Henry Ford once said, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”. It has been long known that setting well-defined goals helps motivate people to achieve them. In 1990, after decades of studies on motivation, pioneering psychologists Dr Edwin Locke and Dr Gary Latham published their Goal-Setting Theory, focusing on what motivates employees in the workplace. So, how does one motivate entire countries to commit to large changes in order to end poverty, establish global peace and save the environment?
This is where the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) come in. Sustainable Development is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” 1. The SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, are a set of 17 detailed, highly ambitious goals that were adopted by all UN member countries in 2015, serving as a united call to action against complex socioeconomical and environmental problems by 2030, such as poverty, climate change and gender discrimination. The SDGs are also integrated, meaning that they take into account that actions of one country or region will have positive or negative effects on other regions.