This week, world leaders are gathering in New York to adopt an ambitious, bold and universal sustainable development agenda geared towards ending poverty and promoting prosperity by 2030 while addressing the environment. The Summit outcome will include 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Broad in scope, the SDGs will address the interconnected elements of sustainable development: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection.
"The SDGs hold the promise of a fresh start for our planet," said Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). "Critically, they recognize that the health of the global commons—the planet's finite environmental resources, from land and forests to oceans and the atmosphere—is essential for a thriving world," she emphasized.
Healthy and well-managed ecosystems, together with a stable climate, are critical for the prospects of long-term sustainable development. Yet, today we have already reached or exceeded the carrying capacity of several of the earth's ecosystems. The next ten years will likely see another 700 million people added to the world population, more than one billion additional middle-class consumers, and 50 percent growth in economic output.
"On an increasingly crowded planet, action is urgently needed to curb the drivers of global environmental degradation," said Ishii.
The SDGs are a guide for action in the key areas where governments, the private sector and citizens will have to invest in order to transform our planet and prosper within planetary boundaries. The guideposts for this journey, they are also a holistic vision for development at the global, national, local, and individual level. For the GEF, they are an avenue of expanding global partnership for transformational change across interlinked global environment domains such as climate, oceans, land, forests, cities, and biodiversity.