Sustainable Development Goals 2030 – Are they any different?

Firstly.. What were the Millennium Development Goals 2015? Have they been achieved?

The greatest challenge facing humanity is to work collectively to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and gender inequality. In 2000, this influenced the Member States of UN to implement the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in order to set a series of time-bound targets to address these issues by 2015.


Source: United Nations, 2015

Now, you may wonder what has been achieved… the MDGs had different and uneven effects worldwide. They were succeeded by the development of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the year 2030. It is evident that MDG successes and failures informed the development of SDGs. The successes are remarkable while the mistakes provided crucial learning opportunities. Unlike many UN goals, the MDGs are still currently active and worked on despite being approved 15 years ago. This commitment is rare.

The MDGs were ambitious and stated eight straightforward numeric goals. They were perceived as a set of moral and practical commitments rather than legally binding commitments. Negotiations and clarity was not the issue for the MDG. These commitments were unfortunately ignored in some cases due to the absence of effective enforcement mechanisms. The MDGs were not successful in some countries; however a lot of progress and development was obvious, and the practical impact of the MDGs was outstanding.

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For the SDGs to surpass the MDGs, the mobilisation of global knowledge and energy across several sectors and regions is essential. Integration of all governments, international institutions, private business firms, academia and civil society is vital to pinpoint the fundamental keys and pathways to success. This include the combination of technical expertise and democratic representation.

What are the new Sustainable Development Goals 2030?

The global community has decided to take a big leap from the 8 MDGs to a new era of sustainable development goals for the next 15 years. The agenda focuses on critical areas for humanity and the planet.


  • The eradication of poverty lies at the heart of the newly implemented SDGs. Similar to MDGs, each of the 17 proposed goals has its own purpose; they effectively address the many different features of global poverty which has become significant to SDGs as political, economic and environmental landscapes are continuously changing.
  • It is unmistakeable that SDGs and MDGs share the same target (eliminating poverty). The new SDGs  incorporates a more extensive platform than their 2000 counterpart. In particular, the goals utilize the concept of sustainability to construct a diversified agenda that enlarges well beyond the social category. The 17 proposed SDGs are comprised of a number of issues such as environmental quality (climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss), as well as sustained economic resilience (developing access to sustainable energy sources, building sustainable cities, and promotion of sustained economic growth).
  • Some specific objectives of the MDGs are conveyed individually (maternal health, hunger and gender equality). The SDGs aspire to exert great efforts in communicating between the 17 goals to further develop and present a unified and incorporated agenda.
  • MDGs placed more emphasis on how the developed countries could support and address financial problems of the developing nations. In comparison, the SDGs main function is to specifically address poverty in all nations (developed and developing). If the focus of the SDGs is truly to eliminate poverty, then a comprehensive  and thorough method is necessary to develop a program that relates to all countries and the wide variety of economic statuses, to guarantee that no one is excluded.

How will it affect ElectricAid’s missions and values?

The SDGs are conceived as ambitions and as challenges in all countries. The goals and targets consists of important purposes and challenges for both developed and developing countries alike. Based on a recent study – sustainable energy (SDG 7), sustainable consumption and production (SDG 12) and combatting climate change (SDG 13) are found to be the top transformational challenges for the developed world. This has urged the need for developed countries to assist the development processes in the developing world, specifically to the third world countries; to continuously deliver their established pledges to commit 0.7% of their Gross National Income (GNI) to Official Development Assistance (ODA) programmes.

The generosity of the corporate partners – ESB and EirGrid employees has been a significant factor of ElectricAid’s success. ElectricAid’s help and support has remarkably made a difference to all national and international dimensions. The primary focus of ElectricAid’s efforts is to target and cease global poverty, to provide the basic needs of water, sanitation, agriculture and food security for the underdeveloped countries.. ElectricAid’s mission and values are still being maintained within the new SDGs and will continue to pursue these goal areas to make a difference to thousands of lives worldwide.

There has been a shift from quantitative to qualitative targets in some areas – for example, moving from “Universal Primary Education” (MDG2) to “Quality Education” (SDG4). This is a shift that is informed by experience, one which ElectricAid supports.




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  • Sachs, J. D. (2012). From Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals. Lancet, 379.
  • The Guardian. (2015). Millennium Development Goals Datablog
  • United Nations. (2016) Sustainable Development Goals 2030