Soft Law-making on Development: The Millennium Development Goals and Post-2015 Development Agenda
ABSTRACT: International society has witnessed a proliferation of soft law instruments in international law-making, such as UNGA resolutions, inter-State declarations, codes of conduct, and voluntary guidelines. Drawing on the experience of the development and implementation of the Millennium Declaration adopted by the UNGA in 2000 and the subsequent Millennium Development Goals adopted in 2005 – one of the most significant soft law-makings in terms of coverage and participation – this article provides reflections for the ongoing formulation of a subsequent soft law, i.e. the Post-2015 Development Agenda, sheds light on the following questions. Why has soft law been frequently chosen among a variety of instruments available to development law-making? What are the functional attributes and deficiencies of soft law? What is the effectiveness of soft law in terms of implementation? What are the gaps of soft law as instruments for international governance? How can soft law be made more accountable and effective?