Too many sus­tain­able devel­op­ment goals, econ­o­mist con­tends

Otago Daily Times - - DUNEDIN - JOHN GIBB

UNIVER­SITY of Otago econ­o­mist As­so­ciate Prof Stephen Knowles yes­ter­day took is­sue with some of the UN­backed sus­tain­able devel­op­ment goals, which aim to end world poverty by 2030.

Prof Knowles, of the univer­sity eco­nomics de­part­ment, was com­ment­ing at the Otago Global Health In­sti­tute’s 10th an­nual con­fer­ence, at the Dunedin Pub­lic Art Gallery, which be­gan yes­ter­day.

A to­tal of 193 na­tions, in­clud­ing New Zealand, ear­lier took part in a United Na­tions­led process to de­velop the 17 ‘‘Global Goals’’ and 169 tar­gets.

These fol­lowed the ear­lier mil­len­nium devel­op­ment goals, which ended in 2015.

Prof Knowles said there were pos­i­tive as­pects to the sus­tain­able goals but ‘‘there are too many of them’’.

Vague word­ing meant some goals were hard to quan­tify, and to de­ter­mine if they had ever been achieved.

‘‘I still do worry that 17 goals is an aw­ful lot to keep track of.’’

Gov­ern­ments would ‘‘in­evit­ ably’’ start to pri­ori­tise them.

New Zealand had not yet de­vel­oped an agreed mea­sure of poverty, against which fu­ture progress could be mon­i­tored, he said.

His talk was ti­tled ‘‘Global Health Per­spec­tive: Do We Need the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals?’’

Otago com­merce di­vi­sion provice­chan­cel­lor Prof Robin Gauld con­grat­u­lated the health in­sti­tute on its suc­cess in run­ning 10 an­nual con­fer­ences.

A con­fer­ence or­gan­iser, Prof David Field­ing, of eco­nomics, said about 100 peo­ple had reg­is­tered to at­tend, in­clud­ing 15 from over­seas.

The con­fer­ence, which was sup­ported by the Otago Cen­tre for In­ter­na­tional Health, had brought to­gether a widely mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary group of par­tic­i­pants to dis­cuss in­ter­na­tional health is­sues, Prof Field­ing said.

Stephen Knowles

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