Poverty did not come to earth from space   (Published: 19.10.2020)

Is the Sustainable Development Goals Program adopted in 2015 the last public sector G2G “masterpiece” of development goals on the planet? Or is it a platform that only provides contact information for intergovernmental actors, as they currently lack direct e-mail addresses for contacts. Instead, they have contact information for tracking things through social media. But there are no interactive contacts. The UN human rights do not recognize the right of the individual citizen to participate in global development. Why transparency is not a value / human right in sustainable development? Poverty did not come to earth from space.

Could governments and their collaborative programs learn from the way the private sector (B2B) works to manage change over the centuries? Current international cooperation is based on transnational cooperation. In addition to the use of force, sanctions, and wars, it has in the past also aided and relief in crisis situations between states and communities, such as the rupture of Dutch dams and the famine in Biafra. The colonial period is a phase whose history has not been written openly in elucidating the causes and consequences of current sustainable development.

Background to current cooperation

The Sustainable Development Agenda, adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015, is based on international cooperation, which in its current form is considered to have begun with the 1972 Swedish Government-UN Environment Conference in Stockholm. Since then, the organization of major international conferences has continued as well as joint international programs as drafting work and program launch events through various international conferences in different sectors and at the initiative of existing international actors.

There can always be many opinions about community methods. However, no one can question the importance of this intergovernmental cooperation in raising the level of awareness in global thinking. Individuals’ own perceptions of world development are based on the public media coverage of these programs, both globally and at the country level. The UN Sustainable Development website provides an overview of activities in this sector at www.sdgs.org. There you will find a “roadmap” and more information on the world of sustainable development.

Content in sustainable development

How well the Agenda 2030 for SDGs program has been able to identify the needs for change in the world and the means needed to achieve them is a key issue in working on the program. The eradication of poverty and hunger are core objectives of the program, as they have been in other similar global programs prior to the SDGs. There have also been results in removing them. At the same time, there have been critical articles in various media and demonstrations in connection with meetings of rich countries / international development organizations. People with different perspectives do not interact to change their approach.

The main criticism consists of the approach to sustainable development and Agenda 2030. Contemporary criticism leaves the SD program at the level of a program declaration. It has no functional connection to the reality around it. It lacks overall vision and rigidity in managing things in problem areas around the world. Thanks to the results of the development, there are local programs and initiatives such as micro-programs at the local level in India to electrify the country. The SDGs program lacks concrete results. The visibility of keywords in the international media does not increase the credibility of the program in the countries targeted by the changes.

The 2030 Agenda concept

Systems thinking, which can be considered as one of the most significant methods of change management, starts from the functionality of the managed entity and the interdependence of its parts in the management of the system entity. The philosophy of change in the developed industrial countries after World War II took place based on systems thinking. It differed from the top-down development thinking of the socialist countries of Eastern Europe in reforming the processes of social action. The bottom-up reform processes of Western societies reflected the original communality in their state structures. The two archetypes differed and continue to differ in systems thinking in terms of their evolutionary dynamics.

In addition to the United States, the Soviet Union was the second promoter of systems thinking and cybernetics in the world. The country believed in scientific and technological developments and the conscious role of the CPSU in leading the country. Its role was even more significant than the role of state structures in building the world’s first socialist state. However, the theory of Marxism did not work as expected by the citizens of Soviet society during the 70-year experiment. The country disintegrated and the experiment of socialism ended. However, it does not deprive Russian society of its knowledge of mathematics, cybernetics, and science in the current post-socialist experiment.

Needed Consensus on Methodology

The situation of sustainable development in the world today is quite confusing. The current approach lacks a link between substance issues and the digitization process. There is a lack of interconnection between content and interfaces as part of a larger whole when painting a picture of global development. Each actor can use their own shapes and colors. A one-page overview diagram of the overall process is needed to harmonize things. It harmonizes the perceptions of all parties regarding the content of the development and the components involved. A logical entity is created with an initial situation, a flow chart of the progress of the work, the results in the final situation, guiding norms / processing rules, technical aids and standards, and a feedback mechanism (M&E) to assess the new initial situation.

Digitization has become a key word that all stakeholders are involved in both design and implementation. The Logical Framework Approach (LFA) methodology, introduced in the 1990s for development activities, lacks a “perimeter-closing feedback mechanism” and a description of business processes based on the interdependence of parts and the mutual exchange of information. The functionality of things is the starting point, not the hierarchy of things. In the process of holistic change, the universe is constantly formed and renewed. There is a wide range of dependencies between the parts between the beginning and the end. The forest must be seen from the trees. Trees must not obstruct the view of the forest.

Dividing the whole into parts

Systems thinking uses an iterative refinement to define / verify the content of the input data, processing rules, and outputs of the current situation to ensure the internal integrity and external reliability / validation of functions. Systems thinking can use the absolute “all or nothing” of the life of Pastor Brand, the protagonist of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s Brand, in his life and in relation to other people in the mountains of Norway. The core (God is love) only opens at the end of the play. One major force in sustainable development seems to be the same: Discipline and respect for existing order amid change and the universe. Promises do not change the world.

