The Millennium Declaration was agreed upon in 2000 by 189 governments. It was an international agreement on a global vision of poverty reduction, peace and security, environmental protection, human rights and democracy. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) gave concrete direction for the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. Eight goals were set to be reached by 2015. They led to unprecedented efforts of governments worldwide resulting in significant progress towards the achievement of the MDGs. However, not all goals were met by 2015 and progress has been uneven across goals and countries. Thus, further efforts are needed.

In order to arrive at a new agenda the process of national, regional and global consultations started in 2012 and the first concrete proposal was put forward by an Open Working Group of UN General Assembly in 2014. On 25th of September 2015 the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted on the UN Summit.

Unlike the Millennium Declaration the 2030 Agenda applies to developing, emerging and industrial countries equally in order to create more global partnership. Central goals of the 2030 Agenda have been set with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which include 169 targets. The SDGs supersede the MDGs which have expired in 2015 and seek to stimulate international action. They are designed to balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.

Women and girls have a central part to play in all of the SDGs. Goal 5, including nine targets, is specifically dedicated to achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls. Furthermore, the issue of gender equality is mainstreamed in a number of other SDGs e.g. Education (Goal 4) and Health (Goal 3).