As the date to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) nears, with 2015 in rapid approach, discussion around a new set of ‘Sustainable Development Goals‘ (SDGs) has been building. Where the MDGs set forward specific targets for hunger, health, environment, and other development priorities, there is growing interest in finding ways in which the SDGs might better integrate these goals.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) has released an issue brief on the proposed SDGs as they relate to sustainable agriculture. Instead of defining a single specific goal for sustainable agriculture, the authors propose embedding agricultural targets within most of the goals, as it is an issue with such broad implications and intimate connections to gender equality, health, climate change, etc. They also propose a specific agriculture goal (goal 6), which uses three related “targets” (6a, b, and c) to attempt to integrate efforts within rural development for agricultural productivity, environmental protection, and rural livelihoods.
While many of the targets and indicators relate to crop yields and productivity, there is as much attention given to water conservation, food loss and waste, nutrient use efficiency, land tenure, and governance. Perhaps this is not quite the landscape SDG proposed in other conversations, but it is a step forward in integrating development goals across disciplines. Key inputs like the SDSN brief provide a vital counterpoint to traditional sector-based approaches that remain the comfortable default for many of the decision makers in the SDG discussion.
Goals, Targets, and Indicators for Sustainable Agriculture – SDSN Thematic Group 7 Issue Brief