In an era of global uncertainty, the SDGs can be our guide

By Robert Muggah and John McArthur

Published on the World Economic Forum

Global cooperation is at a crossroads. Many of the world’s biggest challenges are not a result of disagreements about how to cooperate, but a profound loss of direction about why to cooperate in the first place. Citizens in wealthy and poorer countries alike are less inclined than ever to trust, much less follow, traditional elites. And with populism and nationalism on the march, a growing number of governments lack the domestic backing required to forge stronger multilateral ties abroad.

There are many reasons why political and business elites have fallen out of favour. Too many were blind to the frustration of whole swaths of their own societies feeling left behind. They missed tectonic political shifts and inequalities driven by the fast-shifting global and digital economy. With some exceptions, they also disregarded creeping killers like air pollution, ocean acidification, and rising sea levels that are undermining the liveability of so many communities.

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