Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
“World leaders have an unprecedented opportunity this year to shift the world onto a path
of inclusive, sustainable and resilient development" - Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator.
At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.
What are the Sustainable Development Goals?
The Sustainable Development Goals, otherwise known as the Global Goals, build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight anti-poverty targets that the world committed to achieving by 2015. The MDGs, adopted in 2000, aimed at an array of issues that included slashing poverty, hunger, disease, gender inequality, and access to water and sanitation. Enormous progress has been made on the MDGs, showing the value of a unifying agenda underpinned by goals and targets. Despite this success, the indignity of poverty has not been ended for all.
The new SDGs, and the broader sustainability agenda, go much further than the MDGs, addressing the root causes of poverty and the universal need for development that works for all people.
UNDP Administrator Helen Clark noted: "This agreement marks an important milestone in putting our world on an inclusive and sustainable course. If we all work together, we have a chance of meeting citizens’ aspirations for peace, prosperity, and wellbeing, and to preserve our planet."
The SDGs will now finish the job of the MDGs, and ensure that no one is left behind.
The SDGs in Egypt
In line with the 2030 Agenda, the Egyptian Government has launched a working plan called Egypt’s Vision 2030, also known as Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS), which encompasses the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development. SDS promotes economic flourishing based on justice, social integrity and participation. It is under the SDS that all development plans in Egypt are incorporated while at the same time being strongly guided by the SDGs.
Additionally, in an effort to monitor the implementation and reporting on progress of the SDGs, the Primer Minister appointed the Ministry of International Cooperation (MoIC) as its Rapporteur. The ministry is responsible for coordinating the steps towards integrating, institutionalizing and implementing the SDGs.
Egypt presented its first Voluntary Review on the SDGs at the United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July 2016 and is among the 22 countries that volunteered to report on the efforts undertaken to achieve this ambitious agenda. Throughout the drafting of the voluntary report, it has become clear that engaging with major interest groups is pivotal to build ownership of the SDGs and capitalize on local efforts for knowledge, resources and increasing mutual accountability of national development results.
Besides investing efforts into aligning national policies with SDGs, the Government of Egypt has worked on specific projects that address the needs of youth, women and individuals with special needs. Some of the projects include the Social Housing Programme, which hopes to benefit 3.6 million people by providing affordable homes to low-income households and the Takaful and Karama social protection programme, which encourages children school attendance and health monitoring.
Egypt’s commitment to achieve the SDGs are also expressed through its building of partnership and knowledge sharing. The Egyptian Government promotes successful experiences in sustainable development through partnering with the Egyptian Agency for Partnership for Development (EAPD) and with the Cairo Centre for Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa (CCCPA) in an effort to provide “African Solutions to African Problems”.
Aware of the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, Egypt also recognizes that despite a strong willingness to achieve the SDGs, fundamental challenges still remain. High birth rate, brain drain phenomena, water scarcity, migration, discrimination against women and girls, a growing informal sector, and instability in neighbouring states (especially Libya and Syria) are only some of the many hindrances to sustainable development. Consequently, as a way to stand against these challenges, Egypt heavily relies on international funding and knowledge-sharing partnerships. Certainly, the UNDP continues to firmly support Egypt’s efforts to increase ownership of the SDGs Agenda and build public participation leaving no one behind.
What is UNDP's role with the Sustainable Development Goals?
All 17 Sustainable Development Goals are connected to UNDP’s Strategic Plan focus areas: sustainable development, democratic governance and peacebuilding, and climate and disaster resilience. Goals Number 1 on poverty, Number 10 on inequality and Number 16 on governance are particularly central to UNDP’s current work and long-term plans.
Having an integrated approach to supporting progress across the multiple goals is crucial to achieving the SDGs, and UNDP is uniquely placed to support that process.