Sustainable economic development and the SDGs in 2021

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Sustainable Development Goals

More than two years have passed since the UK government presented its Voluntary National Review (VNR) of the Sustainable Development Goals to the United Nations High Level Political Forum (HLPF).

Despite continued pressure from Bond and our members, the government has made no progress in establishing a multi-stakeholder engagement mechanism to lead the setting of goals, the development of guidelines and the review of implementation progress. of the SDGs. In 2022, we hope to see the government take urgent action to meet the commitments made in 2019.

This year, we have seen promising comments from the government on its commitment to the SDGs, especially in the Integrated review. However, unless this is backed up by a concrete and coherent plan on how the UK will support the implementation of the SDGs in its international policy, including, but not limited to ODA, these words may ring hollow. The government has also shown a worrying lack of attention to keeping its pledge to “leave no one behind”. We hope to see the “leaving no one behind” agenda at the heart of FCDO and the new International Development Strategy, which is expected to be released early next year.

One area where we have seen welcome progress is the alignment of the UK’s planning framework with SDG targets, with the publication of the government’s Results Achievement Plans (PDOs). These plans signal a significant improvement over the old Single Ministerial Plans (SDP), with government departments mapping their priorities to SDG targets, rather than goals, something the Bond SDG Group has been calling for since the UK joined. to 2030 Agenda in 2015.

However, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Critically, the government missed an opportunity by failing to establish an inclusive and participatory process made up of various multi-stakeholder groups to help inform and develop the plans. We hope that a stakeholder engagement process will be urgently established to assess and identify gaps, adapt policies and target areas where further progress is needed, to ensure that no one is left behind.

The challenges faced by the sector in recent years – the merger of DFID and FCO, the pandemic and cuts in UK aid – have had serious implications for the world’s most marginalized communities and for the achievement of the SDGs. Next year we hope to analyze the impact of these seismic changes, working with members to gather evidence and identify clear recommendations on how the UK government should support and enable progress towards the SDGs at scale. international. For more information or to get involved in this project, join the Bond SDG Group.

Sustainable economic development

The Covid-19 crisis continues to exacerbate existing social and economic problems, making it more urgent than ever to address the more systemic causes of poverty, inequality and the power dynamics inherent in development.

At least 100 million people have been plunged into extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic, reaching an estimated 711 million in total in 2021. The debt burden of low-income countries around the world has increased by 12% to a record high $ 860 billion in 2020. A third of South Africans are unemployed because jobs are being cut in all sectors except finance. Child labor has risen to 160 million worldwide, which is the first increase in the past two decades. Women around the world have been hit hard by the pandemic-related recession due to rising unemployment, unpaid work and pay cuts – effectively reversing any progress on women’s economic empowerment.

Despite the wealth of political commitments made by the G7 and G20 at COP26, and the UN, and the trillions of dollars spent trying to help countries recover from the impact of the pandemic, it There is a lack of urgency and real political leadership to take bold action to address economic and social challenges to ensure that we “leave no one behind”.

Instead, the G7 agreed to a global tax deal introducing a minimum corporate tax rate despite concerns raised by civil society across the African continent and globally that this will reduce already insufficient tax revenues and negatively impact the ability of African countries to deliver essential public goods.

The pandemic has underscored how important it is to have a fully functioning system of global public goods acting as the backbone of resilient and sustainable economies, but we are in the midst of “vaccine apartheid“Denying life-saving vaccines to hundreds of millions of people in low-income countries.

Here in the UK, CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, is changing its name to British International Investment (BII) – shifting away from poverty reduction and development as the primary goal, to generating income. profitable investments through the private sector and with Britain’s interests in mind, while still using ODA and its own ODA-based profits. This demonstrates a broader and disturbing shift in understanding and approach to economic development in policymaking by the new FCDO.

In 2022, we intend to deepen the concept of sustainable economic development by focusing on the key principles and ensuring that there is a common understanding of what sustainable economic development should look like in the field of policy development.

The UK’s new international development strategy will be a litmus test of the UK’s commitment to true policy coherence aimed at achieving the best results for some of the world’s most marginalized communities. This will be the basis of our engagement with the government to ensure that “sustainability” is not an empty word but a fully integrated, concrete and measurable concept at the center of international economic development policy making.


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