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One of the Rio Summit’s all-to-few accomplishments was language in the outcome declaration about an intergovernmental process to develop Sustainable Development Goals.  An "open working group" of 30 nations nominated by the five regional UN groups will come up with a list by September 2013.

We’ve now got the SDG open working group and the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel operating on a similar timeframe to produce a list of global goals.  And given the all-encompassing nature of sustainable development outlined in the Rio document, there’s nothing that might be excluded from ‘sustainable development’ goals that would likely be included in a second round of MDGs.   Education, infrastructure, child and maternal mortality –name your existing MDG goal area—it is all in the Rio document.

That’s hardly a reassuring outcome for those of us who have been a little worried about the overlap between Sustainable and any follow-up Millennium goals.  “The [SDG] process needs to be coordinated and coherent with the processes considering the post-2015 development agenda" notes the Rio document, helpfully.   Then the SDGs will be melded or merged or subsumed or embraced or adopted --or something-- into the MDG 2.0 process.  It would have been nice if the Rio declaration could have spent a line or two explaining how that would happen.

But at least there’s a silver lining here for wonks writing papers on post-2015 goal setting –now there are two different audiences who might be interested in the paper –a panel and a working group.

And so, with equally greatest respect to both the High Level Panel and the Sustainable Development Goal Working Group, I’d like to highlight a recent paper by Jonathan Karver, Andy Sumner and me on MDGs 2.0: What Goals Targets and Timeframe.  There’s a short post on the paper up at the ODI post-2015 blog and I discussed some of the ideas behind the paper in my contribution to UNICEF’s Research Watch special on “Post 2015: What’s Next?”  (Also there a video discussion featuring Claire Melamed along with commentaries from the likes of Ernest Aryeetey and Jan Vandemoortele).

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.