Introduction: The 2030 Agenda.
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EmbargoThis version of the article is available for viewing to the public after June 30, 2017.
SubjectSustainable Development Goals; Millennium Development Goals; High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development; Open Working group of the General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals
This introduction notes the contributions of authors to the second (final) issue of the Journal of Global Ethics 2015 Sustainable Development Goals Forum. It briefly explains the process through which the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have developed from their receipt in 2014 to their passage in September 2015 by the UN General Assembly, and it considers their development in prospect. The Millennium Development Goals, which spanned 1990–2015, present a case study that reveals the changeability of such long-term multilateral commitments. They were enmeshed in overlapping and inconsistent national and intergovernmental commitments reaching from 1995 to 2005, and the text of those goals also evolved, stabilizing for the last time in 2007. The SDGs and attendant commitments should be expected to evolve similarly over their 15-year run. This presents a concern, for among the three committees established by the UN to create the goals, the two committees charged with public consultation were retired as planned in 2014. The process evident thereafter has displayed a shift towards a strategy of enrolling broad public endorsement that leaves such consultation and specific responsibility to those consulted in doubt. This bodes ill for public deliberation on the goals and for public accountability as the agenda proceeds towards 2030.