The goals are broad based and interdependent. The 17 sustainable development goals each have a list of targets that are measured with indicators.
Key to making the SDGs successful is to make the data on the 17 goals available and understandable. Various tools exist to track and visualize progress towards the goals.
In 1972, governments met in Stockholm, Sweden for the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, to consider the rights of the family to a healthy and productive environment. In September 2011, this idea was picked up by the United Nations Department of Public Information 64th NGO Conference in Bonn, Germany. The outcome document proposed 17 sustainable development goals and associated targets.
In January 2013, the 30-member UN General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals was established to identify specific goals for the SDGs.
Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary-General from 2007 to 2016, has stated in a November 2016 press conference that: "We don’t have plan B because there is no planet B! ” This thought has guided the development of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Post-2015 Development Agenda was a process from 2012 to 2015 led by the United Nations to define the future global development framework that would succeed the Millennium Development Goals.
The SDGs were developed to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which ended in 2015. The gaps and shortcomings of MDG Goal 8 (To develop a global partnership for development) led to identifying a problematic "donor-recipient" relationship. Instead, the new SDGs favor collective action by all countries.
The UN-led process involved its 193 Member States and global civil society. The resolution is a broad intergovernmental agreement that acts as the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The SDGs build on the principles agreed upon in resolution entitled ‘The Future We Want’. This was a non-binding document released as a result of Rio+20 Conference held in 2012.
Negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda began in January 2015 and ended in August 2015.
The negotiations ran in parallel to United Nations negotiations on financing for development, which determined the financial means of implementing the Post-2015 Development Agenda; those negotiations resulted in adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda in July 2015. A final document was adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015 in New York.
On 25 September 2015, the 193 countries of the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Development Agenda titled "Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In the same vein, the High-level Political Forum, United Nations central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, provides for the full and effective participation of all states members of the United Nations and states members of specialized agencies.
The meeting of the high-level political forum on sustainable development in 2019 convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council, was held from 9 July to 18 July 2019.