How do national and international factors interact in empowering some states of the Global South to make more progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals than other states?


Many factors play into how well countries in the Global South have been able to progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. One national phenomenon that can substantially impede a country’s ability to make progress is corruption. Corruption in government and public offices serves as a barrier to effective governing and can make it difficult to achieve any goal. When I was researching my group’s country, Senegal, I found a lot of information on how corruption in the agricultural sector can contribute to the number of undernourished citizens, posing a barrier to progress on SDG 2 Zero Hunger. The reverse is also true. Good, accountable governments with limited corruption empower their state to make progress on the SDGs

International influences like those from global and regional organizations can encourage progress and provide frameworks for policies to achieve goals. Other international factors such as the persistence of colonial patterns can hinder progress on certain goals. In Senegal, for example, the persistence of colonial patterns in the country’s exports has been a major challenge in fighting hunger. Avoiding these patterns can help a country make progress, but that, of course, is quite difficult.

After doing research within my group and discussing this project and the SDGs with many of my peers, it’s clear that both national and international factors play a huge role in a country’s ability to progress toward achieving Sustainable Development Goals.