States that are resource rich, as discussed in class, may face what is known as the ‘resource curse’. These nations, largely situated in the Global South and often the former colonies of European powers, face all the difficulties that come with the necessity to manage natural resources that were previously extracted by colonizers. In some scenarios, home-rule governments are capable of leveraging this wealth to the benefit of their populations and institutions. Unfortunately, it is often the case that a class of elites, usually hailing from the military and the industry in question, will seize power over these resources and hoard their benefits. This was most certainly the case in the country my SDG project group studied, Algeria. The hydrocarbon wealth generated by the nation’s oil and gas reserves was largely funneled to the upper class, which led to poor quality of education as well as infrastructure and security problems. This is the resource curse. Wealth, though everywhere, is not fairly distributed to the people, even in the form of good jobs or welfare programs. In other words, water all around but not a drop to drink. 

     Now, assuming resource-rich states manage to surmount this challenge (many are slow to do so, and many are nowhere close to this day), they still face the behemoths of the Global marketplace. These, the United States, European Union, and China, have a lot of control in the world’s financial institutions and often discourage protectionist trade policies that would be helpful to native industries in burgeoning states. Even if a nation is resource rich, has stable and equitable institutions to handle those resources, and is able to produce a product efficiently, it still must be able to compete on the global market with nations for whom trade is not as risky. All of this sits against a backdrop in which domestic populations may or may not be faring well during the transition, and this tension can lead to intra- and inter-state conflicts. Meddling by outside powers can further weaken the authority of young governments and lead to slowed development. And all of these things assume a country has the natural wealth to rise to a place where peaceful, prosperous stability is remotely achievable. There are those who cannot reach this point independently. For those states, goals like peace, justice, and strong institutions are even less likely to evolve. All of these issues constantly confront the nations of the Global South, making progress on goals for them exceedingly difficult.