Sustainable Development Goals Zero Draft now out

Well it has last the zero draft from the co-chairs of the SDG OWG is out. First I would like to say that they and the UN DSD secretariat deserve a huge thanks for getting us here. It has been a long road and although there is much to still be done before September 2015 this is a very good start. We have had 11 SDG OWG sessions with input from experts, stakeholders and governments in a very inclusive and transparent way. So their zero draft makes the first list of Proposed Sustainable Development Goals to be attained by 2030 (copy of the zero draft link is here):

  1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  2. End hunger, achieve food security and adequate nutrition for all, and promote sustainable agriculture
  3. Attain healthy life for all at all ages
  4. Provide equitable and inclusive quality education and life-long learning opportunities for all
  5. Attain gender equality, empower women and girls everywhere
  6. Secure water and sanitation for all for a sustainable world
  7. Ensure access to affordable, sustainable, and reliable modern energy services for all
  8. Promote strong, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all
  9. Promote sustainable industrialization
  10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
  11. Build inclusive, safe and sustainable cities and human settlements
  12. Promote sustainable consumption and production patterns
  13. Promote actions at all levels to address climate change
  14. Attain conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, oceans and seas
  15. Protect and restore terrestrial ecosystems and halt all biodiversity loss
  16. Achieve peaceful and inclusive societies, rule of law, effective and capable institutions
  17. Strengthen and enhance the means of implementation and global partnership for sustainable development

 The most interesting part of the paper is goal 17. What they have done is to show how particular MoI would fit under each goal. This enables there to be an agreement either to leave it as a separate goal or to put them under the relevant goal at a later stage. What is missing from 17 is a  common structure under which the MoI for each goal would be clearly built. At this point they are just a set of paras. Id like to make some suggestion of what these might be:
  1. Capacity building, 
  2. Technology sharing, 
  3. Education and training.
  4. Financial resources: Public (domestic and foreign, aid and investment) and Private (capital flows, business, foundations, NGOs and other) resources.
  5. Information for decision-making: Monitoring and assessing progress, 
  6. Institutional Mechanisms and Co-ordination
  7. Stakeholder involvement

 If governance does not stay within a separate goal then it should also be mainstreamed. Perhaps it should as well. 

I am very happy to see Inequality back in as a goal both within and among countries it offers a real chance to put down a framework for addressing a real challenge to democracy. The growth of inequality over the last thirty years has been enormous and that needs to be reversed. 

It is good also to see some Nexus targets in the text on water and food   though not in under energy goal ...yet.

a few initial thoughts....

On goal 1 (poverty) we have the following:
"by 2030, eradicate extreme poverty by bringing the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day to zero."

This $1.25 should be updated to reflect inflation

I was very pleased to see in Goal  8 (sustainable economic growth):

explore the possibility of a broader system of capital accounting looking beyond GDP and incorporating social, human and environmental capital."

But it is very weak 'explore' no it should be "integrate a broader system of capital accounting looking beyond GDP and incorporating social, human and environmental capital y 2030."

Goal 11 (human settlements) 
 This will be critical to helping to create a dynamic follow up at the local level with local authorities and regional government playing a critical facilitating role. 

 On goal 12 (SCP)
We have "by 2030 increase by x% the number of companies, especially publicly listed and large companies, reporting on corporate social and environmental responsibility, including integrated reporting."

We should be seeing "by 2030 ALL companies listed on stock exchanges  reporting on corporate social and environmental responsibility, including integrated reporting and then x% of other companies not listed to have integrated reporting by 2030."

 On goal 13 (climate change)
...."hold the increase in global average temperature below a x°C rise in accordance with international agreements."

I think we know it has to be 2C so lets put it in. 

These are just  a few reflections that i wanted to share with you. More to come. 


  1. Re: inequality. Actually, re: most of it. How exactly is the development field meant to act on this and other, particularly economic-based goals, when to do so would require nothing less than confronting, head-on, the very neoliberalism that saturates the majority of the largest IFI's, multilaterals, and major western nation states?

