International lawyers tend to draw sharp distinctions between law and politics. Yet, despite the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its predecessors being a product of politics, the commitments undertaken therefrom suggest a new brand of politics where functionality overrides the search for normative characteristics. The political dimension of the SDGs overshadows its legal dimension because the implementation of the key stakeholders’ political commitments is crucial in achieving the SDGs’ stated aims. As international law and international relations are moving towards universal common interests and away from strict international normativity, the SDGs can best be described as a hybrid between soft law and politics, which we may call “political normativity.”
Ilias Bantekas & Katerina Akestoridi,
Sustainable Development Goals, Between Politics and Soft Law: The Emergence of “Political Normativity” in International Law,
Emory Int'l L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.emory.edu/eilr/vol37/iss4/1