Threats to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)

Following the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in 2005, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by the United Nations have shaped new targets for global development since 2015. With the progress of MDG’s efficiency in raising awareness and addressing poverty eradication issues, it is definitive that the SDG’s will carry forward more robust methods to address and bring a solution to the global issues.

“2015 is a year of historic opportunity. We are the first generation that can end poverty, and the last one that can take steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. With the adoption of a new development agenda, sustainable development goals and climate change agreement, we can set the world on course for a better future” – Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General

As SDG is more focused on developing countries – including African countries, least developed countries, land-locked developing countries, small-island developing states and middle-income countries , it is significant to allude these countries are poor and vulnerable to many aspects of sustainable economic development. Climate change, natural disasters, state fragility, on-going conflicts, food and water scarcity, rising poverty, large gap of inequality and political instability are some factors that creates high risks for these countries to achieve sustainable development goals.

Whilst, the method of financing and funding being reliant on public-private enterprises and multinational national agencies, we should ascertain the lessons from MDG’s framework. The framework was dependent on public and political support to ensure aid, development and growth which led the poor countries to increased risk of debt pool, tumbling them further into more vulnerability. We should understand that local governments, national parliament, regional-national institutions and political milieu of these countries have constantly raised questions of accountability, transparency, corruption, abuse and misuse of power and resources with weak institutions. Hence, before tackling those issues, it will become challenging to measure the commitment the countries have pledged to achieve in SDG.

Also, financial mechanisms such as the Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding should be closely monitored and followed-up to ensure that aid is given to most promising countries to achieve the SDG goals.  A mechanism or index should be introduced on how to measure the success of progress for different countries in a period of time, so that projections on aid can be better forecast and attained. For example; the ND-GAIN Index (Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index) collects data to illustrate which countries are best prepared to deal with global changes and development, taking into account different vulnerability indicators (food, water, health, ecosystem service, human habitat, infrastructure) and readiness indicators (economic, governance and social protection). These indicators measure how vulnerable a country is and how much capacity (readiness) the country has in dealing or achieving a goal. If a country is highly vulnerable and high in readiness, it is logical they receive more funding compared to a country highly vulnerable but with lower readiness, which means the country does not have the capacity; because of weak institutions; to get out of crises which then leads to less possibility of getting aid.

By adopting indexes like this, it will ensure United Nations to invigilate and follow the progress of SDG goals and the financial movement, so that regional and national authorities, multinational enterprises and international organizations can be challenged to embrace a desired outcome through integrated delivery of resources. Another factor that might threaten the SDG is rapid growth of population leading to mass transformation in urban development. Even though positive outcomes of SDG outweigh the negative impacts, strategies need to be encompassed to grow innovative ideas to promote sustainable development through urbanization. Strategies need to be developed to acquire positive outcomes without exerting pressures on natural resources (food, water, land, energy, health, etc).

The targets of the new Urban Agenda and SDG 11 should encourage authorities and institutions to move toward positive investments, as it is a major step in human settlement which will then affect the interdependent targets; poverty, food security, global health, education, gender equality, water security, renewable energy, economic growth, innovation and infrastructure, reduce inequalities, responsible consumption, climate actions, life below water, life on land, peace and justice and partnership for the goals.

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