Abstract: The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) mark a historic and eff ective method of global mobilisation to achieve a set of important social priorities worldwide. They express widespread public concern about poverty, hunger, disease, unmet schooling, gender inequality, and environmental degradation. By packaging these priorities into an easily understandable set of eight goals, and by establishing measurable and timebound objectives, the MDGs help to promote global awareness, political accountability, improved metrics, social feedback, and public pressures. As described by Bill Gates, the MDGs have become a type of global report card for the fi ght against poverty for the 15 years from 2000 to 2015. As with most report cards, they generate incentives to improve performance, even if not quite enough incentives for both rich and poor countries to produce a global class of straight-A students. Developing countries have made substantial progress towards achievement of the MDGs, although the progress is highly variable across goals, countries, and regions. Mainly because of startling economic growth in China, developing countries as a whole have cut the poverty rate by half between 1990 and 2010. Some countries will achieve all or most of the MDGs, whereas others will achieve very few. By 2015, most countries will have made meaningful progress towards most of the goals. Moreover, for more than a decade, the MDGs have remained a focus of global policy debates and national policy planning. They have become incorporated into the work of non-governmental organisations and civil society more generally, and are taught to students at all levels of education. The probable shortfall in achievement of the MDGs is indeed serious, regrettable, and deeply painful for people with low income. The shortfall represents a set of operational failures that implicate many stakeholders, in both poor and rich countries. Promises of offi cial development assistance by rich countries, for example, have not been kept. Nonetheless, there is widespread feeling among policy makers and civil society that progress against poverty, hunger, and disease is notable; that the MDGs have played an important part in securing that progress; and that globally agreed goals to fi ght poverty should continue beyond 2015. In a world already undergoing dangerous climate change and other serious environmental ills, there is also widespread understanding that worldwide environmental objectives need a higher profi le alongside the poverty-reduction objectives. For these reasons, the world’s governments seem poised to adopt a new round of global goals to follow the 15 year MDG period. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s high-level global sustainability panel, appointed in the lead-up to the Rio+20 summit in June, 2012, has issued a report recommending that the world adopt a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This spring, Secretary-General Ban indicated that after the Rio+20 summit he plans to appoint a high-level panel to consider the details of post-2015 goals, with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as co-chairs. One scenario is that the Rio+20 summit will endorse the idea of the SDGs, and world leaders will adopt them at a special session of the UN General Assembly to review the MDGs in September, 2013. The SDGs are an important idea, and could help fi nally to move the world to a sustainable trajectory. The detailed content of the SDGs, if indeed they do emerge in upcoming diplomatic processes, is very much up for discussion and debate. Their content, I believe, should focus on two considerations: global priorities that need active worldwide public participation, political focus, and quantitative measurement; and lessons from the MDGs, especially the reasons for their successes, and corrections of some of their most important shortcomings. I have served Secretaries-General Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-Moon as Special Advisor on the MDGs, and look forward to contributing to the SDGs as well. The following suggestions, which I make solely in my personal capacity, include priorities for the SDGs and the best ways to build on the MDG successes and lessons.