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Global Development Issues 101: Achieving Sustainable Development and SDGs

Foreword


International development remains a central topic in academic dialogues, particularly when explored through the lenses of Public Administration and International Relations. This field delves into the delicate equilibrium between a country’s internal growth objectives and its external diplomatic engagements. The focus is on how nations aim to enhance their economic position and the quality of life for their residents, a reflection of their global stature and internal prosperity.


From an academic perspective, development is defined by the myriad ways nations navigate their economic and societal progress. Even though the importance of development is universally accepted, the outcomes are diverse across countries, and shaped by varying factors. This variance in outcomes underscores the multifaceted nature of the factors that underlie developmental stagnation for certain countries, while others grow and thrive.


To comprehensively apprehend the essence of development, an exhaustive exploration of its historical antecedents is essential. Additionally, a meticulous examination of classical developmental theories holds paramount importance. Furthermore, an acute cognizance of the strategies employed to address global challenges becomes indispensable in the context of mitigating issues such as poverty and inequality.


This 101 series consists of seven articles, each dedicated to exploring the concept of development, its various components, and its potential prospects for the future:


7.     Global Development Issues 101: Achieving Sustainable Development and the SDG

 


Global Development Issues 101: Achieving Sustainable Development and the SDG

This article marks the conclusion of the Global Development Issues 101 series, which has explored various aspects of development. The series approached an explanation of development and further examined its importance, building an understanding of the classical theories of growth, development, and stagnation. Throughout the series, other aspects were explored such as the roles played by governments, cultures, and institutions as influential actors shaping development. Moreover, the previous article focused on the connection between gender equality and development. As we bring this series to a close, it is important to summarize the information presented thus far and reflect on its significance. This final article will focus on clarifying the salient points discussed and offer insights into the future of development. With a particular emphasis on achieving sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we aim to provide an understanding of how development takes place and its importance, further highlighting the factors that ensure its progress.


The previous chapter focused on the relationship between gender equality and sustainable development. Gender equality is essential for sustainable development because it guarantees equal access to rights and opportunities for everyone, regardless of gender (Johnsson-Latham, 2007; Leach, Mehta & Prabhakaran, 2016). In this context, sustainable development relies on gender equality as an inclusive process that requires the participation of all individuals (Johnsson-Latham, 2007; Leach, Mehta & Prabhakaran, 2016). Conversely, gender equality cannot exist without the promise of sustainable development (Johnsson-Latham, 2007; Leach, Mehta & Prabhakaran, 2016). Sustainable development demands change and conscientization in providing opportunities for current and future generations while ensuring their safety and well-being (Johnsson-Latham, 2007; Leach, Mehta & Prabhakaran, 2016).


The topic of gender equality and sustainable development is not only important but also complex, as it requires the coexistence of various elements for efficiency (Johnsson-Latham, 2007; Leach, Mehta & Prabhakaran, 2016). Gender equality, as one of the Sustainable Development Goals, relies on contributions from stakeholders at different levels to be achieved, along with other goals (Johnsson-Latham, 2007; Leach, Mehta & Prabhakaran, 2016). Whether stakeholders are governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses, or individuals, each has a crucial role in promoting gender equality and achieving sustainable development (Mikkola & Miles, 2007; Leach, Mehta & Prabhakaran, 2016).



To successfully address the challenges and complexities associated with gender equality and sustainable development, strategic solutions and diverse perspectives are crucial (Mikkola & Miles, 2007; Leach, Mehta & Prabhakaran, 2016). The combination of different approaches, innovative ideas, and inclusive policies facilitates the progress of the sustainable development agenda (Mikkola & Miles, 2007; Leach, Mehta & Prabhakaran, 2016). Collaborative efforts, partnerships, and knowledge sharing among stakeholders are essential for finding sustainable solutions and making progress toward gender equality and other Sustainable Development Goals (Mikkola & Miles, 2007; Leach, Mehta & Prabhakaran, 2016; Sachs, Schmidt-Traub, Mazzucato, Messner, Nakicenovic, & Rockström, 2019).


