Iain's Blog: We are all Developing Nations now

11th November 2015

Unlike their predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals, which only applied to those countries deemed to be “developing”, the Sustainable Development Goals will require all nations to work towards them. So to quote the Guardian ‘we are all developing nations from now on’. The world of Western sustainable development and the world of international development are now one and the same thing. Consequently, we can hope to see an end to the so-called developed world lecturing the south on how it should be aspiring to become just like us, with our outdated model of never-ending growth and unsustainable carbon footprints. Instead, there is now a universal strategy for change.

The new Global Goals say to us in the north: you may have much higher GDP per capita, but that doesn’t mean your societies are immune to problems that affect everyone in our interconnected globe. It’s a reminder that the pursuit of prosperity isn’t just something for people far away to worry about. There is hope the SDG’s will be a catalyst for wealthier countries to do some long overdue introspection of the state of their societies and their impact on the world around them.

But what will the Goals mean to us as sustainability leaders and to how EAUC better supports you? I appreciate these are big open questions. To quote David Hulme at Manchester University (who claim to have the largest concentration of anti-poverty researchers in Europe) the SDG’s are either the world’s biggest promise or its biggest lie’ . But like Hulme, for me the SDG’s open up opportunities to get people, organisations and governments talking about reducing poverty and inequality, moving towards environmental sustainability and promoting social justice. And critially, the role of education is delivering absolutely every one of them! So the EAUC is starting a dialogue now with the Westminster Government which has signed up to implementing the Goals and positioning ourselves both as a delivery mechanism and a barometer of progress around the UK.

OK 17 Goals is alot of chew on, but alongside the UNESCO ESD Global Action Programme, COP21 and the Pope’s Encyclical on climate change, right now we have a powerful coming together of global movement and drivers to aid our national cause. It's an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.
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