Sustainable development has been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It calls for concerted efforts towards building an inclusive, sustainable, and resilient future for people and planet.

For sustainable development to be achieved, it is essential to harmonize three core elements: economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection. All these elements are interconnected and imperative for the well-being of individuals and societies.



The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a roadmap for peace and prosperity for people and the planet. They were adopted as part of The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by all Member States of the United Nations with a 15-year plan to achieve those Goals in 2015.


The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must be in conjunction with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and boost economic growth – all while working to preserve our oceans and forests and tackling climate change.


At the SDG Summit in September 2019, world leaders called for a decade of action and delivery for sustainable development, pledged to mobilize financing, enhance national implementation and strengthen institutions to achieve the Goals by the target date of 2030, leaving no one behind.

The UN Secretary-General called on all sectors of society to mobilize for a decade of action on three levels: 

  • Global action to secure greater leadership, more resources and smarter solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals; 

  • Local action embedding the needed transitions in the policies, budgets, institutions and regulatory frameworks of governments, cities and local authorities;

  • People action, including by youth, civil society, the media, the private sector, unions, academia and other stakeholders, to generate an unstoppable movement pushing for the required transformations.


Implementation and success will rely on countries’ own sustainable development policies, plans and programmes, and will also be led by countries. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a guideline for aligning the countries’ plans with their global commitments.


All stakeholders: governments, civil society, the private sector, and others, are expected to contribute to the realization of this agenda.

For more information please visit:  https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/ 


"Be the change you wish to see." Mahatma Gandhi

The easiest way to get started is to look at the UN’s Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World to get inspired to live sustainable every day. 


Another great resource is the 170 Actions to Transform the World also compiled by the UN, as well as Ad Vitam’s Sustainability or Resource pages and to subscribe to our newsletter about easy tips on how to live more sustainably in a busy, urban lifestyle and news on sustainable products.

*The content of this publication/website has not been approved by the United Nations and does not reflect the views of the United Nations or its officials or Member States.