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INEA Thematic Issue: Making the SDGs Succeed

A thematic issue of the journal International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics (Vol. 16, No. 3) addresses the challenges of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. The issue is edited by Earth System Governance Scientific Steering Committee member Norichika Kanie (Keio University) and Casey Stevens (Clark University).

This issue on “Making the SDGs Succeed” suggests that the SDGs are an opportunity to permanently transform the nature of development and make environmental and social sustainability a defining characteristic of economic activity. The articles explore how these goals were created and discusses the limitations on the resulting agenda. The formation process of the SDGs was unique when compared with other global governance efforts and can help us understand the transformative impact of key actors like leaders in international negotiations, the inclusion of civil society, and efforts to work around the negotiating blocks prominent on most global environmental governance decisions.

The aims of the SDGs in the Rio+20 outcome were quite significant aiming to be aspirational, universal, inclusive, integrated, action-oriented, transparent, etc. While each of these may simply be a buzzword that has little impact on action, some aspects of these ideas can become important practice-guiding cores of discussion. Understanding what these ideas could entail in global sustainability governance and what they are likely to mean in early implementation is crucial in understanding the transformational potential of the SDGs. The practice lens adopted by the articles in this Special Feature adds specific insights crucial to understanding the current era of global environmental governance more widely.


Green economy and carbon markets for conservation and development: a critical view. Kathleen McAfee

Managing fragmentation in global environmental governance: the REDD+ Partnership as bridge organization. Aarti GuptaTill Pistorius, Marjanneke J. Vijge 

The EU 40 % greenhouse gas emission reduction target by 2030 in perspective. F. Hof, M. G. J. den Elzen, A. Mendoza Beltran

The transformative potential of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Casey Stevens, Norichika Kanie 

Breaking the mold: a new type of multilateral sustainable development negotiation. Pamela S. Chasek, Lynn M. Wagner

Crowdsourcing global governance: sustainable development goals, civil society, and the pursuit of democratic legitimacy. Joshua C. Gellers

Sustainable development goals and inclusive development. Joyeeta Gupta, Courtney Vegelin

Cross-sectoral strategies in global sustainability governance: towards a nexus approach. Ingrid BoasFrank BiermannNorichika Kanie

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