Are UN documents inherently flawed?

The United Nations is currently engaged in negotiating a post-2015 development agenda to 2030 with the overarching goal of eradicating poverty in all its forms.

The Open Working Group (OWG) of the UN General Assembly spend 18 months developing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will form the core of the post- 2015 development agenda: other parts being the preamble or introduction, means of implementation and review and monitoring. At the end of the work of OWG many delegates felt this political SDGs document was flawed and should be revisited in one way or another. But the majority felt that though imperfect the SDG document represented a delicate political balance and should not be altered in any way. A similar observation was made about the UN Charter that was crafted by delegates from 50 states that met for two months in San Francisco, USA from April to June in 1945.

“The Charter they negotiated is a flawed document. Any competent international lawyer could remove its inconsistencies, close its loopholes and the like in an afternoon, but that is not the point. The Charter is a political document that gives legal expression to the realities of 1945 and the hopes for a better future. It is full of holes, but …, it is a document enabling governments with the will to act to do so if they can command widespread support. In short, it enables but does not prevent where there is a willing spirit and general support. Rather like the Bible or Shakespeare, you can usually find justification in the Charter for whatever you wish to do or wish to prevent, but such contradictions are both its strength and its weakness”(Paul Taylor and A. J. R. Groom 2000). Should the SDGs with 17 goals and 169 targets be similarly treated?