Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals

A short compilation of Baha'i texts related to each goal.


The Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by world leaders at a UN Summit on the 2030 Agenda in September 2015, will be at the heart of international, national and ideally local action for justice and sustainability until 2030. The following compilation shows how each goal relates to Baha'i principles as expressed in the Baha'i writings and statements of the Baha'i International Community.


Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Poverty can be described as the absence of those ethical, social and material resources needed to develop the moral, intellectual and social capacities of individuals, communities and institutions.... the goal at hand is not only to remove the ills of poverty but to engage the masses of humanity in the construction of a just global order. (Bahá'í International Community, Eradicating Poverty: Moving Forward As One, 2008)

The technologies and resources exist to meet the basic needs of humanity and to eliminate poverty. Equity in the use of these technologies and resources, however, will come about only with certain understandings and commitments. While individuals must do their utmost to provide for themselves and their dependents, the community must accept responsibility, when necessary, to help meet basic needs. (Bahá'í International Community, Valuing Spirituality in Development: Initial Considerations Regarding the Creation of Spiritually Based Indicators for Development, 1998)

Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

The economics of food production and distribution will have to be reoriented and the critical role of the farmer in food and economic security properly valued. (Bahá'í International Community, Valuing Spirituality in Development: Initial Considerations Regarding the Creation of Spiritually Based Indicators for Development, 1998)

Food production and agriculture is the world's single largest source of employment.... Agriculture still represents the fundamental basis of economic and community life: malnourishment and food insecurity suffocate all attempts at development and progress.... The farmer must be accorded his or her rightful place in the processes of development and civilization building: as the villages are reconstructed, the cities will follow. (Bahá'í International Community, Eradicating Poverty: Moving Forward As One, 2008)

Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

With regard to health – the physical, spiritual, mental and social well-being of the individual – access to clean water, shelter, and some form of cheap energy would go a long way toward eradicating the problems that currently plague vast numbers of individuals and communities. (Bahá'í International Community, Valuing Spirituality in Development: Initial Considerations Regarding the Creation of Spiritually Based Indicators for Development, 1998)

Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all

Education must be lifelong. It should help people to develop the knowledge, values, attitudes and skills necessary to earn a livelihood and to contribute confidently and constructively to shaping communities that reflect principles of justice, equity and unity. It should also help the individual develop a sense of place and community, grounded in the local, but embracing the whole world. Successful education will cultivate virtue as the foundation for personal and collective well-being, and will nurture in individuals a deep sense of service and an active commitment to the welfare of their families, their communities, their countries, indeed, all mankind. (Bahá'í International Community. Valuing Spirituality in Development: Initial Considerations Regarding the Creation of Spiritually Based Indicators for Development, 1998)

Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

One of the most pervasive social challenges besetting communities around the world is the marginalization of girls and women.... Their responsibilities in families, in communities, as farmers and as stewards of natural resources make them uniquely positioned to develop strategies for adapting to changing environmental conditions. Women's distinct knowledge and needs complement those of men, and must be duly considered in all arenas of community decision-making. (Bahá'í International Community, Seizing the Opportunity: Redefining the challenge of climate change, 2008)

Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Wash ye every soiled thing with water that hath undergone no alteration.... Be ye the very essence of cleanliness amongst mankind.
Immerse yourselves in clean water; it is not permissible to bathe yourselves in water that hath already been used. (Bahá'u'lláh: The Kitáb-i-Aqdas)

Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all

A world federal system... bent on the exploitation of all the available sources of energy on the surface of the planet... (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 203-204)

Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Society must develop new economic models... furthering a dynamic, just and thriving social order. Such economic systems will be strongly altruistic and cooperative in nature; they will provide meaningful employment and will help to eradicate poverty in the world. (Bahá'í International Community, Valuing Spirituality in Development: Initial Considerations Regarding the Creation of Spiritually Based Indicators for Development, 1998)

Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

The owners of properties, mines and factories should share their incomes with their employees and give a fairly certain percentage of their products to their workingmen in order that the employees may receive, beside their wages, some of the general income of the factory ('Abdu'l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 43-44)

The dominant model of development depends on a society of vigorous consumers of material goods.... This preoccupation with the production and accumulation of material objects and comforts... has consolidated itself in the structures of power and information to the exclusion of competing voices and paradigms. The unfettered cultivation of needs and wants has led to a system fully dependent on excessive consumption for a privileged few, while reinforcing exclusion, poverty and inequality, for the majority. (Bahá'í International Community, Rethinking Prosperity: Forging Alternatives to a Culture of Consumerism, 2010)

Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

All too many of these ideologies...callously abandon starving millions to the operations of a market system that all too clearly is aggravating the plight of the majority of mankind, while enabling small sections to live in a condition of affluence scarcely dreamed of by our forebears.... Why is the vast majority of the world's peoples sinking ever deeper into hunger and wretchedness when wealth on a scale undreamed of... is at the disposal of the present arbiters of human affairs? (Universal House of Justice, The Promise of World Peace, 1985, I, p. 6-7)

It is the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few that is in urgent need of attention. (Bahá'í International Community, Eradicating Poverty: Moving Forward As One, 2008)

Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Our challenge... is to redesign and develop our communities around those universal principles -- including love, honesty, moderation, humility, hospitality, justice and unity -- which promote social cohesion, and without which no community, no matter how economically prosperous, intellectually endowed or technologically advanced, can long endure. (Bahá'í International Community. Sustainable Communities in an Integrating World, 1996)

Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Take from this world only to the measure of your needs, and forego that which exceedeth them. (Bahá'u'lláh, Súriy-i-Mulúk §19, in The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 193)

Sustainable production is not simply about ‘greener’ technology but rather, should involve systems that enable all human beings to contribute to the productive process. In such a system, all are producers, and all have the opportunity to earn (or receive, if unable to earn) enough to meet their needs.
The concept of justice is embodied in the recognition that the interests of the individual and of the wider community are inextricably linked....
Ultimately, the transformation required to shift towards sustainable consumption and production will entail no less than an organic change in the structure of society itself so as to reflect fully the interdependence of the entire social body—as well as the interconnectedness with the natural world that sustains it. (Bahá'í International Community, Rethinking Prosperity: Forging Alternatives to a Culture of Consumerism, 2010)

Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Much has been said about the need for cooperation to solve a climate challenge that no nation or community can solve alone. The principle of the oneness of humankind... seeks to... anchor the aspirations of individuals, communities and nations to those of the progress of humanity.... As children, women, men, religious and scientific communities as well as governments and international institutions converge on this reality, we will do more than achieve a collective response to the climate change crisis. We will usher in a new paradigm by means of which we can understand our purpose and responsibilities in an interconnected world.... (Bahá'í International Community, Seizing the Opportunity: Redefining the challenge of climate change, 2008)

Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

A world federal system, ruling the whole earth and exercising unchallengeable authority over its unimaginably vast resources.... A world legislature... will... ultimately control the entire resources of all the component nations.... The economic resources of the world will be organized, its sources of raw materials will be tapped and fully utilized, its markets will be coordinated and developed, and the distribution of its products will be equitably regulated. (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 203-204)

Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

In light of the interdependence of all parts of nature, and the importance of evolution and diversity "to the beauty, efficiency and perfection of the whole," every effort should be made to preserve as much as possible the earth's bio-diversity and natural order.
As trustees, or stewards, of the planet's vast resources and biological diversity, humanity must learn to make use of the earth's natural resources, both renewable and non-renewable, in a manner that ensures sustainability and equity into the distant reaches of time. (Bahá'í International Community, Valuing Spirituality in Development: Initial Considerations Regarding the Creation of Spiritually Based Indicators for Development, 1998)

Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development: Finance, Technology, Capacity-building, Trade, Systemic issues: Policy and institutional coherence, multi-stakeholder partnerships; data, monitoring and accountability

The pathway to sustainability will be one of empowerment, collaboration and continual processes of questioning, learning and action in all regions of the world. It will be shaped by the experiences of women, men, children, the rich, the poor, the governors and the governed as each one is enabled to play their rightful role in the construction of a new society. As the sweeping tides of consumerism, unfettered consumption, extreme poverty and marginalization recede, they will reveal the human capacities for justice, reciprocity and happiness. (Bahá'í International Community, Rethinking Prosperity: Forging Alternatives to a Culture of Consumerism, 2010)


REFERENCES

United Nations. 2015. Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Outcome document of the Summit for the adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, New York, 25-27 September 2015. A/70/L.1. New York: United Nations. http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/70/L.1&Lang=E

Dahl, Arthur Lyon. 2016. Using the new UN 2030 Agenda to work for justice at the local level. Paper presented at the 21st Justice Conference, de Poort, the Netherlands, 25-27 March 2016, on the theme "Justice In Action: From Local to Global". http://iefworld.org/ddahl16b


Last updated 14 June 2016