WHEN United Nations’ member states adopted the 2030 Agenda, they signalled with the title, “Transforming our World” that it should trigger fundamental changes in politics and society.
But, three years after its adoption, most governments have failed to turn the proclaimed transformational vision of the 2030 Agenda into real policies.
Even worse, the civil society report, “Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2018”, shows that policies in a growing number of countries are moving in the opposite direction, seriously undermining the spirit and the goals of the 2030 Agenda.
The problem is not a lack of global financial resources. On the contrary, in recent years we have experienced a massive growth and accumulation of individual and corporate wealth worldwide.
The policy choices that have enabled this unprecedented accumulation of wealth are the same fiscal and regulatory policies that led to the weakening of the public sector and produced extreme market concentration and socio-economic inequality.
The extreme concentration of wealth has not increased the resources that are available for sustainable development. As the World Inequality Report 2018 states, “Over the past decades, countries have become richer, but governments have become poor” due to a massive shift towards private capital.
But, even where public money is available, all too often public funds are not allocated in line with the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, but was spent for harmful or dubious purposes, be they environmentally harmful subsidies or excessive military expenditures.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), global military expenditure rose again in 2017, after five years of relatively unchanged spending, to US$ 1.739 trillion (RM6.98 trillion). In contrast, net ODA (Official Development Assistance) by members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) was only US$ 146.6 billion in 2017, thus less than one-tenth of global military spending.
“The world is over-armed while peace is underfunded,” states the Global Campaign on Military Spending. Particularly alarming has been the decision of North Altlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) member countries to increase military spending to at least two per cent of their national gross domestic product.
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