How sustainable are the SDGs?
The United Nation’s (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2015 are rightly celebrated as a major achievement: an agreement between nations on a comprehensive plan to tackle worldwide social and environmental crises. However, they rely on elements that are likely to undermine their success, and on trade-offs where some SDGs will have to be sacrificed to achieve others. Of particular concern is the injunction to foster economic growth, defined as growth in per capita gross domestic product (GDP).
The SDGs include specific goals for conservation, protection and restoration of land, sea and climate for the first time. A fourth goal (SDG12), ‘sustainable consumption and production patterns’, also implies environmental limits. These four goals are an advance on the 2001 Millennium Development Goals which, though they talked of ‘sustainable development’ in general terms, otherwise ignored the Earth system that supports all life, including human life.
Publication titleEcological Economics: Solutions for the Future
Department/SchoolSchool of Social Sciences
Place of publicationAustralia
Rights statementCopyright 2020 Haydn Washington