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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Universal Sustainable Development Goals

Publication Year: 2015 Publisher: Stakeholder Forum


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are intended to be universal in the sense of embodying a universally shared common global vision of progress towards a safe, just and sustainable space for all human beings to thrive on the planet. They reflect the moral principles that no-one and no country should be left behind, and that everyone and every country should be regarded as having a common responsibility for playing their part in delivering the global vision. In general terms, all of the goals have therefore been conceived as applying both as ambitions and as challenges to all countries. All of the goals and targets contain important messages and challenges for developed and developing countries alike.
The different goals and targets will however represent different degrees of challenge and ambition for different countries depending on their present state of development and other national circumstances. So when it comes to implementation different countries will need to give different degrees of attention and effort to the different goals and targets, depending on where they stand in relation to them at present, their differentiated responsibilities and their different capabilities and resources. The balance between the social, economic and political effort needed to deliver the different objectives is also likely to be different in different countries.
Much of the international discussion in the formation of the SDGs has naturally and rightly concentrated on the pressing development needs of the developing countries and the support they will need from more developed countries and the international community in achieving the goals. Some of the individual goals and targets have been particularly shaped and calibrated to express the needs and aspirations of developing countries; and others express the responsibilities of the developed world to assist the development process in the developing world.