Global Strategic Frameworks

The Global Strategic Framework that exists for the SDGs has made more room for participation of NGOs and specifically disability-focused organizations, however there is still progress to be made to achieve effective multi-stakeholder participation at a global level. The MDGs provided a good jumping point for improvement with the SDGs, but it must be recognized some of the significant flaws and barriers that existed within the MDG framework. The MDGs were marked by poor accountability and lacked power of sanction, in part, due to its state-centricity.

The MDGs were significant as an explicit recognition that a large portion of the world’s population were deprived and, furthermore, that the international community needed to work towards eliminating that deprivation. These issues has historically been left at a national level, leaving developing countries to face massive issues of poverty and inequality alone; but the MDGs brought national issues to an international level. Reflections upon the MDG asserted that they were appealing due to their simplistic nature, quantitative targets, and universal morality.

However, the truth of the MDGs is that there was little to no accountability of the international community or national governments. An analysis of the MDG framework revealed that this was mostly due to the lack of representation of the populations who the MDGs set out to aid. Developing countries and poor people within those countries lacked the power of sanction to call for change and critique the actions of their governments, nor did the international community have the enforcement power to call nations to action. Overall, the MDGs did an excellent job of specifying outcomes but lacked processes entirely or, at least, processes that recognized the initial conditions with which a state was working with.

The SDGs have done a better job of incorporating an agent-oriented view and recognizing variability between countries, but we still see a tendency to lean towards the authority of states rather than equalizing the expertise of NGOs and the private sector. NGOs had a difficult time operating in the MDG framework due to its state-centricity, but the dissonances between NGO and global level organization have been revealed under the SDG framework. NGOs tend to operate under a more decentralized hierarchy and focus in on the complexities of issues (which makes them very powerful partners in creating processes to achieve the SDGs), but the broader terms of the global framework at times make it difficult for NGOs to participate effectively.