Universal Sustainable Development Goals: Understanding the Transformational Challenge for Developed Countries

Stakeholder Forum: Derek Osborn, Amy Cutter, Farooq Ullah • 02-06-2015
Universal Sustainable Development Goals: Understanding the Transformational Challenge for Developed Countries

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are intended to be universal in the sense of emodying a universally shared common global vision of progress towards a safe, just and sustainable space for all human beings to thrive on the planet. They reflect the moral principles that no-one and no country should be left behind, and that everyone and every country should be regarded as having a common responsibility for playing their part in delivering the global vision. In general terms, all of the goals have therefore been conceived as applying both as ambitions and as challenges to all countries. All of the goals and targets contain important messages and challenges for developed and developing countries. 



This study proposes a new method of analysis of the goals and targets to assist in identifying those which will represent for developed countries the biggest transformational challenges, in the sense of requiring new economic paradigms and changes in patterns of behaviour as well as new policies and commitment of resources. 

In the initial analysis, the methodology identifies the goals of sustainable consumption and production (SDG 12), sustainable energy (SDG 7) and combating climate change (SDG 13) as the three most transformational challenges facing developed countries - and as being the challenges on which the world at large needs to see the developed world place a strong emphasis for action so as to relieve the overall anthropogenic pressures on the planet and its natural systems. Other goals involving significant transformational change in developed countries include the need to achieve more sustanable economies and growth pathways, the goal of greater equality, and the goals to achieve better protection of the oceans and of terrestrial ecosystems. 

Social problems of poverty, health, education and gender issues are still present in developed as well as in developing countries (though to different degrees) as are all the other issues covered by the SDGs. And the universal applicability of the SGDs stresses to the need to continue to confront all of these issues comprehensively in all countries. But further progress on these issues in the developed world cannot be expected to have such a large, transformational effect either within those countries themselves or in its impact on the rest of the world. 

The report suggests that the method of analysis it employs should now be used more widely to explore more deeply the major transformational challenges which the SDGs present to developed countries, as they begin to plan their SDG implementation strategies. It could also be applied to help other countries or groups of countries to identify the major tranformational challeges which the SDGs imply for them. 

The full report can be found here

Tags: climate change,frameworks and conceptualizations,means of implementation,Post-2015 Development Agenda,Post-2015 intergovernmental process,SDGs,sustainable consumption and production,sustainable energy