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Maintaining the momentum for the SDGs: how can we transform societies for good?

In anticipation of the UN Day 2017

Activists push an inflatable globe on a march during Rio+20, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 2012. Photograph: Felipe Dana/AP

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years.
The SDGs follow and expand on the millennium development goals (MDGs), which were agreed by governments, Mongolia including, in 2001 and are due to expire at the end of this year.
On 11 April 2016 Mongolia’s 2030 Sustainable Development Vision, which charts the country’s development path for the next 15 years – the period of the Sustainable Development Goals was launched and handed over by the Mongolian Parliament.
Mongolia’s 2030 Vision is firmly anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development approved by World leaders in New York.
By 2030, the Development Vision envisages Mongolia to be one of the leading Middle Income Countries – that has eradicated poverty in all its forms and preserves the ecological balance while continuing to build strong and stable governance systems.

What are the proposed 17 goals?

The 17 SDGs define the global priorities for people and planet for the next decade and a half.
They, indeed, integrate the three pillars of development – economic, social and environmental.
They put sustainability at the core and focus on eliminating poverty and reducing inequality in order to have everyone benefit from development.
The proposed 17 goals include the following:
1) End poverty in all its forms everywhere
2) End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture
3) Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages
4) Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
5) Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
6) Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
7) Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
8) Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all
9) Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation
10) Reduce inequality within and among countries
11) Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
12) Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
13) Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
14) Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
15) Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss
16) Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
17) Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Within the goals are 169 targets, to put a bit of meat on the bones. Targets under goal one, for example, include reducing by at least half the number of people living in poverty by 2030, and eradicating extreme poverty (people living on less than $1.25 a day). Under goal five, there’s a target on eliminating violence against women, while goal 16 has a target to promote the rule of law and equal access to justice.

What next by Mongolia now?

The next step now is for Mongolia to translate its Sustainable Development vision – and the SDGs embedded in it – into concrete government policies, plans and budgets for actual implementation.
Most importantly, adequate state budget resources need to be put behind the key objectives of the vision. This involves adequate taxation measures and better targeting of state resources including the abolishment of counterproductive subsidies that don’t support pro-poor and pro-environment public programs. It also involves public expenditure reviews to ensure that resources are indeed being assigned to policy priorities and sectors. Finally on this point, financing has to go beyond state budget and bring in new sources of finance from private sector, philanthropy and others.
“Like the SDGs – Mongolia’s vision is broad and ambitious. Implementing it, goes beyond government and requires a whole-of-society effort bringing in private sector, civil society and communities as well as political parties. In fact, the vision offers an opportunity to go beyond the short-term objectives of the next election and plan for the longer-term and for future generations,” said Beate Trankmann, United Nations Resident Coordinator during the launch of Mongolia’s 2030 Sustainable Development Vision in 2016.

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