Frank van Kesteren
Frank is a knowledge broker working for the INCLUDE knowledge platform. He previously worked on the Migration Trail living analysis and for the Post-2015 dossier at the Broker. Frank holds a Bachelor of International Development Studies from Wageningen University and Research Centre and completed a Research Master of Science in International Development Studies from University of Amsterdam. In his master’s thesis he looked at the impact of globalizing food markets on the cognitive capacities (i.e. skills and knowledge) of food consumers and their relationship with sustainable consumption in Argentina. He has an interest in inclusive development, sociology, the political economy and consumer studies.
The launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) marks the introduction of sustainability as an overarching concept for international development by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns at the international policy level. Yet the extent to which the environment will profit from the SDGs is questionable given the structure of the document and its framing of the sustainability concept. In the end, the 2030 agenda for development might very well result in cherry picking and ‘business as usual’.
The recently launched Millennium Development Goals Report gives reason for optimism about achievement of the first goal: reduce extreme poverty by half. However, the figures do not display the little progress made for the poorest of the poor, those frequently excluded from poverty eradication programmes. A specific target is required in the post-2015 goals to make sure that no one will be ‘left behind’.
The long wait is over. During the 13th and final session of the Open Working Group (OWG) on sustainable development goals (SDGs), held from 14 to 19 July, the 69 member countries agreed on a set of 17 SDGs and 169 associated targets. These should by no means be read as business as usual: they are more far-reaching than the MDGs both in content (they capture all three dimensions of sustainable development) and scope (they apply to both developing and developed countries). However, the proposed SDGs are by no means a clear-cut victory for the global South either, as they do not challenge the existing global power imbalances.
Now that the work of the Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is coming to an end, the question of finance casts a dark shadow over the final round of negotiations. Last week, the Group of 77 (G77) and China presented their common on how to implement and finance the SDGs, to serve as input for this week’s OWG session. Perceived by some as an important milestone and a robust symbol of a common Southern voice, others see the statement as heralding the risk of deadlock between the North and the South.