Saturday, 23 January 2021

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How can trade be useful for the Sustainable Development Goals?


24.11.2015 - The beginning of a new chapter for sustainable development, the official adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has been in place for 2 months this week. The agenda includes 17 SDGs and 169 targets, a section on means of implementation and renewed global partnership, as well as a framework for review and follow-up. But how can countries concretely take action to realize these goals?

Joakim Reiter, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s  (UNCTAD) newly appointed Deputy Secretary-General who recently spoke at the European Centre for Political Economy (ECIPE) in Brussels, knows the answer: trade.

“The MDGs were initially social goals without an economic pillar, yet most of their achievements were driven by economics”, says Reiter. “The SDGs are truly universal and hold every nation accountable to its people, highlighting the fact that governments can’t do it alone”, he continues. According to Mr. Reiter, a very important factor is the mobilization of the private sector. 


The 4 P’s outline how to make trade work to the advantage of the SDGs:

•        Productivity

•        People-oriented

•        (Tackle) Poverty

•        Planet-friendly

Productivity lies at the heart of core trade policies and helps citizens gain more opportunities, Reiter argues. Trade-policy needs to cater to the most vulnerable groups in society and aim to tackle poverty. In order for it to be sustainable, it needs to get out of the “trade-environment trade-off”.

“We need to look at untapped potential of regional trade and integration, as well as unleash the power of services”, says Joakim Reiter. “We also need to invest in infrastructure services, as well as electricity and energy market systems”, he adds.

The Sustainable Development Goals and their targets will continue to stimulate action over the next fifteen years in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet.


UNRIC’s Related Links:

•   UNCTAD (official website)

•   ECIPE (official website)

•   The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (official website)


Photo Credits:

•   Cover: UN Photo / UNDP

•   Second: UN Photo / UNRIC 


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