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The 169 commandments

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The Economist has published an interesting article detailing the problem with an exhaustive list of proposed sustainable development goals.

The SDGs are supposed to set out how to improve the lives of the poor in emerging countries, and how to steer money and government policy towards areas where they can do the most good. But the efforts of the SDG drafting committees are so sprawling and misconceived that the entire enterprise is being set up to fail. That would be not just a wasted opportunity, but also a betrayal of the world’s poorest people.

The SDGs are the successors to the development targets that governments around the world signed up to in 2000 and promised to reach by 2015. There are eight of these so-called Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with 21 sub-targets, from educating girls to cutting maternal mortality. Overall, the MDGs have a decent record. Some (such as reducing maternal and child mortality) will be missed by miles. But others, such as cutting by half the share of people who live in abject poverty, have been reached. The MDGs themselves do not always deserve the credit: the plunge in the global poverty rate has far more to do with growth in China than anything agreed on at the UN. But in other cases, such as boosting access to clean water, the prospect of missing an international target shamed countries into acting better than they might have otherwise."

Click here to read the entire article