Despite progress, the world failed to meet the Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary education by 2015. In 2013, the latest year for which data are available, 59 million children of primary-school age were out of school. Estimates show that, among those 59 million children, 1 in 5 of those children had dropped out and recent trends suggest that 2 in 5 of out-of-school children will never set foot in a classroom. The Sustainable Development Goals clearly recognize that this gap must be closed, even as the international community more explicitly addresses the challenges of quality and equity.
As a general rule, one to three or four goals will normally be appropriate for each solution. Select the SDG that applies to a primary effect of your solution, not a secondary effect.
The SDGs are not always easy to understand. The SDG Compass is an excellent guide for businesses.
Information about targets and progress can be found on the official SDG website. Learn more about SDG4 here.
Learn more about how your company can advance each of the SDGs here.
The phrase “sustainable development” was made popular in the 1987 report, Our Common Future, of the United Nations Commission on Environment and Development.
The Commission – chaired by Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland – provided a definition of sustainable development that was used for the next 25 years:
“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Over time, the definition has evolved to better link the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic development, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability.
The SDGs provide a global framework for cooperation to address these three dimensions within an ethical framework.