21 January 2019

Event: Global Resilience Agenda: A Foreign Policy Perspective on the SDGs

Drawing the links between the sustainable development agenda and foreign policy objectives:

The German Federal Foreign Office and adelphi co-organize a side event on 17 July 2018 at the High Level Political Forum 2018, taking place in the German Permanent Mission in New York.

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The event titled “Global Resilience Agenda: A Foreign Policy Perspective on the SDGs” seeks to deepen the understanding of the SDGs and geopolitics and the particularities of each region. A range of high-ranking officials from the UN and national governments will join as well as experts from academia and civil society.

Achieving the 2030 Agenda is essential to peace and stability worldwide, and is becoming an important point of reference for foreign policy. Progress on the SDGs, especially in countries that emerge from crisis and conflict, is needed to reinstate livelihoods and strengthen resilience. The SDGs’ strong links with external action priorities, such as conflict prevention, stabilisation and peacebuilding, have been recognized in the Sustaining Peace Agenda. Research has provided insights on natural resources, climate change and fragility, and established a solid foundation to understand these links.

Yet, the scope for SDG’s to impact – positively or negatively – on violent conflicts, forced migration, extremism and other pressing issues has not been sufficiently and systematically assessed in research, or considered in practice. The five SDGs under review in 2018 at the High Level Political Forum in New York (SDG6 water; SDG7 energy; SDG15 life on land; SDG11 cities; SDG12 consumption and production) are valuable entry points for a more methodical analysis how sustainable development supports peace, as they address key resources and global risk complexes.

Objectives of the side event

The side-event will discuss how the SDGs under review are connected to peace and, with the look to the HLPF 2019, how they can contribute to achieving SDG16 and strengthening climate resilience (SDG13). This will be done on with a focus on illustrative regional and country examples, i.e. small island developing states (SIDS) and the MENA region. The aim is to provide context-specific, in-depth insights and equip various stakeholders involved in SDG-processes with conceptual knowledge and examples.

After short reflections from foreign policy makers, from national government, the United Nations as well as from civil society/academia, the discussion will revolve around these questions:

  • Why and how is the 2030 Agenda relevant for foreign policy and what can we learn in this regard from the SDGs under review in 2018?
  • How does slow progress on the SDGs impact on progress on SDG16 and how can positive developments be supported?  
  • What are the conflict drivers linked to SDGs in fragile countries? How would progress on SDG targets affect conflict – to what extent are peace dividends likely?
  • How can the links between the SDGs under review and peacebuilding be best accounted for by programming and activities in fragile contexts?

Text originally published here.