Breaking Down the Sustainable Development Goals and HLPF

As we have learned in class, the Sustainable Development Goals has seventeen goals — set with targets and indicators — addressing global challenges with inclusive and sustainable solutions for all. To assess the progress of these goals, the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development meets annually and also allows major groups and stakeholders to speak and recommend certain actions during the forum. While Sen’s readings for this past week were prior to the implementation of the SDGs, he highlights certain areas that are intrinsic to freedom and development that are also featured within some of the major goals. He touches upon challenges in development, such as eliminating endemic deprivation and preventing severe destitution, which coincides with SDGs 1 and 2 on eliminating poverty and hunger. He also emphasizes the agency role of women that impacts infant survival, reduces fertility rates, and empowers women through education and employment. The UN has a similar page that also highlights the benefits of economic empowerment for women, including increased organizational effectiveness and growth in businesses as well as overall productivity.

While Sen gave a comprehensive overview of freedom in more specific areas of development, Ari Rimmerman has points highlighted in the SDGs that focus on the social inclusion of persons with disabilities. Defining social inclusion in this context means accepting and recognizing a person beyond the disability, having personal relationships, being involved in social activities, having the proper living accommodation, having employment, and having the appropriate support. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) helps develop policies to address these factors within social inclusion. Their work is also a branch within capacity building, tying into what we had discussed in our past week’s blog on functionings and capabilities. Applying what policies DESA has developed in countries may be applicable to my project and worth reading into more, particularly for how social inclusion functions in SDG 11 for sustainable cities.

The last reading by Sumner and Tribe explained the research cycle within development studies, and their process echoes similarly to how we will be putting together our proposal and final projects. There are four main stages, beginning with identifying the problem, organizing our research design, collecting data, and finally analyzing the data. Our proposals have all of these steps, from devising a methodology behind our research to providing deliverables at the end. I found this reading particularly helpful because it shows the similar processes development studies utilizes in doing their research and it is something I can refer to throughout my project.

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