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Special Issue "Sustainable Development Goals"

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A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2013)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Hironori Hamanaka (Website)

Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, 2108-11 Kamiyamaguchi, Hayama, Kanagawa, 240-0115, Japan
Phone: +81 46 855 3700
Fax: +81 46 855 3709
Interests: environmental policy; climate change; sustainable development
Guest Editor
Dr. Mark Elder (Website)

Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, 2108-11 Kamiyamaguchi, Hayama, Kanagawa, 240-0115, Japan
Phone: +81-46-855-3870
Fax: +81 46 855 3809
Interests: environmental policy and governance; sustainable development; regional cooperation; air pollution; green economy; environment and trade; political economy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One of the most important outcomes of Rio+20 in June 2012 was to launch a process to formulate Sustainable Development Goals as a way to focus the world’s efforts to accelerate the progress towards achieving sustainable development. The UN General Assembly will begin discussion from September 2013 at its 68th session, based on a report expected by an intergovernmental working group over the preceding 12 months. Sustainable Development Goals are expected to be integrated with the ongoing process to develop the Post 2015 Development Agenda following up the Millennium Development Goals, which will end in 2015. Therefore this topic is very timely, as it is expected that the articles will be published in time to potentially influence the processes to develop Sustainable Development Goals and the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

This special issue welcomes papers addressing all aspects relating to Sustainable Development Goals and their linkage with the Post 2015 Development Agenda. This includes a wide variety of issues such as the content of the goals, how to develop them, lessons from past similar efforts, how to integrate the three pillars of sustainable development, and linkage with existing international goals and commitments; linkage with related concepts such as basic human needs, planetary boundaries, beyond GDP, and the green economy; and cross-cutting issues such as education and Sustainable Production & Consumption (SCP). Governance, including the political process for developing goals as well as strengthening their implementation, is another important area to be addressed. Preference will be given to papers which take a broader perspective and can contribute to the international political discussions on SDGs.

Prof. Dr. Hironori Hamanaka
Dr. Mark Elder
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Post 2015 Development Agenda
  • Millennium Development Goals
  • sustainability
  • governance

