International goals like the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) have many strengths and challenges. With the MDG’s specifically, I think they were most effective in spreading and promoting awareness about international development and the varying conditions of life across the world. For the most part, the goals in the MDG’s were not met, but I think a conversation was started about international development and what could be done to improve gender equality, increase literacy or provide adequate health care.
I think the goals also brought nuance to the concept of development and how it’s measured. Like Amartya Sen noted in the 90’s, development is so much more than just economic indicators. I think the MDG’s biggest strength were their ability to quantify a different way to measure development. The goals were not as comprehensive or inclusive as they should have been, but I think they paved the way for more complex and nuanced goals like the SDG’s. The MDG’s served as a beginning point for so many issues to be explored.
As we often discussed in class, I think one of the largest challenges these global frameworks face is implementation and monitoring. It is really difficult to ensure that these huge goals are effective and feasible. Countries are coming from all different contexts and historical backgrounds and it is difficult to rally together from so many different starting points. However, I think the biggest limitation to the efficacy of global frameworks is the Western dominated ideals that they inherently internalize. For the most part, the West is the major governing body that creates these goals, so the ideals and standards they are striving for are things that the West values. The goals are not universal, nor are they conducive to all cultures and ideologies. I think this is a challenge for global goals, but a place for great opportunity for regional frameworks. If the global goals do not fit the goals of the area, then the regional bodies can create their own strategies and indicators.
Education is a field where many disconnects can occur between local communities and global goals. For example, if the disability community in an area does not want inclusive, mainstream education, then I think the regional frameworks can adjust parts of Goal 4 to reflect those wishes. Not everyone in the international community agrees on education, so I do not think that all communities should be held to the standards of the West and their best practices. I think the efficacy of global frameworks can be best summarized by reminding ourselves that development will never be universal. What works for some communities will not work for others and global goals will never work for everyone.