Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS): Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

The SDGs are a new set of universal goals to end global poverty that will be adopted by the United Nations in September 2015 and will run until 2030. The SDGs move beyond the Millennium Development Goals which were targets to improve global development between 2000 and 2015. Read Sustainable Development Goals: Action Towards 2030

Why are they important?

The SDGs are important because they will determine the future direction of development work over the next 15 years. They will influence government planning and donor funding priorities. This means opportunities will be opened to influence national and local level policy making.


How will they impact development?

The SDGs outline a blueprint for development priorities for the next 15 years. They include 17 goals with 169 targets covering a broad range of sustainable development issues, from ending poverty and hunger to improving health and education, reducing inequality, and combating climate change. They aim to resolve the social, economic and environmental problems which affect the world’s poorest people and to complete the unfinished business of the MDGs

How are they different from the Millennium Development Goals?

The United Nations says the SDGs go much further than the previous goals, because they address the root causes of poverty and pledge to leave no one behind, including vulnerable groups. The SDGs are intended to be universal, applying to all countries rather than just the developing world. They differ from the MDGs as they will include the voices of those most affected by hunger and poverty and the other issues impeding development since they been developed through an open, inclusive and participatory process.

Why is 2015 so important for global development?

Apart from the launch of the SDG’s in September, leaders will meet in Paris at the end of the year to decide on a binding global climate agreement. In June, Pope Francis published the encyclical Laudato Si’, Caring for our Common Home, in which he called on every living being to put the poor, the environment and God at the centre of their choices.

What is Caritas’ approach to the SDGs?

Caritas Internationalis’ Post-2015 Working Group started work in 2013 to ensure the presence of the voice of the Church in the creation of the SDG agenda. It works on advocacy aimed at influencing governments at national, regional and United Nations level. The key messages that the group developed have largely been reflected in final SDGs, with some governments echoing Caritas positions at national level. Guided by Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, Care for our Common Home, Caritas will galvanise Catholic action in communities across the world to hold governments to account for their commitments and to ensure that the voices of the poor spur the effective implementation of the SDGs so that no one is left behind. The SDGs do not provide the answer to all problems or tackle major structural issues – they are only a useful tool when used with a clear vision of a better world and as part of a wider strategy for transformational change.

What can I do?

Pope Francis has called on us to dialogue on the future of our planet, in light of the encyclical Laudato Si’. There is an opportunity to use these global goals as a tool to shape our work based on our values of solidarity, subsidiriarity, stewardship and options for the poor so we can improve our planet through transformative action and prayer at national level.



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