INDEPENDENT NEWS AND COMMENT ON WORLD AFFAIRS
Issues That Were Eclipsed in Shaping Agenda 2030 are eliminated in Key Report
The UN benchmark report on Agenda 2030 has no mention of terrorism, theft of resources from poor countries, drug trafficking, corruption and bribery. Those issues, tagged as important by developing countries during the negotiation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030, were nevertheless shrunk into a sub-paragraph of Goal 16; now they have simply been ignored in the report (document E/2017/66, issued on 11 May 2017 and discussed by the just concluded High Level segment of ECOSOC). Whether the missing issues will be addressed in the updated online information promised in the report remains to be seen. The following is a lightly edited version of the report, with a number of editorial comments.
Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
The global poverty rate has been halved since 2000.
Comment: The longer term poverty reduction trend is good but the latest six-monthly DESA report on world economic prospects says income levels are dropping.
Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Comment: Surprisingly, there is no mention of reducing waste in food production and processing. Estimates show that a third to a half of all food produced is wasted.
Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all
Mothers and Children
Non-communicable diseases and mental health
Other health risks
Health systems and funding
Comment: The UN's focus on ODA is misplaced. That instrument of funding is entirely unnecessary when crowd-funding can provide all necessary funding with no dependency or political skewing.
Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Equity issues constitute a major challenge in education according to a recent assessment. In all countries with data, children from the richest 20 per cent of households achieved greater proficiency in reading at the end of their primary and lower secondary education than children from the poorest 20 per cent of households. In most countries with data, urban children scored higher in reading than rural children.
Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Comment: The shift to off-grid renewable energy has major implications for every other variable in economic projections. In association with 3D printing, it spells the end of all economies of scale that underpin mass production. Without factory production, the forces that have driven urbanization for the last four centuries will lose force. We are looking at a tidal wave of changes. This means all assumptions related to Goal 8 will have to be redone.
Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Comment: Global connectivity and projected universal access to the Worldwide Web will allow crowd-funding to replace all conventional forms of finance. See relevant section here.
Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
Inequality within and among countries is evident in hard per capita income figures as well as in such factors as relative strength in international decision-making forums and significant differences in the cost of transferring money across national borders.
Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
In recent decades, the world has experienced unprecedented urban growth. In 2015, close to 4 billion people — 54 per cent of the world’s population — lived in cities and that number is projected to increase to about 5 billion people by 2030. Rapid urbanization has brought enormous challenges, including growing numbers of slum dwellers, increased air pollution, inadequate basic services and infrastructure, and unplanned urban sprawl, which also make cities more vulnerable to disasters. Better urban planning and management are needed to make the world’s urban spaces more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. As of May 2017, 149 countries were developing national-level urban policies.
Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Achieving Goal 12 requires a strong national framework for sustainable consumption and production that is integrated into national and sectoral plans, sustainable business practices and consumer behaviour, together with adherence to international norms on the management of hazardous chemicals and wastes.
Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
The increasingly adverse impacts of climate change (including ocean acidification), overfishing and marine pollution are jeopardizing recent gains in protecting portions of the world’s oceans.
Goal 15. Protect and restore terrestrial ecosystems, manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss
Progress in preserving and sustainably using the Earth’s terrestrial species and ecosystems is uneven. The pace of forest loss has slowed and improvements continue to be made in managing forests sustainably and protecting areas important for biodiversity. However, declining trends in land productivity, biodiversity loss and poaching and trafficking of wildlife remain serious concerns.
Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development
Despite some positive developments, a stronger commitment to partnership and cooperation is needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. That effort will require coherent policies, an enabling environment for sustainable development at all levels and by all actors and a reinvigorated Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.
Information and communications technology
Data, monitoring and accountability
The global energy and technology trends gathering force now point to a future of de-urbanization. Most of the projections relating to this Goal will have to be redone.
The United Nations now is in the same situation as the League of Nations in the period before World War II. It needs radical reform and we have a detailed proposal on what can be done to create a successor organization, UN/Globenet.
12 August 2017: Cooperative organizations have a significant role in supporting sustainable development across the world and in both developing and developed countries, says a new report of the Secretary-General to the General Assembly (A/72/159). They serve more than 1 billion members or clients and employ more than 100 million people worldwide, 20 per cent more than the number employed by multinational enterprises. In 2014, the world’s 300 largest cooperatives had a total turnover of more than $2.5 trillion in agriculture, banking and finance, insurance, health care and wholesale and retail trade. They could be a powerful force to promote awareness and action to support the Sustainable Development Goals, finance developmental action and help monitor progress.
There are about 53,000 credit cooperatives and credit unions worldwide serving more than 857 million people, with 45 per cent of their branches in rural areas (as compared to only 26 per cent of commercial bank branches). In many developing countries, financial services in small villages are offered only by cooperatives, and their clientele include 78 million who earn less than $2 a day. In sum, the sector contributes about 7 per cent of global GDP and employment.
The report cites a global census conducted by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs in 2014 that found 2.6 million cooperatives employing 12.6 million workers worldwide. They operated approximately 770,000 offices and outlets, including close to 211,000 cooperative banks and credit unions worldwide, with more than 700 million members or clients and total assets in excess of $11 trillion, generating more than $167 million in annual gross revenues.. Globally, they had more than 1 billion individual members.
Least Developed Countries
The world’s 47 Least Developed Countries continue to face major challenges in achieving the accelerated economic and social development program set at the Istanbul Conference in May 2011 for the decade ending in 2020. Between 2012 and 2015 their economic growth slowed to 3.6 per cent per year, far below the target of at least 7 per cent per annum recommended by the Istanbul Program. The main reason was the sharp decline in the export prices of commodities on which African LDCs are heavily dependent.
The LDCs have also made limited progress towards achieving positive structural transformation. The share of the agricultural sector in their GDP declined gradually, from 27.1 per cent in 2001-2010 to 25.2 per cent in 2011, mainly as a result of trends in Asian members of the group. The share of manufacturing in GDP has stagnated around 11.5 per cent. The share of the mining sector in GDP has expanded from 14.0 per cent in 2001-2010 to 16.3 per cent in 2011. Unfortunately, the LDCs that rely on extractive sector revenues (oil, gas and minerals) have been hit hard by high social inequality, with over 64 per cent of the population engaged in agriculture in 2012. Type your paragraph here.