Explain a gene network to a first year undergrad

Explain a gene network to a first year undergrad

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I have an adjacency matrix with list of genes connected to each other which signifies the gene network. How do you get this information that one gene is connected to other in the first place. Is it that you do a microarray analysis and find genes that are upregulated and downregulated and assume that all the genes that are upregulated, regulate each other. Kindly explain.

P.S The microarray example is what I assumed. Doesn't mean that it should be the way that a gene network is deduced. My network is an undirected one.

There is no single answer, because networks (or graphs, as they are called in discrete mathematics) are flexible tools that can be used to model all sorts of relationships between genes, transcripts, proteins, or other entities in biology. (And networks are useful models in many other disciplines too, like sociology.) Depending on the type of network you're considering, there are various experimental methods for determining connections. I give only a couple of examples below. For general information on networks as abstract models, look into graph theory.

Gene regulatory networks

A gene regulatory network is a directed graph where one gene (A) regulates another (B). In this case, the connections between genes are directional and can be represented by arrows A $ ightarrow$ B. Depending on exactly how you define "regulation", a connection A $ ightarrow$ B can mean different things, for example:

  • Gene A encodes a transcription factor that binds to gene B. In this case, evidence for A $ ightarrow$ B comes from assays of proteins binding to DNA, such as chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP). Large collections of such data are available in databases like Transfac.
  • Expression of gene A causes regulation of gene B, by any mechanism (possibly indirectly). In this case, data for an interaction can come from experiments where gene A is induced (forcibly expressed) or suppressed/deleted and the resulting changes in other genes are measured, for example by microarrays or RNA sequencing. A famous early example of this is the "Rosetta" data set on yeast deletion mutants.

Inference of gene regulatory networks is a large and complicated topic that I cannot cover here. It depends on many factors, such as how you model the time dimension (do you have steady state or transient data), and how you parameterize the network to model expression data quantitatively. The review suggested by @CMosychuk looks like a good place to start.

Coexpression networks

This type of network represents coexpression between genes (or more accurately, between mRNAs or proteins). This is typically a representation of pairwise correlations between genes across some set of conditions, so the data source can be any collection of mRNA or protein level expression data. (Here is one example.) Because correlations are symmetric, connections in this type of network have no direction, and can be represented simply as a link A$-$B (not an arrow). Partial correlations are sometimes used to filter out indirect associations, but still these networks contain no causality information, and should not be confused with the directed type.

Protein-protein interaction networks

These are undirected network models where a link A$-$B means that two proteins interact physically. Data supporting such connections come from various biochemical assays for protein interaction, such as the two-hybrid assay or immunoprecipitation. There are large databases collecting protein-protein interaction data that can be used to build these network models, for example BioGRID.

There are many other types of networks, but this is already a long answer :) As you can see, it's important to be clear on what type of network you are working with. Often the data you have available will determine what network model is suitable --- for example, if you have only a collection of unrelated transcriptome profiles and no causality information, a coexpression network might be the best model.

Genetics and epigenetics in the psychology classroom: How to teach what your textbook doesn’t

Most psychology students come to class with a basic understanding of genetics. They know that how they look, how their bodies function and, to some extent, how they act or what diseases they may develop are determined by their DNA however, few of them have a clear understanding of what DNA is, where it’s found in the body and how it defines us as individuals. Many introductory psychology textbooks provide an inadequate amount of description in this area therefore, teachers may shy away from including genetic concepts in their courses for fear they cannot do them justice.

Compounding this problem is the rise of epigenetics (the study of how variation in inherited traits can originate through means other than variations in DNA). For some teachers, epigenetics is too new and may not be in their textbooks thus, they may think it’s not a subject worth broaching in their classes, lest they be faced with questions they can’t answer. Failure to teach psychology students about both genetics and epigenetics, however, means ignoring the latest research on nature versus nurture and not informing students about the next generation of tests and treatments for mental disorders. The goals of this article are to provide psychology teachers with a basic understanding of genetics and epigenetics, and to provide resources for use in lecture and hands-on activities to increase students’ grasp of these fields.

Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling

The University requirements for the M.S. are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.

The Department of Genetics offers an M.S. in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling, which is accredited by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. This program prepares students to practice in the healthcare profession of genetic counseling. The program is a full time two-year program, and accepts students to begin the program only in Autumn Quarter. Students must be admitted directly into this program, and cannot automatically transfer from the Ph.D. programs within the department, or vice versa. While courses are oriented primarily towards genetic counseling students, they may also be taken by medical students, other graduate students, residents or post-doctoral fellows, and (with permission) undergraduates.

To receive a Master of Science degree in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling from Stanford University, students must successfully complete the following:

84 units, including all of the required coursework as listed below (minimum grades of B- or better, Satisfactory, or Credit)

Approximately six quarters of rotations and independent study projects in diverse settings

All required aspects of the Graduate Student Research Project

All required aspects of the Service and Outreach Requirement

Formal presentations in Medical Genetics Grand Rounds and Human Genetics Journal Club.

  • There are several additional required courses, including Clinical Embryology, Biomedical Ethics, and Research Ethics. The remaining required units can be completed through elective courses.
  • Students are required to take a research elective to support your completion of the program’s research project requirements– the number of units is not important (i.e. it could be a 1 unit course or multiple 2-3 units courses). There is “space” in the curriculum to take additional elective courses. We strongly encourage students to sign up for S/NC for any elective courses to ensure that they are able to focus on learning the material rather than earning a specific grade. In the spirit of supporting tailored education, we are also willing to consider any online courses or webinar series in place of or in addition to other electives. Students must submit a 1-page summary of why it would meet your needs, and if approved, you would register for GENE 299 Directed Readings for the appropriate number of units. Your conference funding could be used to cover the cost.

Students are also STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to attend when possible:

Attendance at the Genetics Department Retreat (held yearly, usually in September in Monterey)

Human Genetics Journal Club (first Monday of the month, 12:30-1:15pm). Attendance is strongly encouraged unless you have a conflict, as you will all present in your second year, and you will improve your critical thinking skills by attending.

Current Issues in Genetics (Fridays 4-5pm, followed by happy hour), Genetics Library M315. This is the Genetics department’s version of ‘grand rounds,’ typically with a more bench-science focus (similar to the talks at the retreat). Great for staying aware of future trends in genomics technology.

Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics Seminars (Brown Bags, Classic Topics, Writing Seminars) (Wednesdays 11-12), SCBE Conf Room

Other relevant Stanford events (e.g. occasional guest speakers or film screenings sponsored by the GC program or affiliated groups events held with our sister genetic counseling program at the University of Manila in the Philippines).

Work-study position with a genetics service at Stanford (unless you choose to opt out). All students are expected to work an average of four hours per week, or a total of 40 hours per quarter. You will negotiate the format and timeframes directly with your supervisor.

Local, regional, and/or national genetics meetings. Our hope is that you will choose to attend a combination of events that provide education in both genetic counseling and medical genetics. If frugal, students are often able to attend more than one national conference. We most strongly encourage attending the NSGC Annual Conference during your second year and attending the local conferences (the Northern California Coalition for Genetic Counseling Conference (usually Fall), the Northern California Genetics Exchange (Spring - at Stanford in 2020), and the Western Society for Pediatric Research Annual Meeting (Winter)). Other options include ASHG (Fall) or ACMG (Spring), and various other conferences (with justification submitted to and approved by the program directors in advance). Please refer to the SUGC Program Handbook for details on student conference travel budgets and information on requesting reimbursements.

Faculty members include members of the Stanford faculty from Genetics, Pediatrics, Obstetrics, Pathology, Developmental Biology, Biomedical Ethics, Law, and Psychology, and practicing genetic counselors and clinical geneticists in various medical centers across the Bay Area.

Applications are due in December (see website) for admission in the following Autumn Quarter. Applicants should demonstrate a combination of academic preparation, exposure to genetic counseling, and counseling and/or laboratory experiences. Exposure to persons with disabilities or chronic illness is also helpful. Additional information about the program is available at Stanford's Master's Program in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling website.

Despite all the optimistic news about the coronavirus vaccines, other current Covid-19 news stories are more ominous. The detection of a SARS-CoV-2 genetic variant, initially in the United Kingdom and now in other countries throughout the world, has raised concerning questions. Is this new variant, referred to as B.1.1.7, more transmissible? Could it lead to an explosion of new cases and further over-burden healthcare systems? Could this new variant be less easily neutralized by the vaccines? To fully evaluate these concerns, we can explore what we know about viral replication and look at lessons learned from other viruses.

The emergence of viral variants is not unusual

The appearance of SARS-CoV-2 variants is not at all surprising. Viruses mutate. A lot. Indeed, numerous studies have shown that viruses mutate at a much higher rate than multicellular organisms, like humans. Additionally, viruses replicate very quickly. When a virus particle enters a host cell, it converts that cell into a viral factory, spewing out thousands of new virus particles in a relatively short period of time. The result? A multitude of viral mutants invariably arises within an infected individual. Virologists often use the term “viral swarm” to reflect the large number of variants that inevitably occur within an infected individual.

Many of these mutants may differ genetically from the original virus, but not exhibit any biologically important differences. Others may be inferior that is, the mutations make the virus less able to replicate within a host or spread from one host to another. In some cases, however, the mutations may confer what’s called a “selective advantage.” This means that a particular mutant might be able to infect a person more readily, replicate more inside the body or even just leave a person’s body more easily. These types of changes make a virus more likely to survive and reproduce, which can be worrying in the case of more dangerous viruses.

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Viral variants aren’t always more difficult to treat

Even when compared to other viruses, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) mutates quite rapidly. Consequently, many of its genetic variants have been categorized. Indeed, geneticists have divided the predominant HIV virus into at least nine subtypes, or clades. Interestingly, these variants differ in their geographic distribution. Most infections in North America, western Europe, and Australia are caused by clade B. In contrast, clade C is much more prevalent in southern Africa and clade A is more prevalent in Russia and former Soviet Union countries. Despite the genetic variety, however, these variants show very limited biological differences. Transmission patterns and disease progression seem to be the same for all clades. Likewise, existing antiretroviral therapy (ART) seems to equally effective for all strains.

So, what has driven the geographic distribution of these variants? Probably, the predominance of different clades in different geographic regions largely is due to chance. If a certain variant enters a particular population, then that variant could spread throughout the population, quickly becoming the dominant variant. This process probably explains the geographic distribution of HIV subtypes. Most likely, one of the first people in the United States infected with HIV happened to be infected with a clade B version of the virus. As a result, this variant now makes up roughly 90% of all HIV infections in the U.S.

Some viral variants can evade existing treatments

The high mutation rate of viruses, to an extent, explains why people can get infected by influenza repeatedly and why we need a new influenza vaccine every year. The virus mutates. As a result, the structures of the proteins on its surface change, a process known as antigenic drift. Although each individual mutation probably won’t alter the protein structures significantly, a combination of mutations may change the molecular structure significantly. Our immune system no longer recognizes the virus. The vaccine loses its effectiveness. To combat these molecular changes, researchers use various algorithms to predict what variants of influenza will predominate in the upcoming year. These variants, then, form the basis of the new vaccine.

