A Skeptic’s Take

Creating a politically neutral action plan, like the SDGs, leads to an “empty” final product, says Bill Easterly, eminent economist and noted critic of large-scale aid plans. He adds that the word “sustainable” has been so overused in development circles that it’s almost meaningless.
“I think [the SDGs] illustrate powerfully the limits of the development community's fetish with action plans,” he says.
But even Easterly is somewhat optimistic about the ambitious goal to end poverty in all its forms worldwide. To him, it has potential to spur “advocacy and motivation” toward a global conversation about poverty—in the same way the MDGs were helpful.


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