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19/07/15 10:20

Leading the way in tackling inequality

Scotland among first countries to adopt UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Scotland will become one of the first countries in the world to sign up to a new international action plan to tackle poverty and inequality and promote sustainable development across the globe, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The First Minister confirmed that Scotland will adopt the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which outline a number of high-level objectives for countries, including ending poverty, ensuring access to education and achieving gender equality.

The SDGs will form the basis of a global partnership for sustainable development with the engagement of governments, as well as civil society, the private sector, and the United Nations system.

The Goals, which will be formally confirmed at the 70th regular session of the UN’s General Assembly in New York in September, align with the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework, with Scotland’s progress in achieving the objectives subject to formal reporting back to the UN.

The First Minister said:

“The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals offer a vision of the world that I believe people in Scotland share. From ending poverty and hunger; securing education and health services; combating inequality and achieving gender equality, the aims set out by the UN form an agenda for tackling some of the world’s greatest problems.

“Unlike their forerunner – the Millennium Development Goals – these new aims will not be restricted to developing countries. Instead they will be universal, applying to all countries – including Scotland.

“That is why I am delighted to confirm that Scotland has become one of the first nations on Earth to publically sign up to these goals and provide international leadership on reducing inequality across the globe.

“By signing up, we as a government will be required to demonstrate how we will work to achieve these targets by 2030. Fortunately, many of the goals chime with what we in Scotland are already doing to tackle poverty and inequality, not just here at home but globally too.

“We are in the fortunate position that Scotland’s aims and ambitions, enshrined in our National Performance Framework and Scotland’s National Action Plan on Human Rights– such as tackling inequality ensuring access to high quality education and healthcare – are already a key part of the Sustainable Development Goals. This will allow us to measure and report on progress in achieving the SDGs in Scotland.

“So, by becoming one of the first countries in the world to sign up to the new Sustainable Development Goals, Scotland is leading the way on addressing some of the major issues of our time.

“We need to grasp the opportunity that following this path offers to create a fairer Scotland and a better world both now and for generations to come.”

Alexander Mejia, a director of The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) said:

“The United Nations is leading the global dialogue towards a renewed agenda for development. UNITAR has been tasked with the ever important responsibility of building the capacity of national, regional and local governments to ensure the new Sustainable Development Goals are embraced and achieved as planned between 2014 and 2030.

“We are doing it with the support of important partners, including the Scottish Government, and with Scottish expertise based at our international training centre in Edinburgh: CIFAL Scotland. I sincerely admire First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's strategic vision and commend her commitment to the future of our planet.”

Notes to editors

The move to develop the Sustainable Development Goals was agreed at the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development held in Brazil in 2012. The Goals will build on the work of the Millennium Development Goals, which gave developing countries a series of high level objectives such as reducing poverty and halting the spread of HIV/Aids.

The Sustainable Development Goals will be formally confirmed at the forthcoming regular session of the General Assembly in September. This follows the agreement stuck this week in Addis Ababa for financing the Goals.

More information is available at -

The Goals are as follows:

Goal 1 End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Goal 2 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Goal 3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Goal 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Goal 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Goal 6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Goal 7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Goal 8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Goal 9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Goal 10 Reduce inequality within and among countries
Goal 11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Goal 12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Goal 13 Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Goal 14 Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Goal 15 Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Goal 16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Goal 17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Scotland’s National Performance Framework can be found here -

Scotland’s National Action Plan on Human Rights can be found here -