Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015 a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) replaced the Millennium Development Goals. This followed a two year process of global consultations and intergovernmental negotiations. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development brings together the three aspects of sustainable development – the economic, environmental and social - and includes 17 Global Goals, 169 targets and 230 indicators that apply to all countries, with the aim of achieving them by the year 2030.
SDGs vs MDGs – what's new?
There are significant differences between the MDGs and SDGs, including:
- The SDG framework has brought all three aspects of sustainable development – the economic, social and environmental – in a much more integrated way than the MDGs ever did.
- There were only eight MDG goals and while some have argued that this made them more achievable, others have argued that the process that resulted in the SDGs was a much more transparent and open process with a lot more consensus on the framework that was ultimately created.
- The SDGs take a universal development approach and apply to all countries, rich and poor alike.
- The world has changed significantly since the MDGs were created in 2000. Notions of developed and developing have changed. International development is less about the transfer of aid from rich to poor countries and more about progressive change for everyone, everywhere. Rising powers such as China, Brazil and India are becoming increasingly influential and have established a New Development Bank. Technology has advanced significantly and the world is a much more interconnected places with challenges and opportunities experienced globally as well as locally.
Leave no-one behind
A central part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the commitment to ensure that the benefits of achieving the goals are felt by everyone equally, including those hardest to reach, such as persons with disabilities, people living with HIV, older persons, indigenous peoples, refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants.
Through the Participate Inititative IDS is delivering the Participatory Monitoring and Accountability programme, working with groups of people living in poverty and marginalisation to strengthen processes of citizen-led accountability. It builds on Participate’s global participatory research network, and its track record in demonstrating the value of participatory action research - in its many forms and approaches - as enabling people living in poverty and marginalisation to exercise accountability.
Voluntary National Reviews
As part of the ongoing monitoring of the progress of the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development (or SDGs), UN member countries are encouraged to conduct regular progress reports, called Voluntary National Reviews, reviewing the progress the country has made to date at a national and sub-national level. By September 2017, 113 voluntary reviews have been submitted so far. Countries yet to submit a report include the UK and the USA.
- Read the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017
- Read the UK Government's International Development Committee inquiry report on the Sustainable Development Goals, including evidence submitted by IDS
- IDS News story 'Unchecked Inequalities could threaten the Global Goals'
- Read the last MDG progress report (pdf)
- Further information and analysis of the SDGs is available from the STEPS Centre
- Event: Reimagining development in Least Developed Countries: what role for the SDGs? London, 13 June 2016
- Research Fellow/Digital Cluster Leader
- Participation Research Cluster Leader
- Honorary Associate
- Research Fellow
Rômulo Paes de Sousa
- Senior International Associate
Addressing Synergies and Trade-Offs between Goals for Climate-Resilient Agricultural Systems
What factors lead state and market actors in Africa to commit to implementing more ‘climate smart’ and ‘climate resilient’ agricultural approaches and practices that promoting more sustainable and pro-poor outcomes? This study is examining how different governance systems are handling the complex interface between food, energy, water and climate in pursuit of the SDGs pertaining to these sectors in four countries in Africa. More details
Building Sustainable Inclusion: From Intersecting Inequalities to Accountable Relationships
This project focuses on the need to consider and address intersecting inequalities – the spatial, economic and identity-based drivers of poverty and inequality - if the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are to be successful. More details
Capacity Building for Smart Data and Inclusive Cities (SDIC)
The “Capacity Building for Smart Data and Inclusive Cities” (SDIC) project aims strengthen technical and institutional capacities by working directly with municipal authorities participating in the Smart Cities Mission in four secondary cities in India: Bhopal and Jabalpur (in Madhya Pradesh) and Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi (in Kerala). More details
Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index - HANCI
HANCI measures and ranks governments’ political commitment to reduce hunger and undernutrition on an annual basis. More details
International Climate Fund: Enhancing Capacity to Deliver on Gender
A partnership between Coffey, IDS and RICARDO AEA has been formed to improve mainstreaming and targeting of women and girls in the International Climate Fund. More details
Participate: Participatory Monitoring and Accountability
The Participatory Monitoring and Accountability (PMA) programme marks a new phase of the Participate initiative. It aims to foster and support PMA learning processes that enable citizen participation for accountability to be embedded in development policy and practice. More details
Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre
The STEPS Centre is an interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement hub, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It aims to develop a new approach to understanding, action and communication on sustainability and development. More details
After 2015: Pro-Poor Low Carbon DevelopmentIDS In Focus Policy Briefing 9.4 (2009)
After 2015: Gender EqualityIDS In Focus Policy Briefing 9.3 (2009)
Gender equality is essential for poverty reduction yet a focus on gender only features in only two of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Attention to the links between the gender related MDGs and other key economic, health and environmental goals is needed to ensure sustainable gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women. More details
After 2015: Pro-Poor PolicyIDS In Focus Policy Briefing 9.1 (2009)
Low carbon development (LCD) debates to date have been mainly about high- and middle-income countries. More details
After 2015: '3D Human Wellbeing'IDS In Focus Policy Briefing 9.2 (2009)
'3D Human Wellbeing' is emerging as a complement to the more traditional and material ways of conceptualising and measuring poverty and deprivation such as those implicit in the MDGs. More details
After 2015: Promoting Pro-Poor Policy After the MDGsIDS In Focus Policy Briefing 9 (2009)
As we enter an era characterised by global uncertainties such as climate change and the global economic crisis, what has been the impact of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) model and how can we accelerate progress on poverty reduction through such turbulent times? More details
Taking Community-Led Total Sanitation to Scale: Movement, Spread and AdaptationIDS Research Report of IDS Working Paper 298 (2009)
Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) is a new approach to sanitation which encourages communities to eliminate open defecation. This approach involves a shift away from the traditional focus on subsidies for toilet construction towards changing the attitudes and behaviour of the community, and it has huge potential to contribute towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals. More details
After 2015: What are the ingredients of an MDG-plus agenda?Journal of International Development 21.6 (2009)
On the Edge of Sustainability: Perspectives on Peri-urban DynamicsSTEPS Working Paper 35 (2009)
After 2015: International Development Policy at a Crossroads
This book discusses the evolution of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and development policy and asks what happens after 2015? Framed around the MDGs, which are core to the new global development studies agenda MDGs are a very complex set of goals, targets and indicators. More details
The role of aid in the MDG localisation process (bilingual publication, Spanish title: 'El papel de la cooperación en la concreción local de los ODM')Research Papers Alboan 9 (2008)
Debating Social ProtectionIDS Bulletin 38.3 (2007)
The rapid rise of social protection up the development policy agenda has been startling: it can achieve bigger development objectives, such as economic growth and the MDGs. Its predecessor 'social safety nets' was disparaged and attacked during the 1990s, and was then reborn as 'social protection' at the turn of the millennium. More details
Pathways to Sustainability: An Overview of the STEPS Centre Approach
This booklet gives a quick insight in to the STEPS approach as the Centre seeks to grapple with two of the most pressing challenges of our times: linking environmental sustainability with poverty reduction and social justice, and making science and technology work for the poor. More details
Asia 2015: Sustaining Growth and Ending PovertyIDS Bulletin 37.3 (2006)
This IDS Bulletin brings together ten articles that examine threats to sustained growth and suggest ways in which potential challenges might best be mitigated through conscious policy choice and public action under the leadership of Asian governments. More details
Microfinance Impact and the MDGs: The Challenge of Scaling UpIDS Working Paper 255 (2006)
This paper concerns the potential for microfinance to make a difference in achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. It recognises that microfinance can contribute to several MDGs but that to do so in ways that make a real difference would involve a significant scaling-up of microfinance service provision. More details
Aid Distribution and the MDGsWorld Development 34.6 (2006)
Overcoming Inequality in Latin America: Challenges and Issues for the Twenty-First Century
Latin America is faced with the challenge of achieving the Millennium Developmental Goal to halve poverty in the region by 2015. Historically, this region has experienced persistently high levels of inequality and poverty, the causes and consequences of which are analytically examined here. More details
Will Japan Increase Aid and Improve its Allocation to Help the Poorer Countries Achieve the Millennium Development Goals?IDS Working Paper 243 (2005)
This paper sets the task of examining the prospects of Japanese aid to increase significantly in the coming years, and its allocation to be re-directed towards the most aid needy countries. More details
Maintaining Momentum to 2015?: An Impact Evaluation of Interventions to Improve Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition in Bangladesh
Informing the UK’s approach to Sustainable Development Goals13 Nov 2014
By Julia Day
STEPS members contribute to new UN Women report20 Oct 2014
By Nathan Oxley
BLOG: The Sustainable Development Goals for post-2015: Economic Development or a Guarantee of Rights?27 Mar 2014
It's time for the UK to learn lessons from "developing" countries21 Mar 2014
By Richard Longhurst
BLOG: Myth and Reality: New Alliances to Challenge Stereotypes and Build Gender Equality Beyond 2015 – join us for this event20 Feb 2014
Involving the world’s poorest citizens in the post-2015 agenda28 Oct 2013
By Joanna Wheeler
BLOG: The UN General Assembly's Challenge: To Build a High Level Framework from the Ground Up26 Sep 2013
BLOG: UK's Contribution to the next Global Development Goals: No need for Soul Searching03 Sep 2013
By Lawrence Haddad