In the following article, a deeper exploration into the concept of achieving sustainable development is undertaken. The focus is on examining ideas, complexities, and potential strategies involved in this matter. Emphasis is placed on highlighting the significance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a guiding roadmap for global efforts towards a more equitable and sustainable world. The primary objective of this article is to broaden understanding and provide closure to a topic that serves to inspire action towards a more sustainable future. By examining the interconnectedness of various factors, including gender equality, a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities inherent in sustainable development is sought. Through this exploration, individuals, organizations, and governments are encouraged to take meaningful steps toward creating a better and more sustainable world for future generations.

 

Sustainable Beginnings: The Concept of Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is a concept that embodies a holistic vision for societal advancement across various dimensions, aiming for enduring progress while safeguarding resources and rights for both present and future generations (Johnsson-Latham, 2007; Mikkola & Miles, 2007; Leach, Mehta & Prabhakaran, 2016). According to the study of researcher Johnsson-Latham (2007) on sustainable development, it is crucial to recognize that sustainable development is not solely a singular goal to be attained, but rather a comprehensive approach that serves as both the objective and the means to accomplish goals. Development initiatives must prioritize protecting the rights of the current generation while ensuring the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Johnsson-Latham, 2007). This requires strategic action and efficient decision-making that considers both present and future implications, especially given the finite nature of resources (Johnsson-Latham, 2007).



Achieving sustainable development demands active participation and collaboration across multiple levels and sectors, involving diverse actors and institutions (Johnsson-Latham, 2007; Mikkola & Miles, 2007; Leach, Mehta & Prabhakaran, 2016). Additionally, various narratives shape discussions around sustainability, highlighting the importance of framing in this discourse (Johnsson-Latham, 2007; Mikkola & Miles, 2007; Leach, Mehta & Prabhakaran, 2016). Nevertheless, the benefits of sustainable development far outweigh the costs, offering a pathway to a more resilient, equitable, and harmonious world where future generations can thrive alongside nature, rather than at its expense (Johnsson-Latham, 2007; Mikkola & Miles, 2007; Leach, Mehta & Prabhakaran, 2016). Thus, the central question revolves around how to achieve sustainable development while minimizing risks (Johnsson-Latham, 2007; Mikkola & Miles, 2007; Leach, Mehta & Prabhakaran, 2016).

 

Enacting Sustainability: Implementing Development Policies Under Neoliberalism

While it is evident that sustainable development is crucial for safeguarding the needs of both current and future generations, the best strategic actions to achieve this goal remain uncertain (Johnsson-Latham, 2007; Mikkola & Miles, 2007; Leach, Mehta & Prabhakaran, 2016). In their 2013 study, authors Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah explored sustainability's challenges in overcoming neoliberalist policies. Neoliberalism is characterized by market-oriented reforms (Kumi, Arhin & Yeboah, 2013). It often entails reduced state intervention in economic and social activities, with limited involvement in the financial market (Kumi, Arhin & Yeboah, 2013). While this system has facilitated the growth of capitalism and prioritized economic advancement, its long-term costs can outweigh its benefits, especially when striving for sustainable development (Kumi, Arhin & Yeboah, 2013). Under neoliberalism, the economic agenda includes policies such as privatization, trade liberalization, and reductions in government spending on social programs (Kumi, Arhin & Yeboah, 2013). These measures, however, have seemingly hindered the realization of sustainable development ideals, as they compromise social and environmental considerations for economic gains (Kumi, Arhin & Yeboah, 2013).


The neoliberal ideology, as defined by Büscher, Sullivan, Neves, Igoe, and Brockington (2012), is an economic and political ideology that seeks to subject social and ecological affairs to the dynamics of capitalist markets. This prioritization of the economic and political spheres raises concerns about the consequences for social and ecological affairs, as they become contingent on market interests rather than long-term sustainability (Büscher et al., 2012). In the neoliberal framework, the market and economic growth take precedence, often at the expense of social and ecological considerations (Büscher et al., 2012). A focus on short-term measures and economic gains becomes counterproductive when attempting to devise strategies for achieving sustainable development (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin & Yeboah, 2013). While neoliberals argue that natural resources will be utilized efficiently through a freely operating market without government regulation, this economic agenda requires modifications to ensure a viable path toward sustainable development (Humphreys, 2009).


