New development goals promise better life for most vulnerable

19 Jan 2016

New development goals promise better life for most vulnerable

KABUL - Global efforts to meet new development goals tackling poverty, inequality and injustice, and climate change kicked off this year.  

World leaders at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in September – at which Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah represented the Government of Afghanistan -- adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs are a new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years.

“It is a roadmap to ending global poverty, building a life of dignity for all and leaving no one behind,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “We have a big, bold agenda before us – now we must work to make it real in people’s lives everywhere.”

The SDGs 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.

Speaking at the New York summit, Chief Executive Abdullah said that a big part of Afghanistan’s Transformation Decade (2015-2025) coincides with the 2030 development agenda.

“Afghanistan will remain committed to developing strategies and policies to integrate our national development agenda with the 2030 development agenda,” said the Chief Executive.

Meanwhile in Kabul, a Social Good Summit held around the same time – and supported in part by UNDP –helped to raise awareness of the SDGs and what they mean for Afghanistan. The Kabul summit showcased creative development projects such as wind power, free legal aid for women, children and the poor in four provinces and loans for entrepreneurs in Kandahar.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director, Douglas Keh, said earlier that Afghanistan continues to face major challenges in its pursuit of a better life for its people.

“Yet despite everything, over the past fifteen years, with the Millennium Development Goals as the backdrop, Afghanistan has witnessed some encouraging and noteworthy successes,” said Mr. Keh.

“For instance, there are more than 8 million children—boys and girls— in school today compared to a mere 70,000 in 2001 [and] life expectancy has increased from 45 to 62 years during this period.”

Mr. Keh said that he was hopeful that Afghanistan will see more progress over the next 15 years: “Afghanistan today has a large number of trained and committed development practitioners who are passionate about serving their country [and] experienced leaders who seek to guide this country on a path toward peace.”  

The 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.

The 17 SDGs and 169 targets of the new agenda will be monitored and reviewed using a set of global indicators. The global indicator framework, to be developed by the Inter Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators, will be agreed on by the UN Statistical Commission by March 2016. Governments will also develop their own national indicators to assist in monitoring progress made on the goals and targets.

UNDP has a role in providing support to countries, including Afghanistan, to reflect the new global agenda in national development plans and policies. UNDP will also support governments to accelerate progress on SDG targets and make the UN’s policy expertise on sustainable development and governance available at all stages of implementation.  

Find out more about the Sustainable Development Goals