Sustainable Development Goals and UN Goal-Setting: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Sustainable Development Goals and UN Goal-Setting

1st Edition

By Stephen Browne


180 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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This book explores the record of the UN development system (UNDS) over more than 70 years as a fount of ideas and concepts in development; as a contributor to development thinking and strategy; and as the principal source of global development goals from the first UN Development Decade to the SDGs. It also examines the more mixed record of the UNDS in its operational role and asks how the ideational and operational functions can be more successfully aligned, and what changes such an alignment would imply.

The chapters consider:

  • The logic of global governance through international organizations
  • The origins, functions, structure of the UN development system
  • UN contributions to development thinking
  • The UN’s development agendas, 1960s to 2015
  • Reforming the UN development system
  • The future of the UN and multilateralism

The book will be of great use for students and scholars studying political science, international organizations, the UN, and development, as well as for practitioners associated with the UN, including member-state missions, UN staff, and development cooperation professionals.


'There is much to praise in this book–and much to debate–especially how to balance meeting the SDGs with fulfilling rights and the effectiveness and importance of collaboration versus coordination.' - Sir Richard Jolly, Honorary Professor and Research Associate of the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK

Table of Contents


1 Origins, structure, functions, and funding of the UN development system

2 UN contributions to development thinking

3 UN goal-setting

4 Making the UN fit for purpose

5 The future (of the) UN development system

Annex I: Principal UN goals and targets, 1960–2015

Annex II: Principal UN development conferences and summits 163

Select bibliography

About the Author

Stephen Browne is Co-Director of the Future UN Development System (FUNDS) Project, Senior fellow of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and visiting lecturer at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

About the Series

Global Institutions

The "Global Institutions Series" is edited by Thomas G. Weiss (The CUNY Graduate Center, New York, USA) and Rorden Wilkinson (University of Sussex, UK).

The Series has two "streams" identified by their covers:

  • Blue covers offer comprehensive, accessible, and informative guides to the history, structure, and activities of key international organizations, and introductions to topics of key importance in contemporary global governance. Recognized experts use a similar structure to address the general purpose and rationale for specific organizations along with historical developments, membership, structure, decision-making procedures, key functions, and an annotated bibliography and guide to electronic sources.
  • Red covers consist of research monographs and edited collections that advance knowledge about one aspect of global governance; they reflect a wide variety of intellectual orientations, theoretical persuasions, and methodological approaches.

Together these streams provide a coherent and complementary portrait of the problems, prospects, and possibilities confronting global institutions today.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / International
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy