In 2000 at the UN Millennium Summit, representatives from the then 189 member countries of the UN met to adopt the Millennium Declaration. This Declaration created a global alliance to combat poverty. At this meeting, the goals we now know as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were developed.

The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. The MDG’s have goals and targets and the targets should have been achieved by 2015.

While a lot of progress has been made around the world to achieve the MDG’s, it is not enough, many of the goals and targets set have not been achieved. More than one billion people in the world continue to live in poverty and many more experience inequality.

 A global development agenda beyond 2015

The outcome document of the 2010 High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the MDGs requested the Secretary-General to initiate thinking on a post-2015 development agenda and include recommendations in his annual report on efforts to accelerate MDG progress. The outcome of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development initiated an inclusive intergovernmental process to prepare a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs). There is broad agreement on the need for close linkages between the two processes to arrive at one global development agenda for the post-2015 period, with sustainable development at its centre.

 Post 2015 Development Agenda

What happens after the MDG’s in 2015?

In 2015, the deadline for achievement of the current dominant development paradigm, the MDG’s is expected to be achieved. While it has to be recognized that the MDGs have contributed significantly to lifting people from sever poverty, there has been inconsistent outcomes in achieving some of the goals and targets. As the international community turns its attention to the post-2015 environment, it is clear that the new global development agenda requires the participation and political will of Civil Society, NGO’s, women’s Organisations and Governments alike.

Since 2010 the UN has been promoting initiatives to determine development priorities that need to be met within the next 15 years from 2016 to 2030. These priorities are what have been called the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and contain a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to come into place after the MDGs. Sustainable development is development that improves the living conditions in the present without compromising the resources of future generations.

 How were the SDG’s developed?

The UN led an Open Working Group (OWG), composed of States’ representatives, who accompanied by a team of technical experts on education, health and other topics have discussed the most pressing issues facing people around the world. The final document prepared by the OWG proposes 17 goals and 169 targets. Indicators on each of the targets are still being discussed.

The discussion on the SDG’s are ongoing and incorporate a number of other intergovernmental negotiations on the Post 2015 Development Agenda – these include the Financing for Development Agenda, Beijing +20 review, ICPD+20, Rio + 20, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Commission on the Status of Women Working, and the Women Peace and Security Agenda.

The final SDG goals and targets will be discussed and agreed upon at the General Assembly High Level Meeting in September 2015.

 Proposed 17 Sustainable Development Goals


  1. To End Poverty
  2. To End Hunger
  3. To Ensure healthy lives and promote well being for all at all ages
  4. To Achieve Quality education for all
  5. To Achieve Gender Equality
  6. To ensure Water and Sanitation for all
  7. To ensure everyone has access to affordable and sustainable energy
  8. To ensure Decent Work for all
  9. To achieve Technology for the benefit of all
  10. To reduce Inequality
  11. To ensure Cities and communities are inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  12. To achieve responsible consumption by all
  13. To stop Climate Change
  14. To protect the Ocean
  15. To take care of the Earth
  16. To live in Peace
  17. Mechanisms and Partnerships to reach the Goals