Sunday, September 27, 2015

[Rethinking] assumptions underlying the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Hi friends,

Here is a collection of articles that question the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and challenge the SDGs' core assumption that infinite material growth on an already over-exploited finite planet is the only way to tackle global poverty, by bringing back the context in which poverty has come about : it is not a naturally occurring phenomenon like some disease to be eradicated, but a result of historic injustices, unfair debts (and continuing interest payments from poor countries to rich!), unfair trade practices and a rigged global economic system that is in operation since at least 4 centuries. Also challenging the assumption that only materialistic over-consumption can give a happy and healthy life.

The links below are from some excellent alternative news sources, so to everyone who's been asking for them, do bookmark/subscribe to these sites. Many of them operate on volunteership or reader contributions

The problem of growth in the SDGs by Jason Hickel in The Guardian

The UNs sustainability plan is doomed - by Nafeez Ahmed on Motherboard

What if Everything the SDGs are premise on is just wrong - a reprint of the FastCo article by African Arguments 

5 Reasons to question the SDGs - a blog on the LSE site, also by Jason H

The UN mistakes the poison for the cure - a Conversation that picks up on our basic critique

Are the UN Sustainable Development Goals Doomed? - a write up of our analysis in Triple Pundit

We have also just started the release of a short series of blogs from NGO insiders - When It Clicked: Challenging the Narrative of International Development to help provide some "you are not alone" social proofing for other insiders. 

Thanks to Manish Jain, Shikshantar, Udaipur for sharing these.

An excerpt:
As Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying: "We cannot solve our problems with the same kinds of thinking that caused them." Unfortunately, by championing sustained economic growth as the path to sustainable development, the United Nations is committing precisely this error, mistaking the poison for the cure.

Another article, holding the SDGs in contrast with Pope Francis's encyclical :
The pope, by contrast, has struck at the systemic nature of the issue. "It cannot be emphasised enough how everything is connected," he says. "To seek only a technical remedy to each environmental problem which comes up is to separate what is in reality interconnected and to mask the true and deepest problems of the global system."
.. Thanks to Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh, Pune for sharing

If you are sharing any of these on social media, suggesting using these hashtags:

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