Update To The Sustainable Development Goals UN


A plane sitting on top of a grass covered field

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals that all countries have agreed to work on by 2030. These goals encompass a wide range of topics, from climate change to poverty reduction. Goal 11, in particular, focuses on making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. This goal is important because it aims to improve the quality of life fohttp://ecologystar.comr all people living in cities and towns around the world. Here are some of the most important developments that have taken place since the SDG UN was first launched.   

1. Poverty Reduction

A flag flying in front of a building

The UN estimates that around 700 million people currently live in poverty, defined by living on less than $1.90 per day (in 2011 PPP terms). This is down 235 million compared with 1990-1992 levels. That means that the world is on track to meet its first goal of reducing extreme poverty by half, both inside and outside cities.

2. Human Settlements Development

A truck is parked on the side of a vehicle

Around 50% of the global human population now lives in an urban environment, which is around 3 billion people (more than 60% live in Asia). This will only continue to increase as the world population expands and development continues. However, this will also bring its problems – including rising levels of poverty and inequality. For example, around 800 million people still do not have access to an improved water source and over 2.5 billion people do not have safely managed sanitation.

3. Infrastructure Development

There has been significant investment in infrastructure development over the last couple of decades. The percentage of people living without sustainable access to improved sanitation has gone down since 1990, falling from 36% to 19%. Access to electricity also increased during this time, rising from 82% to 89%. However, there are still huge gaps between developed and developing countries – 1.1 billion people currently lack access to electricity, the majority of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.

4. Climate Change and Disasters

Climate change is set to increase the frequency and severity of droughts, floods, and other extreme weather events that can threaten infrastructure development. For example, major flooding has affected many countries since 2000. In 2014, 20 million people were affected by flooding in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Lake Chad region of Africa. Between 1995 and 2015, 90% of natural disaster loss was caused by extreme weather events. At the same time, climate change is also increasing the frequency and severity of many droughts. The worst droughts occurred in 1972-73, 1984-85, and 2015-2016. These droughts left more than 100 million people food insecure across countries including Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, and Somalia.

5. Health

The quality of health services is key to ensuring that cities are inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable places in the future. Life expectancy has increased significantly since the 1950s when it stood at around 47 years of age. In 2016, an estimated 69 million children were not vaccinated against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (3%). This number has been decreasing rather than increasing as a result of efforts to increase vaccine coverage.   

6. Clean Water and Sanitation

Access to safe and clean drinking water remains a serious issue across the world. Around 768 million people use a source of drinking water that is not protected against fecal matter pollution, while 2.4 billion people do not have safely managed sanitation services, according to the World Health Organisation. This means that around 1 in 10 people lack access to improved water sources and 1 in 3 people lack access to safely managed sanitation.   

7. Gender Equality

Around 69% of women aged between 15-64 who are economically active are part of the workforce, compared with 82% of men (estimates for 2015). This is even though equal participation by women in labor markets has the potential to boost growth in GDP by 2%. Disparities in earning opportunities for women also persist – women earn 24% less than men when part-time, full-time, and weekly working hours are taken into account (estimates for 2014). Female participation rates in politics remain low across most countries. At the end of 2015, women made up 16% of all national parliamentarians, while 48 countries had no female ministers at all.   

8. Infrastructure Development

Infrastructure development is key to achieving the SDG UN 11 target of making cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable by 2030. To have clear, efficient transport networks with affordable fares so that people can move from one part of a city to another is particularly important. There also needs to be good access to facilities such as healthcare, education, and housing for people who need them. To achieve all of these things, there needs to be good coordination between all the different stakeholders involved in infrastructure development.   

9. Economic Growth and Employment

Economic growth is an important part of infrastructure development because it enables countries to build up their tax base. It also enables them to invest in infrastructure that will provide sustained positive returns over time, such as social infrastructures like healthcare and educational facilities. However, there needs to be a balance between the rate of economic growth and the rate at which natural resources are extracted and polluted.   

10. Transport

Quality transport networks are an essential part of infrastructure development, as they help cities to grow and thrive. To achieve SDG UN 11 target 7 – provide access to safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable transport systems for all – governments must invest in high-quality schemes such as public transport, walkways, and cycle lanes. It is also important that regulation is put in place to ensure that there are limitations on the amount of traffic allowed in specific areas of the city at any particular time.   

Cities are changing rapidly, and it’s important to have a plan in place for the future. To make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable by 2030, there needs to be an investment in areas such as infrastructure development or transport systems. Transport networks play an integral role because they allow people access to healthcare facilities or educational institutions that may not otherwise be accessible due to distance from their home address.

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter