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Think 20 Solutions – The 2030 Agenda – A Universal Framework for Sustainable Development and Shared Prosperity


The 2030 Agenda

G20 leaders in late 2016 backed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN’s bid to tackle some of the most pressing domestic and global issues. G20 countries committed to individual and collective actions for implementation and agreed an action plan of 15 priority sustainable development sectors. G20 leaders need to signal their continuing support for the agenda, for example by taking steps to bring the SDGs into mainstream domestic and international policymaking, or to ensure policy coherence in areas like trade and investment.

Members of the Think 20 community (T20) have come up with many excellent proposals to address the challenges for G20 countries. Below we are presenting some of these ideas. All Policy Briefs can be found here

Leaders should bolster the 2030 Agenda by highlighting G20 role in implementation.

G20 leaders should endorse the 2030 Agenda as the overarching framework for all work streams of the G20. G20 countries have submitted outlines of their national action plans and now need to create a timetable for implementing them. G20 leaders should present updated national outlines by the 2018 G20 Summit, based on a template prepared by the G20’s Development Working Group (DWG). They should mandate the DWG to monitor progress through performance review. Leading by example and sharing best-practice methods, the G20 would boost implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Experience should be shared between G20 countries and beyond, but also with other stakeholders like the T20, in order to improve monitoring, evaluation, and implementation.

The G20 should take first steps towards reforming global economic governance.

G20 leaders should fill gaps in current G20 initiatives by looking at their impacts on inequality within and among countries as well as on climate, ecosystems and natural resources. Also, they should revitalize global efforts by looking at ways to mainstream SDGs and achieve greater policy coherence. The G20 should mandate the DWG to come up with concrete proposals in both areas over the next five years. Implementing SDGs in an integrated and balanced manner, for example, requires new thinking about economic performance. The DWG should be mandated to work with other experts – from trade and investment, for example – to promote economic measures other than gross domestic product. In a similarly ground breaking way, the G20 should enlist religious leaders to rebuild moral capital. An E20 group of ethical leaders would advise about the moral aspects of policy.


G20 leaders should promote 2030 Agenda among various multilateral institutions.


The growing importance of multilateral development banks (MDBs) in financing sustainable development means the G20 should start talking to these institutions – including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – about adopting standards and policies related to SDGs. Multilateral and national financial institutions should be encouraged to develop strategies to better harness financial markets to finance sustainable development. Similarly, the G20 should promote the 2030 Agenda as an enabling framework for world trade. The SDGs could be used to promote a rules-based and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization (WTO) – an important signal in an era of bilateral or regional trade deals. The G20 should renew its commitment to the UN’s key role in implementing the SDGs by calling for a reformed and stronger United Nations Development System (UNDS).

G20 leaders must act to protect the oceans and develop sustainable ways to exploit them.

Oceans are of huge concern for sustainable development. Pollution, climate change-induced warming and sea level rise, ocean acidification and over-exploitation of resources are major threats to a vital part of the global ecosystem. G20 leaders must commit their countries to becoming early implementers of the 2030 Agenda’s goal to conserve and sustainably use the oceans and marine resources. The G20 needs to strengthen a fragmented ocean governance framework and improve awareness and research, especially in developing countries.

Media Contact:

Guido Warlimont
Kiel Institute for the World Economy
T +49 431 8814-629
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Tanja Vogel
German Development Institute /
Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
T +49 228 94 927-264
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