Sustainable Development Goals

Through Eco-Schools Scotland, we would like you to join with the rest of the world in working towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and we know that young people in Scottish schools can help this happen!

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

The Sustainable Development Goals are a set of global priorities for ensuring that economic, environmental, social and cultural wellbeing is achieved for everyone around the world. They are ambitious goals for governments across the world to achieve, but there is a lot we can do at school and at home to support them.

Who decided on the goals?

In 2000 the UN agreed eight Millennium Development Goals with the aim to work towards tackling issues of the time – extreme poverty, education, gender equality, child mortality, maternal health, AIDS /HIV and other diseases, environmental issues and global partnerships. Some of the goals were met, like to halve the proportion of people living on less than $1 a day, but to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger is far from being achieved - 800 million people still live in extreme poverty! Therefore, new goals were developed. In 2015, after consulting millions of people and organisations across the world, the final decision about what the goals would be was made by the governments of the United Nations.

Why are the goals important?

The goals aim to end poverty, protect the planet and try to make sure that everyone around the world is living comfortably.  All very important and worthwhile goals to work towards! Each goal has specific targets for governments to achieve over the next 14 years. In schools, we can help to support the meeting of these targets.

How can you play your part in achieving these goals?

In your school we know you already do lots of excellent work to make the world clean, green and more sustainable! We are going to ask you to make links between your Eco-Schools projects and one of the Sustainable Development Goals so you will be able to record, monitor and evaluate your progress in helping achieve these goals.

What shall we do now?

Explore the Sustainable Development Goals by clicking on the icons below. You will find lots of additional information about each goal, along with possible learning activities, curricular links and additional resources. Decide which goal most suits the work you will be doing in your school and think about how your work locally links to what is being done globally. 

You can find out how our work across Keep Scotland Beautiful contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals.

An Introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals

In your school we know you already do lots of excellent work to make the world cleaner, greener and more sustainable. We are going to ask you to make links between your Eco-Schools projects and one of the Sustainable Development goals.  Download our Introduction to the Goals, with ideas for learning activities, curricular links and resources.

Download An Introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Engaging with the Sustainable Development Goals – A Secondary Teacher’s Experience

Through learner engagement with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, secondary teacher Jo Fraser has recognised the positive impact on the pupils she worked with and is excited about the diverse and significant opportunities for learning that arise when embedded throughout the secondary curriculum.

Read the full article from Learning for Sustainability Scotland

Printable Global Goals Bunting

Perfect to hang in your classroom or to decorate a bulletin board. Adapted from materials provided by The World’s Largest Lesson.

Print some Global Goals Bunting

United Nations - All Aboard for Global Goals!

Thomas & Friends have collaborated with the UN to teach children and parents about 6 of these Global Goals. On this site, you will find video Life Lessons from our favorite blue engine, Thomas, as well as Parent Tips with activities to help talk to young children about why achieving these Goals is important for everyone in the world.  

Visit the All Aboard for Global Goals site.

UN Regional Information Centre - Go Goals! Board Game

The game aims to help teach children around the world about the Sustainable Development Goals in a simple and child-friendly way. 

Download Go Goals game materials.

The World's Largest Lesson

An excellent opportunity to teach a lesson or assembly about the Global Goals encouraging them to think about what they can do.  Resources are available for all ages and include: animations, assembly materials on the goals, videos to generate discussion, films for younger children from Hippoworks called "Simon Says Save the Climate" and a series of lesson plans on a wide range of topics.

Browse resources from The World's Largest Lesson

Exploring the Global Goals - TES Online

Help children and young people explore the goals in more detail with resources from TES Online. Lots of free downloadable resources including lesson plans, activities and games to introduce the goals to pupils of all ages.

Browse Global Goals resources on TES Online 

The World We Want - A Guide to the Goals for Children and Young People

This tool was originally developed Movimiento Mundial la Infania de Latinoamerica y El Caribe (Global Movement for Children in Latin America and the Caribbean) and partners, including UNICEF, to teach children about the SDGs in a simple and child-friendly way. It has now been updated and integrated into the World's Largest Lesson Initiative and is available in ten languages so far.

Download the guide in English French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, Bengali, Indonesian, or Hindi

The Planet and the 17 Goals

A brilliant introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals in comic form from Unicef, The World's Largest Lesson and Comics Uniting Nations. Read the whole comic with your class or print only one page for a specific goal.  Free to use and print.

Download the comic to print or read it online.

Comics Uniting Nations

Comics Uniting Nations is a partnership of UNICEF, PCI Media, World's Largest Lesson, PVBLIC Foundation and Reading with Pictures, to make the Sustainable Development Goals accessible to the citizens of the world through comics.

Visit Comics Uniting Nations website.

Foundation for Environmental Education - Positive Actions for the SDGs

Examples of positive action on the Sustainable Development Goals in the Eco-Schools programme and the concept of handprint actions as behavioural outcomes to achieve each of the SDGs. Includes examples from India, Northern Ireland, Madagascar, the United States and Uganda.

Read the document

Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools - Linking Mandarin and the Goals

Resources that enable teachers and learners to explore Mandarin and China in the context of the United Nations' Goals for Sustainable Development. Includes a Learner Passport for the Goals and a planning document.

Download resources on Mandarin and the Goals.

United Nations - SDG Book Club

The SDG Book Club aims to use books as a tool to encourage children ages 6-12 to interact with the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a curated reading list of books from around the world related to each of the 17 SDGs in all six official UN languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

Have a look at the SDG Book Club


Watch: Leave No One Behind

At the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals is a commitment to leave no one behind. That’s because, although we have made huge progress towards a better world, too many people have been left behind because of who they are or where they live.

Watch: A Look at the Sustainable Development Goals

On September 25th 2015, 193 world leaders committed to 17 Global Goals to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years. End extreme poverty. Fight inequality & injustice. Fix climate change. The Global Goals for sustainable development could get these things done. In all countries. For all people. A video from the United Nations Foundation www.globalgoals.org

Malala Introducing the Sustainable Development Goals

Malala Yousafzai introduces this brilliant animation which talks about the Sustainable Development Goals and what we can all do to help to achieve them.

Sustainable Development Goals - Improve Life All Around the Globe

A hip hop music video that was produced by Flocabulary in partnership with the Education Outreach Section of the United Nations Department of Public Information. A good overview of all 17 Goals in just over two minutes!

The Global Goals - Numbers in Action 

This beautiful animation shows what the world could look like if we achieve some the Global Goals by 2030. It looks at a selection of global issues, from extreme poverty to gender equality, and tracks the progress that has been made from the start of the millennium. 

The Global Goals - Zero Hunger Film

A short film introducing Goal 2: Zero Hunger

International Institute for Environment and Development - Bringing the Sustainable Development Goals to Life

All 17 Sustainable Development Goals in just three minutes, an animation designed to communicate what the SDGs are, why they are needed, and why we need to take collective action.

UN Association of Norway and UNICEF Norway - What is Sustainable Development?

A brilliant simple introduction to sustainable development and the Global Goals. 

UN Association of Norway and UNICEF Norway - Operation Sustainability

An introduction to sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The film is produced by Animaskin on behalf of the UN Association of Norway, and is part of an interdisciplinary education programme for primary and secondary schools in Norway.

ScotDec - Future Focus: Exploring the SDGs

This film-focused resource has been created to bring together short and engaging films, with a focus on stimulating debate around a variety of global issues.  A session plan accompanies every film including details about the film, a workshop outline and a visual template for participants to fill in. No film lasts longer than 20 minutes and they were all selected by young people for young people.

Browse films and session plans.

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