The United Nations’ new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are about to replace the previous Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), are getting a lot of hate these days.
The Economist recently called the 169 proposed targets “sprawling and misconceived,” “unfeasible expensive” at $2–3 trillion per year, and so unlikely to be realized that they amount to “worse than useless” — “a betrayal of the world’s poorest people.” An article in the Humanosphere reports that the SDGs were ridiculed as “No targets left behind” during a high-profile meeting of Gates Foundation partners. One development expert I know likens the SDGs to “a high school wish-list for how to save the world.”
The ubiquitous ‘development goals’ chosen by the United Nations – first Millennium (MDGs) in 2000 and now Sustainable (SDGs) – were and are and will be a distraction from the real work of fighting poverty done by social justice activists, including Africans. Last weekend in New York heralded another of the annual UN heads-of-state summits at which inappropriate targets, processes and evaluation systems were reconfirmed.
Politicians joined multilateral bureaucrats to congratulate each other for hitting many of the MDG targets during the 2000-2015 period. Now there are 17 new SDGs with 169 new targets and more than 300 indicators to aim for by 2030.