Mutations sometimes lead to the emergence of brand new viruses

Dog owners probably have heard of canine parvovirus (CPV). This virus is quite transmissible among dogs and can have severe consequences. Luckily, an effective vaccine exists and vaccinated dogs are largely resistant to infection. Despite its current worldwide distribution, CPV didn’t exist 50 years ago – it’s actually a variant of feline panleukopenia virus (FPV). At the genetic level, CPV and FPV differ only slightly, but those differences have dramatic consequences. FPV can infect cats, minks, and raccoons. But it can’t infect dogs. In contrast, CPV can infect dogs, but not cats.

In this case, random mutations led to the evolution of a new virus. The genetic code of FPV, replicating in a cat (or another permissive animal host) changed and, as a result, the exterior of the virus changed, which meant that unlike its predecessors, this variant of FPV could infect the dog. The virus replicated in this new host and spread to other dogs. Thus, a new virus emerged and quickly spread throughout the world.

Certain SARS CoV-2 variants are concerning to public health officials

Although coronaviruses generally mutate less rapidly than influenza virus or HIV, SARS-CoV-2 has been mutating throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, early in the pandemic, one particular variant, referred to as D614G, quickly replaced the initial SARS-CoV-2 strain throughout the world. This strain contains a change in the viruses “spike protein” that allows it to be more easily transmitted from host to host. Because of this biological difference, the strain spread rapidly.

So why is the variant B.1.1.7 causing so much concern? The answer is several-fold. First, sequence analysis of B.1.1.7 provided by the Covid-19 Genomics Consortium UK shows that it differs quite substantially from other SARS-CoV-2 variants. While only a few mutations typically exist between variants, B.1.1.7 exhibits a cluster of changes. Some researchers have posited that it may have arisen within an immunocompromised or immunosuppressed individual. In an individual with a weakened immune system, the virus could replicate for an extended period of time. During this period, a series of individual mutations could accumulate. The result? A virus like B.1.1.7. That virus, then, could have been transmitted to another person. In other words, the individual mutations occurred in a piecemeal fashion. But researchers didn’t detect these intermediates. The mutated virus wasn’t detected until it was transmitted to another person.

Second, several of the mutations present in B.1.1.7 exist in the gene that encodes the coronavirus spike protein. Changes in this protein could alter the effectiveness of the newly developed vaccines. All of the major vaccines in development focus on this critical molecule. Mutations in the gene encoding the spike protein could alter its structure and these changes could affect the effectiveness of vaccines. Studies designed to explore the effectiveness of the existing vaccines against this new variant are underway.

Finally, this variant appears to be more transmissible than other variants. First identified in September 2020, B.1.1.7 caused 60% of new coronavirus infections in London by mid-December. More recently, it has been detected in numerous countries, including the U.S. A rigorous scientific analysis of its transmission properties is in progress.

The emergence of this SARS-CoV-2 variant, and its rapid spread, certainly is worth noting. At a very basic level, a more detailed understanding of its evolution and biological properties could provide us with important insight into the pathogenesis of Covid-19. More immediately, monitoring both this and other variants that certainly will emerge, is crucial for our ongoing efforts to curtail the pandemic.



Our programmes maintain an excellent record for graduate prospects. A degree in biological sciences opens up a wealth of opportunities in careers ranging from Biotechnologist, Microbiologist, Molecular Geneticist, Forensic Scientist, Pharmaceutical Scientist, Food Technologist, Material Technologist, in addition to careers in research.

In addition to developing your subject knowledge, a degree at Lancaster will equip you with a range of computing, intellectual, practical, numerical and interpersonal skills. The abilities gained on the programme will increase your appeal to employers in a wide variety of sectors, and our careers service offers help and advice for all of our graduates for as long you need it.

If you wish to enhance your career prospects by extending your study to postgraduate level, you may wish to undertake a PhD at our brand new Graduate School where you can join our vibrant community of PhD students and make a direct contribution to the world-class research output, whilst developing the skills that you need to enjoy a rewarding career in your chosen field.

We offer a variety of extra-curricular activities and volunteering opportunities that enable you to explore your interests and enhance your CV. Our weekly careers bulletin and careers blogs are written by student volunteers, and inform you of careers events. The Students&rsquo Union-run Green Lancaster programme offers placements with external organisations, allowing students to gain volunteering experience at weekends by working in the local community, taking part in a wide range of activities and developing their practical skills.

Lancaster University is dedicated to ensuring you not only gain a highly reputable degree, you also graduate with the relevant life and work based skills. We are unique in that every student is eligible to participate in The Lancaster Award which offers you the opportunity to complete key activities such as work experience, employability awareness, career development, campus community and social development. Visit our Employability section for full details.

Plasmid Nomenclature

The first small letter “p” indicates that this is a plasmid.

The letters following “p” might be from i) the name of researcher or laboratory in which the plasmid was originally constructed such as BR in pBR322 stands for Bolivar and Rodriguz ii) the gene name or some properties of the plasmids such as placZ1 containing lacZ gene, pBAD18 containing paraBAD promoter iii) a combination of these such as pBR327par containing par gene or iv) others chosen by the researcher who constructed this plasmid.

The number following the letters distinguishes this plasmid from others developed in the same laboratory such as pUC18, pUC19.

Biology (BIOL)

A foundation course that emphasizes study skills and reviews basic biological, chemistry and mathematical principles. BIOL 1 Biology of Success (1) This course is designed to facilitate success in the required science courses for allied health majors. Many students are challenged by their lack of basic skills and knowledge in one or more of the following areas: biology, chemistry, mathematics, and study skills. Thus, this course addresses these issues and positions the student for success. During the semester equal time is given to the following topics: study skills, which includes learning styles, goals, test taking strategies and organizational skills terminology, which includes practice with prefixes, roots, and suffixes basic math skills, which includes the metric system and practice with work problems chemistry, which covers atoms, ions, and basic anabolic and catabolic reactions cell structure and functioning and body basics, which is an overview of the anatomy and functioning of body systems. Students are given a diversity of assignments and projects relevant to the various topics that will allow them to review and develop a basic level of competency in these areas in preparation for required science courses.

Group and learning skills to facilitate the understanding of complex biological processes. BIOL 3 Peer Learning in Biology (1) The study of Biology is complicated by the myriad pathways and processes that must be mastered in a way that interrelationship become apparent. A major stumbling block in a student's progress is learning how best to organize one's study so that both the details of these processes can be learned, along with how these processes fit together (i.e. integration). The second hurdle is learning how to use this information in a way that can solve real life problems and to communicate this process to others. This course is designed for students who would like to improve their ability to organize their learning strategies in order to maximize their understanding of the complexities of life's process.The course will be organized using peer learning groups which are posited on the assertion that every student can improve their performance with the proper environment and direction. Group leaders (enrolled in BIOL 251) will play an integral role in the program in that they are the connection between participant and course instructors. The group leaders will learn how to pass their skills on to other students in such a way as to encourage ownership of their education. Through regular meetings, the students enrolled in BIOL 003 will learn about time management and study skills, test taking strategies, exam writing, working with others that have divergent learning styles, and how to be multiculturally competent such that they are able to work with a diverse population.

The twelve primary topic areas within BIOL 11 are: An introduction to major themes within the course, defining life, and how natural selection operates through differential reproduction. All organisms are composed of matter and must obey the laws of chemistry - a review of basic chemical principles, the study of water and carbon-based macromolecules, the building blocks of organisms. The cell is the fundamental unit of life - a detailed study of the structure and function of eukaryotic cells. Organisms require energy to maintain organization - an exploration of the processes of photosynthesis, the conversion of light energy into chemical bond energy, and cellular respiration, the production of ATP. All cells arise from previously existing cells - a discussion of mitosis and meiosis. Genes carry information between generations - an examination of the principles of Mendelian genetics and their application to human disorders. The structure of DNA, how it codes for information in proteins, and the effect of mutations are explored. This history of life on earth, a discussion of the role of natural selection in populations and speciation. Plants are the only multicellular eukaryotes that photosynthesize - an inquiry into their evolution, function, structure, reproduction and response to the environment. Animals are multicellular eukaryotes that must acquire their energy/nutrients from other organisms - an exploration of the basics of the animal body plan and two human organ systems. Organisms must interact with their environment - a discussion of energy flows and nutrient cycling in ecosystems, as well as ecosystem distributions. Interactions among communities of species can be complex and these relationships will be investigated. Humans have an increasing impact on the environment, affecting all aspects of the world in which we live - an examination of human activities and solutions to environmental damage we have caused.

Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

GenEd Learning Objective: Crit and Analytical Think

GenEd Learning Objective: Key Literacies

Laboratory exercises demonstrating principles of biology.

Enforced Prerequisite at Enrollment or concurrent: BIOL 11

Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

GenEd Learning Objective: Effective Communication

GenEd Learning Objective: Crit and Analytical Think

A study of the fundamental concepts of biology including the evolution of the major groups of organisms. BIOL 110 Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity (GN)(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements. This is the first biology course taken by students who intend to major in biology. It provides a foundation in the basic concepts that govern life, including the evolutionary processes that have led to the biodiversity seen today. The course provides students with a fundamental understanding of: 1) the features of life from the cellular through organismal levels 2) how cell division and genetic processes provide continuity between generations 3) how genetic variation arises and leads to evolution 4) how organisms acquire and use energy 5) how structure relates to function at all levels 6) the evolution and diversity of life.

Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

GenEd Learning Objective: Effective Communication

GenEd Learning Objective: Crit and Analytical Think

GenEd Learning Objective: Key Literacies

Honors study of the evolution of the major groups of organisms including the fundamental concepts of biology. BIOL 110H Honors Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity (4) (GN)(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements. This is the first biology course taken by students who intend to major in biology. It provides a foundation for the basic concepts that govern life. In addition, these concepts are used to explain the processes of evolution that contribute to the biodiversity that we observe today.The course objectives seek to provide students with a fundamental understanding of: 1) features of life 2) how basic genetic processes provide continuity between generations 3) how genetic variation arises and contributes to evolutionary processes 4) how structure relates to function 5) how the diversity life is studied and explained by evolution.

Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

GenEd Learning Objective: Effective Communication

GenEd Learning Objective: Crit and Analytical Think

A study of the evolution of the major groups of organisms including the fundamental concepts of biology. This course also fulfills the First-Year Seminar requirements. BIOL 110S Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity (3) (GNFYS)(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements. This is the first biology course taken by students who intend to major in biology. It provides a foundation for the basic concepts that govern life. In addition, these concepts are used to explain the processes of evolution which contribute to the biodiversity that we observe today. The course objectives have remained unchanged and seek to provide students with a fundamental understanding of: 1) features of life 2) how basic genetic processes provide continuity between generations 3) how genetic variation arises and contributes to evolutionary processes 4) how structure relates to function 5) how the diversity life is studied and explained by evolution.

Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

Cellular structure, organization, and metabolism plant anatomy and physiological processes plant reproduction and development genetics and evolution relationships and features of plant groups. Students who have passed BIOL 240W may not schedule this course.

Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

GenEd Learning Objective: Effective Communication

GenEd Learning Objective: Crit and Analytical Think

This course provides students with an introduction to the science of anatomy and uses human cadavers for some activities. No previous experience in anatomy is required. Classroom discussions include the fundamentals of embalming and the details of body donation as it currently exists in the state of Pennsylvania. A personal perspective on the impact of working with donated human bodies is also included. In the lab students engage in a series of investigatory activities that help to clarify the nature of anatomic inquiry. These activities begin with free-form and directed dissections/explorations of preserved and fresh non-human specimens. Selected explorations and assessments of dissected human donor bodies follow. Assigned activities allow students to sharpen their powers of observation, familiarize themselves with the basic mammalian body plan, and recognize the inter-relatedness between structure and function as a fundamental tenet in biological science.

Anatomy of a mammal, with special reference to that of man. Students who have passed BIOL 421 may not schedule this course. BIOL 129 Mammalian Anatomy (4) (GN)(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements. Biology 129 is a 4 credit lecture and laboratory course specifically designed to cover the fundamentals of mammalian anatomy, with emphasis on human systems, for students in a variety of life science related majors including Nursing, Kinesiology, Athletic Training, and Science. Successful completion of this course will give the student working knowledge of mammalian anatomy body plan, systems, and nomenclature with the intent on applying this information to future clinical situations they may encounter in nursing, physical therapy, athletic training, dentistry, and medical settings. The course utilizes lecture descriptions and discussions, along with laboratory specimen dissection, identification and nomenclature to give a thorough overview of anatomy. Small group collaboration is emphasized in laboratory.Course Objectives: The principle objective of the course is for every student to obtain a working knowledge and understanding of basic mammalian anatomy, emphasizing a body system approach, and where possible, relate this to the human anatomical body plan. The lecture portion of the course will stress the construction, function, and relationships between anatomical systems. The laboratory portion of the course will emphasize structure identification and nomenclature of anatomical systems and will utilize human skeletal samples, cat specimen dissections, and anatomical models. Where possible, anatomical relationships that are important in clinical situations and common medical conditions will be emphasized. The end point of both objectives is to obtain a practical understanding of anatomy that demonstrates the relationships between anatomical form and function. Students will leave the course being able to relate this knowledge and nomenclature to future clinical or personal health situations.Relationship to Courses and Programs of Study: This majority of students enrolled in this course are from the College of Health and Human Development in Nursing, Biobehavioral Health, Kinesiology, and Nutrition majors, although some students are from other colleges including the Eberly College of Science, Liberal Arts, and Agriculture. Because the majority of these students will utilize course information in future clinical settings, anatomy and its nomenclature as it relates to humans is emphasized and important clinical considerations are discussed.

Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

Human heredity and evolution, individual and social implications. The course is for non-majors students who have passed BIOL 222, 230W, B M B 251 or any upper-division biology course may not schedule this course. BIOL 133 BIOL 133 Genetics and Evolution of the Human Species (3) (GN) BIOL 133 is a 3 credit non-majors course designed as an overview of our current knowledge of human genetics and genetic issues, with special attention to issues that are relevant to non-scientists. We discuss background information that is necessary for understanding these issues, including the structure and function of DNA and chromosomes, Mendelian inheritance, gene expression, gene mutations and chromosomal aberrations, population genetics, evolution, cancer, and genetic and reproductive technologies. This course includes multimedia presentations, textbook readings, classroom activities and problem solving. The goal for this course is to provide students with sufficient scientific knowledge to make informed decisions about genetic issues and the ability to discuss these issues intelligently.

Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

BIOL141 is a 3-credit course focused on the function of the human body. Students that complete this course will develop both a foundational understanding of key terms and processes related to physiology, as well as a deeper understanding of how the key terms relate to real-world situations. The major processes examined focus on homeostasis and the feedback loops used to maintain homeostasis in the body. Additional content examines how disruptions of homeostatic mechanisms result in disease states. Students will analyze different health-related scenarios to draw connections between vocabulary, processes and resultant diseases. Students will also practice discussing complex physiological processes with peers and interpreting figures used in the field to represent and communicate these concepts, providing skills needed to excel in a physiology-related field. This course utilizes both descriptive and problem-solving techniques and, as a result, may require some review of basic science and math principles developed in previous high school courses. This is a stand-alone physiology lecture course and is not part of the 100-level 8-credit Anatomy and Physiology sequence.

Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

GenEd Learning Objective: Effective Communication

GenEd Learning Objective: Crit and Analytical Think

Experiments demonstrating basic physiological principles, with special reference to man.

Enforced Prerequisite at Enrollment or concurrent: BIOL 141

A study of the interactions of organisms with their environment through exploration of the biological impacts of climate change on individuals, populations, ecological communities, and ecosystems. Students will develop skills to make informed judgments about the implications of climate change using scientific information and expand their understanding of how and why science works to generate knowledge to address biological issues relative to climate change. Students will construct evidence-based explanations of the impacts of climate change on biological processes such as disease transmission, population dynamics, and ecosystem functioning. Because of duplication of subject matter a student may receive credit for only one of the following courses: BIOL 144, BIOL 144Z, BIOL 220W

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

GenEd Learning Objective: Crit and Analytical Think

GenEd Learning Objective: Key Literacies

A study of the interactions of organisms with their environment through exploration of the biological impacts of climate change on individuals, populations, ecological communities, and ecosystems. Students will develop skills to make informed judgments about the implications of climate change using scientific information and expand their understanding of how and why science works to generate knowledge to address biological issues relative to climate change. Students will construct evidence-based explanations of the impacts of climate change on biological processes such as disease transmission, population dynamics, and ecosystem functioning. In addition, students will develop skills to integrate biological knowledge with the psychological factors that influence peoples' views of climate change and the use of artistic expression to increase awareness of environmental issues. BIOL 144Z fulfills 3 credits of the GN Domain General Education requirements. BIOL 144Z may also be used in combination with either ART 144Z or PSYCH 144Z as linked courses to fulfill 6-credits of Integrative Studies. Because of duplication of subject matter a student may receive credit for only one of the following courses: BIOL 144, BIOL 144Z, BIOL 220W.

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

General Education - Integrative: Linked

GenEd Learning Objective: Crit and Analytical Think

GenEd Learning Objective: Integrative Thinking

GenEd Learning Objective: Key Literacies

Examination of human aging from a biological perspective. Population demographics, physiological and pathological changes, and healthy lifestyles are discussed. Students who have passed BIOL 409 may not schedule this course.

Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

Biology of Exercise is an integrative exercise physiology course that combines performing physical activity (Kinesiology) and applying biological principles (Biology). This course will explain the benefits, changes, and processes the body exhibits while exercising. Students will gain knowledge and comprehension through both a lecture (or online) setting (approximately half of the class meetings) as well as an activity component (approximately half of the class meetings) in which students will demonstrate their health related components of fitness. This includes, but is not limited to, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, power, cardiorespiratory endurance, and body composition. In the lecture component, students will describe biological principles including homeostasis, nutrition, the structure and function of musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems. At the completion of this course, students will be able to argue for the lifelong significance of exercise including why it is important, benefits related to organ systems, and disease prevention.

Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences

General Education: Health and Wellness (GHW)

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

General Education - Integrative: Interdomain

GenEd Learning Objective: Crit and Analytical Think

GenEd Learning Objective: Integrative Thinking

GenEd Learning Objective: Key Literacies

This is the first lecture course of a two semester sequence introducing human anatomy and physiology, which is the branch of biology that focuses on the structure and function of the human body. Lectures will take a "systemic" approach to anatomy and physiology, focusing on one body system at a time. Topics covered in the Human Anatomy & Physiology I Lecture include: basic anatomical and directional terminology fundamental concepts and principles of cell biology histology the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems special senses, and the endocrine system. Each unit will build on previous knowledge to establish a cohesive picture of the human body. Throughout the course, students will build a strong foundation in the form and function of the human body from the cellular to the gross anatomical level. This knowledge will be contextualized by incorporating information about clinical cases, personal health and lifestyle choices, and human development.

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

GenEd Learning Objective: Crit and Analytical Think

GenEd Learning Objective: Integrative Thinking

This is the first laboratory course of a two-semester sequence introducing human anatomy and physiology. The A&P I laboratory complements the A&P I lecture by providing students with hands-on experiences such as examination of preserved specimens and anatomical models, and performing physiological experiments. Topics covered in the Human Anatomy & Physiology I Laboratory include: anatomic orientation and terminology the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system special senses skeletal system and muscular system.

Enforced Concurrent at Enrollment: BIOL 161 or BIOL 141

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

GenEd Learning Objective: Crit and Analytical Think

GenEd Learning Objective: Key Literacies

This is the second lecture course of a two semester sequence introducing human anatomy and physiology, which is the branch of biology that focuses on the structure and function of the human body. Lectures will take a "systemic" approach to anatomy and physiology, focusing on one body system at a time. Topics covered in the Human Anatomy & Physiology II Lecture include: the cardiovascular system, lymphatic and immune systems, respiratory system, digestive system, metabolism, urinary system, and reproductive system. Each unit will build on previous knowledge to establish a cohesive picture of the human body. Throughout the course, students will build a strong foundation in the form and function of the human body from the cellular to the gross anatomical level. This knowledge will be contextualized by incorporating information about clinical cases, personal health and lifestyle choices, and human development.

Enforced Prerequisites at Enrollment: BIOL 161

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

GenEd Learning Objective: Crit and Analytical Think

GenEd Learning Objective: Integrative Thinking

This is the second laboratory course of a two-semester sequence introducing human anatomy and physiology. The A&P II laboratory complements the A&P II lecture by providing students with hands-on experiences such as examination of preserved specimens and anatomical models, and performing physiological experiments. Topics covered in the Human Anatomy & Physiology II Laboratory include: the anatomy and physiology of the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, digestive system, urinary system, and reproductive system.

Enforced Concurrent at Enrollment: BIOL 163 or BIOL 141

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

GenEd Learning Objective: Crit and Analytical Think

GenEd Learning Objective: Key Literacies

This course will investigate the distinctiveness of Homo sapiens, using fossil and non-human animal comparisons to highlight how modern humans are both similar to and different from other species. Basic elements from the fields of biology, genetics, anatomy, physiology, ecology, cognition, neuroscience, social psychology, and anthropology will be integrated for a complete and robust picture of humans and their place in the animal world. Furthermore, students will expand upon this integration of fields to make inferences about how an individual's or society's perspective on human uniqueness, or the lack thereof, impacts decisions and behaviors relevant to research ethics, environmental policy, educational policy, religion, and/or social issues.

