The 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development: Recharging multilateral cooperation for the post-2015 era

Photo credit: CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture via Source / CC

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular, the new sustainable development goals, will constitute a different mission for United Nations Development than the previous one driven by the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Unlike the MDG agenda, the sustainable development goals (SDGs) aim to integrate the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development, while emphasizing global challenges to a greater extent. The growing interconnection between local and global development challenges will be a key feature of the SDGs. This article argues that the current governance arrangements of UN Development impose a significant constraint on the organization's ability to meet the integration requirements of the SDGs. It proposes three policy options to address the governance demands of the 2030 Agenda. In making governance of UN Development ‘fit-for-purpose’, Member States would fundamentally recharge multilateral cooperation, whose appeal is withering, despite the reality of growing interconnectedness, complexity and uncertainty in today's globalizing world.