Science-based Analysis of SDGs Finds Less Than One-Third of Targets Are Well-defined
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The International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC) released a report analyzing the 169 targets related to the 17 draft Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which finds that just 29% of the targets, or less than one-third, are well-defined.

The report suggested that 54% of targets need more work while 17% of targets are weak or non-essential.

ICSU12 February 2015: The International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC) released a report analyzing the 169 targets related to the 17 draft Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which finds that just 29% of the targets, or less than one-third, are well-defined. The report suggests that 54% of targets need more work while 17% of targets are weak or non-essential.

To improve the possibility of effective implementation, the authors specify potential areas to which the targets can be applied. They caution that trade-offs must be managed: for example, agricultural land-use, which contributes to food security, could also contribute to biodiversity loss, unless targets are addressed in an integrated manner. They call for improving the measurability of targets and establishing “country-appropriate” baselines.

The authors emphasize the need to provide “a big-picture vision” for the SDGs, based on the overarching aim of “a prosperous, high quality of life that is equitably shared and sustained.”

ICSU is a non-governmental organization of national science bodies and international science unions, based in Paris, France. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established ISSC to promote the social sciences and interdisciplinary collaboration. ISSC is also based in Paris, France. [Publication: Review of Targets for the Sustainable Development Goals: The Science Perspective] [ICSU Press Release] [ICSU Website] [ISSC Website]

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