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

General Education: Social and Behavioral Scien (GS)

General Education - Integrative: Interdomain

GenEd Learning Objective: Effective Communication

GenEd Learning Objective: Crit and Analytical Think

GenEd Learning Objective: Soc Resp and Ethic Reason

Basic structure and function of the human reproductive system. Physiology of gametogenesis, fertilization, contraception, gestation, parturition, lactation, and sexual behavior. BIOL 177 Biology of Sex (3) (GN)(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements. This course presents a thorough background on the basic structure and function of the human reproductive system, to provide the student with sufficient scientific knowledge to understand and discuss sex-related topics and make informed personal decisions. Through lecture format presentations, multimedia presentations, small group activities, and guest presentation, students will be exposed to information that will clarify their understanding of the ways that their own body functions in sexual behavior and reproduction. In-class demonstrations and activities will be used to illustrate practical aspects of anatomical, health and contraception issues. Large class discussions, facilitated small group activities, and written assignments will encourage students to think critically and practically about the application of biological information to personal decision-making and to reducing their own risk of disease. Importantly, students will examine the roles of reproductive physiology and sexuality in a historical, cultural and social context, with particular emphasis on cultural and gender differences in anatomical forms, sexual expression, and disease susceptibility. Guest presentations from community groups will present current information about local reproductive and sex-related concerns and services. The course will present ongoing research on human sex and reproduction, and explore the biology behind current issues in human sexuality and medicine. Student evaluation is based on participation in activities, written assignments, and performance on four examinations. The course is divided into four units: Reproductive Anatomy and Physiology provides students with a thorough background in human reproductive anatomy and function. This unit sets the tone for the course, providing students with correct terminology and creating a nonjudgmental atmosphere that encourages active exploration of topics. Cross-cultural and gender comparisons are incorporated, and anatomical models provide clear, 3-dimensional interactive illustrations. Reproduction explains the biological issues surrounding fertilization, pregnancy, childbirth, and abortion. Following these topics are several class sessions focused on contraception, using anatomical models. Small-group activities and guest presentations to allow students to practice appropriate communication skills. Sexual Identity addresses issues of variations in anatomy, sexual identity, and sexual orientation both within and between cultures. The biological causes and physiological consequences of various physical and lifestyle manifestations are explored. Sexual Behavior examines the physiological basis of sexual response, and explores the variations and problems that are associated with human sexual behavior. Sexually transmissible infections are discussed, emphasizing their mode of transmission, identification, and treatment. Students are encouraged to apply the knowledge and skills they acquired through the semester to their decision-making and communication needs.

Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences

General Education: Natural Sciences (GN)

Courses offered in foreign countries by individual or group instruction.

International Cultures (IL)

Presents basic concepts of pharmacology includes major drug classifications, pharmaceutical preparations, and biological implications relevant to these therapeutic agents.

Honors study of the major physical, chemical, and biological factors constituting environment and their dynamic interaction with organisms forming ecosystems. A study of the structures and functions of organismic interactions from simple populations to complex ecosystems. (BIOL 220W, BIOL 230W, and BIOL 240W each carry only 1 credit of "writing" all three courses must be taken to meet the writing requirement.) BIOL 22OM is an introductory course in ecology. It introduces students to the fundamental ecological principles, concepts, patterns, and processes regarding populations, communities, and ecosystems. This course provides students with a foundation of ecological science, as well demonstrating linkages between ecology, population genetics, and evolution. The course objectives are the same as those described in the original course proposal and are to provide students with a fundamental understanding of: l) genetic processes within populations of living things, 2) evolutionary processes involved in speciation, 3) dynamic interactions of organisms within and among populations, especially pertaining to energy cycles, various biogeochemical cycles, predator-prey interactions, and the like, and 4) distribution patterns of living organisms and the need to conserve the resources of the earth.

College Distribution Requirements – BA and BS

The College of Arts and Sciences distribution requirements are common to both the bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees and are designed to ensure a range of courses. By engaging in study in several different areas within the College, students develop the ability to learn in a variety of ways and apply their knowledge from a variety of perspectives. All requirements are in addition to University ACE requirements, and no course can be used to fulfill both an ACE outcome and a College Distribution Requirement.

  • A student may not use a single course to satisfy more than one College Distribution Requirement, with the exception of CDR Diversity. Courses used to meet CDR Diversity may also meet CDR Writing, CDR Humanities, or CDR Social Science.
  • Independent study or reading courses and internships cannot be used to satisfy distribution requirements.
  • Courses from interdisciplinary programs will be applied in the same area as courses from the home/cross-listed department.

See Degree Audit or a College of Arts and Sciences advisor for approved geography and anthropology courses that apply as natural science.

Language courses numbered 220 and below do not fulfill the CDR Humanities​.

See Degree Audit or College of Arts and Sciences advisor for list of natural/physical science courses in anthropology, geography, and psychology that do not apply as social science.

Language Requirement

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the College of Arts and Sciences place great value on academic exposure and proficiency in a second language. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln entrance requirement of two years of the same foreign language or the College’s language distribution requirement (CDR: Language) will rarely be waived and only with relevant documentation. See the main College of Arts and Sciences page for more details.

Scientific Base - BS Only

The bachelor of science degree requires students to complete 60 hours in mathematical, physical, and natural sciences. Approved courses for scientific base credit come from the following College of Arts and Sciences disciplines: actuarial science, anthropology (selected courses), astronomy, biochemistry (excluding BIOC 101 ), biological sciences (excluding BIOS 100 or BIOS 203 ), chemistry (excluding CHEM 101 ), computer science (excluding CSCE 10 ), geography (selected courses), geology, life sciences, mathematics (excluding courses below MATH 104 ), meteorology, microbiology (excluding MBIO 101 ), and physics.

See your Degree Audit or your assigned academic advisor for a complete list, including individual classes that fall outside of the disciplines listed above. Up to 12 hours of scientific and technical courses offered by other colleges may be accepted toward this requirement with the approval of the College of Arts and Sciences. See your assigned academic advisor to start the approval process.

Minimum Hours Required for Graduation

A minimum of 120 semester hours of credit is required for graduation from the College of Arts and Sciences. A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 is required.

Grade Rules

Restrictions on C- and D Grades

The College will accept no more than 15 semester hours of C- and D grades from other domestic institutions except for UNO and UNK. All courses taken at UNO and UNK impact the UNL transcript. No transfer of C- and D grades can be applied toward requirements in a major or a minor. No University of Nebraska–Lincoln C- and D grades can be applied toward requirements in a major or a minor. International coursework (including education abroad) with a final grade equivalent to a C- or lower will not be validated by the College of Arts and Sciences departments to be degree applicable.

Pass/No Pass Privilege

The College of Arts and Sciences adheres to the University regulations for the Pass/No Pass (P/N) privilege with the following additional regulations:

  • Pass/No Pass hours can count toward fulfillment of University ACE requirements and college distribution requirements up to the 24-hour maximum.
  • Most arts and sciences departments and programs do not allow courses graded Pass/No Pass to apply to the major or minor. Students should refer to the department’s or program’s section of the catalog for clarification. By college rule, departments can allow up to 6 hours of Pass/No Pass in the major or minor.
  • Departments may specify that certain courses of theirs can be taken only on a P/N basis.
  • The college will permit no more than a total of 24 semester hours of P/N grades to be applied toward degree requirements. This total includes all Pass grades earned at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and other U.S. schools. NOTE: This 24-hour limit is more restrictive than the University regulation.

Grading Appeals

A student who feels that he/she has been unfairly graded must ordinarily take the following sequential steps in a timely manner, usually by initiating the appeal in the semester following the awarding of the grade:

  1. Talk with the instructor concerned. Most problems are resolved at this point.
  2. Talk to the instructor’s department chairperson.
  3. Take the case to the Grading Appeal Committee of the department concerned. The Committee should be contacted through the department chairperson.
  4. Take the case to the College Grading Appeals Committee by contacting the Dean’s Office, 1223 Oldfather Hall.

Course Level Requirements

Courses Numbered at the 300 or 400 Level

Thirty (30) of the 120 semester hours of credit must be in courses numbered at the 300 or 400 level. Of those 30 hours, 15 hours (1/2) must be completed in residence at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Residency Requirement

Students must complete at least 30 of the 120 total hours for their degree at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Students must complete at least 1/2 of their major coursework, including 6 hours at the 300 or 400 level in their major and 15 of the 30 hours required at the 300 or 400 level, in residence. Credit earned during education abroad may be used toward the residency requirement only if students register through the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.



Evolution is a unifying theory for all biological sciences (Dobzhansky 1973), and has therefore been identified as a core concept required for scientific literacy (AAAS 2011 NGSS Lead States 2013). Unfortunately, its complex and abstract nature means that evolution is one of the most commonly misunderstood aspects of biology (Gregory 2009 Taylor and Ferrari 2011). To address this difficulty, we designed a hands-on activity that uses sticky notes to visually demonstrate how evolutionary mechanisms occur.

In the United States, lack of comprehension and outright misunderstandings about evolutionary theory are magnified by the lack of public acceptance of evolution (Miller et al. 2006 Nadelson and Hardy 2015). Evolutionary concepts can be difficult to grasp because they are complex and, in some cases, seemingly counterintuitive (Coley and Tanner 2015, 2012 Richard et al. 2017) which is compounded by potential religious controversies surrounding the subject. Due to all of these factors, American students have often formed opinions and misconceptions about evolutionary theory well before entering a biology classroom which can be challenging for educators to overcome (Alters and Nelson 2002 Andrews et al. 2012 Bishop and Anderson 1990 Cunningham and Wescott 2009 Gregory 2009 Hokayem and BouJaoude 2008). Student comprehension of evolution is further confounded by the need to call upon quantitative reasoning to fully grasp the relationship between phenotype and genotype. Topics that involve math are often perceived by students as being less accessible (Betz 1978 Metz 2008), and mathematical anxiety can thwart motivation to achieve and critical thinking applications, like adapting to novel uses (Cates and Rhymer 2003 Zakaria and Nordin 2008). If left unaddressed, Gregory (2009) has demonstrated that misconceptions can endure into adulthood, where they could shape future engagement with biological research and the daunting challenges that face humanity, like antibiotic resistance (Losos et al. 2013).

In our experience, students in introductory biology classes fall into two categories: they have not learned the fundamental principles of evolution or, despite a grasp of the basics, they have an incomplete understanding of the details. For example, students may repeat the axiom that evolution is “change over time.” This simplification, although technically true, glosses over some details (e.g., evolution is allele frequency change in a population over time) that allow misconceptions to persist unexamined. Misconceptions that form early in a student’s college career can impact success in upper-division biology courses (Ingram and Nelson 2006 McKeachie et al. 2002). Although many factors affect undergraduate retention in biology, a lack of success in coursework is a key impetus for leaving the major (Chen and Soldner 2013 Cherif et al. 2014). Thus, even minor misunderstandings in introductory courses could have consequences that drive students to leave the discipline (Heddy and Nadelson 2013 Mead et al. 2015). Even more concerning, a lack of comfort with evolutionary theory may not affect all students equally-acceptance of evolution is lower among under-represented minorities, increasing the likelihood that they will avoid careers, like biology, that rely on an understanding of evolution as a foundation for success in the major (Mead et al. 2015).

