Adopted in 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development promises to eliminate poverty and promote sustainable development, peace, and prosperity for all by 2030. The Agenda introduced 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), establishing a framework of targets and indicators for their measurement, monitoring and implementation. By repeatedly stressing the idea of ‘tracking progress’ towards each goal, the Agenda reinforced the language of progress in international law. This intervention questions the usefulness of progress as a concept and the progressive nature of the 2030 Agenda, arguing that its strategy of governance through goals for poverty eradication fails to account for contextual, historical and systemic aspects of global poverty and therefore conceals a reality of exploitation, oppression and inequality that ultimately compromises the achievement of the SDGs.
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