refugee aid Louisa Gouliamaki | Stringer via Getty Images

Unsustainable Development Goals?

In a challenging global economic and geopolitical environment, achieving the just-launched Sustainable Development Goals will be possible only if the world makes the most of every multilateral development dollar. And a growing body of evidence indicates that that may mean giving those dollars directly to those who need them.

OXFORD – From 2000 to 2015, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) focused minds and budgets on global poverty, significantly boosting people’s prospects in some of the world’s poorest countries. The new set of global targets, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aim to build on that progress, not only in eradicating poverty, but also in addressing a number of other challenges, such as broadening access to education and protecting the environment. But, this time, there are significant headwinds.

Recent geopolitical developments, such as the Middle East’s refugee crisis, are complicating government budgets and agendas. And commodity prices and emerging-economy investments, factors that bolstered progress toward achieving the MDGs, are now slumping. Without bold innovation, the new development agenda will be far from sustainable.

As it stands, aid budgets from major donors are being surreptitiously redeployed. In most major donor countries, aid is being redirected to stem the flow of refugees from the Middle East, especially Syria. The refugee crisis has also changed domestic priorities. In Sweden, some 30% of the aid budget is now being used to look after arriving refugees; in Switzerland, the comparable figure is 20%.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/OX0iAIX;
  1. An employee works at a chemical fiber weaving company VCG/Getty Images

    China in the Lead?

    For four decades, China has achieved unprecedented economic growth under a centralized, authoritarian political system, far outpacing growth in the Western liberal democracies. So, is Chinese President Xi Jinping right to double down on authoritarianism, and is the “China model” truly a viable rival to Western-style democratic capitalism?

  2. The assembly line at Ford Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    Whither the Multilateral Trading System?

    The global economy today is dominated by three major players – China, the EU, and the US – with roughly equal trading volumes and limited incentive to fight for the rules-based global trading system. With cooperation unlikely, the world should prepare itself for the erosion of the World Trade Organization.

  3. Donald Trump Saul Loeb/Getty Images

    The Globalization of Our Discontent

    Globalization, which was supposed to benefit developed and developing countries alike, is now reviled almost everywhere, as the political backlash in Europe and the US has shown. The challenge is to minimize the risk that the backlash will intensify, and that starts by understanding – and avoiding – past mistakes.

  4. A general view of the Corn Market in the City of Manchester Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

    A Better British Story

    Despite all of the doom and gloom over the United Kingdom's impending withdrawal from the European Union, key manufacturing indicators are at their highest levels in four years, and the mood for investment may be improving. While parts of the UK are certainly weakening economically, others may finally be overcoming longstanding challenges.

  5. UK supermarket Waring Abbott/Getty Images

    The UK’s Multilateral Trade Future

    With Brexit looming, the UK has no choice but to redesign its future trading relationships. As a major producer of sophisticated components, its long-term trade strategy should focus on gaining deep and unfettered access to integrated cross-border supply chains – and that means adopting a multilateral approach.

  6. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now