GLOBALGOALS2024 - The Future of the SDGs

Event Type
International research conference

Utrecht, The Netherlands, 29.08.2024 until 30.08.2024


Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development - Utrecht University (The Netherlands), Earth System Governance Project (Taskforce on the Sustainable Development Goals), European Research Council - Advanced Grant for the GlobalGoals Project, Centre for Development Studies - University of Bath (United Kingdom), German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS), Oslo SDG Initiative - University of Oslo (Norway), Utrecht University - Strategic Programme ‘Pathways to Sustainability’ (The Netherlands)

The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was welcomed by practitioners and academics alike as a momentous step forward in global sustainability governance. And yet, an increasing body of studies suggests that the SDGs have failed to transform political and economic systems. Moreover, most SDGs are found to be not on track to be achieved by 2030. This sober assessment of the academic community is shared by many policymakers; the United Nations Secretary-General has even called upon governments “to rescue” the SDGs. 2024 is the halfway point in SDG implementation and a crucial moment to adjust and transform the SDG agenda. Concurrently, the United Nations will host in September 2024 a Summit of the Future, aiming to strengthen global sustainability governance by adopting further bold reforms.

Given these crucial developments, the global scientific community is called upon to develop and synthesize the much-needed knowledge and evidence-based insights about the factors that explain the limited success of the SDGs, the many barriers that block their achievement, and the key reforms to be taken. Academic research is also needed to assess the effectiveness of “governance by global goals” more broadly and to point towards global institutional reforms after 2030, when the current SDGs expire.

The international research conference GLOBALGOALS2024—The Future of the SDGs, to be held 29-30 August 2024 in Utrecht, the Netherlands, is designed as the much-needed forum to advance theoretical reflection and empirical, actionable knowledge on the success of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. The Conference will offer a broad global platform to share and discuss new ideas for the future of the SDGs and global sustainability governance. Importantly, the Conference will offer ample space for transdisciplinarity and contributions by non-academic experts, aiming to combine academic and non-academic policy proposals. Overall, GLOBALGOALS2024 is expected to be a critical academic steppingstone in preparing for the UN Summit of the Future in September 2024.

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