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Why does the world need the sustainable development goals?

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) demonstrate the power of global goals, backed by quantitative targets, in building momentum for national and local action. Addressing the challenges of sustainable development requires a shared focus on ending extreme poverty in all its forms and a structural transformation in the way that national and local economies operate. The necessary focus and collaboration across actors and countries can best be achieved through shared global objectives for sustainable development. That is why the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) called for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Of course, setting global goals – even if they are based on shared values – will have little impact unless followed up by concerted action. However, averting the business-as-usual (BAU) trajectory will be nearly impossible without an ambitious and universal set of Sustainable Development Goals.

Well-crafted Sustainable Development Goals guides the public understanding of complex long-term challenges, inspire public and private action, and promote accountability. They builds on existing global initiatives and bring together ongoing efforts in sustainable development. The Sustainable Development Goals is a complementary to the tools of international laws, such as global treaties and conventions, by providing a normative framework for the global partnership needed to address the interconnected challenges the world faces. Children around the world will learn a simplified version of the goals as a clear introduction to sustainable development. For business people, government officials, civil society, and others, the goals will promote integrated thinking and help to stave off the futile debates that often pit one dimension of sustainable development against another. They will mobilize governments and the international system to strengthen measurement and monitoring for sustainable development. 

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