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Integration and Diffusion in Sustainable Development Goals: Learning from the Past, Looking into the Future
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1761-1775; doi:10.3390/su6041761
Received: 27 April 2013 / Revised: 14 March 2014 / Accepted: 17 March 2014 / Published: 3 April 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (669 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Correction
Abstract
One of the next major challenges for research and policy on sustainability is setting the post-2015 Development Agenda. This challenge arises as a direct result of the formal ending of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015 and as an outcome of [...] Read more.
One of the next major challenges for research and policy on sustainability is setting the post-2015 Development Agenda. This challenge arises as a direct result of the formal ending of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015 and as an outcome of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). The post-2015 Development Agenda is expected to include two agendas: one on human well-being to advance the MDG targets and the other on planetary well-being, which requires a safe “operating space” within the Earth’s life-support system. In contrast to the MDGs, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are meant to apply to both developing and developed countries and create a space for development within the stable functioning of the Earth’s systems. However, what might this all look like? For answers, this paper reviews the achievements and reflections of the MDGs to date and identifies new challenges entailed in the shift of development goals from “millennium” to “sustainable”. While most of the existing studies look at these two sets of issues separately, combining the two reveals two important features of the SDGs. First, SDGs need to integrate both human and planetary well-being in a goal, and second, goals, or sub-goals, need to be formulated at multiple levels, from global to local levels. While the MDGs represented no integrated goals, some of the existing proposals on SDGs include integrated goals. However, our analysis has shown that they do not present the vertical diffusion of goals. Considering both integration and diffusion in the architecture of SDGs is a remaining task. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development Goals)
Open AccessArticle Making Sustainable Consumption and Production the Core of Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainability 2014, 6(2), 513-529; doi:10.3390/su6020513
Received: 29 November 2013 / Revised: 15 January 2014 / Accepted: 16 January 2014 / Published: 24 January 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (825 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper argues that sustainable consumption and production (SCP) should play a prominent role in the formulation and implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and discusses how this could be practically done. Unsustainable patterns of consumption and production have been declared [...] Read more.
This paper argues that sustainable consumption and production (SCP) should play a prominent role in the formulation and implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and discusses how this could be practically done. Unsustainable patterns of consumption and production have been declared the primary cause of environmental deterioration. This was clearly recognized already at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (or the Rio Summit) in 1992; and this recognition has been reconfirmed in all high-level sustainability meetings since then. SCP aims to change these patterns; it is a policy agenda for addressing the root causes of our ecological predicament, while, at the same time, providing for human wellbeing and prosperity. Drawing from international agreements, practical policy experience and research from a range of disciplines, the paper provides a clarifying framework for scientifically robust, policy-relevant and practical goal-setting for SCP within the SDGs. Special attention is given to how SCP in the SDGs can create synergies with other international policy initiatives. The paper explores the advantages and disadvantages of two possible options for reflecting SCP in the SDGs framework: (i) SCP as a stand-alone goal; and (ii) SCP as a cross-cutting objective, embedded within relevant goals. While these two options are not necessarily mutually exclusive, given the competing number of issues for prioritization and the fact that a 10-Year Framework of Programs on SCP has also recently been established, it is hardly foreseeable that both options can be realized. The paper further proposes a set of basic principles for SCP at the global level and makes recommendations towards the formulation of indicators supporting SCP objectives in the SDGs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development Goals)
Open AccessArticle Integrating Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Goal Structure, Target Areas and Means of Implementation
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 193-216; doi:10.3390/su6010193
Received: 1 November 2013 / Revised: 16 December 2013 / Accepted: 17 December 2013 / Published: 27 December 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (851 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The United Nations’ discussions on defining a new set of post-2015 development goals focus on poverty eradication and sustainable development. Biodiversity and ecosystem services are essential for poverty eradication, which is also one of the foundations of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity [...] Read more.
The United Nations’ discussions on defining a new set of post-2015 development goals focus on poverty eradication and sustainable development. Biodiversity and ecosystem services are essential for poverty eradication, which is also one of the foundations of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Based on an assessment of current proposals of goals and targets, and a quantitative pathway analysis to meet long term biodiversity and food security goals, this paper discusses how biodiversity and ecosystem services can be integrated into a broad set of goals and targets, and concludes with relevant target areas and means of implementation for which specific targets need to be defined. Furthermore, it responds to the call of the CBD to consider the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the related Aichi biodiversity targets in the post-2015 development agenda. The paper’s analysis identifies three overlapping but also supplemental ways to integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services in the post-2015 agenda: integrated goals, goals addressing earth system functioning and goals addressing environmental limits. It further concludes seven target areas to be included under the goals to address biodiversity and ecosystem services in the context of food and agriculture: access to food, demand for agricultural products, sustainable intensification, ecosystem fragmentation, protected areas, essential ecosystem services and genetic diversity. The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity provides a good basis for integrating biodiversity and ecosystem services in the post-2015 development agenda. Many Aichi targets address the proposed target areas and the means of implementation discussed, while they need to be complemented with targets that specifically address human well-being, as well as institutions and governance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development Goals)
Open AccessArticle Political Criteria for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Selection and the Role of the Urban Dimension
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5034-5051; doi:10.3390/su5125034
Received: 3 September 2013 / Revised: 8 November 2013 / Accepted: 19 November 2013 / Published: 28 November 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (676 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A flood of ideas and proposals on the shape and selection of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has begun to rise since 2012. This article looks at some of them, trying to understand which kind of “boundary work” between science and policy is [...] Read more.
