The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal set of seventeen goals and 169 targets, with accompanying indicators, which were agreed by UN member states to frame their policy agendas for the fifteen-year period from 2015 to 2030. Written by three authors who have been engaged in the development of the SDGs from the beginning, this book offers an insider view of the process and a unique entry into what will be seen as one of the most significant negotiations and global policy agendas of the twenty-first century.
The book reviews how the SDGs were developed, what happened in key meetings and how this transformational agenda, which took more than three years to negotiate, came together in September 2015. It dissects and analyzes the meetings, organizations and individuals that played key roles in their development. It provides fascinating insights into the subtleties and challenges of high-level negotiation processes of governments and stakeholders, and into how the SDGs were debated, formulated and agreed. It is essential reading for all interested in the UN, sustainable development and the future of the planet and humankind.
"Learning from the process that engaged so many stakeholders at national and international level is important for future multilateral negotiations. This contribution from three actors intimately involved in the process offers rare insights into a long, challenging and ultimately fruitful process. I hope many readers will enjoy the insights presented in this book and be inspired to realise that the impossible is possible through compromise, partnership and leadership."
– from the foreword by Mary Robinson, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation: Climate Justice, Former President of Ireland (1990–1997) and Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997–2002)
"This is an important book that charts the journey we went on and the challenges faced in agreeing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. I hope it will help people understand what was achieved and help those now, and in the future, engaged in the implementation of this agenda."
– from the foreword by Ambassador Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations in New York, USA, co-chair of the negotiations for the Sustainable Development Goals (2012–2014) and co-facilitator of Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2014–2015)
"Having participated in various negotiations on sustainable development since 1992, this overview of the process leading to the ambitious and important Sustainable Development Goals allows us to see the big picture and helps make the journey ahead possible."
– Julia Marton-Lefevre, former Director General of IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature
"As the most prolific writer on issues of sustainable development and the multilateral system, Felix Dodds has done it again; on this occasion, working with Ambassador David Donoghue and Jimena Lieva Roesch. These three authors have brought their individual and collective knowledge and expertise to review the 2030 development agenda, consolidated in a recently articulated set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Offered by people who were immersed in the process, theirs is a necessary and timely analysis of how the multilateral system works, the consultations and negotiations out of which the SDGs evolved and their intended objectives.
Given their backgrounds and proximity to what took place, the authors have brought to their subject the quality of information and analysis likely to be useful to those who will be engaged in fulfilling this agenda within the multilateral system and its myriad stakeholders. When compared with the MDGs, the very large number of sustainable development goals and targets suggest very high ambition and an enormous undertaking at both the national and international levels. For students of development and international relations this will be an essential book. It will become a useful tool for peer review of the attainment of the SDGs. Coming so soon after consensus on the SDGs and the new development agenda were reached, the authors engage in an important discussion on which future books on this area will draw and be assessed.
All three authors are to be congratulated for this important piece of work."
– Liz Thompson, former UN Assistant Secretary General for Rio+20 and Barbados Minister of Energy and Environment
"Experienced journalists covering UN negotiating meetings on sustainable development issues tend to make a bee-line for Felix Dodds to discover what is going on. Now he, and his equally well-informed co-authors – Ambassador David Donoghue and Jimena Leiva Roesch – are doing everyone a service by extending the privilege through this book, which traces the often tortuous process that led to the agreement last September of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Though AS OF YET little-known outside the international environment and development community, the Goals are – as the authors write – ‘a blueprint for the development of humanity and the planet in the 21st century’. Their adoption marks the moment when a decades-old argument was finally won.
This book charts how that happened and suggests how the victory should be followed up with action. "
– Geoffrey Lean, award-winning environmental journalist
"Negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals is an important and timely contribution to global development policymaking that will further our understanding of how the SDGs became the new overarching framework for a comprehensive development agenda – and help inspire and guide their implementation."
– Mark Suzman, President of Global Policy and Advocacy and Chief Strategy Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
"Felix Dodds has been a welcome fixture of the sustainable development process since the 1992 Earth Summit and Agenda 21. No author I know has the capacity and talent for analyzing the agonizing negotiations over decades. His insight, contacts and ability to conceptualize made him the person to truthfully record the SDG history and intricate negotiations leading to the hopeful 2030s. In this latest coauthored book he transcends the stakeholders perspective and delves, as he always did, into the background of what governments decided, and why. I highly recommend this book for all those interested in following the process."
Andrey Vavilov, Ph.D., formerly with the IISD Earth Negotiations Bulletin