Female engineer volunteering development together

Volunteering and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

In 1992, the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), better known as the Earth Summit, was held in Rio de Janeiro. This is where Agenda 21 – The Action Plan for Sustainable Development was created. Sustainable Development aims at meeting the needs of this generation without harming the needs of future generations.

Globally, individuals, organizations, businesses and governments aim to achieve these goals. These goals are crucial to maintaining safe, healthy and quality conditions for our future generations. Reviewing these goals encourages us to monitor and stay on track regarding sustainability. These goals show us that the small changes we make in our everyday lives, like turning the tap off, and using public transport, can and does help better the world for our future generations.

Each of us can implement certain habits and practices in our daily life to assure we contribute to the achievement of these goals. We do not have to completely change our daily routine, but even a few small steps will make a great difference. For example – we can stop using plastic straws. To be perfectly honest we don’t really need them, and by discontinuing our use of straws we are contributing to Goal #14 – Life Below Water: Focus and determine sustainable solutions for our oceans, as we have helped to improve the conditions of our oceans and potentially we have prevented harming an animal that may have died because of that plastic straw. Yes, it is as simple as that. Imagine how much we could do if we all implemented a few small changes in our lives. Amazing isn’t it?

Here, we list all of the UN Sustainable Development Goals with our suggestions about what we can do to make the world a better place for ourselves and future generations. Goal 1 – No Poverty: Promoting sustainable jobs and equality through inclusion

What we can do: Purchase items created by sustainable and Fair Trade organisation, with a focus on gender equality


Goal 2 – Zero Hunger: Aimed at trying to eradicate hunger and poverty

What we can do: Try not to waste or throw away food and only purchase what you intend to use. Over 1/3 of the world’s food is wasted!


Goal 3 – Good Health and Well-Being: Healthy living and well-being for all

What we can do: Vaccinate your family to protect them and others in our communities and improve public health


Goal 4 – Quality Education: Gaining an education is crucial to improving people’s lives

What we can do: Volunteer in a school and help children in your community to read


Goal 5 – Gender Equality: It is a human right and important for sustainable development

What we can do: Speak out against inappropriate behaviour and support those who are marginalized


Goal 6 – Clean water and sanitation: Clean accessible water for all is essential

What we can do: Turn off your taps properly and take shorter showers


Goal 7 – Affordable and clean energy: Energy is crucial to all our development endeavors

What we can do: Only use energy efficient appliances and reduce your reliance on petrol/gasoline


Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth: Sustainable economic growth will promote appropriate conditions for people to work in

What we can do: Support companies that promote equal opportunity employment and provide appropriate work conditions for their staff


Goal 9 – Industry, Innovation and infrastructure: Investments in infrastructure and innovation must work simultaneously to achieve this goal

What we can do: Come up with innovative ways to re-purpose material


Goal 10 – Reduced inequalities: Policies must be non-bias and take into consideration marginalized communities

What we can do: Speak out against inequalities and biases


Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities: Create a future where everyone in the community is provided with basic needs and services

What we can do: Partner with a local not-for-profit to enhance people’s access to appropriate housing and food


Goal 12 – Responsible Production and Consumption: Promote resource and energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, basic services and decent jobs

What we can do: Encourage your local government to consider how they allocate resources in your local area


Goal 13 – Climate Action: Our climate has been heating up in the past decades, we need to come up with sustainable solutions to stop this

What we can do: Educate people on climate change and recycle paper, plastic, glass and aluminium


Goal 14 – Life Below Water: Focus and determine sustainable solutions for our oceans

What we can do: Avoid plastic bags and straws to keep the oceans safe and clean


Goal 15 – Life on Land: Manage and prevent threats to our land such as desertification and land degradation

What we can do: Plant a tree and help protect the environment


Goal 16 – Peace, Justice and strong Institutions: Access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels

What we can do: Use your right to elect the leaders in your county and local community


Goal 17–Partnerships for the Goals: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

What we can do: Get the SD’s in Action app to learn about the Goals and ways to achieve them


Lastly, if you feel like you could do even more than that, this is what Development Together is here for. Volunteering is the next step you can take in order to help people all over the world to improve their lives. This will also have a positive impact on your own well being as volunteering has known psychological, physical and emotional benefits – see our previous post www.developmenttogether.com/benefits-of-volunteering-and-international-internships/

Learn more about how you can get involved by visiting our website at https://developmenttogether.com or email admin@developmenttogether.com.



Read Further: The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals along with the description, advice and icons has been taken from the official UN website. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

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