As the first five years of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda have gone by, it is time to bring back to the table questions and answers about what the countries of the Global South really need to comply with the SDGs while carrying out their own agenda of development. The latest study by Southern Voice and FUSADES on the process of implementation of the SDGs in Latin America and the report by Marcela Morales, Estefanía Charvet and Andrea Ordóñez, also from Southern Voice, provided several lines of reflection to think about the decisive decade that will begin.
Recent progress has shown that it is no longer sufficient to develop individual capacities if they are not combined with structures of support. For a long time, development has been equated to meeting individual needs, and as a result, many policies and programs were thought out and implemented with the same approach. Currently, what we require is a better interaction between individual and collective capacities, understanding the latter as the real available opportunities for a group, community, or country.
As we begin the most critical decade for the implementation of the SDGs, it is imperative to transform the 2030 Agenda framework from a list of disconnected objectives and targets to a more holistic plan of action. But even a well-integrated and coherent national policy is not enough to achieve this; a global perspective is required. The focus on integrated development and the ambition of the 2030 Agenda requires strengthening or building partnerships between governments, different sectors of society, and international cooperation. This is recognized as a part of SDG 17, which emphasizes the need to encourage participation and partnerships involving the public and private sector, civil society, and other stakeholders at the local, national, regional, and global level. For Latin America, the integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda provides a particularly relevant framework for addressing the multidimensional approaches needed to break the traps of development, which prevent middle-income countries from moving to higher levels of development, and turning them into opportunities to achieve this.
The production of indicators and the monitoring and following of the prioritized objectives are critical to ensure that the strategies are achieving the desired results. It is also a mechanism for implementing the “Leave no one behind” principle. By using data, countries can identify those that need more attention. Therefore, a key purpose of data collection for monitoring and evaluation is to ensure accountability and evidence-based policy-making to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Latin America faces the challenge of strengthening data and information systems to improve access to quantitative and qualitative data sources on SDG objectives and indicators. It is also important to find out what data should be collected and how it can be analyzed to understand the needs and expectations of each group.
Over the past two decades, poverty and inequality In Latin America has declined. As a result, the middle class has grown in size. Higher incomes come with higher expectations. People demand better public policies, services, and institutions, and they cannot respond. Citizens perceive a disconnect between their needs and the response of the government. In addition, numerous cases of corruption fuel popular discontent, which diminishes the trust in institutions. That is why the Agenda 2030 is so important for Latin America, it simultaneously focuses on the three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social, and environmental).
In summary, the researchers suggest the need for structural transformation in order to address development-related problems in the countries of the Global South is raised through an inclusive perspective, focused on the development of collective capacities, to build long-term policies that support the transformations needed to achieve the 2030 agenda.