The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were officially adopted on 25 September 2015, and geographic information has been recognised as being critical to making better decisions and using resources more wisely. As co-chair of the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management, Tim Trainor says geographic information will be vital to achieving the United Nation’s 17 new Sustainable Development Goals.
Trainor, one of three co-chairs of the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management, commented on the increasingly important role of geographic information: “If you look at the Sustainable Development Goals, all of them deal with information and all of that information has some relationship to where those events or where those activities are happening on the Earth.”
Over the next 12 months, one of the major objectives of the UN Committee of Experts will be to ensure that geographic information is included in the preparation of the indicators to measure the new Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr Mark Stafford Smith, Chair of Future Earth at CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) said the goals have the support of the research community: “Whatever their failings, it is a major achievement to have a reasonably limited set of overarching goals that the whole world agrees to,” he said.
“This really helps set priorities for global research. Obviously, fewer goals would help prioritization but then might lack the political legitimacy gained from long negotiations. The research community must now work to highlight a smaller, coherent set of indicators that integrate across the goals in ways that help coordinate action in different domains.”
The 17 new Sustainable Development Goals are:
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 well-being 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.