I must admit that international factors are one of the extremely important factors that need to be considered for a country in the journey of making progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, we can see that the states of the Global North are generally major powers with greater resources and influence, whereas in the other half of the hemisphere, the Global South states, are countries with a majority of colonial histories, some in areas of natural disasters, some in sensitive geopolitical areas, and some states were established late. As a result, I believe that international factors have a stronger and greater impact on states of the Global South in achieving UN SDGs.
Recently, I did a podcast project with my classmates in Dickinson and partners in the United Arab Emirates about the UN Sustainable Development Goals. I was assigned to a group learning about Iran and I also listened to podcasts from other groups, specifically Brazil and Botswana. Therefore, I received a lot of opportunities to understand more about this topic.
Generally speaking, international factors can empower states in several ways, such as economic support; technological transfer and capacity building; trade and market access; and knowledge exchange and collaboration. International factors can also present challenges and hinder states’ progress through unequal access to resources; trade barriers and unfair policies; political influence and power dynamics; and environmental challenges.
Specifically, in Botswana, international organizations and the Botswana government have worked together to drive Botswana out of poverty, helping them make progress in Goal 1. World Bank has given Botswana large loans to “help job creation and economic diversification, and effective research management, meanwhile also focusing on human development”. Efforts from both sides have brought many successes. In Brazil, everyone is trying to achieve goal 13. Many developed countries have helped Brazil in reducing deforestation. There is also a UN program called “REDD+”, designed to provide guidance, technical know-how, and, funding (Amazon Funding) to better protect forests. In the case of Iran recently, its relations with Russia and China have promoted positive progress toward the SDGs as there is more economic support and diplomatic backing.
However, the cases of Brazil and Iran are also much more complicated. Many “Multinational Nation Corporations and Banks fund projects related to the continued deforestation of the Amazon”, which proves the hindrance of international forces. After learning about Iran with my group members, I am even more convinced that international factors will also bring obstacles that make it difficult for countries to conquer the SDGs. The sanctions the United States and its allies placed on Iran have been the largest challenges Iran needs to face in the progress of achieving goals 10 and 16.
International factors can provide nations with support, but they can also pose hurdles. Nevertheless, these challenges can be overcome by working to create fair alliances, lessen inequality, and promote sustainable lifestyles so that all countries in the Global South can successfully work toward achieving the UN SDGs and creating a more inclusive and sustainable world.