The SDGs must be a compass, but which direction is not fixed once and for all.
The next part of Chapter 3 of the report The Future is now goes with the title Beyond the goals.
The authors stress that as Agenda 2030 should be a compass for science and technology advances, but that its content should evolve too. The 17 SDGs and their 169 associated targets and 230 indicators are the result of long negotiations between member states at several levels. For the sake of consensus, some points have been set aside.
A need for actualization
Also, in order to vote the SDGs in September 2015 (five years ago already!), the discussions began much earlier, and science and technology as well as societies, have evolved since (just think that there was no COVID only 10 months from now, and how this pandemic transformed lives on the planet in such a short time).
As the report work is collaborative, the authors made an open call to their fellow scientists, and they collected some points of attention that are not enough present in the SDGs and their targets. We will only give here the list. We invite you to read the report for more details (page 117).
- Ongoing armed conflicts (crises around the world impede or even destroy development and hamper the achievement of the goals)
- Pastoralism (and livestock production systems, that cover vast land surfaces and are key to millions of livelihoods)
- Spiritual values (especially that people attach to natural resources)
- Culture (as an intrinsic component of sustainable development)
- Drugs (addiction)
- Animal welfare (links between human health and well-being and animal welfare)
- Human genome editing and transhumanism
Improve the making of the policy
The processes set in place for the adoption of Agenda 2030, as well as for their implementation should also be considered with care, the authors explain. Not everybody on the planet agrees with SDGs as they are, and even some very high-level policy makers and responsibles.
If we want some kind of success, criticisms must be taken into account, to improve these SDGs and the necessary trade-offs between them. Certainly here, political science, anthropology and psychology will be useful (based on basic knowledge from these fields and others), to understand where these criticisms come from, and how they can help to improve Agenda 2030, rather than destroy it (which some people would be happy with).