Mark Stafford Smith: Sustainable Development Goals need quantified targets

Mark Stafford Smith
Mark Stafford Smith is Chair of the Future Earth Science Committee. Photo: Heinz Gutscher
Sep 2014
23

Sustainable Development Goals must draw on scientific expertise in order to create real change, says Mark Stafford Smith, Chair of the Future Earth Science Committee, in a comment piece published in Nature.

"It is crucial that the new [Sustainable Development] goals are based on the best scientific evidence of environmental problems and the best strategies to mitigate these risks", says Mark Stafford Smith, Chair of the Future Earth Science Committee. Writing in a Nature World view article published on 17 September 2014, Stafford Smith argues that quantified targets and monitoring are essential to ensure that progress is being made towards Sustainable Development Goals, and that the scientific community must have a stronger input to develop a meaningful set of goals and targets.

 

 In the article, he writes that whilst the proposed social goals are reasonably well defined, biophysical goals are vague and lack detailed quantification, which limits their ability to provide a framework for change, or a benchmark by which to assess progress. 

In order to ensure that goals are specific and quantifiable, it is essential that organisations such as Future Earth identify and talk to the negotiators finalising the draft goals.

The full article is available on the Nature website.

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