What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

Sustainable Development Goals
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Image: www.globalgoals.org

On 25 September 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. SOS Children’s Villages works with partners and states to achieve the SDG targets with the biggest impact for children.

What are the SDGs?

The SDGs will structure the policies and agendas of the United Nations’ member states for the next 15 years. They are 17 in total, ranging from poverty reduction to environmental sustainability, quality education and employment for all, and peace, among others.

The SDGs are the result of a long consultation process among United Nations’ member states, with input from civil society, the private sector, academia, and people's voices. SOS Children’s Villages has actively engaged in the Post-2015 process, advocating with partners at international and national levels, to make sure that the SDGs improve the lives of the children and families we work with.

The SDGs and us

Five SDGs relate directly to SOS Children’s Villages' core work for children.

Goal 1 – End poverty

Achieving a world where poverty is a thing of the past is the main aim of the SDGs. Central to this goal is ensuring that no child grows up in poverty.

As the number one reason why children are admitted to SOS family strengthening programmes is poverty [1], this goal is central to the work of SOS Children’s Villages. We are passionate about helping poor families and communities break the cycle of poverty by helping them build their capacities and resilience, and improving access to education and vocational training, including for young adults.

Goal 4 – Ensure quality education for all

It is tremendously important to ensure that every child and young person has access to quality education, regardless of their background. Education not only impacts the individual, but also the individual's community and society. Globally, 263 million children between 6 and 17 years were out of school in 2015 [2]. Children and youth without parental care and young people in emergency situations often face additional challenges when trying to access educational opportunities.

Every child and young person receiving support from SOS Children’s Villages is helped to access education – from nursery school right up to university or vocational training.

Goal 8 – Create equal job opportunities for all

In 2014, 73.3 million young people were unemployed, and the global youth unemployment rate reached 13% – almost three times the rate for adults [3]. Everyone of working age should have the opportunity to find decent work to support themself and live a life with dignity.

SOS Children’s Villages supports young people without parental care in developing the skills and self-confidence they need to develop skills needed in the job market and to get decent work. We give young people access to training, mentorships and internships through innovative partnerships with companies such as Deutsche Post DHL Group. We also help parents from vulnerable families access vocational training, so they can find decent work and give their children a brighter future.

Goal 10 – Reduce inequality within and among countries

No one should suffer from discrimination, or be denied equal access to opportunities on the basis of race, gender, religion, disability, culture or family background. Sadly, children who do not have the support of a stable family are less likely to have access to their rights, such as education, health care, citizenship and protection; they run a higher risk of experiencing social exclusion, poverty and other forms of inequality.

SOS Children’s Villages advocates for laws and practices that ensure equal opportunities, social inclusion and non-discrimination for children and young people who have lost their parents, as well as children from poor or marginalised households.

Goal 16 – Promote peaceful and inclusive societies

All children must be protected from violence, abuse, exploitation or neglect. Yet some 25% of adults report that they experienced physical violence as children [4]. That is unacceptable. SOS Children's Villages works to safeguard and protect all children, through building awareness about child abuse and neglect, and supporting prevention, reporting and responding.

Join us in working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and making a better life for every child.

Read news about the SDGs. 

[1] 2016. SOS Children’s Villages Facts and Figures 2015.
[2] 2016. UNESCO Institute for Statistics Policy Paper 27/Fact Sheet 37:
Leaving no one behind: How far on the way to universal primary and secondary education?
[3] 2015. ILO Global Employment Trends for Youth 2015.
[4] 2016. WHO Fact Sheet °150 'Child Maltreatment' [Accessed 4 August 2016.]