The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit of heads of state and government in New York on 25 September 2015, is a milestone in international cooperation. The adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) marks the first time that the international community agreed on a universal catalogue of fixed time-specific targets covering all three dimensions of sustainable development. These targets will play a key role in international cooperation in core policy fields over the coming decades.
The objective of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to make global development sustainable on a social, ecological and economic level and in doing so considerably drive forward the long overdue transformation of global economies towards a more sustainable and inclusive development. Climate change, biodiversity loss, poverty, hunger and economic practices that often involve high resource consumption prove that we need to steer the planet in a new direction. The 2030 Agenda is based on the principle to take on board even the weakest and most vulnerable (leave no one behind) and it seeks to secure opportunities for future generations to live a fulfilled life.
During an international preparation process lasting more than three years, a globally-oriented Agenda universally applicable to all countries and containing ambitious sustainable development goals was drafted. The Federal Environment Ministry and Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation together with the German government worked successfully for the adoption of an ambitious 2030 Agenda that will advance political, economic and social changes towards sustainable development both globally and nationally.
The 2030 Agenda brings two UN negotiation processes together which were previously separate, namely the Rio process launched at the Earth Summit in 1992 and the Millennium Development Goals. These processes have now been merged together under the heading "Transforming our World".
The 2030 Agenda comprises the following elements: A preamble, a political declaration, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a section on means of implementation and the global partnership, and a section on follow-up and review.
The German government drafted a proposal for key political messages, which it put forward in the negotiations together with the EU in a slightly amended form. The five key political messages (the 5 Ps) in the preamble are based on this EU proposal and they succinctly summarise the objectives of the 2030 Agenda using an action-based approach:
People – We are determined to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment.
Planet – We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations.
Prosperity – We are determined to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature.
Peace – We are determined to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.
Partnership – We are determined to mobilize the means required to implement this Agenda through a revitalized Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, focused in particular on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and with the participation of all countries, all stakeholders and all people.