Global Governance through Goals: Assessing and Explaining the Origins behind Sustainable Development Goal 10, Including Its Targets and Indicators
MetadataShow full item record
In response to growing political concerns about the rise in inequality within and between countries, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include what appears to be a groundbreaking goal to reduce inequality in the form of SDG 10. This study used desk research to explore what led to its inclusion by analyzing the negotiation process on goal, targets, and indicators. The results show that CSOs demanded a global norm on reducing vertical economic inequality as part of a stand-alone goal. On the other hand, the states part of the UN Open Working Group on SDGs framed inequality merely as social inclusion, to be addressed throughout the framework. SDG 10 was included when developing countries, unsatisfied with the lack of between-country inequality targets, joined CSOs. At face value, the goal conveys a transformative global norm, but this is misleading as states refused a target measuring the gap between the top and bottom incomes. In combination with watered down targets and indicators, this led to a misalignment between the title of the goal and its content. This shows that despite the open nature of the OWG, member states remained by far the most influential decision-makers and successfully used an “ignore-and-reframe” strategy to keep politically sensitive proposals out of SDG10. An exciting avenue to explore further would be whether the inclusion of SDG10 makes a global norm on reducing vertical economic inequality in the future more likely, and what would be needed to achieve this.