Image credit: UN - Photo: 2017

New UN Report Shows the Way to Achieving Agenda 2030

By J Nastranis

UNITED NATIONS (IDN) – A new United Nations study has warned that the current growth curve in the aftermath of the 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis “does not provide the enabling environment” for supporting progress in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

According to the latest World Economic and Social Survey, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires “greater and deeper international coordination in key policy areas including fiscal, monetary and trade.”

But the Report launched by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) finds that “such challenges are not insurmountable.” In the last 70 years, says the Survey, the world has witnessed episodes of economies experiencing remarkable economic development, which include: Germany and Japan in the 1950s and 1960s, followed by the Asian Tigers – Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.

In recent decades, some ASEAN countries, Botswana, China and India, among others, have also experienced high and sustained economic growth and improved standards of living.

According to the Survey, lessons from the past 70 years of development history that are relevant to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda emphasize that:

The global economy needs strong institutions and coordinated international action. Concerted international efforts, with adequate representation from developing countries, are required to accelerate world production growth, to facilitate the flow of goods and services and to support effective resource utilization.

Stronger coordinated international actions are particularly needed as global economic integration has clearly outpaced the development of effective mechanisms for global economic governance.

Stability in the international monetary and trade systems underpins development. In that respect, the Survey first published in January 1948, has consistently highlighted risks associated with volatile commodity prices and warned against protectionism. Regarding the international monetary system, the Survey has advocated for a shift away from a single-currency system and called for effective financial regulation and supervision.

Countries need adequate policy space to accelerate development. Flexible application of the international norms and commitments has facilitated economic recovery at times of crisis and major adjustment. In the late 1950s, the flexibility shown by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) towards Western European countries was a determinant in these countries’ success in eliminating foreign exchange restrictions and establishing current account convertibility.

International solidarity is the foundation for development and rebuilding the global economy. For example, the European Recovery Program, commonly known as the Marshall Plan, implemented after the end of the Second World War helped Western European countries to reconstruct their economies and to recover financial stability. The solidarity shown during the Millennium Development Goals period (2000-2015) also led to success for development outcomes.

Development is multidimensional, context-specific and about transformation, underpinned by strategic development planning and strengthened State capacity. Proper coordination across various policy areas and diverse actors are needed in bringing about structural and institutional changes, which would lead countries towards economic diversification, stable growth and improved living standards.

“This year’s Survey reviews 70 years of this flagship publication and draws lessons for the pursuit of sustainable development as we look ahead,” noted United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in the Survey’s preface.

“Despite significant changes in global development over the years, many parallels can be drawn between the current challenges facing the international community and those that confronted the world in the past,” he added, underscoring that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development “is a moral and economic imperative – and an extraordinary opportunity.”

Over the years, the Survey has taken on different names. In 1947, it was called the Economic Report; and from 1948 to 1954, the World Economic Report. In 1955, the publication was renamed the World Economic Survey. Since 1994, it has been called the World Economic and Social Survey. [IDN-InDepthNews – 18 July 2016]

Image credit: UN

IDN is the flagship of International Press Syndicate. –

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