Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Report Says Better Accountability Mechanisms are Needed to Keep SDGs on Track
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Report Says Better Accountability Mechanisms are Needed to Keep SDGs on Track

Washington, D.C. — A new report released by the Center for American Progress today looks at the accountability mechanisms that will be needed to support the implementation of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. The report promotes creating accountability measures that stem from the local level, driven by citizens, governments, and their special relationships with each other.

As the ambitious successor to the successful Millennium Development Goals, the SDGs are meant to put the world on a path toward sustainable and inclusive economic growth. However, like any major global project, measures to keep signatory countries accountable and incentivize maintenance to the path set out by the SDGs is critical for success. The report released today looks at some of the barriers accountability measures will face and recommends a bottom-up approach that has buy-in from local, regional, and national stakeholders across the political and economic spectrum.

“The Sustainable Development Goals, if followed, would create a clear path to improve the lives of millions of people worldwide,” said Molly Elgin-Cossart, CAP Senior Fellow and an author of the report. “But they are just that—goals. Without the mechanisms in place to keep countries accountable and the support of stakeholders from all walks of life, they could remain simply wonderful ideals that never came to fruition. An inclusive, bottom-up approach with clear objectives, based on evidence and harnessing the power of inspiration is necessary to see that, 15 years from now, we’re better off than we are today.”

The report finds harnessing inspiration and evidenced-based learning as the primary pathways for developing accountability mechanisms. It finds six general characteristics of a successful mechanism, including clear objectives; robust incentives; a balance between substance and process; and the use of champions to drive learning. Finally, it offers four specific recommendations to achieve these goals.

Click here to read the paper.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at or 202.481.7141.