This research came from a conversation on a ferry on the East River with my friend, Duncan Green. He was lamenting the lack of evidence about the impact of the MDGs and I was arguing that there was a lot of existing evidence that applied to agreements that were more analogous to what was being proposed in the SDGs. Claire Melamed at ODI liked the idea and included the project in ODI’s broader work on the post-2015 agenda.
The research was a rapid evidence review of more than 100 pieces of existing research around lessons from international agreements, global goals, multi-stakeholder initiatives and regulatory cooperation – with the aim of looking at the conditions under which they influence national level change. It produced some counter-intuitive results that are relevant not just for the SDGs but for anyone pursuing change via global agreements. Duncan liked the result.
A brilliant, highly original new ODI paper from May Miller-Dawkins (a friend and Ex-oxfam colleague), makes a massive contribution to that debate. It argues for leaving the MDGs behind (hooray!), and basing the level of ambition, implementation and reporting requirements much more on those other aspects of international norm setting in areas such as Human Rights and the Environment, which have had far more tangible impacts on government behaviours.
– Duncan Green, Oxfam
…a forthcoming paper from research consultant May Miller-Dawkins, poses some good starting ideas. She argues that we shouldn’t let concerns about practicality and achievability blunt the ambition of SDGs. The high ambition and non-binding nature of the SDGs could increase rather than diminish their overall long-term impact. Miller-Dawkins points out that in human rights and other agreements, high ambition has allowed domestic groups to use international norms and frameworks for leverage to generate change.
– Andrew Norton and Elizabeth Stuart from ODI writing in The Guardian.