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What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

The 17 SDGs are integrated—that is, they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.

Through the pledge to Leave No One Behind, countries have committed to fast-track progress for those furthest behind first. That is why the SDGs are designed to bring the world to several life-changing ‘zeros’, including zero poverty, hunger, AIDS and discrimination against women and girls.

Everyone is needed to reach these ambitious targets. The creativity, knowhow, technology and financial resources from all of society is necessary to achieve the SDGs in every context.

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What is UNDP's role?

As the lead UN development agency, UNDP is well-placed to help implement the Goals through our work in some 170 countries and territories.

We support countries in achieving the SDGs through integrated solutions. Today’s complex challenges—from stemming the spread of disease to preventing conflict—cannot be tackled neatly in isolation. For UNDP, this means focusing on systems, root causes and connections between challenges—not just thematic sectors—to build solutions that respond to people’s daily realities.  

Our track record working across the Goals provides us with a valuable experience and proven policy expertise to ensure we all reach the targets set out in the SDGs by 2030. But we cannot do this alone.

Achieving the SDGs requires the partnership of governments, private sector, civil society and citizens alike to make sure we leave a better planet for future generations.

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Localizing the SDGs in Iraq

SDG Localization is a crucial process in order to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs, whilst ensuring that we “leave no one behind”. By bringing the SDGs - across their economic, social, governance, environmental dimensions - closer to the people on the ground and ensuring their voices are heard in the decision-making process, we ensure ownership and sustainable change. The localization of the SDGs implies that actors and institutions (government and non-government at the sub-national level) have a fundamental role to play in the formulation, implementation, and monitoring of the SDGs. This bottom-up approach increases ownership by local governments to take a firm grip of the SDGs, while tapping into existing networks, communities, civil societies, private sectors, and academia.

UNDP Iraq established a community-led approach for three governorates (Basra, Anbar and Karbala) to localize SDG targets and indicators, focusing on community consultations, effective participation of local academics, private sector, and non-governmental organizations, including youth and women and vulnerable groups such as farmers. These governorates have faced different development challenges and their local sustainable development committees – established with UNDP support – are eager to develop a local vision and road map for sustainable development. The imperative  ‘leave no one behind’ was at the core of all planning processes, ensuring the local sustainable development vision integrated consultations with all stakeholders, including academia, Civil Society Organizations, governmental authorities, private sector, parliament members, and vulnerable groups including youth, women and farmers were arranged to enrich the sustainable context discussions with the practical needs of local communities.

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