Improving the Sustainable Development Goals evaluates the Global Goals (Agenda 2030) by looking at their design and how they relate to theories of economic development. Adopted unanimously by the member states of the United Nations (UN) in 2015, the goals are remarkable for the global commitment on a set of targets to reach by 2030, but also for the lack of a strategy of implementation. The choice of appropriate action is handed over to individual governments, some of which are limited by their lack of resources.
This book explores how implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) can be developed, especially in developing countries. The content, strengths and weaknesses of the SDGs are critically examined, alongside their relationship to ongoing academic research. The authors also investigate the actions of governments over the past three years by looking at the national strategies they have presented at annual meetings of the UN High-Level Political Forum.
Improving the Sustainable Development Goals takes a critical but constructive approach, pointing out risks as well as possible remedies. The SDGs are seen as an opportunity for a global conversation on what works in solving some fundamental problems relating to poverty and environmental degradation. With the inclusion of a chapter by Tobias Ogweno, former member of the Kenya’s UN mission, this book will appeal to all those who are interested in policy analysis with a focus on development issues.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Global goals in search of strategies
A global agreement…
Eradication of poverty in reach
Ambitious and flexible goals
…to achieve sustainable development…
A political compromise
…through seventeen goals…
…without an explicit strategy…
Weak on strategies for implementation
How flexible are the goals?
Weak on compliance
…and in an unclear relation to other global policies…
…but still an example of the art of the possible
Chapter 2: A research gap on strategies and implementation
Focus on the implementation of the SDGs
Connecting policy to research
Africa and developing countries
Questions for the investigation
Are the goals intended to be taken seriously?
Problems with the existing literature
Chapter 3: Refocus from the goals to learning over time
Policy by goals
The role of goals
New Public Management
Another interpretation: A learning policy
Rationalism vs realism
A learning subject
The importance of a program theory, a strategy
A theory of change for sustainable development
Methods and material
Chapter 4: An inherent strategy in the goals
The economic dimension
Goal 1: No poverty
Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth
Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Goal 10: Reduced inequalities
The social dimension
Goal 2: Zero hunger
Goal 3: Good health and well-being
Goal 4: Quality education
Goal 5: Gender equality
Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy
Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
The environmental dimension
Goal 12: Responsible production and consumption
Goal 13: Climate action
Goal 14: Life below water
Goal 15: Life on land
Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals
How can we understand the goals as a strategy?
The general strategy
The environmental goals
The social goals
The economic goal
The governance goals
Chapter 5. Alternative strategies for Sustainable Development
How can we think about drivers and barriers for sustainable development?
Three stylized perspectives
Drivers for economic development
Modernization theory vs Dependency theory
Developmental states and global value chains
Drivers for social development
Drivers for environmental development/protection
Drivers for the development of governance/state capacity
Summary and implications for developing countries
Chapter 6: The governance challenge
Good governance as the key to successful implementation of the SDGs
Two rival theories
Are the strategies feasible?
Problems with Good Governance
Chapter 7: National strategies of implementation (by Tobias Ogweno)
What is new with the SDGs?
The context of the SDGs
The Voluntary National Reviews
National strategies: different approaches, same destiny
Legitimate, innovative and flexible governance
National development plans
Managing the tensions
Citizen engagement with the goals
Chapter 8: Conclusions of the study
Lars Niklasson is a researcher at the Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies (SIEPS), and a professor of political science at Linköping University, Sweden. His research interest is European Union (EU)–Africa relations and the global leadership role of the EU. He has taught international political economy and comparative politics, with a focus on global challenges and governance. Niklasson has been a visiting teacher at the University of Nairobi, Kenya.
"This book explores the formulation and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals; this type of analysis is critical to make progress on sustainable development. The authors apply a forward-looking perspective to discuss drivers and barriers for achieving the goals, adding to the multifaceted debate surrounding societal efforts to enhance sustainability."
Henrik Selin, Frederick S Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University