Global progress towards achieving the SDGs is slow, and for many targets, off track. While SDG implementation is primarily a national task and responsibility, it also requires concerted international cooperation. Two arguments why foreign policy could play an important role in their achievement are presented here.
Natural hazards hit all countries but people living in least developed countries and fragile states, often affected by conflict, feel them most severely. According to the Overseas Development Institute, between 2004 and 2014, 58 percent of all deaths from disasters occurred in the 30 most fragile states.
The challenges facing the international community are growing while the willingness to cooperate seems to be waning and unilateral action at times gets in the way of joint solutions. Foreign policy can pave the way for transformative change by actively supporting a major achievement of multilateralism: the 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals have a common aim: more peace and justice worldwide. But what exactly is the role of foreign policy in the global sustainability architecture? What are the fields of engagement and tools of a new "Diplomacy for Sustainability"?
Climate diplomacy needs to release itself from the shackles of ‘systemic’ politics in order to achieve a climate agenda that is driven by human security interests, including equity and justice, and strengthen climate change initiatives at local, national and regional levels, in order to bridge the gap caused by the slow pace of progress at the international level.
Limited access to energy is a significant barrier to development and holds back efforts to improve living conditions in developing and emerging economies. Around the world, 1.1 billion people still do not have access to electricity, and 2.8 billion still rely on animal and crop waste, wood, charcoal and other solid fuels to cook their food and heat their homes.
China is rapidly evolving into one of the world’s largest overseas investors and is now increasingly investing in the renewable energy sector. China has also enhanced its development cooperation stance through its ever more ambitious south-south cooperation agendas. As an emerging key international donor, China is at a crossroads and actively shaping its new role in the global development landscape. Could China become a new climate responsible donor?
The unabated growth of natural resource consumption raises risks that we will outstrip the capacities of ecosystems and governance institutions. At the same time, to achieve important global goals related to poverty alleviation, public health, equity and economic development such as those embodied in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we will simultaneously need more resources and better management of natural resources everywhere.
Linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans across the Latin American landmass has often been presented as one of the holy grails of development for the region. While China’s idea of a ‘Nicaraguan Canal’ has made headlines globally, another major infrastructure project is in the works further south: the Bi-Oceanic Railway. The idea has already spurred transboundary environmental cooperation, but the public is still in the dark.
Every day humanitarian aid workers help millions of people around the world, regardless of who they are and where they are. With expert knowledge and support, humanitarian workers are well placed to create a better environment for the people that they serve as well as for themselves.
Time is running short for countries to decide the practical details of how the Paris Agreement will be brought to life, known as the Paris “rulebook”.
The world risks crossing the point of no return on climate change, with disastrous consequences for people across the planet and the natural systems that sustain them, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned on Monday, calling for more leadership and greater ambition for climate action, to reverse course.
China’s vision of a global energy system overemphasises the benefits of connectivity. Planners and investors also have to consider the potential impacts on biodiversity and local community livelihoods from different power generation methods and find ways to prevent them.
States of Fragility 2018 exposes the critical challenge posed by fragility in achieving the aspirations of the 2030 Agenda, sustainable development and peace. It highlights twelve key aspects of fragility, documents progress made in fragile situations on attaining sustainable development and illustrates the current state of financing to address fragility.
To shift humanity onto a sustainable path and secure peace, transformative change is required – globally. The UN’s 17 SDGs serve as critical guardrails. But what is the role of foreign policy in the implementation of these goals and what are the side-effects that diplomacy must be aware of? At the UN High-level Political Forum, experts analysed the geopolitical implications of the SDGs and discussed why foreign policy need to engage with them.