4 Responses

  1. Ben Day
    Ben Day August 12, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Great post Joy!

    Obviously I salute any post that references Taylor Swift, Dolly Parton and Billy-Ray Cirus in a single discussion about development.

    And I agree with what I take as your key point: the SDGs have become something new and different from the MDGs.

    But just as Swift alienated some of her original fans with her Nashville to New York reinvention, a similar dynamic is potentially at play with the transition to the SDGs. Swift isn’t a country singer any more. She’s a pop star. Likewise, the SDGs, at least for advocates emphasising their normative function, don’t seem to be fundamentally about setting priorities any more. They’re about inclusiveness.

    Terence, yourself and numerous others in the comments (Garth Luke for example) have argued persuasively about why I should just shake it off and move on from my conviction that the SGDs, in addition to their normative function, must also do the hard work of prioritising. I just can’t bring myself to do it yet. My Kenny Rogers references probably gave it away that in this case in particular, I’m slow to embrace new things…

    Thanks again Joy.

  2. Ashlee Betteridge
    Ashlee Betteridge August 12, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Good post Joy. While I see the need for complexity, as a communications person though, I still feel that there is a fundamental challenge in getting the message of the SDGs out there. Just like I know all the lyrics to ‘Shake It Off’ without ever having tried to learn them, I can also remember all the MDGs without ever having tried.

    The SDGs, on the other hand, seem more like the time I had a teacher who tried to make our whole class memorise the entirety of Banjo Patterson’s ‘The Man From Snowy River’ and then simultaneously recite it. Very hard to remember, then messy, jumbled, and difficult to comprehend in delivery (only a parent could appreciate that performance…).

    So while the SDGs may present the complexity of development, they seem like a communications nightmare, which I think will raise some questions and challenges on how to successfully mobilise people around the goals. While cherry-picking particular goals to focus on in particular countries might work at the national level, I think its going to be a challenge to build up the international recognition that was there for the MDGs.

    Unless Taylor can write some kind of catchy tune about them. I think that is the only way I am going to be able to remember them all before at least 2020!

  3. Joy Kyriacou
    Joy Kyriacou August 12, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Thanks Terence. I take your point on data – it is a big challenge and one we will have to grapple with or we may face cherry-picking of the goals on a large scale.

    BTW, I couldn’t help but make the Billy-Ray Cirus link, it was just too easy!

  4. Terence Wood
    Terence Wood August 12, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Hey there Joy,

    Obviously I dispute the assertion that I in any way endorse Billy-Ray Cirus. But, beyond that, great post. I agree entirely that the breadth of the Goals game from admirable intent: to be inclusive in process and in catching as much of what matters as is possible.

    My point (not really of contention, but more looking ahead) is how do we make the Goals work (i.e. how do we make them useful). Because they sprawl as they do (even though this is justified) we have real data issues, and we are also likely to have major issues getting campaign traction for the Goals. If/how we can do this successfully seems to me to be the million dollar question moving ahead.

    Thanks again for a good post.

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