Abstract concepts like evolution can be made more intuitive with the use of hands-on activities (Brewer and Zabinski 1999). Here, we present an activity that explores different mechanisms of evolutionary change using the commonly available sticky note. In small groups, students will use different colors of sticky notes to generate mixed populations. Following an in-class worksheet, students will subject their populations to different mechanisms of evolution and observe the consequences firsthand. For example, blue sticky notes may be more visible to a predator than yellow ones, and will therefore become less frequent in the population. Students will explore demonstrations of the following evolutionary mechanisms: founder effect, gene flow, genetic drift, natural selection, and bottlenecks. During this activity and its follow-up homework assignment, students will have several opportunities to directly examine any prior misconceptions about how evolution occurs. In making evolutionary theory more concrete, this activity should improve student understanding and acceptance of evolution.

We are familiar with similar activities that use different colors of manipulatives like beads or candy to represent populations consisting of different individuals. We have also used similar activities to illustrate natural selection—e.g., using plastic utensils to select for different pasta shapes. Students intuitively grasp the concept of natural selection, but struggle with the random and more abstract nature of genetic drift, making it more important to visualize the latter (Garvin-Doxas and Klymkowsky 2008 Price et al. 2016 Russo and Voloch 2012). The use of sticky notes in our activity provides several advantages. Sticky notes are larger and more visible to a lecture hall and for groups working together. They are also cost-effective to replace and easy to store and transport. An important consideration for designing this activity was that we use the same visual framework to teach many mechanisms. This feature is particularly important to emphasize that several mechanisms may be acting simultaneously on a single population. We have streamlined the counting and calculation required during group work by focusing on phenotype frequency. However, our homework assignment allows students to both revisit the mechanisms and practice calculating allele frequency.

Additionally, this activity fulfills several recommendations for best practices on teaching evolution more effectively: make extensive use of active learning, directly address student misconceptions, incorporate multi-modal instruction, and introduce opportunities for communication and collaboration (AAAS 2011 Nelson 2008). The benefits of small group work and active learning have been well-documented, and are particularly effective in making theory more tangible to students (Allen and Tanner 2005 Buckberry and Silva 2012 Freeman et al. 2014 Prince 2004 Webb 1989). While the primary goal of this activity is to illustrate the effects of each mechanism, it will also demonstrate to students the metacognitive concept that using simple models can make complex subjects easier to learn.

In general, learning goals are broad statements of what an activity is intended to accomplish—these goals should be achievable, but may not be measurable. They may also describe long-term goals that require multiple activities to accomplish. Learning objectives, in contrast, describe specific and measurable learning outcomes—these are intended to be assessed, and we provide our objectives here to aid instructors in designing summative assessment questions.

Learning goals

Students will know that evolution is change in allele frequency in a population.

Students will understand how the mechanisms of evolution change phenotype and allele frequency, and that they can act simultaneously and continuously.


Targets and indicators Edit

Each goal typically has 8–12 targets, and each target has between 1 and 4 indicators used to measure progress toward reaching the targets. The targets are either "outcome" targets (circumstances to be attained) or "means of implementation" targets. [7] The latter targets were introduced late in the process of negotiating the SDGs to address the concern of some Member States about how the SDGs were to be achieved. Goal 17 is wholly about how the SDGs will be achieved. [7]

The numbering system of targets is as follows: "Outcome targets" use numbers, whereas "means of implementation targets" use lower case letters. [7] For example, SDG 6 has a total of 8 targets. The first six are outcome targets and are labeled Targets 6.1 to 6.6. The final two targets are "means of implementation targets" and are labeled as Targets 6.a and 6.b.

Reviews of indicators Edit

As planned, the indicator framework was comprehensively reviewed at the 51st session of the United Nations Statistical Commission in 2020. It will be reviewed again in 2025. [8] At the 51st session of the Statistical Commission (held in New York City from 3–6 March 2020) a total of 36 changes to the global indicator framework were proposed for the Commission’s consideration. Some indicators were replaced, revised or deleted. [8] Between 15 October 2018 and 17 April 2020, other changes were made to the indicators. [9] Yet their measurement continues to be fraught with difficulties. [10]

The United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) website provides a current official indicator list which includes all updates until the 51st session Statistical Commission in March 2020. [4]

The indicators were classified into three tiers based on their level of methodological development and the availability of data at the global level. [11] Tier 1 and Tier 2 are indicators that are conceptually clear, have an internationally established methodology, and data are regularly produced by at least some countries. Tier 3 indicators had no internationally established methodology or standards. The global indicator framework was adjusted so that Tier 3 indicators were either abandoned, replaced or refined. [11] As of 17 July 2020, there were 231 unique indicators. [11]

The 17 individual goals Edit

Goal 1: No poverty Edit

SDG 1 is to: "End poverty in all its forms everywhere". [12] Achieving SDG 1 would end extreme poverty globally by 2030.

The goal has seven targets and 13 indicators to measure progress. The five "outcome targets" are: eradication of extreme poverty reduction of all poverty by half implementation of social protection systems ensuring equal rights to ownership, basic services, technology and economic resources and the building of resilience to environmental, economic and social disasters. The two targets related to "means of achieving" SDG 1 are mobilization of resources to end poverty and the establishment of poverty eradication policy frameworks at all levels. [13] [14]

Despite the ongoing progress, 10 percent of the world's population live in poverty and struggle to meet basic needs such as health, education, and access to water and sanitation. [15] Extreme poverty remains prevalent in low-income countries particularly those affected by conflict and political upheaval. [16] In 2015, more than half of the world's 736 million people living in extreme poverty lived in Sub-Saharan Africa. Without a significant shift in social policy, extreme poverty will dramatically increase by 2030. [17] The rural poverty rate stands at 17.2 percent and 5.3 percent in urban areas (in 2016). [18] Nearly half are children. [18]

A study published in September 2020 found that poverty increased by 7 per cent in just a few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, even though it had been steadily decreasing for the last 20 years. [19] : 9

Goal 2: Zero hunger (No hunger) Edit

SDG 2 is to: "End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture". [20]

Globally, 1 in 9 people are undernourished, the vast majority of whom live in developing countries. Under nutrition causes wasting or severe wasting of 52 million children worldwide. [22] It contributes to nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children per year. [23]

Goal 3: Good health and well-being Edit

SDG 3 is to: "Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages". [24]

Significant strides have been made in increasing life expectancy and reducing some of the common causes of child and maternal mortality. Between 2000 and 2016, the worldwide under-five mortality rate decreased by 47 percent (from 78 deaths per 1,000 live births to 41 deaths per 1,000 live births). [22] Still, the number of children dying under age five is very high: 5.6 million in 2016. [22]

Goal 4: Quality education Edit

SDG 4 is to: "Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all". [26]

Major progress has been made in access to education, specifically at the primary school level, for both boys and girls. The number of out-of-school children has almost halved from 112 million in 1997 to 60 million in 2014. [27] In terms of the progress made, global participation in tertiary education reached 224 million in 2018, equivalent [ disambiguation needed ] to a gross enrollment ratio of 38%. [28]

Goal 5: Gender equality Edit

SDG 5 is to: "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls". [29]

In 2020, representation by women in single or lower houses of national parliament reached 25 per cent, up slightly from 22 per cent in 2015. [6] Women now have better access to decision-making positions at the local level, holding 36 per cent of elected seats in local deliberative bodies, based on data from 133 countries and areas. Whilst female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) is becoming less common, at least 200 million girls and women have been subjected to this harmful practice. [31] [6]

Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation Edit

SDG 6 is to: "Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all". [32] The eight targets are measured by 11 indicators.

The Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) of World Health Organisation WHO And United Nations International Children's Emergency fund UNICEF reported in 2017 that 4.5 billion people currently do not have safely managed sanitation. [34] Also in 2017, only 71 per cent of the global population used safely managed drinking water, and 2.2 billion persons were still without safely managed drinking water. With regards to water stress: "In 2017, Central and Southern Asia and Northern Africa registered very high water stress – defined as the ratio of fresh water withdrawn to total renewable freshwater resources – of more than 70 per cent". [6] Official development assistance (ODA) disbursements to the water sector increased to $9 billion in 2018. [6]

Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy Edit

SDG 7 is to: "Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all". [35]

Progress in expanding access to electricity has been made in several countries, notably India, Bangladesh, and Kenya. [38] The global population without access to electricity decreased to about 840 million in 2017 from 1.2 billion in 2010 (sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the largest access deficit). [38] Renewable energy accounted for 17.5% of global total energy consumption in 2016. [38] Of the three end uses of renewables (electricity, heat, and transport) the use of renewables grew fastest with respect to electricity. Between 2018 and 2030, the annual average investment will need to reach approximately $55 billion to expand energy access, about $700 billion to increase renewable energy and $600 billion to improve energy efficiency. [38]

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth Edit

SDG 8 is to: "Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all". [39]

Over the past five years, economic growth in least developed countries has been increasing at an average rate of 4.3 per cent. [40] In 2018, the global growth rate of real GDP per capita was 2 per cent. In addition, the rate for least developed countries was 4.5 per cent in 2018 and 4.8 per cent in 2019, less than the 7 per cent growth rate targeted in SDG 8. [41] In 2019, 22 per cent of the world's young people were not in employment, education or training, a figure that has hardly changed since 2005. [40] Addressing youth employment means finding solutions with and for young people who are seeking a decent and productive job. Such solutions should address both supply, i.e. education, skills development and training, and demand. [42] In 2018, the number of women engaged in the labor force was put at 48 per cent while that of men was 75 per cent. [39]

Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure Edit

SDG 9 is to: "Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation". [43]

In 2019, 14% of the world's workers were employed in manufacturing activities. This percentage has not changed much since 2000. The share of manufacturing employment was the largest in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (18 percent) and the smallest in sub-Saharan Africa (6 percent). [6] The intensity of global carbon dioxide emissions has declined by nearly one quarter since 2000, showing a general decoupling of carbon dioxide emissions from GDP growth. [6] As at 2020, nearly the entire world population lives in an area covered by a mobile network. [6] Millions of people are still unable to access the internet due to cost, coverage, and other reasons. [44] It is estimated that just 53% of the world's population are currently internet users. [45]

Goal 10: Reduced inequality Edit

SDG 10 is to: "Reduce income inequality within and among countries". [46]

In 73 countries during the period 2012–2017, the bottom 40 per cent of the population saw its incomes grow. Still, in all countries with data, the bottom 40 per cent of the population received less than 25 per cent of the overall income or consumption. [6] : 12 Women are more likely to be victims of discrimination than men. Among those with disabilities, 3 in 10 personally experienced discrimination, with higher levels still among women with disabilities. The main grounds of discrimination mentioned by these women was not the disability itself, but religion, ethnicity and sex, pointing to the urgent need for measures to tackle multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. [48] In 2019, 54 per cent of countries have a comprehensive set of policy measures to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people. [48]

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities Edit

SDG 11 is to: "Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable". [49]

The number of slum dwellers reached more than 1 billion in 2018, or 24 per cent of the urban population. [6] The number of people living in urban slums is highest in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Central and Southern Asia. In 2019, only half of the world's urban population had convenient access to public transport, defined as living within 500 metres' walking distance from a low-capacity transport system (such as a bus stop) and within 1 km of a high-capacity transport system (such as a railway). [6] In the period 1990–2015, most urban areas recorded a general increase in the extent of built-up area per person. [6]

Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production Edit

SDG 12 is to: "Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns". [52]

By 2019, 79 countries and the European Union have reported on at least one national policy instrument to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns. [6] : 14 This was done to work towards the implementation of the "10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns". [6] : 14 Global fossil fuel subsidies in 2018 were $400 billion. [6] : 14 This was double the estimated subsidies for renewables and is detrimental to the task of reducing global carbon dioxide emissions. [6] : 14

To ensure that plastic products are more sustainable, thus reducing plastic waste, changes such as decreasing usage and increasing the circularity of the plastic economy are expected to be required. An increase in domestic recycling and a reduced reliance on the global plastic waste trade are other actions that might help meet the goal. [55]

Goal 13: Climate action Edit

SDG 13 is to: "Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts by regulating emissions and promoting developments in renewable energy". [56]

The targets cover a wide range of issues surrounding climate action. There are five targets in total. The first three targets are "output targets": Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related disasters integrate climate change measures into policies and planning build knowledge and capacity to meet climate change. The remaining two targets are "means of achieving" targets: To implement the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and to promote mechanisms to raise capacity for planning and management. [57] The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change.

