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Which is The Most Important Sustainable Development Goal?

Are some Sustainable Development Goals more useful than others?

Pollution is being captured in this image

Quick introduction

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs for short) are 17 goals set by the UN (United Nations) to make the world a better place (a little ironic since the UN is known for causing problems). They measure the progress of each of these goals by targets and indicators, which is information that can be accessed by anyone on their website. Among these Sustainable Development Goals, I think SDG 13 is the most important goal for us to focus on at the moment.

Unlucky number 13

Despite the number 13 often being synonymous with bad luck, evil, the devil, etc. In this case, number 13 of the Sustainable Development Goals actually a good and noble aim of climate action. The targets are separated into 5 subdivisions 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 13a, and 13b. To sum them up altogether, the targets are to improve mitigation of natural hazards and disasters for all countries, integrate climate measures into national policies, improve the education of climate change mitigation, and $100 billion annual foreign aid for climate change alleviation.

Why do I think Sustainable Development Goal 13 is the most important? This is because climate change is probably the biggest threat to us all regardless of race, gender, or nationality (which other Sustainable Development Goals focus on). It is a matter of life and death (though it may not feel immediate). The signs are clearly present as you would've seen on the news or heard from other people, if not you would have definitely seen the shift of companies being more environmentally aware and 'friendly' (corporate social responsibility) such as Nescafé having a pod recycling program or Coca-Cola having their sustainability initiative. These signs have become more prominent now than a decade or two ago, which means climate change is an issue that we can't ignore any longer, therefore, reinforces my point of it being the biggest threat to humanity at this moment. More reasons to prove the threat of climate change are the ice caps melting, the Ozone layer, the influx of carbon dioxide, and the rising sea levels.

These affect us heavily, more than you know it. This isn't just snow melting, but rather more brutal and potentially permanent changes that could displace millions of lives, such as the rising sea levels reducing our landmass (currently affecting Tuvalu), flooding, extreme weather change, shifting of croplands and wildlife habitats (affecting food production). Not to mention, if these issues continue, they could hold even more dire consequences as in the case of rising sea levels; low-lying islands such as the Caribbean could be submerged and possibly flooding coastal cities, which can lead to the number of climate refugees will drastically increase more than currently with people in Sub-Saharan and Africa West Africa migrating to other African countries due to the coastal erosion and higher temperatures. The point is climate change is a snowballing problem for us all, therefore SDG 13 is in my opinion the most important goal.

However, there is hope.


We are making big steps towards mitigating climate change and adhering to SDG 13 and its targets. As the number of people affected by drought from 2018-2020 has been decreasing. The implementation of new policies such as Ultra Low Emission Zones and Low Emission Zones has helped reduce car emissions. Also, the massive shift towards more sustainable energy such as solar and wind energy, plus the increased use of electric vehicles such as cars and now even lorries. Even though SDG 13 is the most important in my opinion, there are other Sustainability Development Goals that are heavily linked to SDG 13 such as SDG 6, 11, 12, 14, and 15. Consequently, when these goals are getting closer to being reached, and so does SDG 13. This progress against climate change is showing nearly no signs of slowing down.

We need to do our part in helping to complete Sustainable Goal 13 of fighting climate change via recycling, buying from farmer markets, growing our own food, using less single-use plastics, as well as educating yourselves on climate change. We should not just focus on trying to achieve this goal, since there are 16 other important SDGs that also require our attention, as a result, we need to also educate ourselves on these matters and do our best to help (even if it's the smallest things, they compound over time and will end making a big difference)


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