Sustainable Development Goals
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Sustainable Development Goals

Law, Theory and Implementation

Edited by Duncan French and Louis J. Kotzé

Building on the previously established Millennium Development Goals, which ran from 2000-2015, the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide the UN with a roadmap for development until 2030. This topical book explores the associated legal and normative implications of these SDGs, which in themselves are not legally binding.
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Chapter 5: Underpinning commitments of the Sustainable Development Goals: indivisibility, universality, leaving no one behind

Graham Long


Early academic analysis of the SDGs has focused on the goals and targets themselves. This chapter aims to broaden this focus by identifying three distinctive and significant normative commitments to be found within the goals but also beyond them, in the wider framework of ‘Agenda 2030’ and its institutions. These are (i) that the goals are universal, but should be differentiated in country contexts; (ii) that the goals and targets are interconnected and indivisible; and (iii) that ‘no one should be left behind’. This chapter outlines the content, context and import of these three principles, arguing for their importance in implementation and analysis of the goals.

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