Preparing for SDG HLPF Leaders Dialogue 6 – “The 2020-2030 Vision”

Just published the paper: Misaligned SDG Targets: How to Handle Target Dates Before 2030;
FULL paper downloadable from Juniper Publishers - International Journal of Environmental Sciences & Natural Resources (IJESNR) here

By: Felix Dodds1,2*, Jamie Bartram2, and Gastón Ocampo3

Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the 193-member states of the United Nations in September 2015. It includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are accompanied by 169 targets, 107 of which are considered output targets and 62 are designated ‘means of implementation’.

While the SDGs are associated with the period 2016 - 2030, twenty-three targets (14%) have dates for completion before 2030. For twenty of those targets the date is 2020 and for the remaining three it is 2025. The affected targets are associated with 232 individual indicators. Not addressing the issues that arise because of this has the potential to create two classes of targets.

In most cases other UN processes will recommend continuation, modification, abandonment or replacement of expiring targets - outside the SDG framework. The updating of targets outside the SDG framework and therefore the emergence of two classes of targets has the potential to threaten the overall cohesion of the SDG enterprise; and there is some risk that resources will benefit one class of targets, those within the SDG framework, over the other, regardless of whether target conditions have been achieved.

The time window to prepare for the earliest-expiring target (2020) is short. We identify four option-types and summarize their pros and cons. None is perfect and some blend of them may be preferable. For all affected targets, monitoring is in hand within the SDG framework and in several cases established or potential processes would facilitate analysis and decision making as to abandonment, renewal, modification or replacement of targets and associated indicators.

“Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance [1].”

Keywords: Sustainable development; Maternal mortality; Technological expertise; Future Abbreviations: MDGs: Millennium Development Goals; SDGs: Sustainable Development Goals; ACC: Administrative Coordination Committee; CEB: Chief Executives Board; OWG: Open Working Group; INC: Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee; WSSD: World Summit on Sustainable Development; SAICM: Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management

1 Tellus Institute & UNC Global Research Institute, USA
 2 Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering; University of North Carolina, USA
3 Department of International Relations, Roanoke College, USA
 *Corresponding author: Felix Dodds, Tellus Institute, UNC Global Research Institute & The Water Institute at UNC, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering; Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina


  1. Really good summary it helps to have concreat data and information at your finger tips. Great job!


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