All images: Shutterstock

Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals

The Global Goals: A Quick Fire Guide

Who set them up and why are they important? As the UN celebrates 75 years, here’s everything you need to know. 

By Leanne Walstow
23 octobber 2020

The #TOGETHERBAND campaign was launched on Earth Day 2019 in order to spread the word about the UN’s 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. These issue-based targets were devised by the UN as a route map to change the world for the better. 


Also known as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, they represent a unified call to action by all countries - rich, poor and middle-income - to create a global society that’s kinder to both people and planet. In these uncertain times, they also provide a vital framework for COVID-19 recovery, helping our world become stronger and more resilient. As the UN celebrates 75 years, we revisit the relevance and the history of these life-changing targets.

Proceeds from sales of Goal 17 #TOGETHERBANDs go to The San Diego Trafficking Prevention Collective

Why create 17 Sustainable Development Goals?

It’s never been easier for everyone as citizens to take action on issues we feel passionate about, and not just locally, but on a global scale. The internet has given us access to 4.33 billion users, just a click away, potentially waiting to be collaborators, campaigners and changemakers. Just look at Greta Thunberg’s climate strikes, or Amika George changing the law on period poverty for proof - if we can harness the potential of international lawmakers and combine it with the power of these individuals, incredible things can happen. The Global Goals are about focussing these efforts to ensure we are all striving collectively for the most important milestones. 

How were the Goals created?

In 2001 the Millenium Development Goals were laid out - eight milestones to aim for, expiring at the end of 2015. In 2016 the Global Goals replaced the MDGs; instead of eight, there are now 17, and instead of being created internally by the UN, the Global Goals are a result of the largest consultation programme in UN history. Representatives from 70 countries attended the initial meetings, which kick-started a series of international discussions, consultations and surveys to distill the Goals to their core principles and make sure every key international interest - from world hunger to ocean pollution - was represented.

What do the Goals aim to achieve?

The Goals are incredibly comprehensive, covering everything from Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education and Gender Equality, to Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Affordable and Clean Energy. As with many forms of activism, the Goals often overlap too - for instance, could we support Life on Land without acknowledging the urgent need for Climate Action? 


Some of the Goals seem environmentally focussed but each has a powerful human element, and vice versa - Life Below Water is about protecting our oceans, but in order to do so we must make sure the fishing industry is incentivised to act responsibly. You’d think that Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions would have an emphasis on people, but if we manage and protect our natural resources fairly, this will help reduce conflict over land and territory. 


What the Goals all centre around is the fundamental idea of making life better for everyone, whilst respecting our planet and its precious resources.

When do we need to achieve the Goals by?

As with all goals in life, it’s important to set a target date to achieve them by, and the UN is aiming to make a tangible difference in all of the 17 Goals by 2030. That’s just nine years away, but recent events with the COVID-19 outbreak have shown that the human race is capable of making big changes, and fast. The Goals really do have the power, by ending poverty, fighting inequality and addressing climate change, to create a better world by 2030.

What do the Goals mean for you?

The Global Goals are great to refer to and include in any activism that you’re involved with - whether you’re attending the Women’s March, Tweeting in praise of care workers during the COVID-19 crisis, or donating to your local food bank. They also help you focus on what matters most to YOU. Consider which Goal your cause is helping. Are you representing more than one without realising it? Think how you can use the Goals to communicate your message to others and how you can get more people involved to spread the word. The Global Goals highlight how individual action can be amplified by bringing it under a common goal: individually we can spark something, but when we come together our impact is even greater.

How is #TOGETHERBAND involved?

We launched #TOGETHERBAND as a powerful way to let people know more about the Global Goals and what they represent, with each different colour band symbolising one of the Global Goals. For us, it was the perfect fit, as we’d realised our sustainable accessories brand BOTTLETOP was already achieving numerous Goals. We’re proud to have created 17 UN-endorsed friendship bracelets and a global movement backed by hundreds of high-profile ambassadors including David Beckham and Naomi Campbell. In just one year we engaged 1.5 billion people worldwide.


#TOGETHERBANDs come in sets of two; the idea is to wear one yourself as a pledge of commitment to your chosen Goal, and to share the second one with a friend you want to spread the word to. 100% of net proceeds from sales of #TOGETHERBANDs go to the #TOGETHER FUND, which supports COVID-19 relief funds and life-changing programmes that address the Global Goals.

Discover which Global Goal is closest to your heart here.