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Sustainability

The 2030 Agenda as a compass

The international community has set itself ambitious targets for sustainable development. Germany and its partners are doing their part to bring about change.
drinking water
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As the second-largest donor for official development cooperation and as an active advocate of global partnerships, Germany plays an important role in global development. A benchmark for global development over the coming years is the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, which was agreed upon by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The core of the 2030 Agenda is the 17 ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and implementation of the Agenda is a way to lay the foundations for global economic progress in harmony with social justice and in line with the Earth’s ecological limitations. Pursuit of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000-15 succeeded in halving poverty worldwide and, amongst other things, improving access to drinking water and education. From 2015 to 2017, the number of the poorest people worldwide fell from 10.1 percent of the global population to 9.2 percent – and that was in spite of the adjustment of the benchmark used to define absolute poverty from 1.25 to 1.90 US dollars a day.

Corona pandemic exacerbates poverty

These initial successes are now severely threatened, however, by the Corona pandemic, as well as by the onward march of climate change and violent conflicts. The World Bank warns that this combination could force many people who have escaped poverty back into precarious situations. Experts estimate that in 2020 between 88 and 115 million people will fall into extreme poverty. Under these conditions, the already hard-to-reach objective of reducing the number of people in extreme poverty to less than three percent of the global population seems all but impossible to achieve by 2030 unless there is rapid and substantial political action.

Nevertheless, the 2030 Agenda remains an important compass for a global shift towards greater sustainability – in the economic, ecological and social dimensions and taking into account existing linkages. It is intended as a “future contract” for the world that applies to all states and addresses a broad spectrum of policy areas well beyond development cooperation: Alongside fighting hunger and poverty, it aims to protect the planet for future generations; to make economic systems and lifestyles more just and sustainable as well as more effective, and to fight against discrimination, not least through the reinforcement of effective inclusive and democratic institutions, responsible government and the rule of law. Ultimately the agreement for ensuring sustainability in the future needs a “multi-player” approach: The plan envisages that in addition to governments, above all social groups and the worlds of business and scholarship play important roles in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.