The Anglican Communion and the Sustainable Development Goals

“Humanity is called to justice, compassion and standing alongside the poor. If we root our response to the afflictions of extreme poverty and other major global issues in these values, we can ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals provide a vision and a framework through which all of us can play a part in working towards a more just world, in which all have the opportunity to flourish and where no one is left behind”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, 25 September 2015

In 2015, the world launched a set of goals which would “leave no one behind” in their ambition of ending poverty and hunger, ensuring healthy lives, education, clean water, sanitation, energy and decent work for all, and caring for the environment. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide “a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future”, which all 189 member states of the United Nations signed up to. One of the striking features of the SDGs is the breadth of their reach and their holistic nature – the recognition that “ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests”.

The SDGs have particular resonance for Anglicans, who have long held a holistic understanding of what it means to be disciples of Jesus who share in his ongoing mission. This understanding is expressed in the Anglican Five Marks of Mission, which are foundational to the work of the Anglican Communion.

The global Anglican Communion has played a significant role in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals and the successor goals, the Sustainable Development Goals, and is committed to engaging constructively with the United Nations in this work. This commitment was formalised by the Anglican Consultative Council in 2018. In a resolution, the Council said that it:

  • notes the significant role that was played by the Member Churches and agencies of the Anglican Communion in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals between 2000–2015

  • recognises the urgency and global significance of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (known as Agenda 2030), as the successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals

  • encourages Member Churches and agencies of the Anglican Communion, in the context of their own holistic mission, to continue and extend their contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through both delivery and advocacy

  • requests that the Secretary General reports to the Standing Committee, no later than its first meeting in 2020, on a 10-year strategy on Anglican Communion engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Work on developing this decade-long strategy is being undertaken in partnership with the Anglican Alliance. This work has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

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Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

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Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

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Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

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