From a liberal perspective, international factors do matter- especially in the global south. International intervention has been shown to improve a country’s development goals. However, there needs to be a reminder that international intervention is not “saving” a country. Many countries are developing because of centuries of colonialization. Many of the countries intervening are the same ones that initially colonized them.

Colonial powers, though, have much better access to resources- especially money. An international incentive to improve development stems from money. Years of colonization, and usually many years following war, has severe economic consequences. Having wealthy nations fund projects that begin to meet Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs encourages countries. As seen by my country, Nicaragua, which does not have any international intervention- funding development goals while 1/2 of your country is under the poverty line is difficult. When there are only national factors there is usually not enough money to have significant progress towards development goals, especially after colonialization.

In all honesty, colonialization is the reason many countries are struggling to develop. If the international community does not intervene it is almost impossible for countries to move forward. While national support can be strong, it cannot solve the problem. There needs to be funding. There needs to be open trade and complex interdependence. Having these attributes allows countries to focus on development instead of worrying about basic necessities- which is a direct result of colonialization.

There are a few national factors that encourage countries to move towards SDGs. A large factor is a revolution. Many citizens want to move towards a society that caters to their needs and longevity. Having a revolution that takes over or forces the government to do so is an extremely effective method (though not usually the first choice). Cultural norms, like religion, can also play a big part in moving towards sustainable goals. However, funding is a big aspect of moving towards this progress- which international aid assists with- is needed. The two must go hand-in-hand to move toward the 17 SDGs


6 Comments so far

  1.    Ed Webb on April 27, 2023 6:34 pm

    Which other cases did you consider when arriving at the conclusion that colonialism (and post-coloniality) is such an important factor in frustrating progress on the SDGs?

  2.    leeale on April 28, 2023 2:10 am

    While Nicaragua has issues with colonialism, a multitude of other countries have as well. In terms of other groups within the SDG progress- Egypt is an exemplary case. Egypt struggles to progress with SDG goals, not because it isn’t of importance, but because they are still recovering from millenniums of colonialization- by Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, and the British. As well, countries not discussed in the project, such as the DRC, Mali, and Burkina Faso have also struggled to progress towards SDGs because of their history of colonization (especially the DRC). Many other countries struggle with SDGs because they have had their resources stolen, their people brutalized, and their ideologies stolen (to “civilize” them). While, obviously, the mistreatment of citizens cannot boil down to the fact that a country was colonized- it does play a major part. Large powers look to developing countries to exploit them and make sure they stay developing. The DRC has vast resources, however, the people there live off of one Euro a day. However, there is a large number of Chinese investors, one of the major five powers. If investors can come into the country, why can’t they supply them with basic necessities? The line between colonialism and post-colonialism is blurred when it comes to developing countries that still have resources to be exhausted. To move towards SDG progress we need to give the resources back to the people who live there and improve their quality of life.

  3.    elliotan on May 2, 2023 2:46 am

    Hello, I very much enjoyed reading your blog post. Your acknowledgment of history, and especially a history of colonialism captured a link between many of the presentations. How do you think religion impacts the progress countries can make on SDGs?

  4.    leeale on May 2, 2023 3:12 pm

    I definitely think religion plays an impact on the progress countries can make on SDGs. Looking from an identity perspective, countries are more likely to cooperate when they share similar views. However, with the Middle East and North Africa, many international organizations have attempted to weaken these governments (because of Proxy Wars, fears of undemocratic governments, etc). There is a definite separation between countries with religious affiliations. Working past that would allow greater progress toward SDGs.

  5.    waynec on May 2, 2023 6:33 pm

    This was a very interesting post! I appreciate you examining the history that impacts many of the states we studied as part of the project. That being said, what do you make of Singapore and its success following a colonial past? After all, entrepĂ´t trade was established under British control and without this foundation it likely would not be the wealthy state it is today. Also, when you refer to states needing funding, how do you foresee this being implemented? Would it not, perhaps, be better to encourage self-sufficiency through trade rather than funding which cannot last forever?

  6.    leeale on May 2, 2023 7:26 pm

    Unfortunately, one idea cannot be applied to every single country. British colonialization came into Singapore during times of civil and political unrest. The British helped stabilized the country during a very weak point. However, the question is- was colonization necessarily over just aid?
    The time in which the British took Singapore may also explain why there was a success. It was shortly after WWII and wanted to be seen as a democratic state.

    States can gain funding in a multitude of ways. However, there are problems with this. As in my post, path dependence has made this incredibly difficult. After colonialization has taken over a country for decades, unrest is bound to follow. This, in turn, allows corrupt leaders into power. When you give funding without understanding where it’s going, it’s useless- similar to the DRC. There is no clear-cut answer on where we go next.

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