Established in 2015, the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals are an ambitious set of targets meant to offer the world a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all,” as stated by the UN General Assembly. Across the globe, organisations have mobilised to support these goals which they hope to achieve by 2030.
To celebrate their successes so far, we’ve put together this list of some of the top international and UK charities driving progress towards the 17 UN goals.
1. No poverty
Working across about 70 different countries, Oxfam is one of the largest charities tackling the interconnected issues of poverty and inequality. Together with thousands of partners and ally organisations, they are fund concrete changes that tackle the symptoms of poverty, while campaigning for broader changes.
Their work includes investing in fair taxation, monitoring public finances and supporting campaigns that prioritise women and girls. Support their work by donating here.
2. Zero hunger
For 40 years, Action Against Hunger has been working towards the UN goal of zero hunger, promoting good nutrition, food security, successful livelihoods and sanitation across nearly 50 different countries. Last year alone, the charity served more than 17 million people in 46 countries, supporting malnourished children and ensuring access to clean water, food, training and healthcare. Further their mission by donating.
3. Good health and wellbeing
Health issues are tackled by a huge range of charities across the world that mainly focus on specific diseases or conditions. Among those based in the UK, The British Heart Foundation channels an impressive £100 million into research annually for heart and circulatory related diseases and their causes, making it the largest funder of cardiovascular research. To help fund this life-saving research donate here.
As mental health becomes an increasing concern due to the pandemic, services from mental health charities like Mind become progressively more vital to support people’s wellbeing. In the space of a year, Mind answered over 119,000 calls from people needing information and support and over 120,000 people benefitted from their online support communities, promoting the UN goal of good wellbeing. To help more people struggling with their mental health, donate here.
4. Quality education
In 2019 alone Save the Children reached 7.7 million children through their education programmes. Their efforts focus on children in disaster-stricken countries such as Rwanda and Syria, as well as deprived children struggling at school in the UK. To support children across the world, in their education as well as a wide range of other important areas of life, donate to Save the Children.
5. Gender equality
Helping women globally, Womankind Worldwide promotes economic opportunities for women, tackles gendered violence, and strengthens their ability to lead. Their work spans Africa and Asia, with particular attention paid to less developed countries such as Ethiopia and Nepal. Help drive the changes needed to create gender equality by donating here.
6. Clean water and sanitation
Since its launch, WaterAid has gained access to clean water for millions of people across the world. They support those struggling to reach this basic necessity by installing taps and toilets in some of the most hostile environments. On a broader scale, they lobby governments to design policies around people’s needs, driving lasting change across the world and supporting the UN goal of clean water and sanitation. To ensure more people have access to essential water donate to them here.
7. Affordable and clean energy
Among the organisations supporting the transition to greener energy is The Renewable Energy Foundation. The charity works globally to promote public awareness and debate around the necessity of energy conservation and clean energy. To support their work donate to the foundation.
8. Decent work and economic growth
For the eighth UN goal of promoting sustainable growth and good economic opportunities, Village Enterprise, is one of the charities making a significant impact in this area. Their teams work with entrepreneurs in rural Africa to help generate more income from small businesses. They’ve set themselves the ambitious goal of lifting 20 million people out of extreme poverty by 2030 and have so far transformed over one million people’s lives through business support.
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
This UN goal focuses on building strong infrastructure, supporting industry and fostering innovation. The last of these is integral to the work of Nesta, a charity that describes itself as “The UK’s innovation agency for social good”. Their 10-year strategy aims to promote a fairer start in life, good health, and a sustainable future. They support specialist enterprises to pursue positive social change and have worked with government agencies to reshape public services to meet communities’ needs.
10. Reduced inequalities
Building a social movement to advance social and economic equality in the UK, The Equality Trust is leading a number of campaigns towards this aim. These include initiatives to promote equality through employee ownership, government action, progressive taxation, education and partnerships with like-minded organisations. To support their drive towards a fairer economy and society in the UK donate here.
11. Sustainable cities and communities
Educational charity the Landscape Institute has a mission bound up in the 11th UN goal of creating sustainable cities and communities. Through connecting members of the landscape profession, this UK charity aims to keep the natural and built environment in the service of the public, regenerating urban areas to support good health, local culture and the environment. For information about how to support their work email firstname.lastname@example.org.
12. Responsible consumption and production
By empowering small-scale farmers, marginalised from trade, the Fairtrade Foundation supports this 12th UN goal. Its Fairtrade Standards promote safe working conditions, fair wages and environmental sustainability, offering consumers more ethical product options. To support small business owners across the world, struggling to compete with multinationals, donate here.
13. Climate action
Over the next nine years, we need to make dramatic changes to everything from our economy to our food systems and our energy sources in order to avoid the worst of climate collapse. The civil rights movement in the US, the suffragettes, national independence movements and the AIDS recognition movement: all these historic examples show that non-violent direct action is one of the most effective ways to achieve the broad societal changes we need. To support a selection of top contemporary environmental groups driving such change, donate to the Climate Emergency Fund.
14. Life below water
With a vision of eradicating pollution and rubbish from our oceans, the Marine Conservation Society is the leading UK charity protecting sea life. The organisation conducts research, organises volunteering programmes and campaigns to clean up the oceans and support biodiversity in the ocean. To help them advance their mission, donate here.
15. Life on land
To support the 15th UN goal of supporting life on land, the World Wildlife Fund tackles the major issues facing our planet’s biodiversity. These include our food system and the climate crisis. The charity collaborates with governments, institutions and other organisations to ensure nature is prioritised and that we reform human systems around its needs. To further their mission, donate to the WWF.
16. Peace, justice and strong institutions
Amnesty International is the leading charity protecting human rights around the world. The organisation campaigns, petitions and files legal suits to put pressure on governments who have neglected their duty to protect their citizens. To help them fight injustice and human rights abuses give to them here.
17. Partnerships for the goals
Where would charities be without volunteers? NVCO supports 16,000 charities, community groups and volunteer organisations by connecting them with people who want to help. Their members range from health-focused organisations to animal rights charities. Sign up as a volunteer or member organisation via the NVCO website.