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Wednesday, September 23, 2020
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 17 2015 (IPS) - The United Nations is convinced the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by world leaders last September, can be successfully implemented only with the inclusion of all segments of society, including governments, civil society organisations (CSOs), women, youth, indigenous people and the private sector.
David Le Blanc, Senior Sustainable Development Officer at the U.N. Department for Social and Economic Affairs (UN/DESA) pointed out that the word “inclusive” is mentioned in five out of the 17 SDGs targets, and 22 times overall in the agenda.
Speaking during a UN panel discussion on ‘Exploring Inclusiveness in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, on December 14, Le Blanc added: “It means reaching the “furthest behind first […] including all sections of the society as it would be very hard to defend a society where some do not have access to basic necessity, such as shelter, health services, income, discrimination of women, or lack of opportunities.”
Setting the tone at the opening of the U.N. Summit for the 2030 Development Agenda last September, the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, said SDGs will leave “no one behind”:
“The new agenda is a promise by leaders to all people everywhere. It is a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world…for people, to end poverty in all its forms.”
The panel discussion, organised by the Mission of South Korea, in collaboration with the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), focused specifically on the concept of inclusiveness.
Ambassador Choong-hee Hahn, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea and chairman of the 47th session of the U.N. Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), said : “Three key words relate to inclusiveness: people, justice and dignity. Dignity should be our ultimate goal for achieving inclusiveness, as people need to be aware of their rights and privileges, in order to change current inequalities and injustice,” socially, economically and politically.
Therefore, – continued Ambassador Hahn – in order to create a safe, and sustainable framework for economic and human development, the world needs to achieve global citizenship through education, gender equality and women empowerment.
Lakshmi Puri, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Intergovernmental Support and Strategic Partnerships, and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women said without half of humanity realising their rights, sustainable development will not be achieved.
‘Therefore inclusiveness is about policies implementation, but also about driving a global movement for a structural transformation for people at the citizenship level,” added Puri.
But how can “inclusiveness” be implemented in real terms?
Only through a well-designed joint action between the private sector, good governance, and the rule of law.
“Examples of inclusive business” – said Ambassador Hahn – “are long term contracts between companies and small-medium manufacturing companies in developing countries. In this way, the supply and the demand can be sustainable.”
“Inclusive entrepreneurship” – continued the Korean Ambassador- “Is about training and teaching students of the developing countries so that they can open a business in a sustainable way,” along with inclusive knowledge-sharing, through communication technologies in developing economies.
The innovative aspect of inclusive business is that the role of the private and public sector in boosting sustainable development must not be conceived purely in terms of income growth.
Taffere Tesfachew, Director, Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes at UNCTAD, said: “Eradicating poverty by 2030, means eradication to zero, everywhere. This means a 4-5 times increase gross national income (GNI) per capita, that is inclusive, if we are going to achieve it. But first, we must recognise that [previous] growth and development strategies were not inclusive.”
He said about 450,000 million people are currently living, below the poverty line of 1.25 dollars per day in 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs). 34 out of 48 LDCs are in Africa, where the daily consumption is around 20-25 cents a day, Tesfachew said.
“We always believed that economic growth is the key to development, in terms of rising incomes, industrialisation and poverty reduction…But we know that all this has not happened. What drives growth, matters. But if growth is not originating where the poorest live and work (in rural areas), then there is no way to bring inclusiveness,” he argued.
Growth is about investing in people, said Tesfachew. “Inclusiveness cannot be solved by transfer of income, but only by creating jobs, which is the most effective and dignified way to reduce poverty,” he continued.
“That is why the private sector is very critical in creating jobs and opportunities. The challenge of the 2030 SDGs is to lead growth by creating jobs and bringing more income, consumption and demand for investments. Inclusiveness should benefit everyone, and hence, the idea of leaving no one behind.”
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