What is the UN?
The United Nations, or UN for short, is a global organisation formed in 1945. It includes ambassadors from 170 countries who make decisions on international issues like human rights and peacekeeping.
What does the UN have to do with sustainability?
In 2016, the UN created the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are 17 goals intended to be achieved by 2030. They include things like conserving our oceans and responsible consumption and production. There are 169 targets and 232 indicators that are intended to help measure the success of the goals.
Is sustainability just about the environment?
No. Sustainability is often associated with the environment, but it isn’t only about being eco-friendly. The UN SDGs cover many different aspects of life around the world, from poverty to gender inequality.
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What is the difference between sustainability and sustainable development?
Sustainability and sustainable development can often get confused with each other, but they are different. Sustainability is the thing we are working towards – the thing we want to achieve. “Sustainable development is a broad term to describe policies, projects and investments that provide benefits today without sacrificing environmental, social and personal health in the future.” (WHO n.d.)
Even though it uses the word ‘development’, sustainable development doesn’t necessarily mean growth or expansion. It’s about making progress while balancing the needs of the economy, environment, and society. For example, solar energy is a sustainable development because it gives us power without polluting the environment – so it is beneficial economically (jobs are created to make solar panels and install them etc.), environmentally (doesn’t pollute the environment or use up limited resources) and socially (still gives us power so that we can complete our daily tasks, and doesn’t damage our health with pollution).
World Health Organization (WHO) (n.d.) Sustainable Development, WHO website, accessed 27 February 2023. https://www.who.int/health-topics/sustainable-development#tab=tab_1