Strengthening multilateralism is a prominent task of foreign policy and central to achieving sustainable development and securing a peaceful future. Here you can watch, hear and read innovative ideas on how diplomats can drive transformative change by gearing-up international cooperation, shaping a truly sustainable foreign policy.
Susanne Baumann, Federal Government Commissioner for Disarmament and Arms Control and Head of the Directorate-General for International Order, the United Nations and Arms Control at the German Federal Foreign Office, gives examples of how German foreign policy works to achieve the SDGs, a unique compass for holistic foreign policy thinking:
For Oli Brown, Associate Fellow at Chatham House, foreign policy is essential to achieving sustainable development because it has the tools and the mandate to give vigorous support to multilateralism:
Foreign Affairs and the Agenda 2030: Progress on many of the 2030 Agenda’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals is lagging while the willingness to cooperate internationally seems to be waning. Martin Wall discusses how foreign policy can help bridge this gap with Daria Ivleva, one of the editors of adelphi’s recent publication Driving Transformative Change: Foreign Affairs and the Agenda 2030.
Stopping the Great Splintering: A 5-Step Plan to Revive Multilateralism, a blog article by Oli Brown, breaks down what can be done to bring back some of the 2015 charm.
Leadership for the SDGs: Why foreign policy must recharge multilateral cooperation now, an essay by Oli Brown and Stella Schaller, reminds us that the SDGs and foreign policy seek to achieve the same things – stability, peace and prosperity on a healthy planet. Therefore, strengthening the multilateral structures to deliver the goals should be seen as a litmus test for the effectiveness of foreign policy in the twenty-first century.
Beware the politics: Leveraging foreign policy for SDG implementation, an essay by Daria Ivleva, Alexander Müller and Benjamin Pohl, claims that sustainable foreign policy needs to be aware of the (geo)political dimension of the 2030 Agenda. It also needs to prioritise sustainability: if the SDGs remain only a side note to multiple other imperatives of foreign affairs, this would imply significant risks and foregone opportunities.
For more essays on foreign policy and sustainable development, take a look at the volume Driving Transformative Change: Foreign Affairs and the 2030 Agenda.
In this video, we have put together some of the best moments of the panel discussion at the German Federal Foreign Office on the role of foreign policy in the global sustainability architecture:
The challenges facing the international community are growing while the willingness to cooperate seems to be waning. At a side event during the 2019 High-Level Political Forum, diplomats and policy experts discussed the role of foreign policy in the architecture of global sustainability.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands has contributed $28 million to back FAO's work to boost the resilience of food systems in Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan - part of a new initiative to scale-up resilience-based development work in countries affected by protracted crises.
A group of five small countries have announced that they will launch negotiations on a new Agreement on Climate Change, Trade and Sustainability, which, if successful, would constitute the first international trade agreement focused solely on climate change and sustainable development. The initiative also breaks new ground by aiming to simultaneously remove barriers for trade in environmental goods and services and crafting binding rules to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. Small countries can pioneer the development of new trade rules that can help achieve climate goals, but making credible commitments, attracting additional participants, and ensuring transparency will be essential ingredients for long-term success.
Ten years after committing to rationalise and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, G20 countries still subsidise coal, oil and gas to the tune of around USD 150 billion annually. The process to try to move the G20 forward on this issue has been via peer review of fossil fuel subsidies, but these reviews need to be followed by action. Subsidy reforms could free up resources that could be channeled back into government programmes, which would be necessary to mitigate the impacts of rising energy prices on vulnerable populations and to help smooth reforms, and could also be spent on accelerating a clean energy transition.
Adapting to climate change and strengthening resilience are becoming priorities for the international community – however, they require greater ambition in climate policy. 107 governments and numerous international organisations have endorsed a call for action on raising ambition at the United Nations Climate Change Summit on 23rd September 2019. Following the summit, the Global Commission on Adaptation will begin its Year of Action to meet the climate challenges ahead. The Year of Action is here to accelerate climate adaptation around the world, to improve human well-being and to drive more sustainable economic development and security.