Sustainable Development Goals and Income Inequality
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Sustainable Development Goals and Income Inequality

Edited by Peter A.G. van Bergeijk and Rolph van der Hoeven

This timely book documents and analyses the seriousness of growing national inequality in different regions around the world. It argues that the treatment of inequality in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is wholly insufficient due to their failure to recognise the growing difference between the income of work and the income of capital and the super rich, and the strain this places on a country’s social fabric.
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Chapter 3: From MDGs to SDGs: critical reflections on global targets and their measurement

Jan Vandemoortele


Jan Vandemoortele provides a critical reflection on the SDGs. Although they address a broader set of concerns than the MDGs did and emphasise more clearly the link between global goals and national targets, the SDGs do not quite represent a ‘one-world’ agenda that applies to all countries in a similar manner. Most of the verifiable targets are not dissimilar from those covered by the MDGs, thus do not apply to developed countries. Most of the issues that concern them are either omitted or formulated in a woolly fashion – i.e. inequality, overweight, breastfeeding, climate change. This relates to the context in which they were shaped, characterised by a deep divide between North–South, a stronger sense of national sovereignty among member states, aloof leadership throughout the United Nations, diminished influence of civil society organisations and greater leverage of global corporations. Two steps are now overdue: (a) each country must adapt the SDGs to her national context and (b) globally, fitting indicators must be adopted to remedy the flawed nature of many SDG-targets.

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