At the turn of the century the United Nation proposed a project that aimed to coalesce the varied developmental aspirations of the poorer nations into a more perceptible and demonstrable social agenda. The MDG initiative (Millennium Development Goals), which specified the social goals to be achieved in the first fifteen years of the century, will come to pass this year. Like many schemes of similar nature, the general outcome of the MDG is at best mixed. In countries where there are committed leaderships, political or otherwise, results are more satisfactory. One should note that in the last fifteen years (the implementation phase of the MDG) a number of African countries, besides their usual poverty, were also saddled with new conditions of simmering instability, perennial & temporal conflicts, which at times led to active wars!
Fulfilling objectives such as the ones stipulated by the MDG require, more than anything, peace & stability! Unfortunately, these are becoming increasingly difficult to secure, for various reasons. Internal problems that have been around for ages need, amongst other things, enlightened and committed leaderships for their effective and peaceful resolutions. Again, given the way geopolitics operates, such a scenario is/will not be easy to bring about. Despite the myriad problems faced by the poorer nations of our continent, some countries have made headways. In this particular regard, we can mention Rwanda, Eritrea, and Ethiopia. Going forward however, even such forerunners need to critically and dynamically maneuver their ambitions, as the current strategies of the powerful (of the world system) have become decidedly unfavorable to independent orientations. Even the Chinese model must be further interrogated given the visibly alarming imbalances the system has now created, despite fairly competent leadership (collective, political, intellectual, etc.) overlooking the day-to-day operations as well as contemplating various long-term trajectories!
After fifteen years of MDG, the UN is planning to up the ante. It now wants to bring a more holistic agenda to the whole human collective under its proposed SDG, Sustainable Development Goals. Lacking concrete deliverables, such proclamation will not be a hard sell, by any stretch of imagination. After all, the UN is an accomplished operator when it comes to colorful rhetorical projects that deliver next to naught. In this regard, the failure, at least so far, of the UNFCCC/COP (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change/Conference of Parties) is exemplary. The UN as an international organization might never become a forum for promulgating concrete and binding resolutions, favoring majority decisions (General Assembly, et al.) As a result, its main calling (it seems), has become the creation of various vociferous initiatives, to help it maintain global relevance.
By and large, it is the interests of the powerful that invariably prevail in the United Nations system (Security Council), in spite of decisions by the overwhelming majority to the contrary. One cannot help but reminiscence: were not such similar actions that ultimately undid the ‘League of Nations’ and vigorously fostered WWII? Will the fate of the UN be the same? Sad as it is, to those of us who have grown accustomed to the hollow proclamations of the international system, including the UN, there isn’t much to expect or even hope for! Just compare and contrast the UN’s current engagement in Ukraine and Yemen, to say nothing about other places.
Even though SDG stands for Sustainable Development Goals and is hoped to become the overarching and invigorating project of this bureaucratic behemoth in the coming years (United Nations Organization), serious doubts, particularly as to its effective realization will persist, no matter what! Be that as it may, SDG will be launched at the eponymous Summit in Sept 2015 with characteristic jamboree. We repeat; like many of the UN’s previous initiatives, SDG is expected to be long on paraphernalia/rhetoric and short on substances/deliverables. Here are the lofty ideals that will be proclaimed without much force propelling their implementation.
We believe and have proclaimed it time and again; the only way humanity can save itself from the self inflicted disasters that go by various names; climate change, acidic oceans, destruction of biodiversity, wars, shortages of resources, etc. is when it (global citizenry) takes charge and demand from the status quo, including the politicos, what they can neither deliver nor even comprehend! It is only such earth shattering claim that will ultimately save us/the living planet from the psychopathic rule of the global status quo. As one activist intellectual, who was known for emphatically rejecting ‘regurgitated history’(establishment history) from the books, put it: “Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. Howard Zinn. Good Day!