This course will adopt a multi-faceted approach to sustainable development issues. Students will delve into the relationships between the political, scientific, economic, and technological factors behind today’s environmental challenges, examining the many different actors and aspects of the current debates.
In September 2015, the United Nations agreed on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and decided on 17 new and universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including climate change. The SDGs seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what the latter did not achieve. They are integrated, indivisible, and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development marks a watershed for development cooperation. The ambition of the global goals is without precedent; they are universal and equally applicable to all countries, rich and poor alike. Furthermore, they were declared at a unique moment of history: never before has the world been so wealthy, and that wealth so unequally distributed.
From goals to action, questions remain on exactly how legal commitments can deliver transformative action and drive societies towards sustainable pathways. How are the challenges of sustainable development, as reflected in international negotiations, experienced across national territories? In what way, and to what extent, do the topics of sustainable development and climate change become constitutive elements of the real economy?
This course will address all these questions. It will be structured in three parts. In the first part, we will discuss the achievements of the sustainable development agenda so far and take stock of 2015 – a landmark year with the Addis Ababa conference on financing for development, the SDGs set out in New York, and the COP21 in Paris. In the second part, we will review the remaining challenges and delve into specific implementation gaps of the sustainable development agenda. In the third part, we will look at how governments and stakeholders team up to address these challenges.