Understanding the SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda

This section of the website aims to make sense of the Sustainable Development Goals and the post-Millennium Development Goals processes.

The concept for the sustainable development goals (SDGs) is based upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight international goals that were established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000. The Goals - which include halving extreme poverty rates, halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education – aim to galvanise efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest.

All 193 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organisations have agreed to achieve these goals by the year 2015.

As the MDGs entered its final 3 year stretch, determining a new development agenda became an urgent priority for the international community and a number of international processes were launched to contribute to the development of a successor framework. The Open Working Group on the SDGs was the supreme process in the development of a successor framework to come into effect in 2016. 

To help clarify the complex processes concerning the elaboration of the Sustainable Development Goals and the other corresponding processes, please refer to the resources provided through the left hand sidebar menu.

Timeline of key events


UN Open Working Group

UN Logo, picture by Andrew Comings