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
Requirements for a Sustainable Bioeconomy in the Context of SDG Implementation
A sustainable bioeconomy can potentially do its part to replace the era of fossil resources and supply a growing world population. The transformation to such a sustainable bioeconomy is characterized by economic, ecological and social opportunities, but also by risks. These potentials and challenges of the sustainable bioeconomy are specified by this project for the German Environment Agency (UBA). 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
Strengthening Multi-Sectoral and Multi-Stakeholders Platforms (MSP): Design for Effectiveness
To achieve its aim of reducing malnutrition in the countries with the highest burden, the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement is supporting the creation of multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) in multiple SUN member countries. The overall objective of this work is to identify and document information on the institutional configurations for MSPs that are most appropriate for achieving national goals on nutrition in different contexts, and develop tools and resources to disseminate best practices for designing MSPs. More details
Are Chronically Poor People being left out of Progress Towards the Millennium Development Goals? A Quantitative Analysis of Older People, Disabled People and OrphansJournal of Human Development 5.2 (2004)
The most useful poverty profiles are those based on functional groupings defined in relation to key livelihood features. This paper considers three groups, sometimes called the traditional poor, which are commonly identified as being poor in participatory poverty assessments: orphans, people with disabilities, and older people. More details
How Much External Finance Will be Needed to Meet the Poverty-Reduction Target by 2015?
Paper prepared as part of the Comprehensive Evaluation of the African Development Fund 1996-2002 More details
Aid Distribution and the MDGsChronic Poverty Research Centre Working Paper 48 (2004)
Achieving Schooling for All in Africa: Costs, Commitment and Gender
This is a timely Study when the Millennium Development Goals, adopted by the international community to tackle problems of poverty in developing countries by the year 2015, have identified universal participation and gender equality in primary schooling as major goals. More details
Gender Mainstreaming in Poverty Eradication and the Millennium Development Goals: A Handbook for Policy-Makers and Other Stakeholders
This book highlights the interconnections between production and reproduction within different societies, and women's critical role in straddling both, and points to the various synergies, trade-offs and externalities which these generate. More details
Community Based Sustainable Development: Consensus or Conflict?IDS Bulletin 28.4 (1997)
'Community-based sustainable development' has become a central approach to rural development and natural resource management. But this emerging consensus tends to overlook both ecological variability, and the potential for conflict within local communities More details
BLOG: On having Voice and Being Heard: Participation in the Post-2015 Policy Process31 Oct 2012
By Elizabeth Mills