Global Goals as a Policy Tool: Intended and Unintended Consequences
International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, April 2013
Despite the increasing use and influence of global goals, little has been written about goal setting as a particular type of policy instrument in global governance. According to the UN intellectual history project (jolly et al, 2009), goal setting originated in the 1960s and made a major contribution to shaping policy agendas and action. But how and whom does goal setting influence? Goals are set without control over the means of implementation. In an IPC-IG Working Paper, I use ideas from the Sociology of Numbers on ‘indicators as a technology of governance’ (Merry, 2009) to explore the mechanisms by which global goals create incentives for action and frame thinking, thereby exerting both intended and unintended influence on policy agendas. This One Pager highlights the key points.

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Copyright United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs