Conclusion: The Sustainable Development Goals and Capability and Human Security Analysis



The Conclusion chapter discusses the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in relation to human capability and human security analyses. It documents strengths of the SDGs, areas of common ground, disparities and possible future trajectories. The processes leading to the SDGs were comparatively speaking notably inclusive, which has provided much more widespread awareness and support. In declared content, too, the SDGs are in several ways potentially transformative: applying to all countries, multidimensional, linking issues of sustainability and development. They include much of what is desirable from capability and human security perspectives and are more encompassing than what capability scholars have offered in practical assessments of human well-being. They offer policy spaces and processes that can facilitate progress on various fronts. However, they contain important limitations and dangers, including in regard to the continuing commitment to unending growth, the relations between the goals, targets and indicators, the power structures that lie behind these, and how the goals will be interpreted and used at national and local levels. Capabilities analysis and human development and human security approaches can play essential roles of critique and enrichment, including questioning the belief in unending growth and illuminating the variety of understandings of development and of a meaningful well-considered human life. We suggest that the SDGs should be used as a channel for insights from these partner approaches, and as stimuli for the approaches’ deepening and elaboration in regard to sustainability.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Copenhagen Business SchoolFrederiksbergDenmark
  2. 2.International Institute of Social StudiesThe HagueNetherlands

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