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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


Your future career will benefit from understanding the principles and practices that form the basis of the United Nation's (UN) approach to building a sustainable future with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

There are many ways to think about and act on sustainability issues. Sustainability can mean different things to different people and at different times. What seems like a sustainable solution in one area of life, may not be sustainable when applied to another part of life. 

What are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals?

The UN have ambassadors from every nation-state. Together, these ambassadors make international decisions. They work on many topics that affect people across the world, Human rights, Peace, Waste, Weapons and much more. The UN was formed in 1945, joined by 170 member countries. that number has increased over the years to the current 193 nation-states.

Its purposes and principles are to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations based on equal rights and self-determination, and to achieve international co-operation in solving economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian challenges without distinction for race, sex, language, or religion.
From the United Nations Charter

Initially, there were eight United Nations sustainable development goals, called the Millenium Development Goals, which started in 2000 and finished in 2015. The Millenium Development Goals were redeveloped into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs have a timelilne for completion by 2030.

There are currently 17 goals, 169 targets and 232 indicators. Providing the details of targets and indicators helps people measure the progress of each goal. Creating goals that are Strategic, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (SMART goals) is a great way to make sure any goal will be completed and measured. 

RMIT University, like other institutions, has chosen to use the UN SDGs to guide its sustainability plans.

The 17 UN SDGs


United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Timeline

Select the left and right arrow buttons to navigate this timeline, or use your mouse to drag the timeline at the bottom. This timeline is keyboard accessible using tab and arrow keys to navigate. There is also a text-only transcript below the timeline.

Transcript (RTF)    


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