Oslo SDG Blog - Page 3
Three years have elapsed since the introduction of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on the world stage. This summer, I interacted with UN and World Bank officials, country representatives, academics, civil society organizations and numerous think tanks. My goal was to better understand the current status of policymaking and implementation of the SDGs at global, national and local levels. Here is a brief overview of what I found.
Has the 2030 Agenda really changed the way politics work? And, how do concepts change practices?
Whenever the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are discussed, we usually hear the same refrain: this is a new way of thinking about development! The language of donors and recipients is passé; we are all developing countries now; we are all in the same boat; this is a universal approach to development, and so on. Although rhetorically effective, these expressions beg the question of whether the change is primarily an ideational revision, or whether it is actually changing politics. To put it more bluntly: Is the 2030 Agenda mainly changing semantics, or is it changing practice?
A persistent complaint among many developing country leaders is the poor state of their roads and how the international community appears reluctant to invest in infrastructure development. China has the solution, or so it claims. Launched in 2013, the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, estimated to cost over $5 trillion, aims at global investments in transportation, infrastructure, telecommunications, logistics, energy, and oil and gas. But will it help promote the SDGs? And is it all win-win?
One my recent trips to Malawi, I have noticed a growing amount of interest and attention on the leadership question. Many scholars, journalists, students, political commentators, activists and even politicians are now openly talking about the new breed of leaders the country needs to jumpstart development and help reduce poverty. There is also considerable talk of how Malawi should emulate Rwanda, which a growing number of Africans consider to be a beacon of hope in a continent that longs for rapid economic growth, more equitable distribution of incomes and a drastic improvement in social services. But does it make sense to compare the two countries?
Is the concept of Sustainable Development a useful tool for global development?
Oslo SDG blog
A blog by the Oslo SDG Initiative.