Furthermore, the dominance of market-oriented approaches not only sidelines social and ecological interests but also perpetuates a cycle of environmental degradation and socioeconomic inequality (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin & Yeboah, 2013). This is particularly evident in smaller states with weaker regulatory frameworks, where the adverse impacts of neoliberal policies are more pronounced (Kumi, Arhin & Yeboah, 2013). Privatizing essential resources, such as water and forests, exacerbates these challenges by restricting access for marginalized communities and driving up prices, thus widening the gap between the affluent and the marginalized (Kumi, Arhin & Yeboah, 2013). The absence of environmental regulations and enforcement mechanisms under neoliberal policies allows for the exploitation of natural resources (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin & Yeboah, 2013). Deforestation, pollution, and depletion of water sources occur without adequate safeguards, leading to irreversible damage to biodiversity and ecosystems (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin & Yeboah, 2013).


Moreover, the adverse effects of neoliberal policies extend beyond environmental degradation to exacerbate social disparities and economic instability (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin & Yeboah, 2013). In the absence of protective regulations, vulnerable populations face increased risks of displacement, loss of livelihoods, and heightened poverty levels (Kumi, Arhin & Yeboah, 2013). Consequently, in the pursuit of sustainable development and towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, significant hurdles under neoliberal paradigms are encountered (Kumi, Arhin & Yeboah, 2013). Addressing these challenges requires a paradigm shift toward more inclusive and equitable approaches that prioritize both environmental conservation and social justice (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin & Yeboah, 2013).

 

Navigating Sustainability: Recommendations for Sustainable Development Under Neoliberalism

To effectively address the current dynamics and head towards sustainable development, it is imperative to heed the recommendations outlined by Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah (2013). These recommendations underscore the crucial principles of inclusivity, equity, and a recalibration of power structures (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). Despite notable improvements in human development over recent decades, persistent gaps continue to widen, perpetuating inequality and poverty (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). These disparities are a result of well-established economic and political priorities within the global system (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). The prevalent patterns of consumption and behavior are inherently unsustainable, demanding a profound shift towards prioritizing social livelihoods and environmental integrity to ensure long-term viability (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013).


The escalating levels of inequality yield profound consequences, pushing an increasing number of individuals below the poverty line and rendering them incapable of fulfilling their basic needs (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). This infringement upon their rights and limited access to opportunities further compounds the challenges they confront (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). Thus, addressing socio-economic and environmental concerns mandates a concerted focus on uplifting the most vulnerable and marginalized populations (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). Prioritizing inclusivity, equity, and reconfigured power dynamics serves as the backbone for achieving sustainable development (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). This entails delving into the root causes of inequality, advocating social justice, and safeguarding environmental resources for the collective benefit of all (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). By centering efforts on bolstering the resilience and well-being of the most marginalized communities, we can chart a course toward a more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future for generations to come (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). Such transformative actions are necessary to ensure a harmonious coexistence between humans and the planet (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013).

 

A Shift Towards a Pro-Poor Growth Approach

One crucial focus for achieving sustainable development involves shifting from a pro-growth for the poor to a pro-poor growth approach, as emphasized by Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah (2013). The neoliberal perspective posits that increasing economic growth would benefit the entire nation, but this often overlooks the pressing issues faced by the population (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Zhu, Bashir & Marie, 2022). Consequently, the gaps in inequality and poverty continue to widen, with only a few individuals reaping the benefits of economic growth (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Zhu, Bashir & Marie, 2022). The underlying needs of the poorest segments of society remain unaddressed, demanding a shift in approach (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). The pro-poor growth approach does not view economic growth as the sole solution to poverty (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). Instead, it places the poor and their environment at the center of development efforts (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). Policy interventions and actions prioritize creating opportunities for people to participate, contribute, and benefit from growth (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013).


