Sustainable Development Goals

In many respects, the concept of sustainability is the basis for national and international environmental and nature conservation agreements, which, among other things, also deal with the preservation of forests.

The Aichi targets (Aichi Biodiversity Targets) were formulated in 1993 to implement the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD). They envisage halving the loss of habitat by 2020, halting overfishing of the oceans and designating more areas as protected areas.

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (Millenium Development Goals, MDGs) were formulated in 2000 for the year 2015 to counter the continuing global deterioration of nature and the environment and to promote and combat issues such as health and poverty. Ecological sustainability is one of the 8 goals (MDGs).

Subsequently, in 2015, the UN further defined the 17 sustainable development goals (Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs) as part of Agenda 2030 (MGDs->SDGs). These are intended to ensure sustainable development at ecological, social and economic levels and bring together all three dimensions of sustainability for the first time. These SDGs are thus in line with the CBD to achieve the Aichi biodiversity goals.


You will find a variety of online offers and information about the SDGs. The German government offers a special introduction under the motto: Die Glorreichen 17 (note: meaning The Glorious 17, following the German title of the movie The Magnificent Seven, 1960). The pages of the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) (2030Watch) show the individual SDGs and the progress made in implementing the indicators in Germany. The adaptation to the Agenda 2030 is defined at national level in the updated version of the German Sustainability Strategy.

The SDGs are addressed to all humankind, including governments, companies, scientists and civil society. They basically cover everything that is needed to ensure a sustainable and good life. This includes, for example, combating poverty and hunger, preserving biodiversity, and strengthening advocacy for peace.

Our OpenGeoEdu project also addresses various aspects of the UN's sustainability goals. The most important are:

  • OpenGeoEdu corresponds well with the SDGs, because it itself pursues SDG 4 ("High Quality Education") for good and accessible education. This is guaranteed by the open online course and freely accessible content.
  • Another important objective is SDG 15 ("Life on Land"): this includes, among other things, indicator 15.1.1, forest area, expressed as a share of the total land area.
  • Another aspect covered in our learning units is addressing urban green spaces and trees using free geo- and remote sensing data. SDG 11 ("Sustainable Cities and Municipalities") also aims at sustainable urban development. General access to public places and green spaces is an important subgoal.

In the course part GIS you can also work on your own topic for a SDG indicator of your choice in this exercise.