A flood of ideas and proposals on the shape and selection of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has begun to rise since 2012. This article looks at some of them, trying to understand which kind of “boundary work” between science and policy is done here. Starting with a reflection on the epistemological and practical implications of “discussing SDGs”, it primarily addresses scientists, but also decision makers and activists interested in the post-2015 debate. In practical terms of SDG selection, the argument goes in favor of a self-reflective “politization of science”; i.e., against claims for broad scientific comprehensiveness of SDGs and in favor of an “exemplary” selection of thematic areas and targets, which would combine aspects of (i) political opportunity and (ii) societal visibility. These criteria are only very partially met in the proposals the article looks at. By applying them, the article emphasizes the political importance of addressing, through SDGs, the subnational level directly, thus making the case for an SDG on cities. Such an SDG should, by the same logic, be rather focused and exemplary than all-encompassing. The recently employed formula of “resilient, inclusive and connected cities” is considered useful, when accompanied by tangible and communicable indicators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development Goals)
Open AccessArticle Towards an Integrated Framework for SDGs: Ultimate and Enabling Goals for the Case of Energy
Sustainability 2013, 5(10), 4124-4151; doi:10.3390/su5104124
Received: 19 August 2013 / Revised: 9 September 2013 / Accepted: 10 September 2013 / Published: 25 September 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1386 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Discussions on how to define, design, and implement sustainable development goals (SDG) have taken center stage in the United Nations since the Rio+20 summit. Energy is one of the issues that enjoyed consensus, before and after Rio, as an important area for [...] Read more.
Discussions on how to define, design, and implement sustainable development goals (SDG) have taken center stage in the United Nations since the Rio+20 summit. Energy is one of the issues that enjoyed consensus, before and after Rio, as an important area for SDGs to address. Many proposals have been put forward on how SDGs should be formulated and what areas they should cover, but there have been few attempts to develop a generic integrated framework within which diverse areas can be accommodated and treated in a coherent way. The purpose of this paper is to develop such a framework for SDGs and to demonstrate its application by elaborating specific target areas for the energy sector. Based on a review and integration of global debates around SDG and energy, the framework puts human wellbeing at the center of the agenda, with the supporting resource base and global public goods forming additional tiers. A complementary set of enabling goals is suggested with four layers: capacity & knowledge, governance & institutions, public policy, and investment & finance. An energy SDG is elaborated to illustrate the application of the framework. The illustrative SDG architecture for energy includes eight target areas: basic energy access, energy for economic development, sufficiency, renewable supply, efficiency, infrastructure, greenhouse gas emissions and security. These target areas are relevant for energy for all countries, but depending on national circumstances such as levels of development, the relative emphasis will be different between countries, and over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development Goals)
Open AccessArticle Disabled People and the Post-2015 Development Goal Agenda through a Disability Studies Lens
Sustainability 2013, 5(10), 4152-4182; doi:10.3390/su5104152
Received: 8 August 2013 / Revised: 7 September 2013 / Accepted: 11 September 2013 / Published: 25 September 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (129 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine the role and visibility of disabled people in the discourses of various global policy processes related to sustainable development and the Post-2015 development agenda. This article makes several recommendations for strengthening the role of [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to examine the role and visibility of disabled people in the discourses of various global policy processes related to sustainable development and the Post-2015 development agenda. This article makes several recommendations for strengthening the role of disabled people in these discourses. The research addresses the question of how the disability community and sustainable development community relate to each other in these discourses. This study provides quantitative and qualitative data on three aspects of the relationship. One set of data highlights who is seen as a stakeholder in general and the visibility of disabled people in the social sustainability, sustainable consumption, Rio+20 and Post-2015 development agenda proposals discourses and what participants of the online consultation for a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond had to say about the issues of visibility of disabled people in development discourses. A second set of data illuminates the attitudes towards disabled people evident in the SD discourses including through the eyes of the participant of the online consultation for a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond. The final set of data compares the goals and actions seen as desirable for the advancement of SD evident in the SD literature covered and the online consultation for a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond. This study interpreted the data through a disability studies lens. The study found that disabled people were barely visible to invisible in the SD literature covered, that the goals and actions proposed in the SD discourses are of high relevance to disabled people but that these discussions have generally not been explicitly linked to disabled people. It found further that disabled people have clear ideas why they are invisible, what the problems with development policies are and what needs to happen to rectify the problems. It found also that there was a lack of visibility of various SD areas and goals within the disability discourse. This paper provides empirical data that can be used to further the goal of mainstreaming of disabled people into the SD and Post-2015 development discourses as asked for in various high-level UN documents. However, we posit that the utility of our paper goes beyond the disability angle. Our quantitative data also highlights other forms of social group visibility unevenness in the literature and as such, we argue that the data we present in this paper is also of use for other stakeholders such as youth, women and indigenous people and also for NGOs and policy makers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development Goals)
Open AccessArticle Bringing the “Missing Pillar” into Sustainable Development Goals: Towards Intersubjective Values-Based Indicators
Sustainability 2013, 5(7), 3035-3059; doi:10.3390/su5073035
Received: 20 May 2013 / Revised: 20 June 2013 / Accepted: 25 June 2013 / Published: 12 July 2013
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (1097 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper argues that the need for a core “fourth pillar” of sustainability/sustainable development, as demanded in multiple arenas, can no longer be ignored on the grounds of intangibility. Different approaches to this vital but missing pillar (cultural-aesthetic, religious-spiritual, and political-institutional) find [...] Read more.
This paper argues that the need for a core “fourth pillar” of sustainability/sustainable development, as demanded in multiple arenas, can no longer be ignored on the grounds of intangibility. Different approaches to this vital but missing pillar (cultural-aesthetic, religious-spiritual, and political-institutional) find common ground in the area of ethical values. While values and aspects based on them are widely assumed to be intangible and immeasurable, we illustrate that it is possible to operationalize them in terms of measurable indicators when they are intersubjectively conceptualized within clearly defined practical contexts. The processes require contextual localization of items, which can nonetheless fit into a generalizable framework. This allows useful measurements to be made, and removes barriers to studying, tracking, comparing, evaluating and correlating values-related dimensions of sustainability. It is advocated that those involved in operationalizing sustainability (especially in the context of creating post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals), should explore the potential for developing indicators to capture some of its less tangible aspects, especially those concerned with ethical values. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development Goals)

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