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In 2015, the international community adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) with 169 targets as part of a global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The ambition expressed in these goals is unprecedented; the Agenda aims at nothing less than ‘Transforming Our World’. But can this prominent example of global goal-setting, as a new central approach in global governance, help resolve the pressing challenges of economic development, poverty eradication, social justice, and global environmental protection? Nobody knows at this stage. While the United Nations and member states place great hopes on this novel strategy, there is little scientific knowledge on whether such global goals can live up to exceedingly high expectations. How can ‘global governance through goals’ be effective – and under which conditions?
The 2020 SDG Research Symposium provides a forum for the exchange of cutting-edge research and policy studies on this question. The Symposium brings together a broad group of leading social scientists from universities and prominent think tanks for a first stocktaking of what we know about the actual impact of ‘governance through goals’. The SDG Research Symposium will not address sustainability governance as such but focus on assessing the effects of global goal-setting, with special emphasis on the Sustainable Development Goals as the premier and most comprehensive global goal-setting effort to-date.
The 2020 SDG Research Symposium will address six broader research streams: