SDGs Focus Areas Released
On February 21st, 2014, the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), released its list of focus areas for the forthcoming set of international aspirational goals. In an open letter from the Co-Chairs, the Open Working Group acknowledged that the international community has “unfinished business” concerning the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as a host of other aspirational goals that must fit into the post-2015 agenda. Furthermore, the Group acknowledged the need for another set of aspirational goals.
While some might question producing a new set of goals while another remains incomplete, the Group “emphasized that action on ambitious focus areas on sustainable development could raise the international profile of the issues and intensify actions to address them.” This is particularly important given that the SDGs are likely to include new goals and issue-areas that did not appear in the MDGs. Given the significant amount of international attention garnered by the MDGs over the past fifteen years, it is likely that an SDG on a new issue, for example sustainable cities, will help raise awareness about the topic and increase funding streams to related efforts.
The Group also recognized a broader theme for the SDG focus areas: “Throughout our discussions, the group emphasized that eradication of poverty, inequitable development within and among states as well as the protection of the environment are amongst the most pressing sustainable development challenges facing humankind in this century.” So while the focus areas cover a range of topics, it seems as if there was a consensus that elimination of poverty, rectifying inequalities, and environmental protection should tie together the diverse programmes.
Below is the list of focus areas. Keep in mind that these do not constitute a zero draft of the SDGs. They are just a narrowed range of topics for consideration.
- Poverty eradication
- Food security and nutrition
- Health and population dynamics
- Gender equality and women’s empowerment
- Water and sanitation
- Economic growth
- Employment and decent work for all
- Promoting equality
- Sustainable cities and human settlements
- Sustainable consumption and production
- Marine resources, oceans, and seas
- Ecosystems and biodiversity
- Means of implementation
- Peaceful and non-violent societies, capable institutions