Sustainable development remains one of the most important and elusive challenges of our time. Making headway requires an integrated, holistic, and global strategy. The United Nations' (UN) new sustainable development agenda presents a markedly improved approach compared to previous international efforts by focusing on all aspects of development: political, social, economic, and environmental.
On September 25, 2015, the UN adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These seventeen goals and corresponding 169 targets outline international development priorities through 2030. They also replace the UN's eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which have driven the development agenda since 2000 and expired in 2015. The SDGs are an improvement upon the MDGs in many ways, creating a positive environment for the post-2015 development agenda.
The MDGs achieved immense progress by focusing primarily on poverty and global health in developing countries. The UN's 2015 Millennium Development Goals Report recognizes that substantial gains were made: halving the number of people living in extreme poverty, increasing the number of children attending school by eight percent, and averting over 13 million deaths due to HIV/AIDS and malaria.