This approach also encourages efficient resource management, empowering individuals to take charge of their development (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). These policy interventions focus on the immediate environment and the social progress of the population, with the understanding that by addressing these fundamental issues other challenges can be effectively tackled (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). By providing more opportunities to the poor and ensuring their active participation in the development process, the poverty and inequality gaps can be reduced (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Zhu, Bashir & Marie, 2022). This, in turn, lays the foundation for sustainable development (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Zhu, Bashir & Marie, 2022). By prioritizing the needs and well-being of the most marginalized, it will be possible to achieve sustainability in the long term (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Zhu, Bashir & Marie, 2022).



A Shift in Power Relations and The Target of Policies

The second main approach in addressing sustainable development focuses on power relations (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Zhu, Bashir & Marie, 2022). Giving voice to the poor and allowing them to influence policies can shift power dynamics and create positive change (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). However, under neoliberalism, governments are often discouraged from interfering, even though they have the authority to provide services and manage political affairs (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). This reluctance stems from the belief that market forces alone can efficiently allocate resources and foster development (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). Yet, this laissez-faire approach often exacerbates existing inequalities and fails to address the needs of the most vulnerable populations (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Zhu, Bashir & Marie, 2022). In many cases, power still resides with an elite group that benefits from maintaining the status quo (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Zhu, Bashir & Marie, 2022). This elite holds economic, social, and political influence, shaping policies and decisions to serve their interests (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). Consequently, marginalized communities face barriers to accessing resources, services, and opportunities, further perpetuating cycles of poverty and exclusion (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Zhu, Bashir & Marie, 2022).


To truly achieve sustainable development, governments must develop policies that not only protect the population but also address the complexity of power dynamics (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Zhu, Bashir & Marie, 2022). This requires a departure from the neoliberal paradigm and a reevaluation of the role of the state in regulating markets and promoting social justice (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). Governments must actively work to redistribute power and resources, ensuring that all members of society have equal opportunities to participate in decision-making processes and benefit from development initiatives (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). Only by addressing power relations and reducing poverty and social inequity can sustainable development become a reality (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Zhu, Bashir & Marie, 2022).

The final aspect highlighted in this discussion is the importance of taking the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seriously, with a specific emphasis on equity (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). In the following section, we will delve deeper into this point and explore the significance of the SDGs in sustainable development.

 

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): A Path to Further Progress

This article presented development and sustainability and will now focus on introducing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a set of goals designed to address the biggest global challenges and are the successors of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expired in 2015 (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). The purpose of these goals is to push the sustainable agenda forward and achieve development on a global scale (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). They serve as a strategic approach to unite countries against global issues and injustices (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). The ultimate goal is to achieve sustainable development and protect the rights of populations while providing opportunities for their future (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). Following their approval, the SDGs have served as a guiding agenda for socio-economic and developmental initiatives in subsequent years (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013).


The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) became an approach to global mobilization aimed at achieving a set of important social priorities worldwide (Sachs, 2012). These goals raised widespread public concern about issues, such as poverty, gender inequality, environmental degradation, and more (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). By selecting specific priorities, it became possible to break them down into actionable steps and create achievable pathways toward these goals (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). One of the key features of the MDGs was their measurability and time-bound nature, which promoted awareness and political accountability (Sachs, 2012). The MDGs encouraged the participation of most countries and various actors, including governments, organizations, and individuals, who collectively worked towards their attainment (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013).


These goals served as a unifying framework, aligning efforts and resources to address the most pressing challenges of the time (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). However, after the expiration of the MDGs, it became necessary to establish a new set of objectives to guide global development efforts (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emerged as the successor to the MDGs, building upon the achievements and lessons learned from the previous framework (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). The SDGs consist of 17 distinct goals, designed to be achieved by 2030, with a broader scope and more comprehensive set of objectives compared to the MDGs (Sachs, 2012). They encompass a wide range of interconnected issues, including poverty eradication, gender equality, climate action, sustainable cities, and more (Sachs, 2012).


