As well as this sculpture of Leonardo Quinn, the SDGs are facing the challenge of carry on with the heavy burden of international relations in crisis that tend to slow down a general goal on sustainability. On an ideal basis it supposes a profitable relation in whom one feed the other however, this is not happening.
The ambitious SDGs are being threaten by current anti-global framework of institutional and leadership crises. Indeed, the first Goals (MDG) have been achieved thanks to an stable institutional global framework that boost their coordination at macro level. Over the last years, the progressive self-communion of each country makes policies harmonisation a real challenge, searching to relocate positions in an unsteady global framework with a defensive attitude. Is it so, that defense of national sovereignty comes to the front, stronger than ever. Sovereignty by itself is a value that -although it cannot be loosen- it must be reshaped and the result only comes up by trustful global leaders and institutions. This is the element missing: “trust” that is making international relations weaker and less reliable.
Nationalisms are not helping for building strong international relations hence, not to SDGs. These required solid platforms and an intimate interconnection to make them achievable. Even so, a solid framework of international relations is not enough to get to successful SDG´s if is not under a global context of coordination.
Current global institutional crisis –and particularly from the political ”machinery”- takes us to a poor forecast (at least for same of this goals). Under current momentum of multiple crises and devastated armed conflicts, UN has been playing a role of mere spokesperson with a weak influence, dominated by partisan decisions from the Security Council.
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” This Goal shows clearly that we are in a early stage to be up to a real “consolidation”. Indeed, it has experimented a regression in relation with a fair participation of countries -in particularly the less developed- that makes of equality a challenge difficult to achieve. In addition for not generating good governance at global level.
Goal 17 “strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development”. A goal that represents more than challenges but obstacles under the light of current growing trend of making bilateral agreements more than global alliances.
In relation to those goals related to environmental sustainability and climate change impact -6,7,11,12,13,14,15- all of them represent almost a utopia. That a country of the magnitude of USA literally erases of the White House´s official page any reference to climate change action means put aside a very important pillar for SDG´s own sustainability strategy.
Which does not necessary means that those goals could not be achieved but that is a clear regression of what has been established by COP21. US have also questioned the own nature of belonging to the agreement. In a context of uncertainty I am seeing this situation as an extreme alarming fact for the protection of the environment. It will not become the axis around a strategy focused on adaptation and innovation
In relation with Goal 9 it refers specifically to industry and infrastructure and is another point that the new Administration avoids to mention, therefore is not a priority for investment.
Innovation is much more than a “goal” but a tool that allows building the rest of the system. Without a strong investment on innovation the rest of the goals are literally non-achievable.
As an alternative model to these deficiencies it seems that the last goal: search for alliances (Goal 17) should be the first, as an essential engine to achieve the rest. Is it here that we could trust that there is “will power” (the name of the sculpture that illustrates this article) from many Nations, however not among the most powerful. COP21 has shown that is possible and there is political will for consensus and global initiatives. The inflection point comes at institutional global level representing by the Security Council that focus a system based on the lack of -precisely- global action. Is it from here that we could find the way out. Reform the voting system and work on a better, stronger and real integration of all the countries. For achieving this “new goal” its paramount the political and active work by those countries that tend to conciliate around a global vision with a specifically emphasis in no developed countries, major handicapped.
To keep the balance between SDGs and balanced international relations we need to release the “will power” of global action by a strong leadership and reforms within the Security Council.