Oslo SDG Blog
The start of a new year provides an opportunity to reengage in conversations on how best to achieve sustainable development. The SDGs have been around for more than three years now, and by all accounts progress has been mixed. The 2030 Agenda appears to be at a crossroads and important decisions must be taken for the world to even have a reasonable shot at achieving the ambitious goals. In my view, one issue in particular warrants special attention in 2019: political enthusiasm and leadership for sustainable development.
Consumption, not population, is the elephant in the room of the sustainable development agenda.
With an estimated price tag of $5-7 trillion, the SDGs require a broad commitment from various sectors, both at national and international levels. Many businesses appear to have embraced the SDGs, but if they are to play a constructive role, the enthusiastic rhetoric must be operationalized in practice.
I was teaching in Malawi a few weeks ago when I accepted an invitation to participate in a debate on the environmental footprint of population growth hosted by The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Although I had not explicitly worked on population policy, I was intrigued by the prospect of better understanding why population is often a neglected area in the mainstream climate change discourse. And the thought of engaging with an Earth Systems scientist and a philosopher was much too good to pass. I was also intrigued by the fact that population control is not explicitly mentioned in the SDGs.
Malawi is an illustrative example of the challenges that low-income countries face as they try to make themselves attractive for aid agencies, international institutions and private sector actors in the quest to promote development and reduce poverty.
Oslo SDG blog
A blog by the Oslo SDG Initiative.