Hinderances of UN Sustainability Goals

To write this post, I listened to podcasts on Singapore and Egypt.

Singapore is a country included in the international organization ASEAN. This inclusion allows Singapore to hold greater weight on the international stage than if they were alone. By combining their interests with Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, and others, ASEAN integrates much of the Asian economy, specifically in Eastern Asia where The People’s Republic of China is so dominant. Singapore is aided globally by a close relationship with China and surprisingly, a strategic relationship with the United States. While a partnership with these two superpowers is unexpected, Singapore is influential even apart from ASEAN. They have benefited from free trade and are a global export hub. In terms of SDGs, Singapore is a leading proponent of sustainability, hindered by international hesitance to cooperate and put in the same effort. Due to Singapore’s advanced economy and powerful allies, they appear to be in a strong place, stable economically and sustainably. Their partnerships with both China and the United States could pose a threat to this stability as questions arise over the next global power system. Depending on whether the United States maintains hegemonic power, the system becomes bipolar, or China takes full power, along with any other random thing that could go down, Singapore could be caught in that conflict. However, having a close relationship with both could also be beneficial, and they may be able to remain neutral due to their importance to the global economy, and both rival countries’ import reliance on Singapore.

Domestically, since 2013, Egypt has been governed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who took power in a 2013 coup. He is an authoritarian leader with little to no political opposition. Many civil liberties are restricted such as freedom of press and freedom of assembly. There is discrimination against women and the LGBTQ+ community. Despite being able to vote, most candidates are pressured to drop out leaving really only one choice. The presidential term length was extended in 2019 as well making it increasingly difficult for an opposition party to gain power of any sort. Religious minorities have faced persecution and violence as well as displacement.

Egypt does however have a sustainability plan. They recently took lead as the host nation of COP27 and raised $10 billion in climate finance. While sustainability is clearly a goal for Egypt, they continue to struggle with execution. The economic reality the average person faces is bleak. The fallout of Russia’s invasion on Ukraine has increased the stress to food and energy security shifting the focus from global sustainability to domestic problem solving. The UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework between Egypt and the United Nations for 2023-2027 was relatively successful however, and the foundations of a continuous cooperation between the two actors has been laid.

Egypt is a valued US partner in counterterrorism, anti-trafficking, and regional security operations which benefits both countries in a partnership that has continued for decades.

A lot of the UN sustainability goals rely on international actors to play their parts and maintain the peace. To me, the international system is so complexly interdependent that nearly everything happeningĀ  elsewhere in the world will have domestic impacts.

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  1. Maya Ramah

    Hi Genevieve! I completely agree with what you said about Singapore’s global game and environmental efforts. They’re walking a tightrope between strong ties with China and the United States, as well as being an economic powerhouse in ASEAN. Given the potential challenges to their stability posed by these collaborations, it’s a bit of a balancing act. Despite certain governance challenges, Egypt is now moving up with a $10 billion climate finance proposal. They are, admittedly, having execution difficulties, particularly in light of the Ukraine scenario. But, you are so right for laying the basis with the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework. These actions demonstrate how countries are attempting to make a voice for themselvesĀ in this complex international web.

  2. Thank you Genevieve for you insightful psot! I agree with you when you said that relationships and partnerships are vital to reaching the SDGs. Climate change is a universal issue, and countries cannot just save their own territory and expect everything to be fine. There needs to be a partnership mentality when it comes to these intertwined global concern. I think there needs to be more hands on help between states, rather than just money aid. Education is also a very important piece to working together to address these issues. There many be cultural differences, different governmental practices, etc., but there will be a mutually beneficial outcome with partnerships. Thank you again for your post!

  3. Thank you for such an insightful post! I agree that success within the SDGs is very much attributed to international aid and influence. It was also interesting to see that even states such as Egypt, which have corrupt governments, are still able to make positive headway in achieving the SDGs. It is an interesting contrast between Egypt and states like Bangladesh which also has a corrupt government, but does not seem to be making the same headway as Egypt. It makes me wonder if the complete success of the SDGs is reliant on international intervention?

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