Do you remember the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)? At the beginning of the new millennium in 2000, the world community of states agreed to goals and concrete targets on how to make the world a better place for all. The 191 member states of the United Nations (UN) at the time committed themselves to make significant improvements in eight areas: poverty and hunger; education; gender equality; child mortality; maternal health; HIV/Aids, malaria and other diseases; environmental sustainability; and to develop a global partnership for development. In 2015 major improvements had been made. Yet, advancements were uneven and patchy which let the world community to consider an agenda on how to achieve the remaining goals in a sustainable way.

At the end of 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were born, substituting for the MDGs. Eight areas were expanded and refined to 17: poverty; hunger, health and well-being; education; gender equality, water and sanitation; clean energy; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; reduced inequality; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; climate action; life below water; life on land; justice and strong institutions; and partnerships for the realisation of the goals. They agreed to achieve the SDGs over the coming 15 years. New Zealand is one of the many countries who made a commitment to implement the SDGs at home, and support the UN in achieving the SDGs in other parts of the world.

If you care that everyone in New Zealand has enough and nutritious food too eat;

If you care that everyone in New Zealand can visit a doctor when the person needs to;

If you care that women and girls enjoy the same rights, opportunities, and outcomes as men and boys;

If you care that everyone has access to clean drinking water and can swim in their local lakes and rivers;

If you care that everyone has decent work which is safe and pays for a living;

If you care for New Zealand’s beautiful environment and wish to ensure that our children have a chance to enjoy the mountains, beaches, bush and birds;

Then you should be caring for the SDGs and what the government does to realise them for and in New Zealand, the Pacific, and the world. The SDGs will help you to talk to your whanau, friends and colleagues about what we can and need to do to make New Zealand a better place to live for all. Discussions increase awareness; awareness encourages action; action supports change. Join us on our journey towards realising the sustainable development goals in New Zealand-together!

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