Four years ago, UN member states proclaimed their ambitions for development in a document named “Transforming Our World”, also known as Agenda 2030.
Today, according to several assessments including of the UN’s inter-agency task force on financing for development (FfD) transformation has fallen off-track. It has received too little money, political commitment and action to change the workings of the global economy. Agenda 2030 spells out the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) needed to ‘transform our world’.
In discussions at the UN about achieving Agenda 2030, it has become de rigueur to highlight the role of the private sector. It is often introduced as the discovery of the idea that private sector investment and financing is indispensable to achieving Agenda 2030.
As the international community wades into the political discussions regarding the alternatives to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015 and the design of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as mandated by the Rio+20 conference, it is timely to consider the question of whether development is a matter mostly of individual effort on the part of nation-states or whether there are elements in the international economic system that could serve as significant obstacles to national development efforts.