SEATTLE – International development policies not only seek to solve short-term problems such as famine relief, they also work to provide sustainable solutions to problems that lead to poverty and societal instability.
The following are some ways that international development policies focus on strengthening communities and preventing societal collapse:
- International development aims to be sustainable in order to reduce the negative impact humans have on the environment.
Among the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, there is a focus on reducing human consumption, promoting sustainable development programs, sustainable fishing and clean energy use.
Presently, the Clean Development Mechanism, a measure by the U.N. to reduce emissions, works toward clean energy usage in developing countries. Organizations such as the World Wildlife Foundation, Greenpeace and Conservation International work with world entities to implement these policies.
- By reducing the impact of climate change and promoting sustainable development, the effects of climatic shock can be less severely felt in developing nations.
This past summer, the U.N. released funding through its Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to countries in Africa facing famine and widespread displacement as a result of climatic shocks. Since the communities of developing nations have fewer resources to cope with climatic shocks, they feel the effects of climate change more strongly.
The Sustainable Development Goals include the mission to “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.” The targets in this goal include providing scaffolding to developing nations and incorporating climate change prevention strategies into international development initiatives. Furthermore, other U.N. instruments, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, highlight the necessity to prevent climate change from drastically affecting the livelihood of millions worldwide.
- By condemning corruption, trafficking and violence, international development maintains an agenda for peace.
Entities work more efficiently and effectively when not at war. War is expensive, exhausting nations’ resources, communities and funds. The Sustainable Development Goals seek to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.” To do so, targets such as a reduction of all forms of violence and promotion of the rule of law are included.
Peacebuilding and peacekeeping efforts are critical strategies used to implement this policy. Furthermore, efforts to have peaceful relations between countries through diplomacy and negotiation also help reduce the possibility of war.
- International development works to create positive livelihoods for those in their home countries, which reduces the likelihood of countries developing tensions with neighboring countries or within the country itself.
Tensions within a country, such as ethnic conflict or frustrations with increasing class disparity, threaten the stability of a nation. By addressing factors that can escalate these tensions, such as improving access to birth registration and education, creating more opportunities for those in poverty and having safe cities, nations can become more peaceful. As a result, these countries are better able to focus on development.
The Sustainable Development Goals also focus on peaceful, inclusive societies and a reduction of violence, trafficking and corruption. In addition, U.N. conventions on genocide and weapons use prevent impunity for those who may try to commit crimes against humanity during conflict.
- International development gives communities innovations to help them be healthy and successful.
Research on global poverty shows that it is widespread and its causes are diverse. While nutrition, access to sanitation and adequate health care, particularly for mothers and children, are more visible factors that influence poverty, access to education, electricity, mobile technology and sustainable technologies as well as ensuring gender equality also play a role in lifting people out of poverty.
Resiliency is an essential component to fight global poverty; unless communities and individuals are able to cope with, recover from and work to prevent further crises, it is more likely that they will be trapped in the present cycle. The Sustainable Development Goals place an emphasis on fostering resiliency in cities and nations; USAID’s Global Resiliency Partnership is another example of entities working to foster resiliency.
By promoting peace, sustainable development, and resiliency while fighting climate change and potential sources of nation instability, international development policies and programs can work to prevent societal collapse.