Informing the UK’s approach to SDGs

A Parliamentary inquiry about the UK’s position and approach to the development targets to replace the millennium development goals has published evidence from the ESRC STEPS Centre.

The Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry is looking at how best the UK can move forward on setting and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The STEPS Centre has been engaged in policy debates associated with the SDGs since before the Rio+20 conference. Our submission to this inquiry emphasised the importance of a diversity of technical and social innovation approaches, inter-generational issues, particpatory approaches to amplify the voices of the poor and marginalised, attention to the direction (rather than purely the rate) of technical change, enhancing corporate environmental accountability and the need for cross-Ministerial coordination and support.

The final set of SDGs are due to be presented at a special session of the United Nations general assembly in September 2015 with implementation expected in 2016.

The proposed SDGs to be attained by 2030 aim to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere”, and include broad topics such as hunger, health, gender energy, economic growth and climate change.

The Committee considers which UK governmental policies and programmes contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development, and audits their performance. It has examined the development of the SDGs through previous reports on Preparations on Rio+20 (in October 2011) and Outcomes of Rio+20 (in June 2013).

With the UK negotiating the final goals through the EU as part of the UN process, the Committee requested submissions to inform its scrutiny of the UK government’s approach. Earlier this autumn Prime Minister David Cameron called for the current list fo 17 goals to be reduced to 12, or ideally 10.