The decade between 2010 - 2019 was the warmest decade recorded in history. Currently climate change is affecting the global community in each country of the world. Its impact affects not only national economies, but also lives and livelihoods, especially those in vulnerable conditions. [58] By 2018, climate change continued exacerbating the frequency of natural disasters, such as massive wildfires, droughts, hurricanes and floods, affecting more than 39 million of people. [59] Over the period 2000–2018, green house emissions of developed countries and economies in transitions have declined by 6.5%. The emissions of the developing countries are up by 43% in the period between 2000 and 2013. [60] In 2019, at least 120 of 153 developing countries had undertaken activities to formulate and implement national adaptation plans.

Goal 14: Life below water Edit

SDG 14 is to: "Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development". [61]

The first seven targets are "outcome targets": Reduce marine pollution protect and restore ecosystems reduce ocean acidification sustainable fishing conserve coastal and marine areas end subsidies contributing to overfishing increase the economic benefits from sustainable use of marine resources. The last three targets are "means of achieving" targets: To increase scientific knowledge, research and technology for ocean health support small scale fishers implement and enforce international sea law. [62]

Oceans and fisheries support the global population’s economic, social and environmental needs. [63] Oceans are the source of life of the planet and the global climate system regulator. They are the world’s largest ecosystem, home to nearly a million known species. [63] Oceans cover more than two-thirds of the earth’s surface and contain 97% of the planet’s water. [64] They are essential for making the planet livable. Rainwater, drinking water and climate are all regulated by ocean temperatures and currents. Over 3 billion people depend on marine life for their livelihood. However, there has been a 26 percent increase in acidification since the industrial revolution. Effective strategies to mitigate adverse effects of increased ocean acidification are needed to advance the sustainable use of oceans.

The current efforts to protect oceans, marine environments and small-scale fishers are not meeting the need to protect the resources. [6] One of the key drivers of global overfishing is illegal fishing. It threatens marine ecosystems, puts food security and regional stability at risk, and is linked to major human rights violations and even organized crime. [65] Increased ocean temperatures and oxygen loss act concurrently with ocean acidification and constitute the "deadly trio" of climate change pressures on the marine environment. [66]

One indicator (14.1.1b) under Goal 14 specifically relates to reducing impacts from marine plastic pollution. [55]

Goal 15: Life on land Edit

SDG 15 is to: "Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss". [67]

The nine "outcome targets" include: Conserve and restore terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems end deforestation and restore degraded forests end desertification and restore degraded land ensure conservation of mountain ecosystems, protect biodiversity and natural habitats protect access to genetic resources and fair sharing of the benefits eliminate poaching and trafficking of protected species prevent invasive alien species on land and in water ecosystems and integrate ecosystem and biodiversity in governmental planning. The three "means of achieving targets" include: Increase financial resources to conserve and sustainably use ecosystem and biodiversity finance and incentivize sustainable forest management combat global poaching and trafficking.

Humans depend on earth and the ocean to live. This goal aims at securing sustainable livelihoods that will be enjoyed for generations to come. The human diet is composed 80% of plant life, which makes agriculture a very important economic resource. [68] Plant life provides 80 percent of the human diet, and we rely on agriculture as an important economic resources. Forests cover 30 percent of the Earth's surface, provide vital habitats for millions of species, and important sources for clean air and water, as well as being crucial for combating climate change.

The proportion of forest area fell, from 31.9 per cent of total land area in 2000 to 31.2 per cent in 2020, representing a net loss of nearly 100 million ha of the world's forests. [6] This was due to decreasing forest area decreased in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and South-Eastern Asia, driven by deforestation for agriculture. [69] Desertification affects as much as one-sixth of the world's population, 70% of all drylands, and one-quarter of the total land area of the world. It also leads to spreading poverty and the degradation of billion hectares of cropland. [70] A report in 2020 stated that globally, the species extinction risk has worsened by about 10 per cent over the past three decades. [6]

Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions Edit

SDG 16 is to: "Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels". [71]

The goal has ten "outcome targets": Reduce violence protect children from abuse, exploitation, trafficking and violence promote the rule of law and ensure equal access to justice combat organized crime and illicit financial and arms flows, substantially reduce corruption and bribery develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions ensure responsive, inclusive and representative decision-making strengthen the participation in global governance provide universal legal identity ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms. There are also two "means of achieving targets": Strengthen national institutions to prevent violence and combat crime and terrorism promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies. [72]

Reducing violent crime, sex trafficking, forced labor, and child abuse are clear global goals. The International Community values peace and justice and calls for stronger judicial systems that will enforce laws and work toward a more peaceful and just society. [73]

With more than a quarter of children under 5 unregistered worldwide as of 2015, about 1 in 5 countries will need to accelerate progress to achieve universal birth registration by 2030. [74] Data from 38 countries over the past decade suggest that high-income countries have the lowest prevalence of bribery (an average of 3.7 per cent), while lower-income countries have high levels of bribery when accessing public services (22.3 per cent). [6]

Goal 17: Partnership for the goals Edit

SDG 17 is to: "Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development". [75] This goal has 19 outcome targets and 24 indicators. Increasing international cooperation is seen as vital to achieving each of the 16 previous goals. [76] Goal 17 is included to assure that countries and organizations cooperate instead of compete. Developing multi-stakeholder partnerships to share knowledge, expertise, technology, and financial support is seen as critical to overall success of the SDGs. The goal encompasses improving north–south and South-South cooperation, and public-private partnerships which involve civil societies are specifically mentioned. [77]

With US$5 trillion to $7 trillion in annual investment required to achieve the SDGs, total official development assistance reached US$147.2 billion in 2017. This, although steady, is below the set target. [78] In 2016, six countries met the international target to keep official development assistance at or above 0.7 percent of gross national income. [78] Humanitarian crises brought on by conflict or natural disasters have continued to demand more financial resources and aid. Even so, many countries also require official development assistance to encourage growth and trade. [78]

Monitoring Edit

The UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) is the annual space for global monitoring of the SDGs, under the auspices of the United Nations economic and Social Council. In July 2020 the meeting took place online for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The theme was "Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development" and a ministerial declaration was adopted. [6]

High-level progress reports for all the SDGs are published in the form of reports by the United Nations Secretary General. The most recent one is from April 2020. [6]

The online publication SDG-Tracker was launched in June 2018 and presents data across all available indicators. [5] It relies on the Our World in Data database and is also based at the University of Oxford. [80] [81] The publication has global coverage and tracks whether the world is making progress towards the SDGs. [82] It aims to make the data on the 17 goals available and understandable to a wide audience. [83]

The website "allows people around the world to hold their governments accountable to achieving the agreed goals". [80] The SDG-Tracker highlights that the world is currently (early 2019) very far away from achieving the goals.

The Global "SDG Index and Dashboards Report" is the first publication to track countries' performance on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. [84] The annual publication, co-produced by Bertelsmann Stiftung and SDSN, includes a ranking and dashboards that show key challenges for each country in terms of implementing the SDGs. The publication features trend analysis to show how countries performing on key SDG metrics have changed over recent years in addition to an analysis of government efforts to implement the SDGs.

To achieve sustainable development, the three sectors need to come together. The economic, socio-political, and environmental sectors are all critically important and interdependent. [85] Progress will require multidisciplinary and trans-disciplinary research across all three sectors. This proves difficult when major governments fail to support it. [85]

According to the UN, the target is to reach the community farthest behind. Commitments should be transformed into effective actions requiring a correct perception of target populations. However, numerical and non-numerical data or information must address all vulnerable groups such as children, elderly folks, persons with disabilities, refugees, indigenous peoples, migrants, and internally-displaced persons. [86]

Gender equality Edit

The widespread consensus is that progress on all of the SDGs will be stalled if women's empowerment and gender equality are not prioritized, and treated holistically. The SDGs look to policy makers as well as private sector executives and board members to work toward gender equality. [87] [88] Statements from diverse sources, such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), UN Women and the World Pensions Forum, have noted that investments in women and girls have positive impacts on economies. National and global development investments in women and girls often exceed their initial scope. [89]

Gender equality is mainstreamed throughout the SDG framework by ensuring that as much sex-disaggregated data as possible are collected. [90] : 11

Education Edit

Education for sustainable development (ESD) is explicitly recognized in the SDGs as part of Target 4.7 of the SDG on education. UNESCO promotes the Global Citizenship Education (GCED) as a complementary approach. [91] At the same time, it is important to emphasize ESD's importance for all the other 16 SDGs. With its overall aim to develop cross-cutting sustainability competencies in learners, ESD is an essential contribution to all efforts to achieve the SDGs. This would enable individuals to contribute to sustainable development by promoting societal, economic and political change as well as by transforming their own behavior. [92]

Culture Edit

Culture is explicitly referenced in SDG 11 Target 4 ("Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage"). However, culture is seen as a cross-cutting theme because it impacts several SDGs. [90] For example, culture plays a role in SDGs related to: [90] : 2

  • environment and resilience (Targets 11.4 Cultural & natural heritage, 11.7 Inclusive public spaces, 12.b Sustainable tourism management, 16.4 Recovery of stolen assets),
  • prosperity and livelihoods (Targets 8.3 Jobs, entrepreneurship & innovation 8.9 Policies for sustainable tourism),
  • knowledge and skills,
  • inclusion and participation (Targets 11.7 Inclusive public spaces, 16.7 Participatory decision-making).

