Negotiations Begin

Almost everything else stopped on January 19-21, as NGOs attended the first session of the negotiation phase of the process of creating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This first session was the “Stocktaking” session—how we arrived at this point from Rio 1 in 1992, through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Rio +20, and everything in between. There was a solemn sense of purpose, as one of the speakers observed that the SDGs may the world’s last chance to “do the right thing” without war. It is now evident that the MDGs created a fundamental shift in the world’s thinking, and resulted in global institutional changes. Member states discussed how nations might be held accountable for fulfilling the 17 SDGs with their accompanying 169 targets (which elaborate on each goal) and over 1,000 indicators (how we will know the goals / targets are achieved). The nations are beginning to divide into two camps—those who think the SDGs should remain as they are and those who think they should be simplified into a smaller set of goals. Stay tuned for further developments!