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United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Health & Well-Being

How the Health & Well-Being Attribute Aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

The United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were agreed upon by 193 States Members in 2015 and provide a global framework to address sustainability challenges facing the planet. Public gardens through their collections, displays, research, education, and outreach programs can significantly contribute to the SDG goals and targets.

The Public Gardens Sustainability Index is intended to share examples of how gardens are contributing to specific SDG goals and to inspire gardens to advance their own garden programs to further the mission of their institution while connecting to local, national, and global sustainability efforts. This Index is a first step guide on how to “get started” implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from 2015. It aims to help gardens of all sizes and governance models understand the SDG Agenda, to start an inclusive dialogue on SDG implementation, and to prepare SDG-based local or national development strategies (or align existing plans and strategies with the goals). This is a great resource for those interested in better understanding the SDGs and how your institution can contribute by thinking about ways to implement some of these strategies. 

The SDG framework provides a helpful point of reference to demonstrate the fundamental importance of plants for the planet and their importance to the environment, economy, and human health.

Zero Hunger (SDG 2):

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. 

Ending hunger demands sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices. Gardens are at the forefront of this effort. One aspect of that effort is maintaining the genetic diversity of plants and animals, which is crucial for agriculture and food production. In 2016, 4.7 million samples of seeds and other plant genetic material for food and agriculture were preserved in 602 gene banks throughout 82 countries and 14 regional and international centres — a 2 percent increase since 2014. Animal genetic material has been cryoconserved, but only for 15 percent of national breed populations, according to information obtained from 128 countries. The stored genetic material is sufficient to reconstitute only 7 percent of national breed populations should they become extinct. As of February 2017, 20 percent of local breeds were classified as at risk.

Good Health & Well-Being (SDG 3):

Target 3.9: By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination.

Gardens can do a lot to align targets and goals with SDG 3 and combat health concerns like indoor and outdoor air pollution. In addition, mental disorders such as depression can lead to suicide. Nearly 800,000 suicides occurred worldwide in 2015. As green spaces that frequently have areas for relaxation, public gardens can provide a peaceful excape from urban modern life and be a refuge for those looking for places to go for mental and physical health activities.


The Association is dedicated to sharing resources that provide updates on the SDGs, particularly those that impact our industry and members. Some of these resources include presentatons and materials developed by Association staff and members.