Implementation of the SDGs started worldwide in 2016. This process can also be called "Localizing the SDGs". Individual people, universities, governments, institutions and organizations of all kinds work are working separately but one or more goals at the same time. [93] Individual governments must translate the goals into national legislation, develop a plan of action, and establish their own budget. However, at the same time, they must be open to and actively searching for partners. Coordination at the international level is crucial, making partnerships valuable. The SDGs note that countries with less access to financial resources need partnerships with more well-to-do countries. [94]

The co-chairs of the SDG negotiations each produced a book to help people to understand the Sustainable Development Goals and how they evolved. The books are: "Negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals: A transformational agenda for an insecure world" by Ambassador David Donoghue, Felix Dodds and Jimena Leiva and "Transforming Multilateral Diplomacy: The Inside Story of the Sustainable Development Goals" by Macharia Kamau, David O'Connor and Pamela Chasek.

A 2018 study in the journal Nature found that while "nearly all African countries demonstrated improvements for children under 5 years old for stunting, wasting, and underweight. much, if not all of the continent will fail to meet the Sustainable Development Goal target—to end malnutrition by 2030". [95]

Allocation Edit

In 2019 five progress reports on the 17 SDGs were published. Three came from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), [96] [97] one from the Bertelsmann Foundation and one from the European Union. [98] [99] According to a review of the five reports in a synopsis [ disambiguation needed ] , the allocation of the Goals and themes by the Basel Institute of Commons and Economics, the allocation was the following: [100]

Allocation of the Goals and their major themes in five leading SDG reports 2019 [100]
SDG Topic Rank Average Rank Mentions [Note 1]
Health 1 3.2 1814
2 4.0 1328
Education 3 4.6 1351
Poverty 4 6.2 1095
Food 5 7.6 693
Economic Growth 6 8.6 387
Technology 7 8.8 855
Inequality 8 9.2 296
Gender Equality 9 10.0 338
Hunger 10 10.6 670
Justice 11 10.8 328
Governance 12 11.6 232
Decent Work 13 12.2 277
Peace 14 12.4 282
Clean Energy 15 12.6 272
Life on Land 16 14.4 250
Life below Water 17 15.0 248
Social Inclusion 18 16.4 22

In explanation of the findings, the Basel Institute of Commons and Economics said Biodiversity, Peace and Social Inclusion were "left behind" by quoting the official SDGs motto "Leaving no one behind". [100]

Challenges Edit

Impacts of COVID-19 pandemic Edit

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has offered countries an opportunity to build recovery plans that will change current trends and also change consumption and production patterns towards achieving a more sustainable future. [6] : 14 The pandemic has proved that weaknesses emerge from our systems, and to meet sustainable development goals, responsibility should begin from our governments down to other civil servants. [101]

Costs Edit

The Economist estimated that alleviating poverty and achieving the other sustainable development goals will require about US$2–3 trillion per year for the next 15 years which they called "pure fantasy". [102] Estimates for providing clean water and sanitation for the whole population of all continents have been as high as US$200 billion. [103] The World Bank says that estimates need to be made country by country, and reevaluated frequently over time. [103]

In 2014, UNCTAD estimated the annual costs to achieving the UN Goals at US$2.5 trillion per year. [104] Another estimate from 2018 (by the Basel Institute of Commons and Economics, that conducts the World Social Capital Monitor) found that to reach all of the SDGs this would require between US$2.5 and $5.0 trillion per year. [105]

Financing Edit

The Rockefeller Foundation asserts that "The key to financing and achieving the SDGs lies in mobilizing a greater share of the $200+ trillion in annual private capital investment flows toward development efforts, and philanthropy has a critical role to play in catalyzing this shift." [106] Large-scale funders participating in a Rockefeller Foundation-hosted design thinking workshop concluded that "while there is a moral imperative to achieve the SDGs, failure is inevitable if there aren't drastic changes to how we go about financing large scale change". [107]

In 2017 the UN launched the Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development (UN IATF on FfD) that invited to a public dialogue. [108] The top-5 sources of financing for development were estimated in 2018 to be: Real new sovereign debt OECD countries, military expenditures, official increase sovereign debt OECD countries, remittances from expats to developing countries, official development assistance (ODA). [105]

SDG-driven investment Edit

Capital stewardship is expected to play a crucial part in the progressive advancement of the SDG agenda:

"No longer absentee landlords', pension fund trustees have started to exercise more forcefully their governance prerogatives across the boardrooms of Britain, Benelux and America: coming together through the establishment of engaged pressure groups [. ] to shift the [whole economic] system towards sustainable investment" [109] by using the SDG framework across all asset classes. [88]

In 2017, 2018 and early 2019, the World Pensions Council (WPC) held a series of ESG-focused discussions with pension board members (trustees) and senior investment executives from across G20 nations in Toronto, London (with the UK Association of Member-Nominated Trustees, AMNT), Paris and New York – notably on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. Many pension investment executives and board members confirmed they were in the process of adopting or developing SDG-informed investment processes, with more ambitious investment governance requirements – notably when it comes to Climate Action, Gender Equity and Social Fairness: “they straddle key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including, of course, Gender Equality (SDG 5) and Reduced Inequality (SDG 10) […] Many pension trustees are now playing for keeps”. [110]

The notion of "SDG Driven Investment" gained further ground amongst institutional investors in the second semester of 2019, notably at the WPC-led G7 Pensions Roundtable held in Biarritz, 26 August 2019, [111] and the Business Roundtable held in Washington, DC, on 19 August 2019. [112]

UN agencies which are part of the United Nations Development Group decided to support an independent campaign to communicate the new SDGs to a wider audience. This campaign, "Project Everyone," had the support of corporate institutions and other international organizations. [113]

Using the text drafted by diplomats at the UN level, a team of communication specialists developed icons for every goal. [114] They also shortened the title "The 17 Sustainable Development Goals" to "Global Goals/17#GlobalGoals," then ran workshops and conferences to communicate the Global Goals to a global audience. [115] [116] [117]

An early concern was that 17 goals would be too much for people to grasp and that therefore the SDGs would fail to get a wider recognition. [ when? ] Without wider recognition the necessary momentum to achieve them by 2030 would not be achieved. Concerned with this, British film-maker Richard Curtis started the organization in 2015 called Project Everyone with the aim to bring the goals to everyone on the planet. [118] [119] [120] Curtis approached Swedish designer Jakob Trollbäck who rebranded them as The Global Goals and created the 17 iconic visuals with clear short names as well as a logotype for the whole initiative. The communication system is available for free. [121] In 2018, Jakob Trollbäck and his company (The New Division), went on to extend the communication system to also include the 169 targets that describe how the goals can be achieved. [122]

The benefits of engaging the affected public in decision making that affects their livelihoods, communities, and environment have been widely recognized. [123] The Aarhus Convention is a United Nations convention passed in 2001, explicitly to encourage and promote effective public engagement in environmental decision making. Information transparency related to social media and the engagement of youth are two issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals that the convention has addressed. [124] [125]

Advocates Edit

In 2019, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres appointed new SDG advocates. [126] The role of these 17 public figures is to raise awareness, inspire greater ambition, and push for faster action on the SDGs. They are:

Events Edit

Global Goals Week Edit

Global Goals Week is an annual week-long event in September for action, awareness, and accountability for the Sustainable Development Goals. [127] Its a shared commitment for over 100 partners to ensure quick action on the SDGs by sharing ideas and transformative solutions to global problems. [128] It first took place in 2016. It is often held concurrently with Climate Week NYC. [129]

Film festivals Edit

The annual "Le Temps Presse" festival in Paris utilizes cinema to sensitize the public, especially young people, to the Sustainable Development Goals. The origin of the festival was in 2010 when eight directors produced a film titled "8," which included eight short films, each featuring one of the Millennium Development Goals. After 2.5 million viewers saw "8" on YouTube, the festival was created. It now showcases young directors whose work promotes social, environmental and human commitment. The festival now focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals. [130]

The Arctic Film Festival is an annual film festival organized by HF Productions and supported by the SDGs' Partnership Platform. Held for the first time in 2019, the festival is expected to take place every year in September in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway. [131] [132]

Background Edit

In 1972, governments met in Stockholm, Sweden for the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, to consider the rights of the family to a healthy and productive environment. [133] In 1983, the United Nations created the World Commission on Environment and Development (later known as the Brundtland Commission), which defined sustainable development as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". [134] In 1992, the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) or Earth Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro, where the first agenda for Environment and Development, also known as Agenda 21, was developed and adopted.

In 2012, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), also known as Rio+20, was held as a 20-year follow up to UNCED. [135] [136] Colombia proposed the idea of the SDGs at a preparation event for Rio+20 held in Indonesia in July 2011. [137] In September 2011, this idea was picked up by the United Nations Department of Public Information 64th NGO Conference in Bonn, Germany. The outcome document proposed 17 sustainable development goals and associated targets. In the run-up to Rio+20 there was much discussion about the idea of the SDGs. At the Rio+20 Conference, a resolution known as "The Future We Want" was reached by member states. [138] Among the key themes agreed on were poverty eradication, energy, water and sanitation, health, and human settlement.

The Rio+20 outcome document mentioned that "at the outset, the OWG [Open Working Group] will decide on its methods of work, including developing modalities to ensure the full involvement of relevant stakeholders and expertise from civil society, Indigenous Peoples, the scientific community and the United Nations system in its work, in order to provide a diversity of perspectives and experience". [138]

In January 2013, the 30-member UN General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals was established to identify specific goals for the SDGs. The Open Working Group (OWG) was tasked with preparing a proposal on the SDGs for consideration during the 68th session of the General Assembly, September 2013 – September 2014. [139] On 19 July 2014, the OWG forwarded a proposal for the SDGs to the Assembly. After 13 sessions, the OWG submitted their proposal of 8 SDGs and 169 targets to the 68th session of the General Assembly in September 2014. [140] On 5 December 2014, the UN General Assembly accepted the Secretary General's Synthesis Report, which stated that the agenda for the post-2015 SDG process would be based on the OWG proposals. [141]

Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary-General from 2007 to 2016, has stated in a November 2016 press conference that: "We don’t have plan B because there is no planet B." [142] This thought has guided the development of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). [ citation needed ]

The Post-2015 Development Agenda was a process from 2012 to 2015 led by the United Nations to define the future global development framework that would succeed the Millennium Development Goals. The SDGs were developed to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which ended in 2015. The gaps and shortcomings of MDG Goal 8 (To develop a global partnership for development) led to identifying a problematic "donor-recipient" relationship. [143] Instead, the new SDGs favor collective action by all countries. [143]

The UN-led process involved its 193 Member States and global civil society. The resolution is a broad intergovernmental agreement that acts as the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The SDGs build on the principles agreed upon in Resolution A/RES/66/288, entitled "The Future We Want". [144] This was a non-binding document released as a result of Rio+20 Conference held in 2012. [144]

The lists of targets and indicators for each of the 17 SDGs was published in a UN resolution in July 2017. [3]

Ratification Edit

Negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda began in January 2015 and ended in August 2015. The negotiations ran in parallel to United Nations negotiations on financing for development, which determined the financial means of implementing the Post-2015 Development Agenda those negotiations resulted in adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda in July 2015. A final document was adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015 in New York. [145]

On 25 September 2015, the 193 countries of the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Development Agenda titled "Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development". [146] [147] This agenda has 92 paragraphs. Paragraph 59 outlines the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the associated 169 targets and 232 indicators.

