Bonn Symposium 2016

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Leave no one behind. Agenda 2030: a social policy mandate for the local level

Deutsche Welle, Bonn
24-25 November 2016

The United Nations (UN) adopted the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development in autumn 2015. Since their adoption, the question of precisely how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are to be implemented at the various policy levels has been the subject of debate in numerous international bodies, first and foremost the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). It is also intertwined with other global political processes such as the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III).

This is because the 17 Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030 expressly aim to balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. ‘Leave no one behind’ is a cross-cutting principle running through the whole of Agenda 2030. Narrowing social inequalities is thus Agenda 2030’s social policy mandate for all policy areas.

The social (policy) dimension of Agenda 2030 is evident inter alia in the commitment to ensuring inclusive quality education (SDG 4), achieving gender equality (SDG 5), promoting full and productive employment and decent work for all (SDG 8), reducing inequality (SDG 10), implementing planned and well-managed migration policies (SDG 10.7), making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (SDG 11), ensuring access to adequate, safe and affordable housing (SDG 11.1), and revitalising the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development (SDG 17).

The May 2016 draft of Germany’s National Sustainability Strategy also emphasises the social policy dimension of sustainable development. Specific measures include promoting economic and social participation, improving equality of opportunity at the national level, and supporting partner regions’ efforts to reduce income and wealth inequality and establish social protection systems.

The local level has a key role to play in implementing Agenda 2030, especially in relation to the social dimension of sustainable development. On the one hand, it is here that the fault-lines within society manifest themselves in the form of exclusion, divisions, lack of social participation, and inequality of opportunity. Changing family structures, migration and the challenges of demographic change are most palpable at the local level. On the other hand, the local level is where social cohesion is built, with sports clubs, churches, trade unions and business welcoming people from diverse backgrounds. The municipalities’ social policy agendas thus have immense potential to make a difference, provided that the right conditions are in place.

This year’s Bonn Symposium will therefore explore ways of implementing Agenda 2030’s social policy mandate at the local level. To what extent do municipal authorities and other local stakeholders have powers and responsibilities to heal the fault-lines within society, and how much scope for action do they have? How can conflicts of interests be dealt with? What are examples of best practice in implementing the SDGs’ social policy mandate at the local level? How can the municipalities learn from and support each other through global dialogue?


Strengthening Social Security in Africa


Numerous African countries have adopted measures to improve social protection in recent years. And a large number of relevant initiatives have been established at both regional and continental level. How successful are they and what are the challenges associated? What has to happen for initiatives to be effective on a broader scale? And what kind of support can the international community provide? We will discuss these questions with experts from politics, academia, business and civil society during this year’s Potsdam Spring Dialogues on 19/20 April 2018. Register now!

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Current challenges for democracies


In February 2018, the first Dresden Forum for International Politics took place. The new series is co-organised by the sef:, the Free State of Saxony, Engagement Global gGmbh and Foundation Frauenkirche Dresden. Around 80 experts from different world regions discussed current challenges for democracy. They focused on how to create and sustain peaceful societies in democracies. Read the conference report and further coverage online now!

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The Development and Peace Foundation (sef:) and the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) are launching a new publications series: GLOBAL TRENDS. ANALYSIS. The new series aims to identify options for international policy action in an ever more complex world. Furthermore, it presents perspectives from different world regions. The series analyses current developments and challenges against the background of long-term political trends, and it illustrates facts with figures and tables. GLOBAL TRENDS. ANALYSIS is issued by a team of co-editors from different world regions. For more information, see our press release.

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Cooperation in a Post-Western World


The Western liberal order finds itself in deep crisis. Global power shifts are accelerating. What does this mean for the future of global cooperation? How can the wish for more national autonomy be reconciled with the need to cooperate in a globalised world? Can new forms of governance contribute to sustaining global cooperation? Michèle Roth and Cornelia Ulbert discuss these questions in the first issue of the new publication series GLOBAL TRENDS. ANALYSIS.

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How to overcome the impasse in UN Security Council reform


The urgently needed UN Security Council reform has been stuck for decades. Without a far-reaching structural change that includes the end of permanent seats and the veto, the Council is fading into irrelevance. But at a time of great power transitions, multipolarity without sufficient multilateralism is a dangerous trend. Therefore, in GLOBAL TRENDS. ANALYSIS 02|2018, Jakkie Cilliers calls for a political and intellectual leap to overcome the impasse in UN Security Council reform.

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