A truly universal development agenda

The 2030 Agenda is a new type of development agenda, distinctly different from its predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For one, it is much more comprehensive. It integrates the economic, social and environmental dimension of sustainable development into its goals and targets, and addresses the systemic barriers to sustainable development. Secondly, it is a universal agenda that applies to all countries, rich and poor, recognizing that development is much more than the eradication of extreme poverty. Universality not only means solidarity between countries (like in the MDGs), but also represents a shared responsibility and action by all.

As a result, the 2030 Agenda shifts the policy space for global development from development cooperation alone to essentially all policy areas on national and international levels. Furthermore, it shifts the role of high-income countries from that of donors to that of actors that must deliver both internationally and domestically.

Stakeholder engagement is key for getting national ambitions right

Although the 2030 Agenda is a universal agenda, national implementation will vary, given differences in needs, capabilities and demands. A key challenge is translating the SDGs to relevant national actions while staying true to the global ambitions. The 2030 Agenda gives little guidance on how this may be done. Many SDG targets are broadly defined, vague in terms of what is expected, address multiple issues at once and do not specify whether they concern national or global phenomena. If the targets are viewed as visions, this is not an issue, but where they are treated as specific actions, the lack of clear end points provides a real challenge for national translation. Furthermore, the entry point adopted strongly influences how targets will be interpreted. Are they to be integrated in the domestic policy agenda, development cooperation agenda or the international policy agenda? …

Source: IISD Sustainable Development Policy and Practice