The SDGs have been criticized for setting contradictory goals and for trying to do everything first, instead of focusing on the most urgent or fundamental priorities. The SDGs were an outcome from a UN conference that was not criticized by any major non-governmental organization (NGO). Instead, the SDGs received broad support from many NGOs. [148]

A commentary in The Economist in 2015 said that the SDGs are "a mess" compared to the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) used previously. [102] Others have pointed out that the SDGs mark a shift from the MDGs and emphasise the interconnected environmental, social and economic aspects of development, by putting sustainability at their centre. [149]

The SDGs may simply maintain the status quo and fall short of delivering on the ambitious development agenda. The current status quo has been described as "separating human wellbeing and environmental sustainability, failing to change governance and to pay attention to trade-offs, root causes of poverty and environmental degradation, and social justice issues". [149]

Regarding the targets of the SDGs, there is generally weak evidence linking the "means of implementation" to outcomes. [7] The targets about "means of implementation" (those denoted with a letter, for example, Target 6.a) are imperfectly conceptualized and inconsistently formulated, and tracking their largely qualitative indicators will be difficult. [7]

Competing and too many goals Edit

Some of the goals compete with each other. For example, seeking high levels of quantitative GDP growth can make it difficult to attain ecological, inequality reduction, and sustainability objectives. Similarly, increasing employment and wages can work against reducing the cost of living. [150]

A commentary in The Economist in 2015 argued that 169 targets for the SDGs is too many, describing them as "sprawling, misconceived" and "a mess". [102] The goals are said to ignore local context. All other 16 goals might be contingent on achieving SDG 1, ending poverty, which should have been at the top of a very short list of goals.

On the other hand, nearly all stakeholders engaged in negotiations to develop the SDGs agreed that the high number of 17 goals was justified because the agenda they address is all-encompassing. [ citation needed ]

Weak on environmental sustainability Edit

Continued global economic growth of 3 percent (Goal 8) may not be reconcilable with ecological sustainability goals, because the required rate of absolute global eco-economic decoupling is far higher than any country has achieved in the past. [151] Anthropologists have suggested that, instead of targeting aggregate GDP growth, the goals could target resource use per capita, with "substantial reductions in high‐income nations." [151]

Environmental constraints and planetary boundaries are underrepresented within the SDGs. For instance, the paper "Making the Sustainable Development Goals Consistent with Sustainability" [152] points out that the way the current SDGs are structured leads to a negative correlation between environmental sustainability and SDGs. This means, as the environmental sustainability side of the SDGs is underrepresented, the resource security for all, particularly for lower-income populations, is put at risk. This is not a criticism of the SDGs per se, but a recognition that their environmental conditions are still weak. [151]

The SDGs have been criticized for their inability to protect biodiversity. They could unintentionally promote environmental destruction in the name of sustainable development. [153] [154]

Scientists have proposed several ways to address the weaknesses regarding environmental sustainability in the SDGs:

  • The monitoring of essential variables to better capture the essence of coupled environmental and social systems that underpin sustainable development, helping to guide coordination and systems transformation. [155]
  • More attention to the context of the biophysical systems in different places (e.g., coastal river deltas, mountain areas) [156][157]
  • Better understanding of feedbacks across scales in space (e.g., through globalization) and time (e.g., affecting future generations) that could ultimately determine the success or failure of the SDGs. [158]

Importance of technology and connectivity Edit

Several years after the launch of the SDGs, growing voices called for more emphasis on the need for technology and internet connectivity within the goals. In September 2020, the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development called for digital connectivity to be established as a “foundational pillar” for achieving all the SDGs. In a document titled “Global Goal of Universal Connectivity Manifesto”, the Broadband Commission said: “As we define the ‘new normal’ for our post-COVID world, leaving no one behind means leaving no one offline.” [159]

Asia and Pacific Edit

Australia Edit

The Commonwealth of Australia was one of the 193 countries that adopted the 2030 Agenda in September 2015. Implementation of the agenda is led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) with different federal government agencies responsible for each of the goals. [160] Australia is not on-track to achieve the SDGs by 2030. [161] Four modelled scenarios based on different development approaches found that the 'Sustainability Transition' scenario could deliver "rapid and balanced progress of 70% towards SDG targets by 2020, well ahead of the business-as-usual scenario (40%)". [161] In 2020, Australia's overall performance in the SDG Index is ranked 37th out of 166 countries (down from 18th out of 34 countries in 2015). [162] [163]

Bangladesh Edit

Bangladesh, as an active participant in the global process of preparing the Agenda 2030, started its implementation from the very beginning through the integration of SDGs into the national development agenda. The SDGs were integrated with the country’s 7th Five Year Plan (7FYP, 2016- 2020) and these were given emphasis while setting the priority areas of the 7FYP such that the achievement of Plan objectives and targets also can contribute towards the achievement of the SDGs. All the 17 goals were integrated into the 7FYP. A Development Results Framework (DRF)- -a robust and rigorous result based monitoring and evaluation framework—was also embedded in the Plan for monitoring the 7FYP. The outcomes and targets in the DRF were aligned with the SDGs focus on macroeconomic development, poverty reduction, employment, education, health, water and sanitation, transport and communication, power, energy and mineral resources, gender and inequality, environment, climate change and disaster management, ICT, urban development, governance, and international cooperation and partnership. [164]

Bhutan Edit

The Sustainable development process in Bhutan has a more meaningful purpose than economic growth alone. The nation's holistic goal is the pursuit of Gross National Happiness (GNH), [165] a term coined in 1972 by the Fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, which has the principal guiding philosophy for the long term journey as a nation. Therefore, the SDGs find a natural place within the framework of GNH sharing a common vision of prosperity, peace, and harmony where no one is left behind. Just as GNH is both an ideal to be pursued and a practical tool so too the SDGs inspire and guide sustainable action. Guided by the development paradigm of GNH, Bhutan is committed to achieving the goals of SDGs by 2030 since its implementation in September 2015. In line with Bhutan's commitment to the implementation of the SDGs and sustainable development, Bhutan has participated in the Voluntary National Review in the 2018 High-Level Political Forum. [166] As the country has progressed in its 12th five-year plan (2019–2023), the national goals have been aligned with the SDGs and every agency plays a vital role in its own ways to collectively achieving the committed goals of SDGs.

India Edit

The Government of India established the NITI Aayog to attain sustainable development goals. [167] In March 2018 Haryana became the first state in India to have its annual budget focused on the attainment of SDG with a 3-year action plan and a 7-year strategy plan to implement sustainable development goals when Captain Abhimanyu, Finance Minister of Government of Haryana, unveiled a ₹ 1,151,980 lakh (equivalent to ₹ 120 billion, US$1.7 billion or €1.6 billion in 2019) annual 2018-19 budget. [168] Also, NITI Aayog starts the exercise of measuring India and its States’ progress towards the SDGs for 2030, culminating in the development of the first SDG India Index - Baseline Report 2018 [169]

Africa Edit

Countries in Africa such as Ethiopia, Angola and South Africa worked with UN Country Teams and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to provide support to create awareness about SDGs among government officers, private sector workers, MPs and the civil society. [170]

In Cape Verde, the government received support from the UNDP to convene an international conference on SDGs in June 2015. This contributed to the worldly discussions on the specific needs of Small Island Developing States in the view of the new global agenda on sustainable development. In the UN country team context, the government received support from UNDP to develop a roadmap (a plan) to place SDGs at the middle of its national development planning processes. [170]

In Liberia, the government received support from UNDP to develop a roadmap to domesticate the AU Agenda 2063 and 2030 Agenda into the country's next national development plan. Outlines from the roadmap are steps to translate the Agenda 2063 and the SDGs into policies, plans and programs whiles considering the country is a Fragile State and applies the New Deal Principles. [170]

Uganda was also claimed to be one of the first countries to develop its 2015/16-2019/20 national development plan in line with SDGs. It was estimated by its government that about 76% of the SDGs targets were reflected in the plan and was adapted to the national context. The UN Country Team was claimed to have supported the government to integrate the SDGs. [170]

In Mauritania, the Ministry for the Economy and Finances received support from the UNDP to convene partners such as NGOs, government agencies, other ministries and the private sector in the discussion for implementing of the SDGs in the country, in the context of the UN Country Team. A national workshop was also supported by the UNDP to provide the methodology and tools for mainstreaming the SDGs into the country's new strategy. [170]

The government of countries such as Togo, Sierra Leone, Madagascar and Uganda were claimed to have volunteered to conduct national reviews of their implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Support from UNDP was received to prepare their respective reports presented at the UN High-Level Political Forum. It was held during 11–20 July 2016 in New York in the United States. This forum was the UN global platform to review and follow up the SDGs and 2030 Agenda. It is said to provide guidance on policy to countries for implementing the goals. [170]

Nigeria Edit

Nigeria is one of the countries that presented its Voluntary National Review (VNR) in 2017 & 2020 on the implementation of the SDGs at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). In 2020, Nigeria ranked 160 on the 2020 world's SDG Index. [171] The government affirmed that Nigeria’s current development priorities and objectives are focused on achieving the SDGs. [172]

Ghana Edit

Ghana aims to align its development priorities in partnership with CSOs and the private sector to achieve the SDGs in Ghana together. [173]

Europe and Middle East Edit

The World Pensions Forum has observed that the UK and European Union pension investors have been at the forefront of ESG-driven (Environmental, Social and Governance) asset allocation at home and abroad and early adopters of "SDG-centric" investment practices. [88]

Iran Edit

In December 2016 the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran held a special ceremony announcing a national education initiative that was arranged by the UNESCO office in Iran to implement the educational objectives of this global program. The announcement created a stir among politicians and Marja' in the country. [175]

Lebanon Edit

Lebanon adopted the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. It presented its first Voluntary National Review VNR in 2018 at the High Level Political Forum in New York. A national committee chaired by the Lebanese Prime Minister is leading the work on the SDGs in the country. [176] In 2019, Lebanon's overall performance in the SDG Index ranked 6th out of 21 countries in the Arab region. [177]

United Kingdom Edit

The UK's approach to delivering the Global SDGs is outlined in Agenda 2030: Delivering the Global Goals, developed by the Department for International Development. [178] In 2019, the Bond network analyzed the UK's global progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). [179] The Bond report highlights crucial gaps where attention and investment are most needed. The report was compiled by 49 organizations and 14 networks and working groups.

Americas Edit

United States Edit

193 governments including the United States ratified the SDGs. However, the UN reported minimal progress after three years within the 15-year timetable of this project. Funding remains trillions of dollars short. The United States stand last among the G20 nations to attain these Sustainable Development Goals and 36th worldwide. [180]

  1. ^ While the total ranking results on the average ranking in five different reports, the number of mentions is not identical with the average ranking.

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