for the NGO Major Group E-Consultation on advising the 2019 High Level Political Forum regarding SDG 8: “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”, …. for the 2019 UN review under the ECOSOC auspices. (Note questions 1 to 5 were for identification.)
6. Based on the evidence, and keeping the regional/local context in mind, what are the most effective ways to accelerate progress towards SDG 8?
Progress toward SDG 8 would need to change direction to fulfill the intent. The deep problem is that “growth” is now defined as if “economic decoupling” was being achieved, when in fact NO DECOUPLING HAS OCCURRED except in micro-economic ways. The recent historical world data now seems conclusive, and for basic scientific reasons, makes it very unlikely that general decoupling will ever occur.
The key evidence is the 1971-2016 constant growth rates of 1) World GDP (PPP), 2) Economic Energy use, and 3) CO2 emissions. It clearly shows a) there has been no displacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy, nor b) reduction in the growth rate of the economies main parts due to efficiency and sustainability.
To respond, new models and indicators are needed, to accurately reflect and respond to the increasingly disruptive whole-system cultural and environmental effects of growth. The new models would be for thriving “finite development”, like nature makes, as opposed to the dangerous “infinite development” models we’ve made. The fundamental difference is that thriving finite growth relies on “niche-making” and while boundless models rely “invasion to failure” to define their limits. Niche-making, of course, still begins with its own period of invasive growth, only then seeks to perfect rather than forever multiplying its designs.
7. Based on the evidence, and keeping the regional/local context in mind, where are the biggest shortfalls/gaps towards making progress towards SDG 8?
Part of the problem is SDG 8 now assumes “economic decoupling” and as that is not happening, mounting natural conflicts with growth are creating added resistance. One of the more severe of those effects on the SDGs is that the advanced economies are affected differently, using high tech to sweep up all the development space on earth, and effectively shutting out the slow, hesitant, and somewhat clumsy efforts of the target development communities.
A related problem is the expectation that growth should start on command, when real economic growth is an *organic process* having a *considerable gestation period* of usually disorganized struggle before it takes off. “Healthy growth” tends to occur naturally in “healthy cultures,” and the LDCs lack that. The intended beneficiaries don’t share a common culture with the developers. So cultural bridge-making is where to start.
The first need is for promoters to learn the culture they are working with *well enough* for those subject cultures to give their *informed consent* and drawn to learn from the developments to follow.
Why this was omitted from the SDGs is that it involves *systems thinking*, in particular *natural systems thinking*. What needs to happen is to bring anthropological sciences into consulting on the design of PPPs. Some further ideas of where to start are in :
1) Systems thinking for Systems making – https://rdcu.be/LdlR
2) Culture, FfD & tPPPs – https://bit.ly/2Cz6bUX
8. How can one best leverage the interlinkages between SDG 8 and the rest of the 2030 Agenda?
How SDG 13 efforts can foster “the Nexus of the 17” is to find inspiration from learning to rethink in the middle of a crisis. That is something all our lives are increasingly facing globally, because of the compound acceleration of change in how we live driven by the economy. Demonstrating how to respond to that will help the nexus of the whole pursue healthy global cultural and economic development, as originally envisioned in the spirit of Rio and the drafting the SDGs
The likely struggle will first be for people in too much of a hurry to consider our mistakes. We do need our cultures to guide us, but cultures can be slow to open up and slow to learn. There are also good reasons to be resistant to arbitrary change, and even to react with fierce opposition to being pushed in the wrong way. So learning to speed our learning without stepping on toes for climate change will help many others do so in their own struggles.
The world is just working out differently than expected, like life so often seems to be what happens when planning something else.
9. Can you share examples of effective models of multi-stakeholder engagement for the implementation of SDG 8?
No, I don’t have examples to list, mostly because I’m a scientist I think. I do come across examples but don’t get to follow their histories or learn their stories. It’s important to look for the patterns and learn from them. Start-ups will mostly seem to flourish at first but then find it hard to take hold, for example, often failing. That’s true for business startups of all sorts even in cultures very familiar with and eager to support them. Educating less developed communities on those organic features of natural economic growth, the effort it takes, the support needed, and the wonderful satisfaction of making and being a part of things that work, would help foster the inspired culture needed and reduce the frequency of startups that waste their seed.
10. Please, add here any additional comment related to SDG 8. Shifting tracks is a growth process too, inspiration at first and persistence till it catches on