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Global SDGs Assessments: Helping or Confusing Indicators?

Svatava Janoušková (), Tomáš Hák () and Bedřich Moldan ()
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Svatava Janoušková: Faculty of Science, Charles University, Albertov 6, 128 43 Prague, Czech Republic
Tomáš Hák: Environment Center, Charles University, José Martího 2/407, 162 00 Prague, Czech Republic
Bedřich Moldan: Environment Center, Charles University, José Martího 2/407, 162 00 Prague, Czech Republic

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 5, 1-14

Abstract: On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—adopted by world leaders in 2015—came into force. They build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and call for action by all countries to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. Since the SDGs are not legally binding, governments are expected to take ownership and establish national frameworks for the achievement of the 17 Goals. Countries thus have the primary responsibility for follow-up and review of the progress made in implementing the Goals, which will require quality, accessible and timely data collection. This will be instrumental for both regional and global follow-up analyses and assessments—several such major global assessments have already appeared. It might be supposed that the SDGs framework, including indicators, is conceptually and methodologically well-designed and tested in order to function reliably and provide guidance for such assessments. However, while it seems that the current structure of the SDGs has provided a firm policy framework, the Goals and targets have been mostly operationalized by indicators. We demonstrate and argue that without a procedurally well-designed, conceptual indicator framework for selecting and/or designing indicators, the results of SDGs assessments may be ambiguous and confusing.

Keywords: sustainable development goals; Agenda 2030; global indicator framework; sustainability indicators; SDGs (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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