World leaders are launching an ambitious drive to transform the planet by 2030 with the adoption on Friday of new UN goals to wipe out extreme poverty, promote health and education and combat climate change.
The new UN agenda will replace the millennium development goals (MDGs) that expire this year, but its objectives are much more ambitious in scope.
Here's a look at some of the key issues:
What are the goals?
There are 17 goals and 169 targets that range from ending poverty, ensuring healthy lives, combating climate change, achieving gender equality and even conserving the oceans. The new goals have been criticized for being ill-defined and far too broad.
In comparison, the MDGs were limited to eight goals, mostly focused on combating poverty and improving child and maternal health.
The goals are non-binding, but the summit opening Friday will allow leaders to publicly commit to achieving them.
Much attention has focused on the first goal—ending extreme poverty. More than 836 million people still live in extreme poverty in the least-developed countries, in southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Contrary to the MDGs, the new global goals apply to both developing and developed countries and negotiations were opened up to governments and civil society, not only to UN experts.
How will the goals be financed?
The price tag to achieve the new global goals is expected to be between $3.5 and $5 trillion annually over the next 15 years—a whopping sum that the goals' architects argue will require some creative thinking to generate funds from governments and the private sector.
Billions of dollars in development aid will be re-directed to meet the goals but the United Nations also wants to tap into local sources of financing through improved revenue collection.
The global goals call for improved transparency in oil-producing countries to clamp down on corruption and ensure that revenues from natural resources are used to improve the lives of citizens.
International financial institutions like the African Development Bank and the World Bank will step up with financing support for major infrastructure projects that would have a knock-on effect in combating poverty.
Are they achievable ?
The United Nations is planning to roll out some 300 indicators to measure progress by countries and provide data on how governments are working to meet the goals.
It is unlikely that all countries will achieve all of the goals, but aid groups say they will provide benchmarks for governments in every area of development.
Jamie Drummond, executive director for global strategy at the ONE campaign, described the global goals as a "citizen's scorecard, to hold governments accountable for delivery."
"The key missing ingredient is political will," said Drummond. "We have a great history of promise-making at the UN, but the question is whether the promise is ever kept."
When do they enter into force ?
Formally known as the sustainable development goals, the SDGs enter into force on January 1 and the deadline for implementing all of them is December 31, 2030.
Explore further: The world's new sustainable development goals