National reports

This report provides a critical appraisal of the Cyprus Government efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda with a focus on education. On July 2017 the Agriculture Minister of the Republic of Cyprus, who addressed the High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development at UN headquarters in New York, stated that Cyprus has achieved great progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. He highlighted the importance at an international level of the application of the 17 SDGs and gave an account of Cyprus’ progress so far. The international non-profit centre CARDET participated in the UN forum with a report from the civil society perspective. An emphasis was placed on efforts to raise awareness among Cypriot citizens on the SDGs and their implementation at local, national and regional contexts.
Brazil made meaningful progress in tackling poverty from 2000 to 2013, largely with the aim of addressing the concentration of wealth and economic power. Most of this progress was a result of public investments in health, education, cash transfer programmes and social protection provision. Not coincidentally, the country’s economy thrived from burgeoning domestic demand. Brazil also set an example in its initial response to the 2008-2009 global economic crisis by increasing social investments,1 which in turn sustained the economy while promoting human rights.
In Mexico it is urgent to protect human rights from corporate abuses and end impunity rather than continue to promote private investment without effective environmental, social and human rights requirements. The national context favours the promotion of business but not sustainable development or human rights: legal reforms that give priority to energy projects over any other activity, lax and outdated environmental regulations, and a State that is indifferent to business abuses affecting civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental human rights of the population. In short, Mexico is a State that ignores its obligation to protect human rights from its violation by non-state actors.
The cases below show some of the problems with partnerships for sustainable development. First, as implemented in Thailand, the SDGs are bounded by mindsets and practices of bureaucracy. Consequently, the goals are reduced to measures or mere numbers without recognition of the principle of development that must put human values and ecological concerns at the centre, so that many minority groups and ordinary people are overlooked (or invisible) and discriminated against. This stems from the second point: the imbalance of power in public-private partnerships. Our examples show that they are not initiated from below but from the centralized power of the corporate-government complex, strengthened by a curtailment of freedom of speech and continued neoliberal policies. This leads to our third point: lack of feedback. In order for implementation to be meaningful, a participation process should be organized regularly to ensure that diverse voices from below are taken seriously, especially those who are suffered or suppressed. In terms of an institutional framework, there must be effective mechanisms to monitor monopolizing conglomerates and practices that undermine health, environment and diverse local ways of life. Furthermore, local or indigenous forms of knowledge must be channeled into a broader public policy space; co-production of knowledge among various sectors (community, academic, expert, private company, entrepreneurial, etc.) and across many silos of knowledge should be supported in order to rebalance power relations and to enable local initiative and innovation to flourish. Above all, so-called ‘glocal’ networking is a crucial part in learning to accomplish the SDGs and to construct powerful partnerships.
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