A “Zero Draft” Outcome for the Sustainable Development Goals

June 19, 2015

Harriet O’Sullivan, The Hunger Project

thp-june15The “Zero Draft” Outcome of the SDGs, entitled Transforming Our World by 2030: A New Agenda for Global Action, was recently released on June 2, 2015, in preparation for the upcoming session on post-2015 intergovernmental relations from 22-25 June. It contains 17 goals and 169 targets, still and likely to remain unchanged from the original proposal last September. However, as it concerns indicators and implementation commitments, there is still work to be done and revisions to be made.

The success of the SDGs and the future of global development relies heavily on gender equality and community-led development. While there are 17 goals officially listed, they are summarized notably by:

  • Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Strengthen governance and promote peaceful, safe, just and inclusive societies

The overall goal of full sustainable development is simply impossible when one half of the population continues to be denied equal rights and opportunities; when women are supported and empowered, all of society benefits. The significance of female empowerment and an integrated approach is present in the draft, and rightfully so. Goal 5, the commitment to achieving gender equality, is reinforced with several points on combating the various forms of gender inequality: gender-based violence, discrimination, sex trafficking, early-child marriage, and lack of equal opportunities for leadership and decision-making. The prominence of female empowerment throughout the draft is a hopeful sign, but groups and organizations must continue to keep up pressure to ensure official enforcement and financial support.

The necessity of an integrated framework in tackling the SDGs is another critical point. It is most clearly represented in Goal 16: to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. The draft is straightforward in committing to the use of community-led development for effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels, as well as participatory and representative decision-making at all levels. These promises instill another vote of confidence for the official implementation of a holistic, integrated approach in the Post-2015 world.

The overall vision of the Post-2015 Development Agenda is bold and ambitious, as it needs to be, but it must be balanced with an equally strong plan for financing and enforcement. The chapter on Means of Implementation will be settled during the upcoming Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this July.