Introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In an increasingly interconnected world, the importance of sustainable development cannot be overstated. The global community is pushing for progress that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Central to this effort are the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. BestCities Global Alliance is dedicated to harnessing the power of collaboration and community to create a positive impact through business events.

This article will introduce the SDGs, explore their significance, and highlight how we, as a global alliance, are contributing to this vital agenda.

Understanding the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 interconnected goals established by the United Nations in 2015. They aim to address a broad range of global challenges, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice.

Each goal has specific targets that provide a clear and measurable framework for achieving the desired outcomes. In total, there are 169 targets across the 17 goals, each with its own indicators to track progress.

No Poverty

Goal 1: No Poverty

End poverty in all its forms everywhere. Targets include eradicating extreme poverty, reducing the proportion of people living in poverty, and implementing social protection systems.

Zero Hunger

Goal 2: Zero Hunger

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. Targets focus on ensuring access to safe and nutritious food, ending all forms of malnutrition, and promoting sustainable food production systems.

Good Health and Well-being

Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Targets include reducing maternal and child mortality, ending epidemics of major communicable diseases, and achieving universal health coverage.

Quality Education

Goal 4: Quality Education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Targets aim to ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education, and to eliminate gender disparities in education.

Gender Equality

Goal 5: Gender Equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Targets focus on ending all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, ensuring full participation in leadership and decision-making, and ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health.

Clean Water and Sanitation

Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Targets include achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water, and improving water quality by reducing pollution.

Affordable and Clean Energy

Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. Targets aim to ensure universal access to modern energy services, increase the share of renewable energy, and improve energy efficiency.

Decent Work and Economic Growth

Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. Targets focus on sustaining per capita economic growth, achieving higher levels of economic productivity, and promoting policies that encourage entrepreneurship and job creation.

Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Goal 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation. Targets include developing quality, reliable, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure, and increasing the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises to financial services.

Reduced Inequality

Goal 10: Reduced Inequality

Reduce inequality within and among countries. Targets aim to empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, or economic or other status.

Sustainable Cities and Communities

Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. Targets include ensuring access for all to adequate, safe, and affordable housing and basic services, and enhancing inclusive and sustainable urbanization.

Responsible Consumption and Production

Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Targets focus on achieving the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources, and reducing waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.

Climate Action

Goal 13: Climate Action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Targets include strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters, and integrating climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.

Life Below Water

Goal 14: Life Below Water

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development. Targets aim to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution, and sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems.

Life on Land

Goal 15: Life on Land

Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, manage forests sustainably, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss. Targets include ensuring the conservation of mountain ecosystems, and promoting the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources.

Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels. Targets focus on reducing all forms of violence, ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence against and torture of children, and promoting the rule of law.

Partnerships for the Goals

Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development. Targets include enhancing global macroeconomic stability, increasing the export earnings of developing countries, and promoting the development, transfer, dissemination, and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies.

The Significance of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals

The 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations are a roadmap for a better and more sustainable future. They address the most pressing global challenges and provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet.

Achieving these goals requires the active participation of all sectors of society, including governments, businesses, and civil society. Cities and communities play a crucial role in this effort, and convention bureaus, in particular, can contribute significantly by promoting sustainable practices in the meetings and events industry.

BestCities Global Alliance is committed to supporting the SDGs through collaborative efforts and innovative solutions.

BestCities Global Alliance: Pioneering Sustainability in Business Events

Harnessing the power of collaboration and community, BestCities Global Alliance is dedicated to creating positive impacts through business events. Our alliance of 13 cities is committed to excellence and sustainability, continuously pushing for better outcomes in the meetings industry.

Here are some ways we are contributing to the SDGs:

Through strategic partnerships and open knowledge exchange, we support our destinations in developing and offering sustainable experiences that leave a lasting legacy. Each of our 13 cities actively works towards achieving the SDGs, showcasing innovative solutions and best practices.

Creating sustainable experiences that not only meet the needs of today but also pave the way for a better future is a core focus. Our efforts include promoting responsible consumption, reducing carbon footprints, and supporting local communities.

Celebrating the “beyond tourism” value of international association meetings, the Incredible Impacts Programme highlights their positive societal impact. By shining a global spotlight on innovative thinking and creativity in the meetings industry, we demonstrate the lasting legacy we can leave behind.

Recognizing and rewarding associations that showcase examples of excellence, the programme inspires others to incorporate their own legacy initiatives into future events. Each year, we are inspired by the legacy-making, often life-changing work showcased, and we look forward to highlighting associations that are helping to shape tomorrow’s world.

How to Get Involved: Making a Difference

Everyone has a role to play in achieving the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations. Here are some ways individuals and organizations can contribute:

Small actions can make a big difference. Simple steps like reducing waste, conserving energy, supporting local businesses, and advocating for equality can contribute to the SDGs.

Businesses and organizations can align their strategies with the SDGs by adopting sustainable practices, investing in renewable energy, promoting diversity and inclusion, and supporting community initiatives.

Associations can focus more on impact when hosting their global congresses, with many already including impact and legacy as part of their RFP.

BestCities Global Alliance provides resources and support to help partners and clients incorporate sustainability into their events and operations.

Conclusion: A Shared Commitment to a Sustainable Future

The 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations provide a comprehensive framework for achieving a better and more sustainable future. By working together, we can address the most pressing global challenges and create a positive impact on the world.

BestCities Global Alliance is committed to supporting the SDGs through collaborative efforts and sustainable practices. We encourage everyone to learn more about the SDGs and get involved in creating a brighter future for all.

Resources and Further Reading

For more information on the Sustainable Development Goals and how you can contribute, visit the following resources:

By aligning with the SDGs, we can create a more sustainable and prosperous world, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come. Together, we are the BestCities Global Alliance.