Tag Archives: SDG’s

The Problem with Saving the World

Jacobin Magazine

The UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals aim to save the world without transforming it.

by Jason Hickel

Land cleared for palm oil plantations in Tasmania. Mattias Klum
Land cleared for palm oil plantations in Tasmania. Mattias Klum

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.”

These critics accuse the SDGs of being vague and inspirational, and of trying to cover too much ground; they prefer the old MDGs, which were more focused on absolute poverty. Continue reading The Problem with Saving the World

UN Millennium Development Goals replaced by new ‘distraction gimmicks’

Pambazuka News

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.

Patrick Bond
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.

But since most state elites are not truly committed to these, the big question is whether SDGs can motivate activists working in the trenches against the systems of power that create poverty, hunger, disease and climate change. The UN, in contrast, shies away from considering or attributing causes, preferring to focus on symptoms. Continue reading UN Millennium Development Goals replaced by new ‘distraction gimmicks’