The adoption of the 2030 Agenda in 2015 marked a high point for international multilateral cooperation. With its 17 goals and 169 targets, the implementation process for the SDGs may appear an essentially technocratic exercise. Yet in view of the social transformation that it seeks to bring about across key dimensions of human civilisation, SDG implementation remains a profoundly political process. Because of the intense political implications, in-depth analysis, political foresight and strategic guidance are needed. As the consequences of SDG implementation cross and transcend borders and impact international relations, foreign policy has a critical role to play.
The SDGs set out a powerful vision for a better world, but action since 2015 is not delivering that promise. Foreign policy practitioners are in a unique position to help advocate for and assist in the implementation of the SDGs. Given that the SDGs and foreign policy want to achieve the same things – stability, peace and prosperity on a healthy planet – delivering them should be seen as a litmus test for the effectiveness of foreign policy in the twenty-first century.
The foreign policy community faces a choice. It can continue to allow unacceptable levels of violence and conflict to undermine individual countries and the global order. Or it can build a new consensus that violence is a preventable epidemic. This would take seriously a growing body of evidence showing what is most likely to work to steer the world back toward global peace, resilient societies, and more sustainable prosperity.
Every change, no matter how small, can cause larger changes elsewhere. The radical socio-ecological transformation envisioned under the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires anticipating and managing trade-offs, and the diplomatic cadre will have a significant role to play in maximising synergies, mitigating adverse knock-on consequences and developing strategies for mutual benefit.
The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can prevent conflict and safeguard global stability – and, as a new study from adelphi shows, foreign policy has a critical role to play.
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"?
Current trends depict an irreversible momentum for a global energy transformation. Renewables have moved to the centre of the global energy landscape. Technological advances and falling costs have made renewables grow faster than any other energy source. Many renewable technologies are now cost-competitive with fossil fuels in the power sector, even before taking into account their contributions to the battles against air pollution and climate change. These trends are creating an irreversible momentum for a global energy transformation leading to shifts that will affect almost all countries and will have wide-ranging geopolitical consequences.
This report published by IRENA's Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation with support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Energy & Industry, and the German Federal Foreign Office looks into these developments from a foreign policy perspective.
The annual UN Environment Emissions Gap Report presents an assessment of current national mitigation efforts and the ambitions countries have presented in their Nationally Determined Contributions, which form the foundation of the Paris Agreement.
A new report released in May by Displacement Solutions and Yangon-based Ecodev urges the government of Myanmar to immediately establish a Myanmar National Climate Land Bank (MNCLB) to prepare the country and its people for massive climate displacement.
There is broad agreement that climate change represents a threat to sustainable development; consequently, development efforts must be resilient to the impacts of climate change and related disaster risks in order to be sustainable. This is the first in a series of briefs focusing on alignment of country efforts under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
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.
This paper maps out the relevance of the SDGs to foreign policy. Taking the six SDGs under review at the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) in 2018 as entry points, we analyse how progress on specific SDGs may support or undermine progress on foreign policy priorities, especially SDG 16: peace.
Working with over 30 partners, the World Resources Institute (WRI) has recently launched the Resource Watch. The platform provides a wide array of data sets on various sustainability topics, ranging from food security to urban climate challenges.
"From Riches to Rags?" looks into the subject of stranded assets in the fossil fuel sector. Stranded assets are assets that lose value, or generate new liabilities, before they reach the end of their (planned) economic life. In this paper, assets primarily refer to fossil fuel resources (oil, gas and coal) that need to stay in the ground because otherwise the 2-degree target specified in the Paris Agreement would be jeopardised.