Intersectionality in Sustainable Development

Intersectionality is the study of intersecting social identities – such as race, gender, social class, etc. As we highlighted in class, intersectionality exists among the Major Groups Framework. The nine major groups include: women, children, farmers, indigenous people, local authorities, businesses, civil society, and worker and trade unions. It is entirely plausible that intersectionalities among the Major Groups Framework exist. This is especially problematic because an individual has to separate their identity and choose their priorities due to a highly politicized process. It is even more challenging when intersectionalities exist that are not within the major groups framework. For example, persons with disabilities are not included in the framework. Therefore, if a disabled child was chosen as a representative of the children major group, he/she would have to separate his/her identity and choose their priorities. When viewed from this perspective, intersectionality is quite challenging. Further, as mentioned by several classmates, intersectionalites are not often not given enough attention or are often misunderstood. This is problematic because it has detrimental effects on development theory as a whole. As Ana mentioned in her post, inclusive sustainable development can only be achieved when intersectionalities are taken into account.

However, intersectionality can also be viewed as how frameworks and ideas correlate to one another. As such, intersectionality can also exist among global grand challenges within international frameworks. For example, the grand challenge of disaster risk management is tackled in the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda, and the Sendai Framework. Specifically, The Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai Framework, and the New Urban Agenda share a commitment to mainstreaming disaster risk management at all levels to reduce vulnerabilities, specifically in at-risk areas. Further, the Sendai Framework plays an important role in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The integration of disaster risk into sustainable development planning is essential to the success of the SDG’s, the Sendai Framework, and Habitat III. All three international frameworks highlight the necessity of disaster risk management. Specifically, the SDG’s and the Sendai Framework highlight the importance of building resilience in vulnerable communities via education.

Specifically, in regards to the SDG’s, there are a total of 25 targets specifically related to disaster risk reduction in ten out the seventeen SDGs. Disaster risk intersects with the global challenges of poverty eradication, food security, education, inclusive cities, and climate change. As such, it is evident that building resilience to natural disaster is fundamental to achieving the grand challenges set forth in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

These global frameworks work in cohesion to reinforce the importance of the global grand challenge of disaster risk management in the international community. As such, when viewed from the perspective of global grand challenges, intersectionality is highly beneficial.