Our Planet - Time for Global Action
UNEP, 2015
by: United Nations Environment

The "paradigm shift” from our prevailing business-as-usual modus operandi to sustainable development is now approaching its apex with the finalization of the Sustainable Development Goals this September. The SDG process, a shift that has been evolving for decades, has been gathering greater momentum in recent years as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have drawn to a close, and governments, civil society, business, and many others, have begun to identify ways of building upon the many successes of the MDGs, and filling the gaps that they did not fully address.

Adding to the momentum has been the specter of climate change, reminding us that no strata of our system-economic, social or environmental - can continue on its current trajectory without escalating adverse consequences to mankind. As the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report and UNEP’s Emissions GAP Report 2014 make clear, continued emissions of greenhouse gases will increase the likelihood of widespread and profound impacts affecting all levels of society and the natural world. Linking the SDGs, and ultimately policy, with climate mitigation will help countries build theenergy-efficient, low-carbon infrastructures of the future and achieve transformational change that echoes the true meaning of sustainable development.

The proposed 17 goals cut across all of the most critical social, economic and environmental issues of our time. Therefore, if effectively implemented, they can guide our current systems through the next stages of the transition to more equitable, inclusive and peaceful societies. To do so the SDGs should make a point of departure from the MDGs on two critical fronts—integration and universality. By noting the socio-economic and environmental interlinkages between and within goals, integration can better ensure that social, economic and environmental balance is not sacrificed to short-term economic ambitions.

Download PDF
United Nations