What is the 2030 Agenda?

SDG Wheel

SDG Wheel

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a “plan of action for people, planet and prosperity”. It intends to eradicate poverty, eliminate all forms of discrimination, and “heal and secure our planet” while leaving no one behind.

The UN General Assembly adopted this Agenda in September 2015 and sets the goals and targets for reaching Sustainable Development. One of its possibilities is acting as a framework for action and for assessing the impact of the implemented strategies.

Furthermore, three dimensions structure the 2030 Agenda (social, economic, and environmental), as well as five key areas: people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership).


In these Goals and targets, we are setting out a supremely ambitious and transformational vision. We envisage a world free of poverty, hunger, disease and want, where all life can thrive. We envisage a world free of fear and violence. A world with universal literacy. A world with equitable and universal access to quality education at all levels, to health care and social protection, where physical, mental and social well-being are assured. A world where we reaffirm our commitments regarding the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation and where there is improved hygiene; and where food is sufficient, safe, affordable and nutritious. A world where human habitats are safe, resilient and sustainable and where there is universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.

―United Nations General Assembly (2015, pp. 3-4)

Which goals compose the 2030 Agenda?

The 2030 Agenda encompasses a set of 17 goals and 169 targets to achieve by 2030. These Goals are The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and propose diverse themes to inspire action, spanning from gender equality, decent work, education, ecosystem conservation, cleaner production, and peace, among others.

The Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


As an “integrated and indivisible” set, the SDGs and their targets are interdependent elements that concern the whole world. Moreover, their function is guiding governments to adopt their own targets according to local reality inspired by a global ambition.

The Sustainable Development Goals and targets are integrated and indivisible, global in nature and universally applicable, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities. Targets are defined as aspirational and global, with each Government setting its own national targets guided by the global level of ambition but taking into account national circumstances. Each Government will also decide how these aspirational and global targets should be incorporated into national planning processes, policies and strategies. It is important to recognize the link between sustainable development and other relevant ongoing processes in the economic, social and environmental fields.

―United Nations General Assembly (2015, p. 13)

Also, based on their global pretension, the SDGs are tools for developing analyses and comparisons across different contexts and cultures. Consequently, the SDGs are a framework for monitoring, evaluating and communicating the advances towards sustainability in a common standard.

What is the SDG Localization?

However, the 2030 Agenda does not specify actions for all the contexts, but rather, proposes a horizon. How countries and sub-national entities make it there is up to their context and decisions. In this sense, SDG Localization is the process that subnational governments develop to adopt the global goals and commitments established on the 2030 Agenda. Although the SDG implementation has a national scope, its accomplishment depends on local progress.

In general, SDG Localization implies translating effectively the local results to the 2030 Agenda’s goals and targets. In other words, it calls for comprehending the relations between social inclusion, environmental well-being, and economic development in the local context and their contribution to the accomplishment of the SDGs.

Moreover, the SDG Localization requires promoting multi-sectoral and participatory dialogues aimed to policy-making and developing processes and instruments to attend necessities, maximizing potentialities, and recognizing obstacles. Localizing the 2030 Agenda is an integral process where governments, NGOs, the community, and the private sectors can joint venture on implementing actions, strategies, mechanisms and indicators to move forward on the accomplishment, monitoring, and evaluation of the progress on the SDG implementation.

Some strategies implemented by the countries are, according to the ECLAC:

  • Formulating guideline documents.
  • Developing diagnostics and deploying monitoring and evaluation tools.
  • Establishing mechanisms for making good practices more visible.
  • Implementing strategies for divulging, training, and collective dialogue.
  • Designing instruments for incorporating the 2030 Agenda in local planning.
  • Preparing institutions for the incorporation, monitoring and accomplishing the 2030 Agenda.
  • Strengthening initiatives of social civility, the private sector, and other actors.