SDGs and the HLPF

In this past week, we discussed the way in which the new Sustainable Development Goals have been organized, and ways in which international institutions have tried to reform the goals themselves as well as how we enforce and monitor them.  As we know, the Millennial Development Goals (MDGs) expired in 2015, and have since been replaced with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The UN has improved the organization of these goals, but has certainly added a lot to the already-ambitious agenda.  The new MDGs will expire in 2030.

The MDGs may seem overwhelming to some, as there are 17 of them.  There has been a lot of controversy over whether the UN has put too much on its plate.  However, while there are more goals this time around, very specific goals and indicators have been laid out.  I find this to be very important, since monitoring and enforcement has always been the biggest challenge to such projects.  There are checkpoints to each goal that they plan to complete by certain deadlines.  For example, one indicator for the goal to eradicate poverty is to eradicate “extreme poverty” for all, measuring that as those currently living on less than $1.25 per day.

The HLPF is another great way these goals are being monitored and enforced.  The HLPF (High Level Political Forum) was specifically set up to monitor the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals.  This committee has been meeting yearly to look at the status of different SDGs and to establish new deadlines, indicators and goals.

In my opinion, the most important and yet surprising change has been the inclusion of persons with disabilities.  This important stakeholder group was barely mentioned in the MDGs, but the UN realized the importance of including them with the fact that 15% of the world’s population is living with a form of disability, and that inclusive development practices are needed to speed up the process.

I believe the current development practices has greatly improved, since it has become more commonplace to recognize the complexity of the problem.  Development needs everyone to contribute in order to succeed, and fixing these problems require those affected by the policies as well as professionals from many different disciplines.  The Major Groups System is an inclusive way of working on today’s international development issues, as stakeholders from many different groups (women, children, indigenous groups, businesses, etc) have the right to participate in development conferences.  It is going to get more and more difficult to include all those who need a voice in the situation, but I believe it absolutely crucial that everyone have a seat at the table.