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Universality is in our vested interest


07 April 2015 – Belgian NGO 11.11.11 hosted the Think Global Day 2015 in Brussels (01/04/2015), focusing on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Featuring keynote speaker Amina Mohammed, the conference emphasized the international, European and local arenas for future work in securing the Agenda’s realization.

The premise to the Think Global Day was the question: “what are the opportunities and pitfalls of a new framework for development and international cooperation?”

Keynote speaker Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for the Post-2015 Agenda, emphasized that the SDGs are vital as the world is facing a very high amount of complex challenges at the moment. These challenges range from forced migration to exclusion and inequality.

To address this, we need to cooperate, according to Ms Mohammed. This is a difficult process, as there is a tendency not to trust one another in the current world. Yet, to realize the Post-2015 Agenda, “No woman or man is an island”, she stated, strongly affirming partnerships as the core to outcomes.

Considering the universal nature of development

At the same time, working together is important as we need to encompass not just the few, but all of us, in realizing the SDGs.

This entails not equating the world with Europe and Africa, but also considering the particular issues faced by e.g. Latin America, the Arab World and island states. Such issues were only recently highlighted in Vanuatu, where Cyclone Pam has resulted in 166,000 people urgently needing life-saving assistance.

At the same time, universality also entails reaching out to new stakeholders, including a crucial role and engagement for the private sector. Here, the focus is on making profits with people rather than to their detriment.

aminamohammed thinkglobalday

Translating universal to local initiative

After the keynote address, specialized debates focused on means of implementation, the framework’s ecological goals and the way Europe and Belgium will have to reform so as to accommodate the new SDGs.

With respect to the latter, particular attention was paid to the current economic state of Europe and the differences between countries.

Speaking at the event, Alexander De Croo, Belgian Minister for Development, pointed out that he has already asked an academic taskforce to research how to translate the SDGs into a Belgian context.

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