a more peaceful and prosperous future.

If you are unsure of where to start, here are some actions you can consider:

  1. Achieve zero hunger by buying local and supporting your community farmers.
  2. Be conscious of your water consumption and minimize any water waste to support clean water and sanitation.
  3. Use energy efficient light bulbs throughout your home to promote affordable and clean.
  4. Promote sustainable cities and communities by walking instead of driving when possible.
  5. Shop with a reusable bag to help keep plastic out of the ocean and protect life below water.

Note: This article is part of a series offering the audience sustainable alternatives for improving our environment, societies and the larger world.

Since its inception, sustainability lies at the core of Alpian’s vision for a better world, and we have taken steps to become a part of the solution. As an organization, we have committed to operating in a sustainable manner by adhering to the highest global standards. For instance, we have woven tangible and meaningful forms of carbon capture and sequestration into the Alpian experience. As a means to contribute positively to the environment.

Stay tuned for more updates on this front.

Disclaimer: Alpian has submitted an application for a full banking license to Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). Content of this publication is for information purposes only, you should not construe any such information as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

Group 7 Article, 3 min read
About the author
Roman Balzan
Head of Marketing and Brand at Alpian

Roman holds a Master’s degree in economics from the University of St. Gallen HSG. He is an experienced brand- & marketing strategist and defines himself as a “crazy-creative-thinker”. He started his career at the ‘IFJ Institute for Young Entrepreneurs / Venturelab.ch‘ as Senior Project Manager before co-founding Suxedoo.ch. He later joined Google as Programs Lead for the Employer Brand Marketing in EMEA. In 2018 he was recruited by Lime, the US-based scooter giant, supporting the launch of the company’s first European market, Switzerland, after which he led Lime’s EMEA Marketing & Brand efforts before joining Alpian.

Roman loves hiking so much that in 2009 he walked 2300km on the Camino de Santiago with his dog Nelson. He walked all the way from St. Gallen to Santiago de Compostela in Western Spain.