One of the key issues at Rio, the development of a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has been a focus of many meetings since the opening of the 67th session of the UN in September. Many are using the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as a “template.”  (The MDGs were a set of goals that world leaders set for themselves in 2000, to end extreme poverty and improve the quality of life for women and children by the year 2015). It is hoped that the SDGs will improve upon and expand the MDGs, by addressing poverty eradication, environmental protection, and sustainable consumption / production, as well as by providing the foundation for a global “green economy.” The formulation of the SDGs is open to all of civil society. All participating organizations will submit suggestions to an inter-governmental Open Working Group (yet to be formed; there are 100 nations competing for 30 positions!) who will submit the final report to the 68th session of the UN General Assembly, with publication of the goals in 2015. It is this set of goals that will then become the working agenda for the United Nations for the next ten years.

– contributed by Kathleen Ries