In 2000, the United Nations implemented the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which consisted of eight broad goals to address major issues in international development to be accomplished by 2015. Although the MDGs received their fair share of criticism from around the world, they were important for creating a blueprint for international actors to follow to work together towards common development goals. When the MDGs expired in 2015, the United Nations implemented its successor, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs include 17 goals that focus both on improving human lives and addressing environmental issues. The SDGs have the same 15-year time frame as the MDGs, which puts the end date in 2030.
A discussion of the SDGs would not be complete without addressing the UN body in charge of sustainable development: the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The HLPF is in charge of overseeing the follow-up and review of the SDGs on the global level. Each year, the HLPF convenes in New York to discuss the progress made towards achieving the SDGs and the challenges that must be overcome to achieve the SDGs by 2030. The HLPF is also responsible for voluntary national reviews that are provided to the HLPF by nations themselves to review their progress in sustainable development.
When comparing the MDGs and SDGs, it is clear that many of the problems with the MDGs were considered and improved upon when creating the SDGs. One example of this is the greater emphasis on environmental sustainability in the SDGs compared to the MDGs. The SDGs also use significantly more indicators than the MDGs, which is critical to tracking the success of the goals. Finally, the SDGs apply equally to all countries, whereas the MDGs were mostly focused on developing nations. I believe that the SDGs are a great improvement upon the MDGs and that governments, the private sector, and civil society should continue collaborating and focusing their efforts on achieving these 17 goals set out in the SDGs.
However, by far one of the most important aspects of the development and implementation of the SDGs is the inclusion of Major Groups and other Stakeholders (MGoS). This includes the 9 Major Groups established at the 1992 Earth Summit, as well as 4 more stakeholder groups. These 13 sectors all have a significant role to play in achieving inclusive sustainable development, so including MGoS in the HLPF and the creation and implementation of the SDGs, the SDGs have a higher chance of achieving success in improving sustainable development.