Speaking Truth to Power about the SDGs

Recent calls to change the SDGs and to lower ambition confuse two issues. The first is whether goals, such as universal access to healthcare, education, safe water, and clean energy, are achievable by 2030, which includes issues of technical and operational feasibility as well as affordability. The second is whether such goals are likely to be achieved given the failure rich countries to honor the goal of international partnership (SDG 17) as well as other failures in international cooperation and in domestic governance of many countries. We argue that the goals are achievable and affordable. Covid-19 is a setback for the SDGs but does not put the goals out of reach. Indeed, the SDGs provide a framework for recovery from the pandemic. In view of the technical feasibility of the SDGs, experts and scientists should speak “truth to power” about what needs to be done to achieve the SDGs instead of calling for lower ambition.