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Carers Worldwide and the Sustainable Development Goals

Published: 18 September 2023
Updated: 29 September 2023
Sustainable Development Goals

This week at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, world leaders will meet for the SDG Summit, where they will be reviewing the state of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs are a call to action to all the world’s countries, recognising and highlighting the many interlocking areas that need to be improved to ensure ‘peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.’

In 2015, all United Nations Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the SDGs sit at its core. 

How Carers Worldwide work within the SDGs

Unpaid family carers are found in all parts of society globally and without their full inclusion in programmes aimed at achieving the SDGs, the ambitious targets set by each country to achieve an equitable and sustainable world for everyone will not be realised. Furthermore, inclusion in the push towards the SDGs can be viewed as a moral right. As a global society, we need to demonstrate our commitment to ‘leave no-one behind.’ It is imperative that carers are not excluded from this.

At Carers Worldwide we are proud that the work we do supporting unpaid family carers, cuts across several of the SDGs. 

SDG 1 - No Poverty

Many carers cannot earn a living alongside caring which means their households face severe poverty. Our research with carers in South Asia has found that 92% of carers worry about not having enough money to meet their families’ basic needs. We are advocating for governments to provide a carers allowance to ensure greater financial security. We are also empowering carers to access the allowances due to their sick and disabled relatives. 

SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being

People living with disabilities and long-term health conditions often face difficulties accessing universal healthcare. Their carers frequently experience physical and mental health issues themselves alongside or because of caring responsibilities. We promote increased health and wellbeing and improved access to quality healthcare for carers and those they care for by providing targeted training for local health professionals and strengthening existing government healthcare systems.

Health Camp

SDG 4 - Quality Education

Young carers with responsibilities for caring for a parent, sibling or other relative frequently face barriers in accessing the education system as a result of those responsibilities. We create awareness of the issues faced by young carers and the impact on their childhood and education. We train education professionals and support families to identify alternative caring options, meaning young carers can return fulltime to their education.

Young carers

SDG 5 - Gender Equality

The vast majority of carers are women and girls and current attitudes towards care and caring serve to perpetuate gender inequality. Our mission to design, secure and deliver carer-specific services and policies, aims to empower women and girls and is therefore a significant contribution to achieving gender equality.

Leaf Plates Making by Carers Group

SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth

Our research shows that most carers are of working age. However, caring responsibilities prevent many of them from engaging in paid work and their contributions to economic security and growth are therefore lost for their families and to society. We advocate for recognition of the time and skill involved in caring and for classification of caring as a job where governments are running work guarantee schemes. For carers able to engage in additional work-related activities, we invest in local carer communities and enable access to training, equipment and business development support for carers.


SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities 

Carers are a vulnerable group who face inequality in comparison to the general population. There is also inequality among carers themselves: whilst all carers are impacted by the challenges of caring, carers from marginalised ethnicities, from less-developed regions, and with disabilities experience greater challenges. Carers Worldwide focuses on carers in low-and-middle-income countries and in particular on those living in rural areas and urban areas of deprivation. We advocate for the recognition of carers as a protected group whose social, economic and political inclusion should be prioritised.

As our Founder and Executive Director, Anil Patil puts it:

“The Sustainable Development Goals are not just a global agenda; they are a roadmap to a better world, a world where every carer's invaluable contribution is recognised and supported. We are proud to be part of this journey, striving to ensure that carers receive the recognition, resources, and respect they deserve. Together, we can make a difference and build a more inclusive and caring world for all.”

To learn more about what we do at Carers Worldwide visit our work page or donate to support unpaid carers in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.