Opportunities and Limitations in Global Strategic Frameworks

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was a global framework of development goals that produced “the most successful anti-poverty movement in history.” and served as a basis for the development of the SDGs (Millenium Development Goals). To illustrate the successes that the MDGs produced, the United Nations released a report after the framework’s fifteen year timeframe was complete. For example, the percentage of the global population in developing regions that lived on less than $1.25 per day decreased from nearly 50 percent to a total of 14 percent, within the framework’s timespan from 1990 – 2015 (Millenium Development Goals). In addition, the global population of people who are undernourished in developing regions decreased by 50 percent (Millenium Development Goals).

While the MDGs were an excellent launching point for global strategic development frameworks, the SDGs offer a broader range and higher number of topics. While there are many similarities between the MDGs and the SDGs, such as eradicating poverty and ending world hunger, the SDGs particularly expand upon the theme of environmental sustainability. While the MDGs only had one goal specifically dedicated to sustainability, the SDGs have multiple goals focused on water resources, consumption and production patterns, and sustainable oceans and cities. In addition, the SDGs have more of a focus on inclusivity and accessibility than the MDGs. The SDGs mention the word “inclusive” six times and “for all” another six times in the titles of the goals alone, and the SDGs additionally have more references to persons with disabilities than the MDGs.

Global strategic frameworks such as the MDGs and SDGs are important because they provide a cohesive set of goals that can be adopted and implemented around the world. These frameworks also have concrete vision that provides clarity when working with big-picture, abstract ideas. It is also beneficial that the frameworks provide timelines, which adds both a sense of urgency and a reference point to measure successes. Some of the possible limitations of these frameworks are that the number and expansiveness of the goals could potentially be overwhelming, as they address issues in multiple levels of society and each have a relatively broad focus. In addition, countries could have reservations as to which goals they want to follow, and not work towards every goal. However, despite the potential limitations, global strategic frameworks are a key institution in  facilitating international collaboration. These frameworks are particularly important for issues such as sustainable development, that impact every corner of the world. When the SDG framework timeline ends in 2030 and a new set of United Nations development goals are released, the new set of goals would ideally follow the trend that the SDGs took after the MDGs and continue to become even more inclusive in the future.


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