Why poor countries should avoid the SDGs

un-goalsAn interesting perspective on the new SDGs from the Development Policy Blog

Here is an excerpt:

It’s been widely reported that the process of tortured negotiations essentially turned into what political scientists call “logrolling”: everyone voted for everyone else’s proposal to garner support for their own pet causes. The result is the current unwieldy framework of 17 goals, 169 targets and probably an immeasurable number of sub-targets and indicators. There are many ways in which this result could be, and has been, criticised. At last year’s ODI Centre for Aid and Public Expenditure Conference, CGD’s Charles Kenny called the SDGs “a mess”. Oxfam’s Duncan Green bemoans the technocratic hubris of the process, which involved every conceivable NGO lobbying for their cause without concern for the whole edifice, among other things. Ex-World Banker Phyllis Pomerantz makes the rather obvious point that if the world has 169 priorities, it effectively has none. Of course all of these arguments stand against an avalanche of enthusiasm, perhaps best encapsulated by Bono quoting Nelson Mandela: “it’s always impossible until it’s done”.

The 17 goals cover very broad swathes of government activity and explicitly aim to “transform societies” in the pursuit of ending hunger and poverty, improving health care, education and water and sanitation services, creating welfare states and peace in our time, and much more. The drafters of the SGDs understood that the global volume of aid would fall far short of funding much of this agenda, which is why the outcome document of the recent “Financing for Development” conference in effect calls for developing countries’ (hypothetical) domestic revenues to be used to pay for it all.

You can read the full article here.

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