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The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which Italy contributed to shaping in the UN negotiations, is an ambitious plan to eradicate poverty and promote economic prosperity, social development and environmental protection on a global scale.

The preamble of the Declaration “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” reads as follows: “We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and we want to heal and secure our planet for present and future generations. We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this great collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind“.

While emphasising the goal of poverty eradication by 2030, the new Agenda focuses on economic, social, environmental integration and on development governance, and urge all countries to engage in a common development path without leaving anyone behind. The five “Ps” – People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership – are the principles on which the Agenda is based.

The Agenda defines 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets to be pursued over the next 15 years. The Sustainable Development Goals aim to tackle systemic obstacles to development, such as inequality, unsustainable production and consumption systems, inadequate infrastructure, lack of decent work, climate change and the loss of ecosystems and biodiversity. Each of the 17 goals is, in turn, structured into measurable targets and indicators to ensure ongoing monitoring. The UN Statistical Commission and an ad-hoc group of experts (the “Inter-Agency Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators”) are working on the definition of a set of about 240 global social, economic, environmental and governance indicators related to the 169 targets to measure progress.

The 2030 Agenda aims to be transformative and universal. Transformative, because it seeks to change the way society, the production system and the environment relate one another. Universal, because the Agenda applies not only to developing countries, but to all countries, recognising that the sustainability of development processes goes well beyond the scope of national implementation and requires policy and behavioural coherence at the global level. Progress in implementing the Agenda shall be verified and monitored at different levels. Hence the emphasis laid on the follow-up and review mechanism of the Agenda’s implementation, based on multi-player (governments, but also the other components of society, such as Parliaments, NGOs, academic institutions, the private sector) and multi-level (national, regional and global) participation. A new UN institution, the High-level Political Forum, recently established for this purpose, will take care of the Agenda’s follow-up. At the national level, the National Council for Development Cooperation will play a key role in monitoring and verifying the implementation of the Agenda as to development cooperation.

On the Italian side, implementation will follow two lines: the first regarding internal implementation and the second regarding the adaptation of the development cooperation strategy to the new Agenda.

In parallel, Italy will participate in the reflection on reforming the modus operandi of the UN System for Development in order to adapt it to the integrated vision stemming from the 2030 Agenda and improve its overall effectiveness.


The Addis Ababa Action Plan

At the end of a complex negotiation process, at the Third Conference on Financing for Development held in Addis Ababa in July 2015, the international community agreed on a new framework relating to the implementation and financing of sustainable development. The key points of the Addis Ababa Action Plan are the following:

  • to promote the mobilisation and effective use of domestic resources, also through the strengthening of taxation and tax systems;
  • to involve the private sector more closely in global sustainable development;
  • to facilitate the transfer of science, innovation and technology to developing countries;
  • to promote international trade as an engine for inclusive economic growth;
  • to promote new models of public-private financing;
  • to facilitate the sending of migrants’ remittances to their countries of origin, in particular by reducing money transfer costs;
  • to ensure debt sustainability and facilitate debt restructuring in Least Developed Countries, fragile countries and small island States;
  • to strengthen international cooperation, particularly in Least Developed Countries, fragile States and countries most in need.


With a view to eradicating poverty and achieving a new balance based on sustainable development, we need to broaden the horizon and move away from the logic of mere financial aid. Bearing this in mind, the Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa tackled the issue of the “implementation tools” that shall support the new 2030 Agenda – coherence of development policies, national strategies for sustainable development, transfer of technology and innovation – and of the resources needed to achieve its goals, thus completing the path started in Monterrey in 2002 and in Doha in 2008.