Glob­al­is­ing sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The ques­tion of how the world can end ex­treme poverty and im­prove hu­man well­be­ing will take on new ur­gency in 2015, as the Mil­len­nium De­vel­op­ment Goals (MDGs) ex­pire and a new set of goals – the pro­posed Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs) – are fi­nalised.

United Na­tions Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon’s “Syn­the­sis Re­port,” out­lin­ing the main el­e­ments of the post-2015 agenda, pro­vides strong guid­ance re­gard­ing what sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment should look like and what world lead­ers must do over the next 15 years to achieve it. After two years of craft­ing the “what” of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, the year ahead must fo­cus on how to get it done.

The cen­tral am­bi­tion is bold: the erad­i­ca­tion of ex­treme poverty by 2030. To make that hap­pen, the SDGs will need to shift away from the twen­ti­eth-cen­tury model of de­vel­op­ment, in which rich coun­tries gave money to poor coun­tries, mostly to feed the hun­gry and im­prove health and ed­u­ca­tion. The MDGs were re­mark­ably suc­cess­ful in sev­eral of th­ese ar­eas. But the pic­ture has changed sig­nif­i­cantly since then. A new set of emerg­ing economies – in­clud­ing China, In­dia, Brazil, and South Africa – is rac­ing to mod­ernise. The pri­vate sec­tor is as­sum­ing a greater role in eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. And en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion is threat­en­ing the gains of re­cent decades.

The SDGs will have to tran­scend the idea of a planet di­vided starkly be­tween those who give aid and those who re­ceive it. The new goals must ac­count for a world un­der­go­ing rapid glob­al­i­sa­tion, in which all coun­tries have as­sets as well as needs. To­day’s chal­lenges go beyond health, food, and ed­u­ca­tion. The SDGs will have to in­te­grate th­ese con­cerns with the de­mands of the grow­ing global mid­dle class, the ef­fects of shift­ing po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic power, and the chal­lenges of en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity, in­clud­ing cli­mate change.

Three in­gre­di­ents will be es­sen­tial to achiev­ing the goals: fi­nanc­ing mech­a­nisms, trade, and part­ner­ships. Forty years after rich coun­tries promised to ded­i­cate 0.7% of GDP to aid, their com­mit­ments re­main at less than half that level. Though most emerg­ing economies no longer rely on aid, it re­mains cru­cially im­por­tant for low-in­come coun­tries. That said, even if aid tar­gets were met, the shift to sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment will cost much more than what aid alone can cover. We need to look for new sources of funds, en­sure that gov­ern­ment spend­ing is aligned with the sus­tain­able-de­vel­op­ment agenda, and tar­get those ar­eas where the money can do the most good.

In much of the de­vel­op­ing world, in­vest­ing in sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment is com­pli­cated by the fact that tax rev­enues are too low to pay for what is needed. This is not al­ways a mat­ter of rais­ing tax rates; it is also of­ten a mat­ter of col­lect­ing what peo­ple and com­pa­nies owe. Clos­ing loop­holes and cracking down on eva­sion are two ways to en­sure that taxes are col­lected. The OECD es­ti­mates that a dol­lar of aid spent on im­prov­ing tax col­lec­tion yields an av­er­age of $350 in rev­enue. A shared com­mit­ment that builds on ini­tia­tives by the G-8 would make tax eva­sion that re­lies on tax havens or money laun­der­ing harder to hide.

Gov­ern­ments can­not de­liver a sus­tain­able fu­ture alone. The pri­vate sec­tor also has an im­por­tant role to play in en­ergy, agri­cul­ture, and ur­ban de­vel­op­ment, in­clud­ing trans­port and wa­ter sys­tems that can drive in­no­va­tion and eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity. While lev­els of pri­vate fi­nance dwarf in­ter­na­tional pub­lic fi­nance, di­rect­ing th­ese pri­vate funds to pro­grammes that reach the poor­est and pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment re­quires the right pol­icy in­cen­tives, such as a price on car­bon, reg­u­la­tory cer­tainty, and the wise use of pub­lic money.

Trade boosts do­mes­tic pro­duc­tion and gen­er­ates rev­enue that can help pay for de­vel­op­ment. There have been im­por­tant gains in mar­ket ac­cess in the past 15 years: 80% of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries’ ex­ports to de­vel­oped coun­tries are now tar­iff-free, while av­er­age tar­iffs are down over­all.

But non-tar­iff bar­ri­ers can cost ex­port­ing coun­tries more than tar­iffs do. What is needed is an in­ter­na­tional part­ner­ship that helps low-in­come coun­tries in­te­grate into the glob­alised mar­ket­place while im­prov­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal and labour stan­dards.

Mak­ing de­vel­op­ment ac­cel­er­ated in­no­va­tion and now and 2030.

Such new and cre­ative part­ner­ships can make progress on com­plex prob­lems that gov­ern­ments, civil so­ci­ety, or the pri­vate sec­tor can­not or will not solve alone. For ex­am­ple, the GAVI Al­liance (for­merly the Global Al­liance on Vac­cines and Im­mu­ni­sa­tion), a part­ner­ship com­pris­ing in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions, phi­lan­thropies, gov­ern­ments, com­pa­nies, and re­search or­gan­i­sa­tions, has im­mu­nised 440 mln chil­dren since 2000 and helped avert more than 6 mln deaths. We must im­prove and ex­pand th­ese types of part­ner­ships to other chal­lenges, such as in­fra­struc­ture, agri­cul­ture, and en­ergy.

Be­tween now and Septem­ber 2015, when heads of state will gather for the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly, we have a his­toric chance to set the world on a more sus­tain­able path that will erad­i­cate poverty and en­hance pros­per­ity for all. Am­bi­tious goals pro­vide a firm foun­da­tion for a brighter fu­ture. Over the com­ing months, how­ever, lead­ers must work to­gether to set the world on the right course to re­alise this vi­sion. sus­tain­able will also re­quire dif­fu­sion of tech­nol­ogy be­tween

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