Standards for the Sustainable Development Goals

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This publication provides an overview of how international standards are used by policymakers to support sustainability and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is based on case studies that illustrate the use of standards for SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG 7, Standards for Affordable and Clean Energy, SDG 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities, and SDG 13, Climate Action. The publication documents the practical experience of regulatory authorities, governments and local administrations, as well as regional groups of countries, in using standards towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. With examples ranging from the subnational and national to the global levels, and from all regions, we hope this reading will inspire you to consider your local context and how you may apply standards to best realize the Global Goals in your constituency.




Voluntary national and international standards support the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in different ways. Some standards are cross cutting and provide guidance to all types of organizations, regardless of their size or location. They support the integration of socially and environmentally responsible behaviour in the management of plants and workplaces. Examples include standards that reduce and monitor emissions or energy use, and standards that help close the gender pay gap and curb discrimination against female workers.


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