If digitalization becomes such a major cross-cutting issue in sustainable development, let it be considered with the appropriate piety in the 2030 target program. Then it cannot be torn apart from world historical developments and the “Lessons learned” of computerization, as well as industry standards / practices. The functions must be divided into sub-functions, which are at the same time part of the functional system. Dividing each sub-function into smaller entities / hierarchical descriptions can be done systematically and as the process description progresses.

Structure and content of the efficiency proposal

The streamlining proposal is based on the 1-page LFA method and systems analysis comparison table submitted in 2013 and other project descriptions / training materials implemented with LFA standards and systems thinking standards from 1982–2020 my project interventions. Methodological material published after 2015 with the help of systems thinking The implementation of Agenda 2030 based on the needs of different domains and stakeholders is formed by a 5-point approach based on systems analysis, of which there is a separate workshop opportunity for SDGs implementation actors. The workshop will transfer the Asumer SDGs expertise platform to the operator organization, including the following areas:

(1) Analysis of the current situation

The religions of the world have a broad tradition of “identifying evil things” in people’s lives. This tradition in Jewish Christian thought is grouped into ten commandments. The Ten Commandments are not a program of purpose for man, but a divine revelation, a code of moral affairs in the world of that time. According to the Torah / Bible, God passed it on to people through Moses. In other religions, there is a moral code that should be included in the sustainable development process. The Torah / Bible contains the beginning of the universe, a description of the world order on which people act in their lives. The Agenda 2030 program is a goal program that opens differently in different cultures of the world. Does the objective logic of SDGs 17/169 represent the problems of the world universally? Does it provide a strong enough foundation / guidance as norms and a regulatory code for the way we think and function to change the world around us? Knowing yourself was a Greek Socrates instruction to other people.

(2) Regulatory basis

The organization of the Vienna Congress 1813–1915 to ensure world peace was the first world congress between states. It opened a new chapter in world history, complemented over 200 years by various international efforts. The adoption of the UN Charter in 1945 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 are one of the most significant achievements in the cooperation of the international community. The emergence of a UN system for regulating world politics is a major achievement. It continues in international cooperation. It also has an impact on the functioning of the normative basis of things in the world. The global economy, the civilian sector, international and current social media, and technological developments provide a platform on which values ‚Äč‚Äčemerge in the form of international agreements and declarations. Agenda 2030 for SDGs is an example of practice. Sovereign Jurisprudence recognizes evasive duty in the judiciary. How is this evasion and prioritization of norms work in a global community?

(3) Organization of funding

When people are united by a common interest, then many practical things are also easier to organize together. The world has been built and made better since the Vienna Congress of 1914–1815 much more through non-governmental programs and other forms of community-based cooperation. Colonial policy has played a major role in the creation of globalization. It was a hybrid model that left initiated by an individual sector and only at a later stage did it become a stage of historical development between the motherland and the colonial region, characterized by the institutional structure of the state. It would be right and fair to proceed from this starting point in determining the causes of global sustainable development. The identification of the root causes of the current world economy reinforces a new kind of non-Marxist view of post-modern income disparities and institutional developments around the world because of colonial activities and structures.

(4) Description of business processes

The information society and its technological solutions have evolved over the last 50-60 years around the world. Digitization can be a common denominator in sustainable development if it has a more precise and unambiguous meaning in terms of content. The development of information technology is very often associated with functional changes in communality and government systems. Therefore, it is important to understand the primacy of functional processes as we change the reality around us. Change in information technology alone is not enough. At the same time, the management system of operations must be changed. Changes in infrastructure and the regulatory framework are also often needed. In terms of functionality management, it is preferable to look for synergies than to describe them in a hierarchical order. Seeking synergies also brings with it efficiency thinking that is involved at all levels of human and social change.

(5) Evaluation and feedback of results

Sustainability is a team game where the whole field must be able to feel like winners in the game. The number of goals is not always crucial to success. A goal shot from one's own half of the field is an achievement that can be appreciated in a good team as a great achievement as the Netherlands did in the 2010 South Africa World Cup. It is an achievement in the history of football on its own. Sustainable development must make room for the partner countries and other communities involved. Each participant has a motive for achieving both common and their own goals. Then SDGs will also be their program, and their development goals have not been overlooked as part of an overall program and as a joint effort to achieve sustainable development as a global effort.

Justification for the SDGs efficiency program

Sustainable development is not a play presented to the public in the world media during prime time in different countries and / or on social media. At the same time, it is a cry of distress, which nature objects also present in their own way as a concern for the state of the environment. Something should be done to improve the state of the world and raise the profile of the issue if intergovernmental cooperation is not enough. The problem is that the program in its current form is too complex and extensive. All interested parties could better identify with it and be involved in its implementation. Causal thinking is passed down from generation to generation in human history. Are major conferences and declarations always needed to change things on a practical level? Money and other resources are always needed first and foremost to change things.

Sustainable development requires the transformation of the target part into a few clusters. This site presents several clusters that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. They consist of three content clusters based on synergy benefits: (1) Environmental issues, (2) Social development, (3) Public sector and one (4) methodological cluster, where digitization and management reform play a key role.  In this way, it is possible to avoid a situation in which the first flying phrase in our minds about the Roman Empire, “Vanitas vanitatum et Omnia vanitas”, replaces in our minds the action of new energy towards the challenges of the future.


© Asumer Oy / Heikki K. Auvinen, 2020 - All rights reserved.

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