The just-adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are expected to herald the start of a new era in global development, one that promises to transform the world in the name of people, the planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership. But there is an ocean of difference between promising and doing. And, while global declarations are important – they prioritize financing and channel political will – many of today’s pledges have been made before.

In fact, whether the SDGs succeed will depend to...


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