What are Sustainable Development Goals?

Source:- United Nations

As per Andresen and Underdal (2012), the Rio+20 conference in 2012 was seen as a conference as a little substantive purpose for the roadblocked faced for confronting global governance on sustainability and thereby the skepticism increased but as per Westley et al. (2011), the efforts got increased because of the interest towards sustainability but the transformations were not induced strongly.

According to UN general assembly 2012, the Sustainable development goals (SDGs) started surfacing during the Rio+20 United Nations Conference for sustainable development projects. The outcome of the conference was documented into “The Future we want” and a process was agreed to negotiate and, on the SDGs, the consensus was developed. As per Sachs (2015, p.2),1992 Rio summit results were adopted into three major Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and they are The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UN CBD) and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

As per Stevens and Kanie (2016), the open working group from the UN started the negotiations to form the SDGs but the finance discussion and the post-2015 development agenda were not synchronized. Further to that, at regional and national level consultation with a wide variety of people started taking place at UN. The outcome of such discussions concluded into 17 SDGs with 169 targets. Most of the goals are similar to eight Millennium Development Goals and the content has been expanded in a variety of different ways.

The main challenges for the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and SDGs are economic, social, and environmental. A lot of similarities have been shared with the earlier UN Decades of development and with the recent Millennium Development Goal era from 2000-2015.

Two conclusions were concluded by Griggs et al. (2013), first is that an integrative agenda has been created by the SDGs that included environmental sustainability and social concerns for eradicating poverty. The second one involves the SDGs preparations which went through a lengthy, open, and transparent process in contrast to narrow groups of internal UN actors. Thereby there was a difference in ideas that were formed during the discussions and the process of SDGs forming than from the earlier efforts.

Source:- Sachs, J. D. (2015). Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, USA, 8(2).
Griggs, D., Stafford-Smith, M., Gaffney, O., Rockström, J., Öhman, M. C., Shyamsundar, P., … Noble, I. (2013). Sustainable development goals for people and planet. Nature, 495(7441), 305-307.
Stevens, C., & Kanie, N. (2016). The transformative potential of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, 16(3), 393-396.
Andresen, S., & Underdal, A. (2012). We do not need more global sustainability conferences. Earth System Governance. (06/19/2012) http://www.ieg.earthsystemgovernance.org/news/2012-06-19/we-do-notneed-more-global-sustainability-conferences. Accessed September 1, 2015.


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