To the extent that people know something about the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs), reasonably assume they have something to do
with the economy (development) and with the environment (sustainability). They are
Only partly correct. The biggest challenge, especially for Middle countries
East and North Africa region, is governance.
The 17 SDGs were adopted by all member states of the United Nations in 2015,
with an objective date of 2030. That leaves 10 years to achieve, among others: no
poverty, zero hunger, gender equality, affordable and clean energy and climate
action. These are important challenges for all governments, not just MENA.
However, the most challenging objective may be the one that is barely spoken: SDG 16. Calls on governments to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and effective institutions. inclusive at all levels. ”
All SDGs are accompanied by specific objectives. Those of SDG 16
include: promoting the rule of law at national and international level and
guarantee equal access to justice for all; substantially reduce corruption and
bribery in all its forms; develop effective, responsible and transparent
institutions at all levels; ensure a response, inclusive, participatory and
representative decision making at all levels; and guarantee public access to
information and protection of fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation
International legislation and agreements.
This is a family list of “good governance” ingredients, since it has
been defined by the main international agencies such as the World Bank and the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in the last 20 years.
But they are more than a list: they reinforce each other. It’s hard
achieve one without the others.
Take eradicate bribery and corruption. How could that be achieved if
Are the courts in the back pockets of political and business leaders?
Corruption cannot truly be addressed without the rule of law. But the true rule of
the law needs responsibility and transparency, which means public access to
Information and protection of fundamental freedoms.
It gets more complicated. The objective of “receptive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels” is a goal less on governments than on civil society and non-governmental institutions. SDG 16 is not only about government institutions, but also about the government’s relationship with society.
It becomes even more complicated. In addition to accountability, transparency and participation, SDG 16 also has an objective of “effective” institutions at all levels. It is not clear what that means in the context of SDG 16, but it must have something to do with the results and objectives for the other SDGs. For example, SDG 4, on quality education and its objective of (to take only one) “equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, professional and tertiary education, including university”, would require massive investments and a good investment. designed institutions
Achieving most other SDGs will also depend on
Government institutions For example, decent work and economic growth (SDG 8);
innovation, industry and infrastructure (SDG 9); and climate action (SDG
The SDGs, in short, are objectives that can only be achieved through good and
Effective government. SDG 16 makes it explicit, but it is embedded in most
the other SDGs and their objectives. This challenge of good governance is not just
about warm and diffuse slogans; it’s about institutional design, about
Government capacity and government-society relations.
What progress has been made and what are the paths to success by 2030? For the MENA region, given the variety of situations and the intensity of the conflict in many countries, the results are mixed. The “Sustainable Development Report 2019”, published by the UN-affiliated Sustainable Development Solutions Network, notes that “Conflicts in some countries lead to poor and declining performance in most of the SDGs and in particular in the SDG 2 (No hunger), SDG 3 (Good health and well-being) and SDG 16 (Peace, justice and strong institutions). “
While access to clean water, sanitation and clean energy is generally high, the report calls for more efforts to deal with high levels of perceived corruption. It is a cold consolation that Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa fare even worse in most DMS in general, and especially in SDG 16.
The road to governance, for all countries and not only for MENA, is
Don’t try to do everything at once. The year 2030 is only a decade away.
If we think of the SDGs as 17 rail cars, what are the engines that will stop
them to the station on time?
First, education. The results of a good educational system are educated citizens, which in turn will contribute to economic growth and the development of civil society. Second, anti-corruption and rule of law. The lessons of recent uprisings and protests around the world are clear: nothing ignites public outrage more than the injustice that comes with the rot of corruption. Third, build capacity in public institutions through training and high standards of competence and merit. The 2030 Agenda is only a decade away. Achieving SDG 16 is the key to success. We need to start now.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Pkhype.com.