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When discussing the global targets concerning sustainable development, the year of 2015 can be considered as an important milestone for all countries around the globe.
It has been 15 years since the United Nations member states committed themselves to work for the period 2000-2015 in order to reach the alleged Millennium Development Goals, which aim to tackle issues in the following domains: the reduction of hunger and extreme poverty; the reduction of child mortality rate; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality; combating HIV / AIDS and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; improving maternal health and developing a global partnership for development.
Today, when the real cross-section of the achieved results and the remaining challenges is established, the United Nations, in consultation with the member states and civil society organizations, are on the threshold of defining a new development agenda in the form of Sustainable Development Goals. Experience from the past 15 years shows that setting the goals which are to be pursued has proven to be a useful practice, seeing that the progress has been made regarding the most of the millennium development goals set. Even though the methodology for monitoring the implementation of these goals has frequently been criticized, the following facts cannot be denied: the infant mortality rate has fallen significantly, the rate of global poverty has been reduced, and the number of children who are being educated is higher than ever.
Proposals for new development goals incorporate a wider range of topics than those defined in 2000, since they combine both development and global sustainability concepts. In addition to reducing poverty, these subject matters include sustainable economic growth, sustainable spending of energy sources, the tackling of issues concerning climate change, building accountable and inclusive institutions for the foundation of stable societies, etc. Therefore, these are the topics that concern Serbia to a far more important extent and should thus be of a greater interest to it. Considering that the consultation process of the targets for sustainable development is still open, and that it is anticipated that representatives of government and civil society participate in their formulation and implementation, it is very important that Serbia and the interested public recognize their role and proactively participate in these mechanisms. Simply monitoring the progress of the realization of goals individually, based on measurable indicators, as well as on relevant and reliable data, the government’s accountability can be substantially increased, thus creating evidence-based policies and enabling the awareness of the public and political stakeholders of the need to conduct analysis and research in order to monitor the achieved progress. This is in itself a very important aspect in the process of Serbia’s accession to EU.