More remains to be done

Written by Ashok Khosla, chairman of Development Alternatives for the International Research Forum (IRF 2015) blog.

“Current patterns of socio-economic development are demonstrably leading to a world that is more socially unequal, ecologically fragile and economically vulnerable than ever before. In the long span of human history, there have never been as many people existing in extreme poverty, as broad a spectrum of species becoming extinct, as much of our natural resource base getting closer to exhaustion or as large a segment of our economies reeling under threats of instability and breakdown as there are today. The completion in 2015 of the MDG process, which addressed some of these issues, will have left many of these issues far from resolved.

Clearly, urgent changes are needed to reverse this rapid, headlong and seemingly inexorable rush towards planetary – or at least civilizational – self-destruction. To bring about deep transformations, these changes will have to be fundamental, dealing with root causes and not just the symptoms.

The SDG process to identify goals, targets and means of implementation to redress this situation, which was mandated by Rio+20 and undertaken over the past two years by the OWG has done an admirable job to define the  major issues in the light of inputs from vast armies of stakeholders representing governments, international agencies, civil society, academia and business. The current draft goals have captured more cogently and successfully than any previous international exercise the great variety of concerns that the world’s diverse constituencies feel strongly about: basic human needs, social justice, economic equity, gender empowerment, environmental health – and many of the important components of sustainable development.

The SDG process to identify goals, targets and means of implementation to redress this situation, which was mandated by Rio+20 and undertaken over the past two years by the OWG has done an admirable job to define the  major issues in the light of inputs from vast armies of stakeholders representing governments, international agencies, civil society, academia and business. The current draft goals have captured more cogently and successfully than any previous international exercise the great variety of concerns that the world’s diverse constituencies feel strongly about: basic human needs, social justice, economic equity, gender empowerment, environmental health – and many of the important components of sustainable development.

In short, the need for Universality (leaving no one behind, global applicability, etc) and for Systemic approaches and solutions (inter-goal synergies, scale hierarchies, policy coherence, metrics of genuine progress, etc) seem to be well covered, demonstrating the value of inputs from the enormous spectrum of stakeholders and the receptivity of the Co-chairs to such a range of ideas.

Yet, I believe, more remains to be done.”

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