One notable improvement of the SDGs is their increased measurability and achievability (Sachs, 2012). Unlike the MDGs, which sometimes lack clear targets and indicators, the SDGs have well-defined targets and indicators that can be used to monitor progress (Sachs, 2012). This enhances the ability to track and assess the impact of efforts made towards the goals (Sachs, 2012). Through the adoption of the SDGs, different actors, including governments and their respective institutions, can propose and implement policies that prioritize these objectives and facilitate their growth (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). The SDGs serve as a shared framework that guides decision-making, resource allocation, and policy development at national and international levels (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). This collaborative approach encourages a sense of ownership and responsibility among stakeholders, fostering collective action to achieve sustainable development (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). In conclusion, the evolution from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals signifies a shift towards a more comprehensive and measurable approach to global development (Sachs, 2012). The SDGs encompass a broader range of objectives and provide a shared framework for different actors to prioritize sustainable development in their policies and actions (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013).



Global Goals Leading to Global Governance

Achieving sustainable development requires collective efforts from individuals, communities, and organizations on a global scale (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). The purpose of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to safeguard the rights of current and future generations, and in doing so, it leads to a form of global governance (Sachs, 2012). This global governance comes into play as countries and their governments commit to putting efforts towards achieving these goals (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). To ensure compliance, there are rules and regulations that actors must adhere to (Sachs, 2012). Collaborative efforts in achieving the SDGs can be complex, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Stewart, 2015). Each country faces unique challenges, and for some, the targets may be more difficult to achieve (Stewart, 2015). In such cases, support from larger donors may be needed (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013).


Furthermore, the SDGs serve as a policy tool for global governance, providing a framework for influencing policy priorities (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Stewart, 2015). While the goals are broad, their indicators help in breaking them down and focusing on specific areas of influence (Sachs, 2012). The SDGs allow governments to make decisions based on international priorities while considering their national context (Sachs, 2012). These actions aim to mobilize political support for development and ensure that unintended negative consequences are minimized (Sachs, 2012; Stewart, 2015). Environmental sustainability is given particular attention within the SDGs, reflecting the increasing global focus on addressing environmental challenges (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Stewart, 2015). Additionally, there is a greater emphasis on power relations and inequalities, recognizing the need to address these issues (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Stewart, 2015).


It is noteworthy that the private sector is also included in the SDGs (Sachs, 2012; Stewart, 2015). Given the significant influence of the market in international relations, it is assigned a stronger role within these goals (Sachs, 2012). This increased responsibility requires the private sector to consider the potential negative consequences of their actions and work towards minimizing them (Stewart, 2015). As such, the SDGs serve as a framework for global governance, fostering collective efforts towards achieving sustainable development (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). The goals provide a flexible approach that allows countries to adapt their strategies based on their unique circumstances (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). Environmental sustainability and addressing power relations and inequalities are prominent considerations within the SDGs (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). Furthermore, the private sector plays a significant role in driving progress, with a greater responsibility to mitigate negative consequences (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013).



Focusing on Sustainable Development: Considerations for The Future

This article marks the conclusion of the Global Development Issues 101 series, which has explored the concept of development and its significance in national and international policies. It has emphasized the importance of achieving sustainable development, recognizing that economic growth alone is insufficient. The well-being of individuals, the environment, and future generations must also be considered (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). To achieve sustainable development, it is crucial to protect and provide resources for the present generation while ensuring the availability of resources for future generations (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). This requires a shift in paradigm, particularly within a system that has been influenced by neoliberalism (Humphreys, 2009; Büscher et al., 2012; Sachs et al., 2019).


Under neoliberalism, the market holds significant influence over international actions, often sidelining social and ecological issues (Humphreys, 2009; Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). This short-term focus undermines long-term success and the protection of our planet and societies (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). While numerous theories on achieving development have been proposed, sustainable development demands a departure from the prevailing paradigm (Büscher et al., 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). Economic growth should be pursued by respecting the limits of our planet and ensuring the well-being of all individuals (Humphreys, 2009; Büscher et al., 2012; Zhu, Bashir & Marie, 2022; Sachs et al., 2019). Moreover, achieving sustainable development requires collective action and international cooperation (Büscher et al., 2012; Sachs et al., 2019). It demands the engagement of governments, organizations, and individuals across borders to address global challenges and work towards common goals (Büscher et al., 2012). This collaboration is vital in reshaping the current system and redirecting efforts towards sustainable practices and outcomes (Büscher et al., 2012; Sachs et al., 2019).


