UN SDG’s and HLPF – the whole-system thinking needed

Setting Our Whole system goal,
Making the Earth our good home.

Much of my effort over the past five years fosuces on working with civil society organizations at the UN on the world sustainable development goals (SDG’s).   This year, needing to take care of other business, I’m sitting out.    It may be ironic, of course, as the challenges of implementing the UN 17 separate goals probably makes:

more and more participants think of how the goals need to all work together,
and can’t individually be achieved without the ‘nexus’ of the whole. 

Ultimately my years at the UN was mostly spent identifying the widespread absence of systems thinking in the SDG’s, watching somewhat painfully as the UN spent all its time creating lists of separate goals, as if unaware of their interlinkage. The interlinkage most neglected of course was that of *MONEY*, our main tool and problem.   So my writing of that time may be a little out of date.   I can tell that much of the systems thinking I found so absent before still is, however.

I have lots of other writings on how “systems thinking” for our world needs to become “systems making”, the next step toward true “homemaking on planet earth”.   Finding how societies can make their good homes on earth is the answer.   Like ecologies of other kinds do, we can invent our way out of the deepening trap we now find our world economy in, using nature as a guide.

I got fairly frequent applause at the UN,  enough to know people are listening, but to my knowledge no one ever followed up on my carefully  reasoned recommendations, and no one ever asked me to be on a panel discussing them either.   So here I’ve collected some of my old lists of observations on the process, and reiterate my offer to help people understand the guiding patterns of natural system design that I’ve spent my life studying.

A Youtube of one of my interventions for last year’s HLPF gets right to the heart of the matter too!

A good Youtube – Impacts Uncounted 2016 UN HLPF S4

 

Notes on how the “UN Development Goals… leave out the Common Needs”(1)

  1. The SDG’s Omit:
    1. how the centers of power can become foundations for a sustainable future
    2. what habits keep people entrapped in the web of ever growing economic inequity.
  2. It also fails to use systems biomimicry to help us design a world that works.
  3. They also ignore the need for a “soft landing” for the whole system, for
    a. creating a stable world commons…
    b. not just to giving competitive edges to the disadvantaged
  4. They don’t aim to “internalizing all externalities” like the “World SDG” offers.
  5. They also generally omit ideals for the earth as a whole, to make it our good home.
  6. and blindly continues to promoting compound global growth
    a. when we are already pressing hard the global natural limits,
    b. not looking to relieve of the strains but add to them.

 

Here are other short posts on the systems thinking to bring into the UN’s discussion to guide us toward the long term goal of making Earth our good home:

  1. https://synapse9.com/signals/2013/07/01/un-devel-goals-omit-common-needs/
  2. https://synapse9.com/signals/2013/04/27/missing-ecological-thinking/
  3. https://synapse9.com/signals/2013/05/05/whole-culture-led-not-tech-driven/
  4. https://synapse9.com/signals/2013/12/05/un-owg5-missing-topics/

 

JLH

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