in: Frank Biermann / Thomas Hickmann / Carole-Anne Sénit (Hrsg.), The Political Impact of the Sustainable Development Goals, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 22-58
This chapter assesses the political impact of the Sustainable Development Goals on global governance. We start by discussing the range of expectations for global governance arrangements, considering the stated objectives of the goals. We then assess the early performance of governance arrangements in terms of shifts in policy and practice against these expectations. Our research shows the impact of the Sustainable Development Goals is largely discursive, with limited transformative outcomes on governance practices. The High-level Political Forum, created to assess global progress towards the implementation of the goals, has failed to provide political leadership and promote coherence across the United Nations system. Our research also shows that the Sustainable Development Goals initiated peer-learning among governments and other actors, yet with limited evidence that this has led to structural transformation towards sustainability. As certain ambitions of the Global Goals have been part of ongoing debates in global governance, our review finally highlights that observable changes often reflect long-term reform trajectories that are not causally linked to the launch of the goals.