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  • Writer's pictureRafaela Rolim

The Inner Development Goals

Rafaela Rolim, Pod 2 -

Back in September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Later in that same year, during COP 21 the historic Paris Agreement was adopted by 196 nations that agreed to fight climate change and trigger action and investment for a low-carbon, resilient and sustainable future. The goal was to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. Fast Forward 7 years, we are now in 2022, and despite the valuable efforts of so many, unfortunately, we have not collectively done enough on this endeavour.

Dealing with our increasingly complex environment and challenges can be improved by developing our inner abilities, and the Common Earth Insights course has this objective among other remarkable initiatives around the world. A new initiative also aims at supporting us toward a more sustainable future. The 'Inner Development Goals' is a framework of the capabilities, qualities, and skills that can support us achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

This is a not-for-profit and open-source initiative based on the conviction that inner development is necessary for societal change. The IDGs will provide an essential framework of transformative skills for sustainable development. Its aim is to educate, inspire and empower people to be a positive force for change in society, in their own lives and those around them, and at the same time find purpose and meaning in their lives.

The current IDGs framework represents 5 dimensions and 23 skills and qualities which are especially crucial for leaders who address SDGs, but fundamentally for all of us!

The five dimensions:

1. Being — Relationship to Self

Cultivating our inner life and developing and deepening our relationship to our thoughts, feelings and body help us be present, intentional and non-reactive when we face complexity.

2. Thinking — Cognitive Skills

Developing our cognitive skills by taking different perspectives, evaluating information and making sense of the world as an interconnected whole is essential for wise decision-making.

3. Relating — Caring for Others and the World

Appreciating, caring for and feeling connected to others, such as neighbors, future generations or the biosphere, helps us create more just and sustainable systems and societies for everyone.

4. Collaborating — Social Skills

To make progress on shared concerns, we need to develop our abilities to include, hold space and communicate with stakeholders with different values, skills and competencies.

5. Acting — Driving change

Qualities such as courage and optimism help us acquire true agency, break old patterns, generate original ideas and act with persistence in uncertain times.

Shifting mindsets is a high-leverage point in Systems Thinking and the IDGs provide powerful leverage for us to reach the Sustainable Development Goals and create a prosperous future for all humanity.

The initiative is supported by thought leaders, among them:

Check the links below to learn more:


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