Agenda 2030: much more than multilateralism EN

UN. New York City

Agenda 2030: much more than multilateralism

In the last installment of this blog, we left the master pointing out to the disciple the immensity of the moon and the disciple wondering why his master was showing him the finger. Looking at the finger of the Coronavirus, with how important it is to solve this tragedy, does not exempt us from examining the depths of humanity's problems to find solutions. 

It has been repeated ad nauseam that we are in an interconnected world. The most acute problems of our current reality, climate change, infections, endless warlike conflicts, migrations, economic depressions, cannot be solved without the collaboration of all, because they are global. During the last decades, we have gone through three scenarios: cold war between two blocks of ideology-power; US-Europe unilateralism, after the fall of the Berlin Wall; incipient multilateralism between the US, China, Europe, and Russia. The COVID-19 has not only reaffirmed the interdependence of countries but has also put the model of international relations in quarantine.

There are fears that the panic situation caused by the coronavirus will push countries back towards autarkic closure. President Trump has reaffirmed his policy of reducing or eliminating economic contributions to multilateral organizations. China hides data and tries to take diplomatic advantage of the COVID-19, creating its own narrative about how China has won the battle. Europe enters a crisis in which the electoralist interests of the Netherlands and the construction of an EU beyond mercantilism (Hansa) are struggling. America is divided between countries that seek to take care of the economy (Brazil and Mexico) and those that seek the protection of citizens. Africa, alone, almost without structural resources to control the epidemic, wonders what will happen. Perhaps because of this uncertainty, the great figures of world reference, such as Pope Francis or the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, have lavished more than ever their calls for unity, cooperation, and multilateralism. 

It is time for the World Bank, the Bank for Co-operation and Development, the International Monetary Fund, the G7, and the G20 to show that they were really formed to help all countries. Global production chains have created specific areas of the world where products are designed and others where they are processed; this, saved from excesses, has served to lift millions of people out of extreme poverty. It is time to redesign the economic system, correcting the errors to improve it. This is not the time for impossible autarchy; we cannot think of closing our countries or territorial areas in search of our salvation, without thinking of the rest of the world; that would be suicidal and unsupportive. 

Where to go then? This is not the first, nor will it be the last world crisis. The solutions, looking to the future, have to be global. It is time to give more importance to global governance; to provide more weight to institutions such as the United Nations. Civil society (universities, companies, NGOs, researchers), together with the political representatives of nations around the world, have designed a global framework: The Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. Perhaps the 30th should be changed to the 35th or 40th, but this Agenda is the common working horizon for countries, world banks, politicians, and Civil Society. Has the time come for a reform of the UN to make global governance more possible?

In the past centuries, to lead was synonymous with leadership, with finding the right person who had the vision to guide everyone. There was a constant search for a Moses or an Alexander the Great. Today, after understanding the enormous complexity of our world, organizations are needed to lead. Indeed organizations with an internal leader but with the fundamental task of bringing out and coordinating the qualities and abilities of each member of the group towards a common horizon. The Sustainable Development Agenda offers us the "Mission" and "Vision" of humanity at this time, but we need to create networks of solidarity and cooperation to accelerate its implementation. Talking about Sustainable Development represents turning the sock of the productive system, but it is possible if we all tackle it together.

Each entity of Civil Society will have to look for what to contribute to the realization of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Nobody knows how to do everything; but together we can do everything. Each organization will first have to ask itself about the needs of the place where it develops its activity, then about what it is expert at, and finally, focus its work on a specific set of ODS. By working in partnership with others, we will be able to push forward the entire Agenda 2030. ODS 17 reads: "Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development". It is a call for increased collaboration within supranational organizations of states and civil society entities. It is also a call for close collaboration, within each country, between government and civil society. It is a clear choice for the multilateral, understood as  a collaboration between all possible agents of change.

As Claretian Missionaries we have to go deeper in the knowledge of the 17 Objectives and the 169 goals to detect, in each conference or country, which are the objectives and goals that we have to assume. From the knowledge of the Agenda and the analysis of the reality of each zone of the world, we will be able to point out the common priorities, for the whole Congregation, all over the world. The decision-making procedure is exactly the same as that of other global organizations; each one has defined its Mission, Vision and Values. Those of the Claretian Missionaries are indicated in the Constitutions and the General and Provincial Chapters.

Miguel Ángel Velasco cmf