World Stamps

U.N.’s 17 ‘sustainable development goals’ honored on new set of stamps

May 1, 2021, 6 AM
Icons representing the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals are pictured on stamps being issued Oct. 24, United Nations Day, by the U.N. Postal Administration. The sheet of 17 for use from the U.N. post office at U.N. headquarters in New York

By Denise McCarty 

The United Nations Postal Administration is highlighting its 17 sustainable development goals on stamps being issued Oct. 24, United Nations Day.

The day commemorates the anniversary of the U.N. Charter, which went into force on Oct. 24, 2015.

The sustainable development goals were adopted by world leaders at the U.N. Sustainable Development Summit held Sept. 25–27, 2015, in New York City, and they went into effect Jan. 1 of this year. The goals are often referred to by the initials SDG, and also are sometimes called global goals.

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The website for the goals explains their purpose: “Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

“The SDGs build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and aim to go further to end all forms of poverty. The new Goals are unique in that they call for action by all countries, poor, rich and middle-income to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and addresses a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.”

Each of the three U.N. post offices will issue a sheet containing 17 se-tenant stamps, one stamp for each goal, and a label.

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The stamps are denominated 47¢, 1 franc and 0.68, for use from the post offices at U.N. headquarters in New York City; the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; and at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria, respectively.

The stamps picture the icons representing the goals, and the label depicts the U.N. emblem and the words “Sustainable Development Goals” in English (U.N./New York), French (U.N./Geneva) and German (U.N./Vienna).

The first row in each pane features the icons for the first six goals: 1. End poverty in all forms everywhere; 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture; 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages; 4. Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning; 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and 6. Ensure access to water and sanitation for all.

The icons for goals seven through 12 are pictured in the middle row: 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all; 8. Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all; 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation; 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries; 11. Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable; and 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

The third row includes the 13th through 17th goals and the label: 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts; 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources; 15. Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss; 16. Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies; and 17. Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

The UNPA issued a similar set of stamps in 2009 for the millennium development goals (Scott U.N./New York 995, Geneva 505, Vienna 457).

Lindsey Thoeng of the United Nations designed the Sustainable Development Goals stamps. They are square, measuring 36 millimeters by 36mm, and are perforated gauge 13.3.

Lowe-Martin of Canada printed the stamps by offset in the following quantities: 476,000 stamps (28,000 sheets) each of the 47¢ and 1fr denominations; and 510,00 stamps (30,000 sheets) of the 0.68.

For ordering information for the Sustainable Development Goals stamps,­ visit their website; email; telephone 800-234-8672; fax 212-963-9854; or write to UNPA, Box 5900, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163-5900.