With the United Nations’ eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set to expire in 2015, world leaders, policy makers, and citizens are in talks over the subsequent set of objectives in the mission to create a safe, equitable, and peaceful world.
Thirty member states from the United Nations General Assembly formed an Open Working Group (OWG) in June of 2012 to develop the next set of goals, which will focus on sustainable development and will reflect the UN’s development platform for the years after 2015. These goals are called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This Open Working Group plans to present its proposal of goals to the other UN member states in a year, for plans for adoption in September 2015.
Co-chair of the OWG and Hungary’s ambassador to the U.N., Csaba Kőrösi, stated that they have already received over 140 suggestions for goals. However, the goals have to be quantifiable and measurable in every nation.
The Hungarian ambassador stated that the proposal to extend the MDGs and have the SDGs exist alongside them is entirely illogical and defeats the purpose of a clear, definable list of goals. Having two sets of goals will make it harder for any of them to be achieved to any measurable degree. Therefore, whatever has been left from the MDGs will be incorporated substantially into the Sustainable Development Goals.
The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has stated that these new goals “must be universal in nature yet responsive to the complexities, needs, and capacities of individual countries.” He also stated that post-2015 development has to show continued support in the fight against global poverty and sustainable development.
One of the main challenges the OWG faces is whether or not it is appropriate to make these goals global and to apply them to both rich and poor countries. Experts note the difficulty in assessing quantifiable improvements if the focus is with respect to all nations, developed and developing, as the metrics and conditions that assess quality of improvements vary greatly. Currently, the Millennium Development are goals set only for developing nations. So, the hope is to make these new set of goals something that is quantifiable, objective, and universal to all nations, both wealthy and poor.
It appears that current opinions cite responsible governance, more widespread equality, and better job markets as new objectives to be implemented into the Sustainable Development Goals, including the traditional markers of development such as guaranteed standards of healthcare and education. Member states have agreed, for the most part, that in these new set of goals, there will be objectives related to human rights, governmental accountability and transparency, and gender equality.
– Rahul Shah