    Let's face it, if most of the recommendations out there were actually taken seriously by these stakeholders, their words would actually be regarded as radical, utopian, and downright traitorous to the ideological minds at the top. That they don't, that the recommendations simply continue to get more stringent, indicates to me that the entire climate regime and ngo ecosystem are not regarded as any kind of threat. They should be.

    Incidentally, who the hell coined 'climate regime', and why did it spread? What on earth does that sound like to the global south, or anyone with any connotation associated with 'regime'. Regimes get overthrown. Maybe they were just being realists?

  2. It is great that it's got this far. But the climate change and energy sections are really weak. "Double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030". We're currently at 18%, but 75% of that is biomass (firewood), which is completely unsustainable.

    But even if there was an advance of true renewable energy to 30% of the mix, that would still leave fossil fuels at 70%, in a world that's using more energy every day. We can't possibly keep the temperature increase below 2C+ in this way; we have to plan for 100% renewable energy by 2030, hard though it may seem.

    And James Hansen's December 2013 paper on Dangerous Climate Change makes it clear that 2C is far too dangerous a target. I have worked on climate issues for 20 years, and have written two major books on climate solutions (Stormy Weather and The Climate Challenge), so I am pretty well-informed. I know the hopes for anything good coming out of Paris are low, but to have a realistic chance of stopping this monster, we need to be far more ambitious in our goals.

    1. Dear Guy,
      I hope the energy section will be strengthened - i expect the climate one to stay weakish and be reformed after Paris in 2015. There is an argument to put climate as a cross cutting set of targets. I think Tariq Banuri may have been right that a sector approach to climate might have got us much further.

  3. Hi Felix - very useful analysis.

    As always devil is in the detail and how each of the (broad) statements gets interpreted. The growth thing being in there could allow political leaders to play the various goals off each other which wouldn't be great.

    It would be great to have a smaller set of goals with a set of objectives on how to get there under each (eg to achieve wellbeing you need food, water and energy so couldn't the nexus be one goal??).

    Anyway very political but some very good signs in here. And good to see inequity.

    1. Hi Aled, I agree on the growth issue but we havent done enough to explain what the alternative is at this point. I think we will end up with 15 goals ..maybe 12 but no smaller number...I dont see a Nexus goal again not enough work done in this area yet to define it well and there are specific issues that relate tot he sectors that need addressing.Great to see inequality back in thanks to some key G77 countries

  4. Who was it that recently produced the model whereby he believed that the only variable capable of averting catastrophe was civil action?

    Name me a single time in all of human history where power and ideology have willingly done a 180 in their doctrine for a greater good. I'm a historian. It doesn't happen. Actually, the exception that proves the rule was Bhutan's King transitioning to Democracy voluntarily. But empires do not, and that is what neoliberalism is at heart.

    The profit motive. The shareholder model. GDP growth. The Market. All are false. All have NO part to play in combatting climate change as they currently are. It cannot work. There *will* be a civil, global uprising. Latin America, Asia, and then Africa will join. The West will make them out to be communists, and will actively try to stop them until their own populations do something about them. I see no other way this will happen.

  5. And lets not forget what always happens in America. The bill is presented, and then it has a year for 'input'. Corruption. Look at what the health care bill became - one massive paycheck from a bill gutted and reshaped according to corporate needs. Why is this going to be any different? How is the flexible state targets going to play out? Which states are going to cut more to account for the massive emissions related to Keystone and the highly populated coasts?

    And most importantly, what about the exports generated from approving Keystone? Will they be included in the reductions? Nope. Is it still going to great lengths to profit from pulling more fossil fuels out of the ground? Yep.

    1. Dear Ben,
      Thanks for your comments. On America like any country it will be up to national interpretation of the goals and targets and their impact on particular policies like keystone. I have to say that the healthcare bill was not well crafted but was if i remember rightly based on President Nixon's suggestions - there are ample examples in Europe and closer in Canada on hiw to do it through a public approach. There is a very good book by Nick Robins called the Corporation that Ruled the Earth which i think you might enjoy reading. Most changes of the scale required come through citizens resisting and campaigning against a present unacceptable position we have seen this on womens rights, civil rights, gay rights...meanwhile we should all work to reduce the impacts on the economic model we have at the moment on the poorest and on the planet.


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