Sustainable Development Goals: A Shot in the Foot


2019 marks four years since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. With few months to the end of the year, nations have 10 years to thick off the achievement of the goals.

I’m sorry, I forgot my manners, the Sustainable Development Goals are a set of 17 goals and 169 targets adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 at the expiration and half success of the Millennium Development Goals. The goals are set to be achieved by 2030 – 2030 Agenda.

The first four years of its existence was characterised by advocating and educating citizens and government alike to adopt these goals as the global action to build the world we dream of.

For some countries this must have been hard to adopt since all fingers are not equal and considering nations have their own development agenda suitable to their development pace.

The goals are as colourful and dreamy as the logo but may not be right for all Nations, but hey! Who are they to oppose when the Security Council has spoken? Which brings us to the obstacles within the SDGs hindering its success.

Goal number 10 specifies that it aims at reducing inequalities. Good!. The United Nations was created in 1945 to be a level playing field for all Nations, a place to settle differences and integrate the world.

This field however has some major key players who act as umpire. So much for a level playing field, a walking contradiction. The flaws begin with this inner caucus called the United Nations Security Council, made up of fifteen member out of which 5 are permanent members and they are : United Kingdom, United states, China, Russia and France.

For a decision to be reached, nine votes of ‘yes’ are needed out of which five have to come from the big five. If one of the five says no, things fall apart , the center cannot hold, game over!.

After that all members of the general assembly are to agree and accept the security councils decision favourable or not. Just like that! Such level of inequality, where do we start reducing it from?

Another inequality that should be reduced which is almost impossible is that of International Standard. In the 2019 SDGs progress report, Africa and Asia seem to be back benchers in the train of development.


Although the train of progress globally is moving at snail speed, these two continents are still lagging behind. When global trade and economics, education, development standards are set; African countries struggle to meet up and when they finally catch up the bar is raised again.

I guess that why we are referred to as developing Nations, the cycle continues. It makes me wonder why the SDGs slogan is ‘leave no one behind’ kindly roll your eyes.

Africa needs to develop at a pace best suitable for it. Our problems are not the same therefore the solutions should not be an international standard solution.

In as much as the problems of Africa are rooted abroad, we still have a few problems we designed with our hands. Goal 16 aims at Peace and Justice, Strong Institutions something Africa and some parts of Asia clearly lack.

Sustainable development cannot thrive in an environment where political instability, corruption, bad policy implementation, elitist leadership and gerontocracy is the order of the day. 2030 would look good if most African and Asian countries capitalise on this goal for the next three to four years.

Partnership For the Goals – Goal 17 is another imbalanced relationship especially when Africa is involved.

Games theory tells us that some relationships in international politics if not all, is a zero sum game meaning one person loses while the other wins. In the case of Africa if there be a win, Africa would still have the lesser win. It always ends in the benefit of the other party.

Does this mean that Africa should stop chasing sustainable development? Absolutely not! These goals are achievable if the right parameters are put in place. However, one speculation proves as an obstacle to achieving the SDGs.


Something in war called ‘War Profiteering’ – A situation where certain people or organisations make money from conflict. For the purpose of this topic let us call it SDGs Profiteering – A situation where certain people make profit off the failure of the Sustainable Development Goals.

It is possible some person or organisation somewhere can benefit from the failure of the SDGs.

Anyways it’s all speculation. In fact, scrap that, let’s imagine I never wrote this; I am only an African female struggling to meet international standards.

Aigbodion Olohije

Olohije Aigbodion

While writing on politics, i create visuals that eases the mind of the reader.
My sidekick is a human development strategist.
Olohije Aigbodion

Latest posts by Olohije Aigbodion (see all)

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply