The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 related targets of Agenda 2030 are based on an understanding of the holistic nature of sustainable development and aim to address the world’s challenges and put humanity on a more sustainable course, leaving no one behind. Fundamental to achieving the SDGs is an integrated approach, to avoid unintended consequences and fractured and disjointed progress towards the goals. This will be more demanding as systemic issues need to be addressed and mindsets on “what is development” will have to change. Underlying values and principles of the SDGs are e.g. fulfillment of people’s potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment; sustainable consumption and production; enjoyment of prosperous and fulfilling lives; peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence; harmony (with nature), solidarity and partnerships for the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable; and peace.
The Club of Madrid developed the concept of Shared Societies. A Shared Society comprises a) a primacy of shared human values; b) awareness of our shared future and shared responsibility for that future; and c) shared leadership along with the political will to take the necessary actions together. Key shared human values emphasized by a Shared Society are e.g. dignity, respect, altruism, equity, fairness, inclusiveness, solidarity and collective action, self-reliance, interconnectedness, rights of nature and all species restraint in consumption, caring, peace, harmony and sharing.
The Club of Madrid concludes that the current economic and development model will not deliver the transformative elements of Agenda 2030 and implementing the SDGs will thus not in itself lead to sustainable development. The present socio-economic system should be transformed and values-driven, and any regulatory measures should be tested for their capacity to contribute to the realization of Shared Society values and principles. Positive leadership is required to gain support for altruistic policies, provided they are fair and equitable and the case is made openly and transparently. Money would be regarded as a means of exchange, and its accumulation would not be seen as a sign of achievement.
The SDGs combined with the more transformational agenda of the Shared Society, thus promote a value-based society and human development.