Sustainable Development Goals Fact Sheet

Sustainable Development Goals Fact Sheet

Prepared by the Australian Water Association WASH Specialist Network Committee

What are SDGs?

The United Nations (UN) have developed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which form a set of targets and indicators that UN member states will use to guide global development between 2015 and 2030. The 17 goals are:1


No poverty

End poverty in all its forms, everywhere


Zero hunger

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture


Good health and wellbeing

Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages


Quality education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all


Gender equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls


Clean water and sanitation

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all


Affordable and clean energy

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all


Decent work and economic growth

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all


Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation


Reduced inequality

Reduce inequality within and among countries


Sustainable cities and communities

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable


Responsible consumption and production

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns


Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts


Life below water

Conserve and sustainable use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development


Life on land

Protect restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss


Peace, justice and strong institutions

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels


Partnerships for the goals

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

Each goal has a set of targets to achieve by 2030, with 169 targets in total. 2

Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

The primary goal related to WASH is Goal 6, which is about ensuring access to water and sanitation for all people. 3 There are eight targets for Goal 6 that cover safe and affordable access to water, reduced pollution, increased water efficiency, protecting waterways and ecosystems, increasing capacity, support and local community participation.

How were the goals determined?

The SDGs and associated targets were adopted at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20 The Future We Want) and drafted by an open working group with representatives from 70 countries.4 This followed consultation with the global public using online and door-to-door survey methods. Indicators that will help to monitor progress, inform policy and ensure accountability of all stakeholders are currently in development. 5

How will these initiatives be funded?

The UN has identified initiatives and will support countries to develop structures that are required to fund the SDGs. It has been estimated that US$3 trillion per year will be needed globally. Private sector participation is essential, particularly in the form of economic growth and job creation.

Increased participation by this sector will require developing countries to improve economic stability and governance as well as strengthen tax collection and reducing illicit cash flows. 6 These initiatives will also be supported by international development assistance (currently at around $135 billion per year).

Global Context

The SDGs supersede the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were developed in 2001. The MDGs provided a framework and coordinated approach for governments and the private sector to collectively develop policies and aid programs designed to reduce poverty and address global development challenges. The eight MDGs were to reduce poverty and hunger; achieve universal education; promote gender equality; reduce child and material deaths; combat HIV, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop global partnerships.

The SDGs are the next round of global goals to follow after the MDGs and further expand on them by making sustainable development a focus for all countries, including those providing funding. The SDGs set the expectation that every country will work towards achieving the goals.

More information

United Nations – Sustainable Development Goals 

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1 United Nations Development Program, Sustainable Development Goals 
2 United Nations, Sustainable Development Goals (click on each goal to see individual targets)
3 United Nations, Goal 6 
4 United Nations. Rio+20 – The Future We Want 
5 United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Division. Indicators 
6 Goldsmith B, 2015. Who funds the trillion dollar plan of the UNs new global goals. Reuters – September 26