Thought piece by Stephen Heins
[Best quotes of this important study: (1) “In this brief note we examine the SDG with respect to the issues raised by the Colonial Office (Butler, 1991) and by Bill Easterly (Easterly, Senseless Dreamy Garbled, 2015) (Easterly, 2015) and deliberate whether this program is a paternal development model that imposes contentious climate change priorities of the North on a poverty-ridden South without due consideration of whether they serve the urgent needs of the South (Diekmann, 1999)”; (2) “The flaw in this logic [Climate Activism] is that, if additional funding is available, its use is best determined according to the urgent needs and priorities of the poor countries receiving the funds and not according to the social and environmental concerns of the rich countries providing these funds.”
Good economics, with no micro-management by the wealthy nations, seems like a great practical environmental strategy. Steve]
SDG: CLIMATE ACTIVISM DISGUISED AS DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE
21 July 2016 | JAMAL MUNSHI
ABSTRACT: Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) marks a shift in the priority of the UNDP from tackling poverty to tackling climate change. This shift erodes the ability of the UNDP to perform its primary function of providing development assistance to poor countries. The climate finance proposal is unlikely to mend this fundamental defect in the SDG initiative of the UNDP1.
1 Date: July 2016, 7/21/2016 minor changes, 7/23/2016 minor changes
Author affiliation: Professor Emeritus, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA, 94928, firstname.lastname@example.org
Key words: climate change, global warming, fossil fuel emissions, Kyoto Protocol, UN, UNEP, UNFCCC, UNDP, MDG, SDG, development economics, foreign aid, colonialism, white man’s burden, Bill Easterly, Colonial Office
Significant social, political, financial, scientific, and technological advances in Europe since the 18th century left most of Asia and Africa behind and dependent on Europeans, initially as colonies and later in terms of development assistance. In the post-war and post-colonialism world about one fifth of the world’s population live in industrialized and technologically advanced rich countries, their economies driven by capitalism, innovation, trade, and well developed legal, political, and financial institutions that favor economic growth (Young, 2016) (Weightman, 2010) (Rosen, 2012). These countries, mostly former colonizers, are collectively referred to as the “North”. About one half the world’s populations live in backward and undeveloped economies mostly in the former colonies – the great majority of them non-resource, non-industrialized, non-mechanized, agrarian subsistence economies mired in poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, and inadequate sanitation and infrastructure. These countries are collectively referred to as the “South”.
The great disparity in wealth and human development between the North and the South in the colonial and post-colonialism worlds (Therien, 1999) gave rise to the idea that the North could and should provide development assistance to the South in terms of capital, technology, and ideology to build them up in the North’s image – a model of development economics derived from colonial development plans (Butler, 1991) (Cowen, 1984) (Hailey, 1943) (Sachs, 2006) (Doucouliagos, 2009). It is now recognized, as it was by the British Colonial Office in the 1940s, that this model of North to South top-down and paternal development assistance is flawed because it overlooks the political dimension of economic growth and differences in social values and development priorities between North and South (Butler, 1991) (Easterly, 2002) (Easterly, 2007) (Easterly, 2015). Yet, it is still the norm in development assistance programs including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) development program of the UNDP (UNDP-SDG, 2015). In this brief note we examine the SDG with respect to the issues raised by the Colonial Office (Butler, 1991) and by Bill Easterly (Easterly, Senseless Dreamy Garbled, 2015) (Easterly, 2015) and deliberate whether this program is a paternal development model that imposes contentious climate change priorities of the North on a poverty-ridden South without due consideration of whether they serve the urgent needs of the South (Diekmann, 1999) (Vegter, 2012). SDG: CLIMATE ACTIVISM DISGUISED AS DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE , JAMAL MUNSHI, 2016