They did this by signing documents known as the Sustainable Development Goals and pledged to achieve and implement most of them by 2030.
The goals include countries alleviating poverty and ensuring 0% hunger, promoting gender equality, creating decent work, growing sustainable economies as well as promoting quality education.
Fast forward to 2019 and with only 11 years remaining, many leaders are rushing against the clock to achieve their goals in line with what is outlined in their national development plans.
But you see, it’s not only about South Africa and every other country ticking items off their checklist.
The fundamental aspect is how these goals will change communities for the better.
This week President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the Good Green Deeds campaign in the Eastern Cape, where he encouraged communities to play an active role in ending pollution and being environmentally conscious.
Women in rural and peri-urban areas have already started taking the bull by the horns and are farming to put food on the table for their families.
One woman in Limpopo has gone as far as to use cow dung to generate a salary for her herself. University of Cape Town alumnus Lewis Pugh this week implored Commonwealth leaders to fully protect at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. Reports maintain that less than 7% is currently protected.
Multinational corporations such as engineering and mining equipment company Komatsu, from Japan, are also coming on board in expanding the skills required by young South African professionals to be industry leaders.
Depending on how we want to look at this, such sustainable development goals (SDGs) are pivotal in developing societies.
At the best of times such initiatives don’t require millions of rand to be pumped into them, but instead need active partnerships between civil society and the government to bring about change.
In the next coming weeks, we will look at what South Africans know about SDGs and what many of them are doing or willing to do to create a better and brighter future for generations to come.
Mokati is the group development content editor for Independent Media