An update on the joint project I have been involved in between the London International Development Centre and UCL on the Sustainable Development Goal-setting agenda. I am very happy to report that the first publication coming out of this initiative will be a chapter co-authored with my colleagues at UCL Department of Political Science, Niheer Dasandi and David Hudson, titled: Post-2015 Development Agenda-Setting in Focus: Governance and Institutions. It is available for download at SSRN and forthcoming in J. Waage & C. Yap, Thinking Beyond Sectors for Sustainable Development (London: Ubiquity Press, 2015). The abstract follows.
Governance, at both the global and national levels, has long been an important focus of international development efforts. However, while there is a long history of global goal setting, there has been very little goal setting on national governance and institutions. Global governance was incorporated into the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as Goal 8, but there was no domestic governance goal. The proposed inclusion of Goal 16 in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels” – by the Open Working Group of the General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals (2014) is therefore genuinely novel and important. In this short chapter we take a step back to try and clear up some conceptual confusion around the status of governance in international goal setting as well as flag up the likely political challenges facing the SDGs. We evaluate the historical process of governance goal setting, progress in the area, and finally assess the current debates and propose the most important issues facing the future of governance and development goals.