From the MDGs to the SDGs, the New and Continuous Development Agendas
By admin June 9, 2015



This year, 2015, will mark a milestone for international development as a new set of development goals is expected to be developed, agreed upon, and announced. The target year of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was 2015, therefore new development goals – the Sustainable Development Goals, including the goals that have failed to meet the targets in the MDGs, have been discussed among the Open Working Group composed of government representatives.


The MDGs have been criticized throughout the past 15 years because critics claimed they could not cover many important issues such as gender equality. The MDGs are assessed as a success in part because it has awakened global societies to give attention to global issues and bring common efforts to address them. What made it possible was the power of the messages the MDGs presented to the world. The eight goals were so simple and clear that everyday people can understand and empathize with the message.


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) invited myriads of consultations and discussions to develop new development goals and targets. As a result, the Open Working Group discussing to settle the SDGs now has 17 goals and numerous targets proposed for the post-2015 period. Compared to the MDGs, the SDGs being discussed include developed countries, beyond poor countries, and the goals are to be universal, not for narrow sectors, such as education or health.


Some goals are criticized to be somewhat over-ambitious, even giving consideration to the fact that the development goals should be ambitious to draw enough endeavors to address the global issues. For example, goal 8 aims to “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all,” and has 10 targets associated with it. Although all 17 goals are significantly important, the SDGs may have lost the power of brevity and clarity that the MDGs had. It may lead to people not paying enough attention, either because they cannot remember all goals and targets or they consider the goals not achievable.


While the goals do not have a legal force or requirement to achieve, the goals can encourage people to pay attention to the problems and work towards making contributions. Now that the new sets of development goals are being ready to be announced to the world, the Open Working Group should remember that the goals need to be shared and empathized enough by the international community as a whole – even beyond the development community – because extensive common efforts from every person are essential for the new development goals to be achieved by 2030.


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