The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) play a critical part in the international conversation on development and global interactions. In 2015, all UN member states adopted the 17 goals, “which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership.” The goals cover a variety of issues from education to life below sea; all equally important to the betterment of the planet in both an environmental and human context. Further, what is significant about the SDGs is that they are intended to overlap as all issues are interconnected on some level.
This blog post discusses the creation and purpose of sustainable development goals, and the role of the high level political forum. Continue reading
Developed from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the target year 2015, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have made tremendous strides in emphasizing inclusivity. As discussed in our first two class sessions, the MDGs had a one-size-fits-all approach to development that lacked consideration of cultural, political, and historical contexts as well as the lack of inclusivity in its goals, targets, and indicators. Ultimately, the MDGs did not specifically consider the almost one billion people in the world with disabilities in the conversation regarding development.
The SDGs, however, have expanded from 8 goals to 17 goals that include persons with disabilities. This expansion allows countries to customize their focus depending on their own needs and goals, which essentially allows more space for the expertise and engagement of non-profits and NGOs to enter the development conversation. With clearly defined goals, targets, and indicators that work to include persons with disabilities in development, the SDGs have been crafted with articulate language that can be easily read and understood by all persons.
This language is developed through the High-Level Political Forum with actors such as NGOs and interest groups of member states, national institutions, and the major groups. The UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which was formed in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 is a highly inclusive and participatory forum of the UN that is responsible for overseeing the progress of the SDGs around the world. The HLPF meets annually for eight days under the Economic and Social Council and every four years under the UN General Assembly, which convenes with the heads of state.
Through these forums, the voices of the major groups are pushed to the fore front of the discussion. The major groups include women, children and youth, indigenous peoples, civil society, local authorities, workers and trade unions, business and industry, and the scientific and technological groups. Similar to Amartya Sen (1999) in his work Development as Freedom, the HLPF and the SDGs emphasize the importance of empowering the voices and agency of marginalized groups. The work of Sen (1999) has helped shift development approaches from a focus on GDP to a humanistic and inclusive approach that considers a person’s opportunity to live a long and healthy life, obtain knowledge, and have a decent standard of living. Without the individual at the center of development, it is difficult to truly understand whether development practices are aiding a country in an inclusive manner.
Sen, A. (1999). Freedom as Development. New York, NY: Random House, Inc.
The United Nation’s created the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 to build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were not as successful as originally intended by the UN. The SDGs have specific targets and indicators that have made them much more impactful. They also have language about persons with disabilities that the MDGs did not, making them more inclusive and holistic. Continue reading
The creation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) marked a groundbreaking moment for the inclusivity of persons with disabilities in global development goals. Unlike the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs), where no language surrounding persons with disabilities was included, the SDGs were a crucial step in identifying the importance of inclusive sustainable development. Continue reading
The transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was an incredible leap towards effective development that includes persons with disabilities. The identification of actors and their roles in inclusive sustainable development along with the conceptual formalization of development studies provides refection and evaluation on the effectives of development as we understand it now.
Summary: The SDGS follow the MDG’s positives while improving on sustainability and inclusivity targets. The High-Level Political Forum is an important mechanism for adding and element of inclusivity to discussion of the SDGs. People with disabilities must be included in the discussion for the SDGs to succeed. Continue reading