I missed the launch of Measuring Up – UKSSD's report into how well the UK is implementing the sustainable development goals. There's more detail here, and I hope that government will see the report as useful in helping in what it is doing about the Goals. Importantly, however, none of this should just be up to government. Did you know that there is a Cabinet Minister for Implementing the Goals – Oliver Dowden? I didn't.
I have an ambivalent take on the Goals. I recognise their importance to the millions who (unlike me) have little, or who live oppressed lives, whilst thinking there are far too many targets to be able to take them seriously. I take the Copenhagen Consensus line on this – as you'll know if you've read The World We'll Leave Behind – which is to say that the world's money should be used on the goals and targets that will have the largest return – that is, bring the greatest improvement in people's lives – although that will be seen as very neoliberal, of course.
Inevitably there is a push back against the "growth" part of Goal 8 – Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all – which I understand, except that I don't know how to realise the rest of Goal 8 without the "growth". Does anyone?
Then there's Goal 4 – 'quality education', UNESCO's favoured phrase. Do you know what it means? No matter, it can mean what you want it to. More on this next week. Meanwhile, well done UKSSD for doing this work (which I had a small role in) in such a timely fashion.