Knowledge and Politics in Setting and Measuring SDGs

New York, NY 7 Feb 2019   -  8 Feb 2019

Justice For All

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) did not fall from the sky. They resulted from hard fought battles over different visions, ideas and interests about the purpose and theories of development. And these battles did not end with the adoption of the SDGs. They continue in the way that the goals and targets are interpreted in the choice of the indicator. As social scientists have long pointed out, governance by data and indicators can alter meanings of social objectives, shift power relations, reorganize national and local priorities, create perverse incentives and create new narratives.

This special issue of the Global Policy Journal on the SDGs explores the politics of indicators, as stakeholders contest the definition of goals, targets and indicators in a struggle to shape the norms of international development. Speakers in this symposium will discuss the contested definitions and measurement of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Access to Justice, Inequality, and Global Health.



  • Sara Burke, Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung New York Office

Presentation by contributing authors:

  • Alicia Yamin, Harvard School of Public Health

  • Meg Satterthwaite, NYU Law School

  • Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, The New School, International Affairs

  • Manjari Mahajan, The New School, International Affairs

This event is co-sponsored by the Robert L. Bernstein Institute at NYU Law School and presented by the Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs at the New School.