United Nations SDG’s

After writing 6 blogs on internationalisation in higher education, there is still a major topic that gets, and deserves a lot of attention nowadays: the United Nations Sustainable development goals. There are Facebook pages dedicated to them, like this one and this one. Of course the United Nations have a dedicated page.

The sustainable development goals, what are they? Well, to quote the UN: “The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. The Goals interconnect and in order to leave no one behind, it ís important that we achieve each Goal and target by 2030. Click on any specific Goal below to learn more about each issue.”

More explanation can be found in this video:

The goals are a follow up of the millennium goals. The MDG’s where, to quote the United Nations: “revolutionary in providing a common language to reach global agreement. The goals were realistic and easy to communicate, with a clear measurement and monitoring mechanism”



In 2015, when the MDG’s expired, the results appeared to be uneven. Therefore, the focus shifted to building a sustainable world where environmental sustainability, social inclusion, and economic development are equally valued. Which let to the Sustainable Development Goals, the SDG’s. In July 2014, the UN General Assembly proposed a document with 17 goals. This document set the ground for the new SDGs and the global development agenda spanning from 2015-2030. The picture on the left shows the 17 goals. 

Why are these SDG’s important in relation to miscommunication? Or to intercultural communication? Or to higher education. Well, in order for the SDG’s to be reached, a big responsibility is given to, and accepted by all levels of education world wide. Focus groups around the 17 goals have been formed vertically and horizontally through all different levels and programs, asking questions related to fields and levels. For example, how can an elementary school and a law university work together on goal 16: peace, justice and strong institutions. According to the UN this is the goals to start with in order to achieve any one of the other goals. At the moment  joint teams work national and international at setting boundaries, interpretations and internal goals to make sure all 17 goals can be implemented in the existing curricula before 2020, and that’s how they relate to higher education.

Now as the MDG’s did have some uneven results due to miscommunication and misinterpretation between levels, fields and cultures, the SGD’s have the opportunity to learn from this and avoid any pitfalls. Which, by the set up of the SDG’s is fully calculated and acted upon. In short, a fantastic subject and case study to learn more about intercultural (mis)communication.