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In September 2015, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly approved the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Transforming our world, which sets out 17 Sustainable development goals (SDGs), to be pursued more intensively from January 1, 2016 until 2030.


All 193 member states of the UN as well as research and sciences, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and public institutions around the world participated in the process of formulating the goals (Schmieg et al. 2018, 787). The document [https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld] has been published in all official languages of the UN: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish. The document is a resolution, a non-binding intergovernmental agreement, and, a “transformational vision” (United Nations 2015: §7). All of humanity on planet Earth is addressed in it: “[T]his Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity; as we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind” (United Nations 2015: Preamble); “the future of humanity and of our planet lies in our hands” (United Nations 2015: § 53).

However, the main audience are the respective national state actors, as each UN member nation can implement the SDGs within its national strategies, as the UN resolution “will respect national policy” (United Nations, § 21). On the one hand, this has the consequence that the powerful economic assessment of nation states and of their resources among themselves currently counteracts many of the goals, such as goal 13: Climate action. On the other hand, there are different forms of government on the planet, which do not all represent and address the will of their populations. The concern that “no one will be left behind” (United Nations 2015: Preamble) is then left in a marginalised position. In addition, precisely because of national governance and climate change, there is an increasing trend for migration between national borders, with the result that there is a growing population of people that are categorised as stateless. Similar counts for transnational cooperations, many of whom have larger GDPs than nations. Having national representatives with their economic interests as the main audience for the SDGs, while ignoring the stateless and transnational are therefore in a normative contradiction to the content of the sustainability goals. (Parenti 2016)

Nevertheless, it can be observed that since the publication of the SDGs in 2015, sustainability projects are being developed internationally that address the 17 goals. They are considered a necessary reference in applying for public funding.


At the moment, the projects on which Lighthouse is working are supported by these goals:

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

5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,

10 Reduce inequality within and among countries, and,

13 Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts


The sustainability theoretical framework with which Lighthouse works goes beyond the UN document and its national framework, by intertwining issues such as knowledge, migration, culture, dialogue, mutual learning, gender and participation with sustainability.




Schmieg, G., Meyer, E., Schrickel, I., Herberg, J., Caniglia, G., Vilsmaier, U., Laubichler, M., Hörl, E., Lang, D. 2018. Modeling normativity in sustainability: a comparison of the sustainable development goals, the Paris agreement, and the papal encyclical. Sustainability Science 13/3: 785–796.


Parenti, Christian (2016): “Environment-Making in the Capitalocene: Political Ecology of the State.” In: Moore, Jason (ed.), Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism, Oakland: PM press, pp. 166-184.


United Nations. 2015. Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs), Resolution, A/RES/70/1. www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/ RES/70/1&Lang=E.