When the United Nations approved a massive agenda of sustainable development goals last week, it over-rode pointed warnings by two international science councils that the program is in many ways uncoordinated, unmeasurable and unrealistically ambitious.
Managers of the vast exercise in setting the global, progressive agenda for the next 15 years known as the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) decided it would be “too dangerous” to reopen the sprawling package to improve it, according to Anne-Sophie Stevance, lead coordinator of the critical analysis and a science officer with the International Council for Science (ICSU), the most prominent voice of the international scientific community.
“I know our report was considered by the U.N.,” Stevance told Fox News. “I participated in meetings in January and February about it.”
Nonetheless, she said, “the governments involved did not want to compromise any of the work they had done to agree” on the SDGs to make them more efficient, achievable or even coherent.
“Many sets of goals and targets do not provide any pathways to how to achieve them,” Stevance declared. “Nor do we know if we will achieve global prosperity if we do meet them.”
The virtually unaltered SDGs were hailed by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as “a defining moment in human history” as he opened the summit meeting on Sept. 25 that introduced the goals, as well as a “universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.” Two days later President Barack Obama pledged U.S. support for the effort “whatever it takes.”
“Whatever it takes” is likely to be very big challenge. A better description of the SDGs than a “transformative vision” might be a sprawling and shapeless bid to establish a truly global socialist and progressive agenda, not to mention a blank check required for trillions of dollars annually in development spending to achieve—if even achievable.
They were originally intended to be the global successor to the U.N.-sponsored Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, a much simpler anti-poverty agenda that is now touted as having cut in half the number of people around the world living in extreme poverty—even though much of that accomplishment took place in China and India, as a result of unrelated market-opening policies .
The SDGs, by contrast, after years of glacial U.N. planning and negotiation , have become a megalopolis of ambition, even as their implementation is touted as being a matter for each of the U.N.’s 192 nations to decide.
They consist of 17 over-arching “goals” and 169 subordinate “targets”—that aim to do everything from end the remainder of extreme poverty to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” to “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”—without too clear a definition of what “sustainable” means.
The “targets” range from an aim to “empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all,” to cutting in half “per capital global food waste at the retail and consumer levels,” to “achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities”—all by 2030.
They also include such curious milestones as “by 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents”—difficult to achieve or even estimate when the number of people able to buy cars around the world is going up.
Nations are also urged by 2020 to “implement the Global Jobs Pact of the International Labour Organization.” That is a reference to a document put together six years ago by the ILOL, a U.N. offshoot, amid the world financial crisis to “reduce the time lag between economic recovery and a recovery with decent work opportunities.” Like many other U.N. initiatives, the Jobs Pact is “a call for urgent worldwide action: national, regional and global,” that so far has not been addressed urgently.
Looking at whether all the vociferously espoused goals and targets, taken together, make any effective sense was the main goal of the analysis commissioned by ICSU and its sister organization, the International Social Science Council, in order to bring a “scientific perspective” to the perfection of the SDGs.
According to the 92-page ICSU/ISSC report, there was a lot of perfecting to do.
Among the 169 targets, for example, the report’s authors—40 of them, from 21 countries—declared that only 49, or 29 per cent, could be “considered well developed (i.e. thought out), 91, or 54 per cent, required more specificity, and 29, or 17 per cent, required “significant work” to be useful.
In other words, well over two-thirds of the targets that are supposed to reorganize much of the world’s sweeping self-improvement over the next 15 years are not deemed particularly useful or specific as currently laid out and approved.
“it over-rode pointed warnings by two international science councils that the program is in many ways uncoordinated, unmeasurable and unrealistically ambitious.”
no shit eh? what a shock..
“curious milestones as “by 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents”—difficult to achieve or even estimate when the number of people able to buy cars around the world is going up.”
its a utopian nirvana that wont happen..
“to “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”—without too clear a definition of what “sustainable” means.”
the code word is everywhere..
that logo looks like the cern logo..