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Strengthening the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), formally adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015, define the development agenda for UN member states to follow up to 2030. Following the Millennium Development Goals set in 2000, the SDGs are meant to bring climate, development, and sustainability goals together under one universal and ambitious package. CGD experts contributed to the post-2015 development agenda over many years.
After almost four years and much fanfare, 193 nations agreed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their associated 169 targets at last September’s UN Summit. You’d probably then assume that we’re all set to start the SDG agenda on January 1, 2016. Not quite so fast. Arguably the most important part of the agenda – the indicators that will determine what we actually measure and how we judge progress – has yet to be decided.
Next week, nations gather in Paris for the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) with the goal of establishing a global plan to address climate change. That includes coming to agreements about how to both reduce and adapt to climate change, how to finance those measures, and how to share accountability. That’s a pretty big goal, but my guest this week on the CGD podcast, CGD senior fellow Frances Seymour, is cautiously optimistic.
Some 2.4 billion people lack widely-recognized forms of legal identity. Over 600 million are children whose births have not been registered. How can wider access to identity – now recognized for the first time as a development goal in SDG target 16.9 -- help to achieve the SDGs?
Imagine the panic and frustration you’d feel if you lost your passport or driver’s license. They are basic proofs of identity that we – in the developed world – readily use to access a huge range of services from getting on a plane, to opening a bank account, to proving our eligibility for education, to exercising our right to vote. Yet around 2 billion people – mainly in the developing world – have no legal form of identity. That includes some 650m children who have never been registered at birth.