The shift towards sustainable development has gained momentum on a global scale through the transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (Sachs, 2012; Stewart, 2015). Recognizing the limitations of the MDGs, the SDGs have been subject to consideration and improvements (Sachs, 2012; Stewart, 2015). This new set of objectives provides a more comprehensive framework with achievable goals that are broken down into specific targets (Sachs, 2012). A notable aspect of the SDGs is the increased focus on environmental needs, reflecting the growing recognition of the urgent need to address ecological challenges (Sachs, 2012). Additionally, the private sector is included in the SDGs, acknowledging its significant role in driving sustainable development (Sachs, 2012; Stewart, 2015).


This inclusion places a greater responsibility on businesses to consider their environmental and social impact and diminish any negative consequences (Sachs, 2012; Stewart, 2015; Sachs et al., 2019). The actions taken by different actors towards achieving the SDGs also contribute to the path of global governance (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Stewart, 2015). Governments commit to global goals as a means to protect the future of their nations (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Stewart, 2015; Sachs et al., 2019). As a result, they subject themselves to rules and regulations that guide their policies and actions (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Stewart, 2015). Rather than solely focusing on economic growth, sustainable development necessitates a shift to address the needs of these marginalized populations (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Sachs et al., 2019).


In general, the transition from the MDGs to the SDGs represents a significant step towards achieving sustainable development (Sachs, 2012; Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013; Stewart, 2015). By incorporating environmental considerations, engaging the private sector, and promoting global governance, the SDGs provide a comprehensive and inclusive framework for sustainable development efforts (Sachs, 2012; Stewart, 2015). Governments commit to these goals and are guided by rules and regulations, ensuring accountability and progress (Sachs, 2012; Stewart, 2015). However, it is essential to recognize that achieving sustainable development requires addressing prerequisites and prioritizing the needs of vulnerable communities (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013). Through collective action and inclusive participation, we can work towards a more sustainable and equitable future (Kumi, Arhin, and Yeboah, 2013).

Bibliographical References

Büscher, B., Sullivan, S., Neves, K., Igoe, J., & Brockington, D. (2012). Towards a synthesized critique of neoliberal biodiversity conservation. Capitalism nature socialism, 23(2), 4-30.


Humphreys, D. (2009). Discourse as ideology: Neoliberalism and the limits of international forest policy. Forest policy and economics, 11(5-6), 319-325.


Johnsson-Latham, G. (2007). A study on gender equality as a prerequisite for sustainable development. Report to the Environment Advisory Council, 2.


Kumi, E., Arhin, A. A., & Yeboah, T. (2014). Can post-2015 sustainable development goals survive neoliberalism? A critical examination of the sustainable development–neoliberalism nexus in developing countries. Environment, development and sustainability, 16, 539-554.


Leach, M., Mehta, L., & Prabhakaran, P. (2016). Gender equality and sustainable development: A pathways approach. The UN Women Discussion Paper, 13, 2016.


Mikkola, A., & Miles, C. A. (2007). Development and gender equality: Consequences, causes, challenges and cures. HECER – Helsinki Center of Economic Research. Helsinki, Finland.


Sachs, J. (2012). From millennium development goals to sustainable development goals. The lancet, 379(9832), 2206-2211.


Sachs, J. D., Schmidt-Traub, G., Mazzucato, M., Messner, D., Nakicenovic, N., & Rockström, J. (2019). Six transformations to achieve the sustainable development goals. Nature sustainability, 2(9), 805-814.


Stewart, F. (2015). The sustainable development goals: A comment. Journal of Global Ethics, 11(3), 288-293.


Zhu, Y., Bashir, S., & Marie, M. (2022). Assessing the relationship between poverty and economic growth: does sustainable development goal can be achieved?. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 29(19), 27613-27623.

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