The four dimensions of sustainable development and what they seek to achieve.

The Rio+20 outcome document refers to three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social, and environmental) and emphasizes the importance of good governance as well as peace and security which are sometimes referred to as a foundation of sustainable development.

For simplicity we refer to the four societal objectives as dimensions of sustainable development: economic development (including ending extreme poverty), social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and good governance including peace and security. Good governance is an important means to achieving the three other dimensions of sustainable development economic, social, and environmental but it is also an end in itself.

Governments must commit to good governance by respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms; upholding the rule of law; ensuring effective participation, especially by women; and by promoting transparent, accountable, and effective institutions.

Sustainable livelihoods / solution represent creating broad-based wealth and economic opportunities for all. Giving the poor a voice is a critical part of operationalizing sustainable development. Any process for implementing the sustainable development challenges will need to ensure the participation and voice of the poor in decision-making. To ensure sustainable development, economic gains must not only be inclusive, but the quality of social interactions that are based on trust, honesty, voluntarism, and solidarity needs to be enhanced through the promotion of social ethics and the observance of human rights for all.

Yet there is strong evidence that policies and investments targeted towards social inclusion can play an important role in lowering inequalities and promoting equal opportunities for all. Since sustainable development is the result of the sum of the actions of all people it is important that stakeholders can participate in decision making at all levels and that policies are integrated across the ten priorities identified in this post.

  1. The role that can be played by Stakeholders

All stakeholders must commit to supporting the SDGs with transparency, accountability, participation, responsiveness to public needs, and without corruption. They must mobilize the necessary resources to reduce inequalities and equitably provide the public goods needed for sustainable development. Where necessary, rules for international trade, finance, taxation, business accounting, and intellectual property need to be reformed to become consistent with achieving the SDGs.

This includes sound economic policies that promote employment and ensure financial stability. Public policy decisions must be made on the basis of reliable evidence and sound scientific analysis; guided by understanding and learning from the various social policy models that are available globally; and driven by values that foster responsibility, solidarity, and tolerance.

To this end governments may launch discussions on long-term development pathways involving all key stakeholders. Civil society, including universities and research institutions, can play an important role in adapting SDG targets to national and sub-national contexts, developing long-term strategies for meeting each target, designing indicators, and monitoring progress. They can help ensure transparency, disseminate findings, and hold governments at all levels as well as business accountable for their commitments to achieve the SDGs.

Business and public-private partnerships (PPP) must play an important role in financing sustainable development, particularly for infrastructure and urban development.

2. Access to information / data as a means to achieving the SDGs

There is a saying that “What cannot be measured cannot be achieved”. Data, monitoring, and accountability are essential in achieving the SDGs. The MDGs have highlighted the importance of well-defined indicators and the need for better statistical data systems to track progress towards the international goals, and to support management efforts aimed at achieving the goals.

Therefore, the new set of goals for sustainable development must also be bolstered by significant improvements in local, national, and global data collection and processing, using new tools (GIS, remote sensing, social networking, etc.) as well as existing ones.

As a result of the information revolution, the SDGs can and should be supported by online, real-time, place-based, and highly disaggregated data. A central objective of these proposed goals is to ensure social inclusion, by calling for the equal and universal provision of social services, infrastructure, and other critical public goods for all segments of the population. To be able to fulfill this role, governments and business need to ensure access to information / Data.

We therefore urge that where appropriate and feasible, metrics should be disaggregated according to gender, geography, socioeconomic status, disability, ethnicity, and other dimensions in order to track and address marginalization and inequalities across sub-populations. Where official development assistance is required to finance improved data systems, these investments should be supported so that progress in achieving the SDGs can be monitored in real time.

3. Aid Effectiveness to achieving the SDGs

Research on the impact of official development assistance (ODA) suggests that simply increasing aid will not provide lasting and cost-effective solutions. Developing Countries must therefore graduate from the so called official development assistance ODA to aid effectiveness. Developing countries must be prepared to reform their policies and improve service delivery to make aid spending effective. Donors must enhance aid effectiveness, strengthen accountability, and promote coherence among partners. For example, stand-alone targets on financial resource mobilization that can generate focus and promote accountability.

 4. Averting the business-as-usual (BAU) trajectory

We need to build new forms of collaboration, tap into financing, and efficiently reach ‘base of the pyramid’ consumers, promoting economic development, social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and good governance including peace and security.

5. Effective legal and regulatory frameworks

Policies must be tailored to each country priorities. Policy makers must follow through their commitments with consistent and effective action. This will require steady, long-term commitment, action and coherent strategies that intimately involve low-income communities in the delivery of services. The principal challenge is to build the necessary skills and capacities to allow small low-income communities to become reliable partners to policy and decision makers.

The African Social Entrepreneurs Network (ASEN)

ASEN has adopted an all inclusive agenda with focus on addressing the core structural problems responsible for the exclusion of marginalized and vulnerable groups in Africa.