5. How do the SDGs compare with the MDGs?

The 2030 Agenda and the SDGs built on the lessons learnt from the MDGs to provide a better and more comprehensive framework, which includes the completion of the so-called “MDG unfinished business”.

  • Their widened and comprehensive scope tackles all sectors. The range of topics covered in the SDGs more closely reflects the range of issues that a government faces in reality, rather than the narrower agenda of the MDGs.
  • While the MDGs only addressed developing countries, the SDGs are global in nature and universally applicable to all countries, whilst accounting for national variations in development and capacity.
  • While the MDGs followed a vertical approach, the SDGs represent a comprehensive vision and are therefore interconnected. This means that achieving the SDGs requires to work across sectors.
  • The SDGs also have a focus on monitoring, evaluation and accountability that was not considered by the MDGs – a key feature to achieving equity and leaving no one behind. Progress on MDGs was measured against aggregate global and regional achievements and global monitoring will remain important for the SDGs. However, the 2030 Agenda puts much greater emphasis on country and regional follow-up and review processes, as the basis for accountability and remedial action.