Edited by Peter A.G. van Bergeijk and Rolph van der Hoeven
Chapter 3: From MDGs to SDGs: critical reflections on global targets and their measurement
Jan Vandemoortele provides a critical reflection on the SDGs. Although they address a broader set of concerns than the MDGs did and emphasise more clearly the link between global goals and national targets, the SDGs do not quite represent a ‘one-world’ agenda that applies to all countries in a similar manner. Most of the verifiable targets are not dissimilar from those covered by the MDGs, thus do not apply to developed countries. Most of the issues that concern them are either omitted or formulated in a woolly fashion – i.e. inequality, overweight, breastfeeding, climate change. This relates to the context in which they were shaped, characterised by a deep divide between North–South, a stronger sense of national sovereignty among member states, aloof leadership throughout the United Nations, diminished influence of civil society organisations and greater leverage of global corporations. Two steps are now overdue: (a) each country must adapt the SDGs to her national context and (b) globally, fitting indicators must be adopted to remedy the flawed nature of many SDG-targets.
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