This Research Paper reviews Least Developed Countries’ (LDCs) collective progress on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), based on the available data on the indicators for the 169 SDG targets. It makes recommendations for LDCs and other States to consider advancing in relevant UN processes as well as the WTO’s.
LDCs made progress on 28% of the SDGs. This collective progress shows that these countries are far from achieving what were deemed achievable goals in 2015. With respect to trade-related SDGs, LDCs have not made progress on any of the five trade-related SDGs that mention LDCs specifically.
This paper does not delve into the causes of this gap, but it suggests that international cooperation and, particularly, the developed countries’ assistance, has been insufficient to address the needs of a large part of the world population that still lives in poverty and without hope of a better future. However, the Doha Programme of Action (DPoA), a development framework with targets specifically for LDCs -which overlap with SDG targets- appears to dilute several original SDG targets, in particular those in SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).
Major financing for development (FfD) innovations have long been initiated by the UN. Special drawing rights (SDRs), ‘0.7 per cent of national income’ for official development assistance (ODA) and debt relief were all conceived in the UN around half a century ago.
The financialization of recent decades has undermined the mobilization and deployment of adequate financial resources to accelerate sustainable development and address global warming.
During the 1990s, the UN warned against new threats to economic stability. Some were due to volatile private capital flows and speculation, encouraged by deregulated financial markets, enabled by the IMF despite its Articles of Agreement.
By contrast, the UN has insisted on ensuring policy space for more effective development strategies by Member States. It has also urged macroeconomic policies to support long-term growth, technological progress and economic diversification.
The UN Secretariat has also promoted orderly sovereign debt relief. But Member States have long complained IFIs were shirking their mandates to provide financial stability and adequate long-term development finance.
Jomo Kwame Sundaram
When the 193-member General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development back in September 2015., it was aimed at transforming the world into an idealistic state of peace and economic prosperity.
But eight years later, most of the world’s low-income countries (LICs) have been struggling to achieve even a single goal, including the two key targets: the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger by 2030.
Read the article on IPS
The WTO faces an existential crisis, despite a reasonable outcome at the Twelfth Ministerial Conference. The one way by which the WTO can resuscitate itself is to make sure that the negotiating agenda is anchored in the SDGs rather than in the narrow interests of its most powerful members. The changing role of the State must also be factored in by the WTO.
Read South Centre’s policy paper