One of the main outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference that took place in Brazil in June 2012 was the agreement by member States to launch a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will build upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and converge with the post 2015 development agenda. It was decided to establish an "inclusive and transparent intergovernmental process open to all stakeholders, with a view to developing global sustainable development goals to be agreed by the General Assembly".
The main ambition of the SDGs is to be useful for pursuing focused and coherent action on sustainable development and to address and be focused on priority areas for its achievement.
In the Rio+20 outcome document, member States agreed that sustainable development goals (SDGs) must:
1. Be based on Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
2. Fully respect all the Rio Principles.
3. Be consistent with international law.
4. Build upon commitments already made.
5. Contribute to the full implementation of the outcomes of all major summits in the economic, social and environmental fields.
6. Focus on priority areas for the achievement of sustainable development, being guided by the outcome document.
7. Address and incorporate in a balanced way all three dimensions of sustainable development and their interlinkages.
8. Be coherent with and integrated into the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015.
9. Not divert focus or effort from the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
10. Include active involvement of all relevant stakeholders, as appropriate, in the process.
It was further agreed that SDGs must be action-oriented, concise, easy to communicate, limited in number, aspirational, global in nature, universally applicable to all countries while taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities.
Editor: Barbara PANCINO; Emanuele BLASI