National reports

The Cypriot government strongly supported the process of developing the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and has repeatedly expressed its commitment to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, it has yet to adopt a comprehensive policy framework for implementation of the goals in the national context. This report discusses the progress made towards a national strategic framework for the implementation of the SDGs and identifies the steps taken, the challenges and opportunities as well as the issue of budgeting. It goes on to highlight the ways that SDGs could act as catalyst during the implementation of a solution to the Cyprus problem, and concludes with a few recommendations.
The report for Colombia, by the Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad focuses on the performance of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and the major role of private companies in infrastructure development. Colombia’s National Development Plan 2014-2018 introduced the Sustainable Development Objectives 2030, outlining the strategic priorities of the government. Infrastructure, mining, energy and hydrocarbons are deemed essential for those objectives and a legal and institutional framework for PPPs was created. The report looks at some of the problems created by this scheme in the areas of infrastructure and health.
Current debates in Ghana about sustainable development express a confluence of four important trends: 1) questioning of the growing inequalities and exclusion wrought by the dominant neoliberal economic policies and the quality of growth that has resulted; 2) recognition of the advances that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Goals (SDGs) represent on the minimal ambitions of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); 3) African recognition of the limits of raw material commodity export dependence and the need for structural economic transformation; and 4) the rediscovery of development planning as an important tool and policy framework.
As one of the 22 countries that volunteered to be reviewed at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York in July 2016, Morocco presented a concise report on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. These brief comments on the report endeavor to assess the ability of the Moroccan Government to meet its commitments towards its citizens and the international community. Morocco’s Report to the HLPF contains two main sections: one is devoted to contextualizing the Agenda 2030 while the other highlights the requirements to be met in order to effectively implement it.
This article examines fiscal policy and the main parameters of Azerbaijan’s fiscal position in the context of the severe constraints (namely, reduced budget revenues and cuts in government spending) posed by the decline in crude oil prices. These constraints can also hamper the financing of sustainable development initiatives. Azerbaijan’s fiscal balances have deteriorated considerably as crude oil prices have tumbled. A worsening of the country’s fiscal balance could gradually contribute to an increase in the public debt burden and threaten fiscal sustainability in the long term. Azerbaijan’s sovereign wealth fund, SOFAZ, now has very limited profits from the sale of oil, and will contribute less to the fiscal revenues of the state as a consequence. The national state-owned oil-gas company, SOCAR, temporarily cancelled its plans for a new oil-gas refining and petrochemical complex because of the rapid fall in crude oil prices. However, at the same time, the new low oil price environment also offers an opportunity to boost a new wave of fiscal and public administration reforms in Azerbaijan.
Several challenges hinder the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development in Lebanon. During the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in September 2014 Lebanese President Tammam Salam identified the humanitarian issues caused by the Syrian refugee crisis as one of the greatest challenges to development. It is indeed a significant constraint; yet, one should note that Lebanon was facing a political and socio-economic crisis reflected by a high rate of unemployment and marginalized people, even before the Syrian crisis and the flood of refugees. Therefore, it is worth highlighting that the Syrian war shed light on the structural and systemic problems of Lebanon and aggravated them. To date, Lebanon does not have a national strategy for sustainable development nor a national economic plan nor a poverty reduction strategy. According to the 2014 International Parliamentary Union Secretary General’s annual report: “the Lebanese Parliament reported that the Sustainable Development Initiative was in the agenda of the Public Work Committee between 2009-2010 period. The current political instabilities, however, forced the Parliament to shift its priorities.” The same report indicates that the Parliament has not been informed of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has not taken any steps to discuss them.
After more than five years, the conflict in Syria represents a catastrophic failure of the “international system” in terms of maintaining basic human rights (including the right to live), peace and stability. This system, including the UN as well as influential world states and organizations, has failed to reduce the escalation of conflict, let alone create effective mediation processes to reach a decent solution. Furthermore, many international and regional actors have fueled the conflict by providing political, military, logistic and financial support to the warring parties, investing in identity politics to deepen polarization and strengthening hostility and a spirit of revenge in their local affiliates. The conflict has largely destroyed Syria’s economic structure, foundations and institutions, severely depleting resources and capital, human capital, social capital and economic governance. Economic priorities shifted as all subjugating powers reallocated resources to fuel violence and its related activities. This economic environment came along with the absence of rule of law, property rights, and accountability, in addition to a surge in corruption. It generated new actors and/or changed the behaviour of previous actors to be part of new rules of game: that of imposing hegemony by force and building new political economies to sustain the conflict. Effectiveness and equity, as goals of economic policy, have been diminished as the authorities sacrificed the core development goals and achievements to serve the new “development in reverse” dynamics.
Paraguay faces strong challenges in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with their focus on reducing inequalities and their complex links to production and growth. The right to health has not been met yet and social protection is still not a right for everyone. Even if there is a systematic improvement of the indicators of the past decade, these positive results were achieved only after years. After more than a decade of economic growth, lost opportunities in terms of welfare, the lack of productive transformation and tax justice place the country in an unfavourable position to meet the goals of reducing inequalities and ensuring socially and environmentally sustainable growth.
Is the 2030 Agenda compatible with the neoliberal project? What happens in Spain in the current political context is a practical laboratory on how institutions, political parties and citizens are thinking about that question. Any serious strategy and initiatives to adapt and implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Spain would have to incorporate several fundamental issues. Not so long ago, Spain’s commitment to the recognition of freedoms and rights in terms of equality were recognized; and its geographical and climatic conditions and technological development are sufficient to manage an energy transition towards models based on renewable resources. Its challenge in terms of employment however, suggests the need to explore productive transformation policies. There is room to expand fiscal policy given its low tax revenue in relation to neighbouring countries, and domestic rates of poverty and inequality require prioritizing specific policies in order to reduce them.
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