Swimming towards UN Sustainable Development Goals

9 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are directly or indirectly related to drowning prevention

Swimming towards UN Sustainable Development Goals

In September 2015, world leaders came together at the United Nations General Assembly and adopted a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to establish and tackle some of the world's most pressing challenges. 

Building swimming capability is a versatile and impactful strategy that aligns with multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals. Although seemingly simple, building swimming skills within communities is a sure fire way to hit nine of the key goals! By recognising the broader benefits of swimming education and water safety, we can promote inclusive growth, improve health and well-being, empower individuals, reduce inequalities, and create safer and more sustainable communities

Let us embrace the power of swimming capability as a catalyst for positive change and progress towards a more equitable and sustainable world.

SDG 1.1: Eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day:

Promoting swimming capability contributes to poverty eradication by providing individuals with a valuable skill that can lead to employment opportunities in industries such as lifeguarding, swimming instruction, and water-based tourism. These job prospects can help lift people out of extreme poverty and create sustainable livelihoods.

SDG 3.2: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages:

Swimming is a great form of exercise that promotes physical fitness and overall well-being. By building swimming capability, we encourage people of all ages to engage in regular physical activity, which can reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases, improve mental health, and enhance overall quality of life.

SDG 4.2: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all:

Integrating swimming education into school curricula promotes inclusive and equitable quality education. It provides all children, regardless of their socio-economic background, with the opportunity to learn an essential life skill that enhances their safety, confidence, and personal development.

SDG 5.4: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls:

Promoting swimming capability among girls and women is crucial for achieving SDG 5, by providing equal access to swimming education and breaking down cultural barriers and stereotypes, we empower women and girls to participate fully in water-related activities, promoting gender equality and fostering their self-confidence and independence.

SDG 6.1: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all:

By teaching swimming and water safety skills, we enhance individuals' ability to safely access and enjoy water resources. This contributes to SDG 6's objective of ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, as it promotes responsible water usage and reduces the risk of water-related accidents and fatalities.

SDG 8.1: Sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances, and in particular, at least 7% per annum GDP growth in the least-developed countries:

By promoting swimming capability, we enable individuals to participate in water-based economic activities such as fishing, aquaculture, water sports and related water based tourism activities. This can contribute to economic growth, particularly in coastal or water-rich regions, and help advance SDG 8's objective of sustaining per capita economic growth.

SDG 10.7: Reduce inequality within and among countries:

Building swimming capability contributes to reducing inequalities by ensuring that all individuals, regardless of their socio-economic background, have equal access to life-saving skills and recreational opportunities in water. This promotes social inclusion and helps bridge the gap between different members of society.

SDG 11.1: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable:

Swimming facilities and the availability of safe water bodies enhance the inclusivity, safety, and resilience of cities and human settlements. They provide opportunities for recreational activities, promote a sense of community, and contribute to the overall well-being of residents, aligning with SDG 11's objectives.

SDG 13.1: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts:

Promoting swimming capability is linked to SDG 13's call for urgent action on climate change. By fostering water safety and survival skills, communities can be better prepared to face climate-related challenges such as floods and storms, reducing the vulnerability of individuals and enhancing community resilience.


It is exciting to think that building swimming capability is such a powerful strategy that aligns with multiple United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through the recognition and understanding of the broader benefits of swimming education and water safety, we can address various global challenges and contribute to positive change and progress towards a more equitable and sustainable world.