United Nations Global Development Goals 

Return to the Designing for Developing Countries page to see all resources


17 Global Development Goals

The United Nations 17 Global Development Goals help put D&T into a wider context showing how both individuals and countries can make a difference to the world, and in particular how they can support developing countries. Established in 2015 the goals aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all with each goal having specific targets to be achieved over a 15 year span. Along with the Global Goals there’s a list of actions people can take so that everyone is encouraged to recognise the difference they can make. 

Why not use one or more of the Global Goals when designing? 

  1. No poverty
  2. Zero hunger
  3. Good health and well being
  4. Quality education
  5. Gender equality
  6. Clean water and sanitation
  7. Affordable and clean energy
  8. Decent work and economic growth
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  10. Reduced inequalities
  11. Sustainable cities and communities
  12. Responsible consumption and production
  13. Climate action
  14. Life below water
  15. Life on land
  16. Peace, justice and strong institutions 
  17. Partnerships for the goals

Download the Global Goals board game - a great quick activity to help students think more about wider world issues. 

Visit the Global Development Goals website to see each one of these goals explained in more detail. 


Look at the RSA Student Design Awards winners. This is an annual competition for degree students & recent graduates across the world. For the 2018 competition students could choose from 8 design briefs based on social, environmental and economic issues, all of which were aligned with the 17 UN sustainable Goals. This Facebook page shows the winning entries, along with their briefs. There’s also more about the competition & winners on the RSA Student Design Awards website.


  • Explain what each of the 17 goals are about and identify the types of design problems that might exist for each one.
  • Investigate projects that already exist that are focused on addressing some of design problems linked to the 17 goals.
  • Who might these 17 goals impact on? Where are these people in the world? 
  • What if you were able to visit the people you’ve identified - what would be the gift you would take and why?
  • How might an individual person be able to make a difference?
  • How might a group of people be able to make a difference?
  • How might a large company be able to make a difference?
  • How might a country be able to make a difference?

Other Links


Look at the Practical Action website for information on projects that support developing countries to have access to the technologies that enable them to meet their basic needs and reach their potential. If you are a teacher take a look at the resources for schools on their website. 

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Ordinary people in richer countries can support children in developing countries through sponsorship e.g. through companies such as Plan International. As well as donating money that supports a community the sponsor can also send gifts to the community, along with postcards and letters. These help build relationships and help individuals in richer countries understand the challenges other people face. This is an example of how individuals can make a difference to the 17 global goals. 

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Chain of Hope is a charity that gives free cardiac care to children around the world. They hold gala balls and other fund raising events that anyone can take part in with the funds supporting the charity. This is another example of how individuals can make a difference to the 17 global goals. 

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World Water Day - an annual day aiming to raise awareness of ‘Access to Clean Water and Sanitation'  as part of the Global Goals. The website World Water Day has some resources, as does the section on water and sanitation on the Global Goals website

Return to the Designing for Developing Countries page to see all resources

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