Comparing the MDGs and the SDGs

(UN Photo/Joao Araujo Pinto)

Citiscope reported this week on the new set of goals the United Nations is working on for 2016-2030, known as the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs. Urban activists around the world worked hard to get a goal explicitly related to cities included in a list approved by a UN working group in July. The goals will be refined further and voted on by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015.

The SDGs are a follow-up effort to the widely-publicized Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, in effect from 2000 to 2015. Supporters claim the MDGs galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest people; critics say there’s been very uneven implementation of the goals by topic, country or world region. 

Citiscope is following the debate around the SDGs here, as part of our continuing coverage of the leadup to the Habitat III conference on cities in 2016.

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Below are:

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for 2000-2015

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability
  8. Develop a global partnership for development


Draft Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2016-2030

  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 life-long 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


Specific targets of the “Urban Goal” (SDG #11)

  1. By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, and upgrade slums
  2. By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
  3. By 2030 enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacities for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  4. Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
  5. By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of affected people and decrease by y% the economic losses relative to GDP caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with the focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations
  6. By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality, municipal and other waste management
  7. By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, particularly for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
  8. Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
  9. By 2020, increase by x% the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, develop and implement in line with the forthcoming Hyogo Framework holistic disaster risk management at all levels
  10. Support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, for sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials



Citiscope’s ongiong coverage of the SDGs and the urban SDG

A place for cities in the Sustainable Development Goals

Behind the push for an “urban SDG

The “urban SDG”: an explainer

Comparing the MDGs and the SDGs

On the record: What supporters of an “urban SDG” are saying

Join a conversation about the “urban SDG” on

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Neal Peirce is the founder and editor-in-chief of Citiscope. Full bio

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