Sustainable Development Goals and Targets: Options for differentiating between countries

Research reports and studies
June 2014
Claire Melamed, Gina Bergh
This report proposes that if Sustainable Development Goals are to have traction at national level, aspirational universal goals will need to be complemented with targets that are relevant to the particular circumstances of each country and what the goal is aiming to achieve. The outcome targets can be developed based on the starting position of each country, to define what might be ‘aspirational yet attainable’ rates of progress towards universal goals.

The targets for the contribution that each country should make towards the achievement of the goals are politically more difficult to negotiate, but differentiation can be informed by data about the relative importance of different actions, with political agreement being sought first for the issue areas and country actions that are likely to have the most benefit. Not only this, but the financial contribution of different countries and other actors will also be differentiated, and this can be assessed by considering both the countries and sectors for which finance is a key bottleneck for achieving the goals, and the appropriate division of labour between different actors given the likely impact and use of different sources of finance.