Equality, Security and Sustainability: In Search of Virtuous Circles

Spratt, S.
IDS Evidence Report 219
Publisher IDS
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Many people and institutions are conducting research on inequality, security, or environmental sustainability. Some are looking at two of these issues together. None, to our knowledge, are examining all three simultaneously, or looking in detail at the interactions between them. This matters.

Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), nine relate directly to these subjects, and eight have strong indirect linkages. Crucially, while each SDG can be considered on its own terms, they should really be viewed as interdependent objectives: the level and nature of growth and industrialisation, for example, is inextricably linked with environment goals.

The same is true of the three objectives that form the title of this report. From a development perspective, the aim is not to foster societies that are equal or secure or sustainable, but to understand the pathways that could potentially lead to societies with all of these characteristics. As a prerequisite, we need to identify the ways that these goals can interact during the development process, both negatively and positively, and understand better how negative interactions might be reduced and positive synergies enhanced.

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