2030 Spotlight on “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”

By Sarah Dayringer

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development represents a compromise among 193 governments and is the first time in an intergovernmental document, it acknowledges the “enormous disparities of opportunity, wealth and power” as immense challenges to sustainable development. Furthermore, it aims to address adequately the structural flaws of the global economic and financial systems, the imperative of ecological sustainability and the responsibilities of the global North.

Independent monitoring and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its structural obstacles and challenges are key factors for the success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The “Spotlight report on Sustainable Development” addresses some of the major obstacles to implementation such as systemic issues like inequitable trade, investment and tax rules and policies that restrict countries from honoring their commitments, thereby exacerbating poverty and inequalities between and within countries; the responsibility of the rich and powerful governments, including extra-territorial obligations; and the persistence of the neoliberal growth agenda, increasing the turn to the corporate sector and the resulting influence of corporate priorities in policy-making.

For example and with regard to poverty eradication, Target 1.3 on social protection floors amplifies the definition of poverty and the way it is assessed. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015, published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), explains:

(S)ocial protection systems have been critical in fostering progress towards the hunger and poverty targets in a number of developing countries. Social protection directly contributes to the reduction of poverty, hunger and malnutrition by promoting income security and access to better nutrition, health care and education. By improving human capacities and mitigating the impacts of shocks, social protection fosters the ability of the poor to participate in growth through better access to employment.

Moreover, this target -and its positive spillover impact on national economies- is equally valid for countries both in the global South and global North.

Traditionally, the development machinery has thought of antipoverty efforts in the South and strengthening of social protection in the North as contradictory objectives. In practice, though, what happens is the opposite. The same social and political forces that defend social security, health and education expenditures in OECD countries are those that defend development cooperation from budget cuts. And in the last several years emerging economies such as China and Brazil that have been carrying out massive and successful anti-poverty programs at home have also simultaneously increased their own South-South cooperation initiatives.

According to “Social Protection: Affordability” by the International Labor Organization (ILO), “a basic floor of social transfers is globally affordable at virtually any stage of economic development”16 and thus its implementation is mainly an issue of political will.

Though, this is just one example, the “Spotlight Report” analyses and assesses the extent to which policies are framed by the ambitious principles of the 2030 Agenda, particularly the human rights framework. It highlights particularly the role of the rich and powerful actors in the global system, based on their economic influence and political weight in international decision-making. However, it is impossible to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the political implementation of the 2030 Agenda less than a year after its adoption. As implementation of the 2030 Agenda gets further underway, these Spotlight reports will be issued regularly.

** excerpts taken from the “Spotlight Report for Sustainable Development” https://www.2030spotlight.org/en

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