Skip to 0 minutes and 0 secondsAre the SDGs a challenge to current economic paradigms? They are if you accept that the last 30 years of the economic paradigm that has driven much of the international policy when it comes to trade and trade liberalisation, then I would say, yes, the SDGs are the other half of the missing half of a globalisation agenda and strategy that is not only focused on maximising economic throughput and trade between nations, which in many respects, has a positive effect, quite clearly. But also, it takes issues of equity and sustainability as being integral to a successful strategy of globalisation, of mutual dependence, of integration of markets.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 secondsAnd I think the fact that these dimensions were largely absent in the globalisation strategy defined as an economically driven paradigm in part explains also the reactions that we now see against globalisation, sometimes just as a phenomenon that people blame for something, even though the reasons for some of the frustrations at national and local level may be different. And the sustainable development goals are our attempt as an international community to express a shared vision about what development is about, what matters, and what cannot seem to be forgotten in the name of one part of the agenda. So, yes, I think they are an integral part.

Skip to 1 minute and 23 secondsThey are a late arrival, but hopefully will help us to rebalance a global economic approach to understanding how nations can develop with one another rather than just against one another.

Do the SDGs challenge our current thinking about economics?

Achim Steiner is currently the Executive Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Before that, he was Director of the Oxford Martin school, a research organisation based at Oxford University that brings different disciplines together to improve the standard of living of future generations. Before that, he was Executive Director of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) between 2006 and 2016. He played a key role in moving climate change up the international agenda, and was also one of the architects of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In this video, Achim talks about the Sustainable Development Goals, and what they mean for us at this moment in time. He talks about the SDGs as the second half of a globalisation vision that was primarily based on economics.

What do you think he means by this? With the election of Donald Trump cited as a key example of the backlash against globalisation in recent years, why is the second half of a globalisation vision necessary?

He also mentions how the SDGs are a vision for development that are not based on nations competing with each other. Do you think that with the right approach, we could create a world where everyone flourishes?

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This video is from the free online course:

Global Prosperity Beyond GDP

UCL (University College London)