17 Apr The Pandemic, Development Cooperation and the SDGs
The current pandemic is changing individual behaviours and deepening solidarity and wedges between countries and regions. It’s the first truly global pandemic and, as such, shall continue to play both a positive and negative role in a pre-existing set of tensions and tendencies of geopolitical order, including an attack to the main foundations of the multilateral order, established in the aftermath of World War II, and visible setbacks to liberal democracies in various geographies. It’s still early to predict the impact of the present humanitarian crisis, of public health, but also political and economic, on the near future, and whether it will consolidate nationalistic driving forces or reinforce ties of solidarity between countries and people.
A particularly important aspect for the future of organizations and individuals working in fields of development cooperation is the assessment of the pandemic’s plausible effects and its political and economic repercussions in the European Union, including feasible changes in priorities and funding for cooperation. In this manner, it befits to keep present that some fundamental dynamics were already taking place and that some of the present tensions that we are now witnessing, between European leaderships, are rooted in pre-existing factors that surpass the means of approaching and dealing with this pandemic. The new designation given to International Partnerships indicates that, in a certain way, changes in domains of cooperation were already underway, integrating it, progressively, in the wider context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In a certain way, the approval of SDGs in 2015 expressed the way globalization changed real contexts and the way these real contexts are changing the rules of the game. Contrary to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), launched at the beginning of this century, retaining much of the underlying North – South logic for aid, seeing the world through an economic – geographic lens, SDGs shatter this perception and, instead, consider an integrated vision of the world, in other words, rich and poor exist everywhere and aid and solidarity is viewed in a global way. Furthermore, in parallel with the climate agenda, adopted the same year in Paris, the planet (that is, the sustainability of natural resources and the living environment) is increasingly becoming a central aspect of development cooperation policies.
Article by Fernando Jorge Cardoso, Expert in African Studies and Development and Valle Flôr Consulting consultant