Review of targets for the sustainable development goals: the science perspective
The SDGs offer a "major improvement" over their predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, this report by the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC) finds that of the 169 targets beneath the 17 draft goals, just 29% are well defined and based on the latest scientific evidence, while 54% need more work and 17% are weak or non-essential. The assessment of the targets – which are intended to operationalise the 17 goals set to be approved by governments later in 2015 – is the first of its kind to be carried out by the scientific community, and represents the work of over 40 leading researchers covering a range of fields across the natural and social sciences. However, the report finds the targets suffer from a lack of integration, some repetition and rely too much on vague, qualitative language rather than hard, measurable, time-bound, quantitative targets.