The UN Sustainable Development Goals
Learn how the UN SDG's are helping the UK become sustainable.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Established in 2015, the SDGs aim to achieve a sustainable and equitable future for all by 2030.
There are 17 SDGs that address a wide range of social, economic, and environmental issues. These goals include no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, life on land, peace, justice and strong institutions, and partnerships for the goals.
How the UK is taking steps to implement the SDG’s
The UK has made a commitment to achieve the SDGs and has taken significant steps towards implementing them. The government has developed a national strategy for sustainable development, which sets out how the UK will achieve the SDGs and has established a network of stakeholders from different sectors to collaborate on SDG implementation.
In particular, the UK has focused on SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), SDG 13 (Climate Action), and SDG 15 (Life on Land). For instance, the UK has set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote renewable energy, and phase out petrol and diesel vehicles. It has also implemented policies to promote biodiversity net gain in new development projects and protect and restore natural ecosystems.
The UK government is also working with businesses, civil society, and other stakeholders to ensure that the SDGs are integrated into their operations and decision-making processes. Companies are encouraged to report on their progress towards achieving the SDGs in their annual reports. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of global collaboration and the need for a sustainable and resilient future. The SDGs provide a roadmap for building back better and creating a more equitable and sustainable world.
SDG 15: Life on Land
One of the SDGs that the UK is particularly focusing on is SDG 15, which aims to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss. To achieve this goal, the UK has implemented the policy of "biodiversity net gain" in new development projects.
Biodiversity net gain requires developers to enhance or create habitats for wildlife to compensate for any biodiversity loss that occurs as a result of new developments. This means that any development must have a net gain in biodiversity, ensuring that the overall ecological value of the site is higher after development than before. The UK government has published guidance on how to measure and calculate biodiversity, how to implement biodiversity enhancements, and how to plan and deliver biodiversity net gain in development projects. The policy is also embedded in the planning system, meaning that developers are required to demonstrate how they will achieve biodiversity net gain as part of their planning application.
The construction industry plays a vital role in achieving biodiversity net gain, and many developers and contractors in the UK are taking action to meet biodiversity goals. For example, some developers are incorporating sustainable solutions and green infrastructure into their projects to increase biodiversity and provide habitats for wildlife. In addition, the UK government has launched the Biodiversity Net Gain Pilot Projects, which involves working with a range of partners to trial and test the implementation of biodiversity net gain in different development contexts. The aim is to learn from these projects and develop best practice guidance that developers and local authorities across the UK can use.
Overall, the policy of biodiversity net gain is crucial to achieving SDG 15 and promoting sustainable development in the UK. The construction industry has an essential role to play in meeting biodiversity goals, and the UK government is taking steps to support and encourage developers and contractors to implement biodiversity enhancements in their projects. The SDGs are a global call to action for a more sustainable and equitable future. By working together, we can build a better future for all.