The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a new set of objectives intended to “end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all” that will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in January 2016. The SDGs will be used during the next 15 years to set policy and as a basis for action.
One of the main differences between the old and new goals is that the SDGs were created in a more inclusive manner. The MDGs were drafted by a panel of United Nations experts, but the SDGs are based on society-wide consultations. Population Matters participated in the consultations — specifically those regarding health and population dynamics.
There are numerous links between health and population dynamics and their ackowledgement in the SDGs is certainly a step forward. In wealthier countries, provisions for providing adequate health care for ageing populations must be made and in many developing nations there is an urgent need for family planning services.
Population dynamics affect other areas addressed by the SDGs. Population growth for example poses serious environmental challenges — it increases global warming and decreases biodiversity. Population growth also negatively impacts food and water availability.
There are many ways in which individuals can help to address the population-related issues referenced directly and indirectly in the SDGs. We urge you to do so in order to help achieve them.