The Progress Of 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development

by | Jun 25, 2024 | Sustainability, Sustainable Development

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With the start of the new millennium, the United Nations set a series of goals in 2000 aimed at reducing extreme poverty, child mortality rates, and diseases and strengthening global development partnerships. These were the so-called Millennium Development Goals, a set of eight goals and 28 targets to be met by 2015. Before the end of this period, in 2012, the UN launched a process to review the issues and find solutions. As a result, the 2030 Agenda for International Development and the Sustainable Development Goals emerged. In this article, we shall delve into the agenda’s progress so far.

What is the 2030 Agenda?

On September 25, 2015, the UN’s 193 member nations assent to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an ambitious plan to achieve prosperity while respecting the earth and its inhabitants. This Agenda consists of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, further divided into 169 goals to be completed by 2030 with the goal of “leaving no one behind.” The threat of climate change is more accurate than ever, and the SDGs are critical if we want to protect our children’s futures. The 2030 Agenda builds on the UN Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015), which were the first worldwide agreement on addressing global issues like eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and promoting improved access to education. Even though the aims were not entirely met, they served as the foundation for tremendous progress, expanded in 2015 with the 2030 Agenda and SDGs. The 2015 Paris Summit established rules for lowering CO₂ emissions and addressing climate change, in addition to the SDGs and 2030 Agenda.

Foundation of the 2030 Agenda

The Agenda is founded on five dimensions, sometimes referred to as the 5Ps:

Foundation of the 2030 Agenda

  • People

To remove poverty and hunger in all forms and dimensions and to make sure that all people can reach their full potential in dignity, equality, and a healthy environment.

  • Planet

The goal is to protect the earth from degradation by promoting sustainable consumption and production, managing natural resources, and addressing climate change.

  • Prosperity

To ensure that all people can live wealthy and whole lives and that economic, social, and technical progress is consistent with nature.

  • Peace

To make peaceful, just, and inclusive societies free of fear and violence.

  • Partnership

To generate the resources needed to execute the Agenda through a collaborative effort based on solidarity and centered on the needs of the most vulnerable.

Also Read: Sustainable Development Goals: Commitment and Opportunities

How Far Are We From Achieving the 2030 Agenda?

The journey towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), shows significant global gaps and challenges. Progress has been uneven across different goals and regions, exacerbated further by setbacks such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Key areas of concern include biodiversity loss, climate change impacts, economic inequalities, and persistent poverty. To accelerate progress, global cooperation, innovative solutions, strengthened partnerships, and renewed commitments are essential to address systemic barriers and ensure a sustainable future for all.

According to the SDGs 2020 Report, the world is off track to meet its goals by 2030. Progress was inconsistent even before COVID-19, and the pandemic has further hindered advancement, reversing decades of progress in some areas.

In Asia, the latest report from the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) indicates a decline in progress on five critical SDGs: Zero Hunger (SDG 2), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8), Reduced Inequality (SDG 10), Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11), and Life on Land (SDG 15).

The Ibero-America also struggles to meet the SDGs. As per the report, four years after the 2030 Agenda’s approval, the region’s average SDG Index is 63.1, reflecting only modest progress. Advances are threatened by rising unemployment, inequality, poverty, and hunger, potentially leading to increased social conflict and unrest in countries like Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Chile.

The urgency to achieve these goals has only intensified post-pandemic. The world must now redouble its efforts to overcome the setbacks caused by the pandemic and push forward to meet the 2030 deadline.

The SDGs and their Influence on the Economy, Society, and Environment

  • Economy

The SDGs, supported by a thriving environment and society, are economic. They focus on industry, innovation, and infrastructure, reducing inequality, responsible consumption and production, decent work, and growth not linked to environmental degradation.

  • Society

Social growth is difficult if the environment is degraded and natural resources become scarce. Thus, the SDGs related to renewable energy, poverty eradication and hunger, peace and justice, sustainable cities, education, gender equality, and health provide a framework for the financial goals.

  • Environment

A healthy environment is necessary for fostering social fairness and economic prosperity. If we fail to fulfill the targets for clean water and sanitation, marine life, terrestrial life, and climate action, we will never be able to achieve the other goals.

Measures to Get the Agenda Back on Track

1. Strategic Priority Setting for SDGs

Making strategic choices is crucial to ensure meaningful progress and avoid underperformance that could undermine the goals’ relevance. By focusing on achievable targets and strategic synergies, we can foster a sense of accomplishment and advance key goals that are lagging behind in current development pathways.

2. Enhancing Environmental Focus within the SDGs

Despite global commitments, biodiversity continues to decline, jeopardizing progress on sustainability targets related to ocean health, economic equity, and climate action. Recent initiatives in South America, such as the CPPS resolution on sustainable fishing, highlight the importance of collaborative solutions to preserve natural resources and support socio-economic development under SDG 14.

3. Leveraging Synergies and Systems Thinking in SDG Implementation

Recognizing the interconnected nature of the SDGs is essential for balanced progress across the entire 2030 Agenda. Emphasizing synergies and minimizing trade-offs through systematic approaches like SEI’s Synergies Approach can enhance policy coherence and optimize SDG implementation efforts, as demonstrated by Mongolia’s Voluntary National Review on sustainability targets at the UN High-level Political Forum.

4. Strengthening Global Partnerships and Cooperation

Achieving the SDGs requires enhanced international collaboration and partnerships across sectors. By fostering alliances between governments, civil society, businesses, and academia, we can leverage resources, expertise, and innovation to accelerate progress toward shared sustainability goals.

5. Empowering Local Communities and Grassroots Initiatives

Empowering local communities and grassroots organizations is vital for sustainable development. Supporting initiatives that promote community resilience, capacity-building, and inclusive decision-making ensures that SDG efforts are responsive to local needs and realities, driving sustainable outcomes from the ground up.


In conclusion, the Agenda for Sustainable Development is a comprehensive and revolutionary framework designed to promote global wealth, environmental sustainability, and social inclusion. The Agenda, which addresses 17 interconnected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), seeks to eradicate poverty, decrease inequality, and battle climate change via collective effort and international cooperation. While strides have been made towards the 2030 Agenda, concerted global effort and sustained commitment are necessary to bridge remaining gaps and achieve sustainable development goals worldwide.

The path forward requires bold actions, innovative solutions, and inclusive collaboration to leave no one behind in building a resilient and equitable future. Governments, corporations, and civil society must all commit to adopting creative solutions while upholding common principles for successful implementation. Finally, the 2030 Agenda provides a visionary blueprint for achieving a more fair and sustainable future for all.

Also Read: Draft List Adaptation Goals To Be Achieved By 2030: COP28



  • Dr. Elizabeth Green

    With over two decades of experience in sustainability, Dr. Elizabeth Green has established herself as a leading voice in the field. Hailing from the USA, her career spans a remarkable journey of environmental advocacy, policy development, and educational initiatives focused on sustainable practices. Dr. Green is actively involved in several global sustainability initiatives and continues to inspire through her writing, speaking engagements, and mentorship programs.

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