Wicked Problems and the 17 SDGs

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The members of the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development (CSD) in Vienna/Austria debate how to solve the problem of poverty in context to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (17 SDGs). The members struggle to define the problem or let alone to solve it. Linked to other issues like the economy, education, nutrition, and fairness, and so on, the solution to one aspect of the problem often reveals other more complicated problems.  Often the members of  CSD find no perfect solution to a “wicked problem”, although many solutions might fit well and help to mitigate the problem.

Roland Leithenmayr VFV

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

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Saturday 17. October 2015 was the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Many experts believe that the UN Millennium Development Goals have not been achieved: in the Sub-Sahara region of Africa and other countries are still a lot of poverty, about 700 million people live on less than 1.90 dollar a day (World Bank) worldwide. China is a success story: through progressive liberalization and integration of world trade (Axel Dreher, a development economist at the University of Heidelberg), it has been achieved that only one (1) Chinese of ten (10) is undernourished today, – 25 years ago it was one of four. However, experts criticize the unilateral trade relations and that economic growth has been achieved at the expense of the environment and society: the Triple Bottom Line Approach (People, Planet,Profit) had too little consideration!  They point out that the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) may serve as a valuable framework and reference, but the implementation of the SDGs has to be executed by national politics (which is often incapable and corrupt). It requires reliable institutions, which can be trusted, Rules of Law, good environment and conditions for companies and investors, and the fight against corruption. Alejandro Cunat, economist at the University of Vienna, views the SDGs skeptical: it makes little sense to put developing countries a list of required measures in their hand, because it depends on the will and the interest of governments too. There are many influential stakeholders in developing countries (not only in Greece) who are interested only in the trade of importing than exporting because much higher profits can be achieved not taking care of the economic and unemployment situation. Success stories of Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and China cannot be transferred without adaptations, but it can be learned from them. In October 2015 received the poverty researcher Angus Deaton the Nobel Prize. He regards himself as “someone who’s concerned with the poor of the world and how people behave, and what gives them a good life.” Angus Deaton has enhanced this understanding by linking detailed individual choices and aggregate outcomes, his research has helped transform the fields of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and Development Economics. -> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angus_Deaton

Roland Leithenmayr, VfV

Source: Simon Moser, Erfolgsgeschichte mit 700 Millionen Ausnahmen, der Standard / Economics Sat. / So., 17/18. Oktober 2015

Land Grabbing – Impact on Human Rights and Climate Change

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Koh-Keng-LianKoh Kheng Lian examines in her presentation and paper in the form of a trilogy the connections between Rule of Law, Human Rights and Human Security in a context of environmental changes and land grabbing. Although she trusts the Rule of Law is generally comprehended, she indicates that the consequences of environmental challenges on human rights and human security are still not fully apprehended. Her question and answer is how those three approaches work together: Or do they? Read more: kas_41976-1522-2-30 , see page 94.

Emeritus Professor Koh Kheng Lian is an established authority on environmental law. She is one of the founder members and the former, and currently honorary, director of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Environmental Law (APCEL). – See more about her http://www.swhf.sg/the-inductees/17-environment-conservation/138-koh-kheng-lian#sthash.ezaEFSmE.dpuf

Roland Leithenmayr VfV

What are the causes of the poverty reduction worldwide ?

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Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, announced in July 2015 very proud the achievement of MDG 1 (Millennium Development Goal 1): While in the year 1990, 50% of the world’s population earned less than US$ 1.25 a day in 2015 it was only 14%.

What are the actual forces which generated this high reduction of poverty: Was it the free market, the globalization (opening up of markets, reduction of tariffs, privatization, the inflow of foreign capital), or was it the the lifting of the ban on ownership, or all of them. The critics of capitalism are more likely to demonstrate the adverse effects of the forces of capitalism. Even if those above mentioned processes were radical, painful and partly unfair it brought ultimately economic growth and prosperity to ermerging and developing countries.

Roland Leithenmayr VfV