Ayah Nimer Sharif

Executive Assistant to MP Dima Jamali

Journalist / Communication Coordinator at Dialectic

Since the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the UN General Assembly during the year 2015, a vast array of initiatives, legislations, conferences and events have occurred; what do really people perceive about the SDGs? What entices them when it comes to sustainability? For the very first time, these questions encountered the essence of a global survey entitled “The Global Survey on Sustainability and the SDGs”.

The Global Survey on Sustainability and the SDGs has been conducted with the contribution of approximately 27,000 individuals and representatives coming from various sectors such as politics, business, science and research in addition to addressing media and civil society. The aim of the survey was to assess their perceptions and expectations regarding sustainability and the SDGs. Indeed, the ultimate purpose was to prioritize relevant environmental, social and economic challenges in respective countries and sectors, and to determine the utmost urgency of action. The survey released essential facts with respect to the SDGs where its key findings are listed below.

  1. Less than half of the respondents worldwide are aware of the SDGs

While the concept of sustainability is very well understood unfortunately this is not the case with the SDGs. The worldwide average awareness level of the sustainable development goals is below 50% (Awareness levels in the European Union ranged 56% while in Germany marked 46%). However, the actual awareness level percentages were likely to be significantly lower of only 37%.

  1. The highest priorities with respect to the SDGs revolved around SDG 13 relating to Climate Action, SDG 4 relating to Quality Education and SDG3 relating to Good Health and Well Being

Climate Action (SDG13) is the most frequently cited SDG of personal interest followed by Quality Education (SDG4), and Good Health and Well Being (SDG3). It is imperative to mention that No Poverty (SDG1) and Zero Hunger (SDG2) were marked as the most alarming socio-economic challenges in Africa and the MENA region.

  1. Youths prioritized Climate Action, whereas older generations were more likely oriented towards Good Health and Well Being (SDG3) along with Quality Education (SDG3)

Young people aged between 15 up to 29 years have rated Climate Action as having the highest and utmost priority, unlike respondents who belonged to older generations (aged between 30 to 40 years) who gave the top priority to Good health and wellbeing (SDG3) and Quality Education (SDG4). Respondents aged 50 and above emphasized on the SDGs relating to environmental aspects such as: Life below Water (SDG 14) and Life on Land (SDG15).

  1. There is a significant gap between gender and regional orientation, when assessing the importance of Gender Equality (SDG5) 

Worldwide, SDG 5 relating to Gender Equality has been cited as an SDG with direct and crucial importance by 31% of female respondents compared to 15% of male participants. However, male respondents expressed that they have witnessed a significantly greater improvement in this goal more than female respondents.

  1. Governments are the key players behind pertaining sustainability!

In correspondence to the stated at the beginning of the article, “Who do you expect to drive the implementation of SDGs in your homeland?”, respondents cited governments as the key players behind sustainability ahead of the private sector, research institutions, non-governmental organizations and media.

For further insights on the SDGs in the complexity of a globalized world and the associated evolving socio-economic challenges to sustainable development, keep your eyes keen on our website and social media platforms.

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