UNSSC | How to advance development cooperation in times of global megatrends

Our world in 2050 is being decided today. Global megatrends and how we deal with them define the conditions of tomorrow. Megatrends are observed everywhere. They affect society, economy, politics and the environment. Megatrends reinforce each other through their interlinkages. While all countries are affected by global megatrends, their ability to address them is not the same. This has consequences for development policy.

The Report of the UN Economist Network for the UN 75th Anniversary: Shaping the Trends of Our Time, which was published in September 2020, examines five megatrends: climate change; demographic shifts, particularly population ageing; urbanization; the emergence of digital technologies; and inequalities –that are affecting economic, social and environmental outcomes. The report underlines that all trends are the result of human activity, and as such, they can be shaped by human decisions and policy choices.

UNSSC and the German Development Institute have embarked on a variety of collaborations in order to examine the concepts underpinning the 2030 Agenda and to underline the consequences of global megatrends in light of national policy choices, development policy, as well as civil servant capacity development.

A short joint video emphasizes the importance for development policy to recognize the universal relevance of global megatrends, and calls on governments to approach the challenges of our time through joint efforts, seeking innovative solutions, away from past recipes, which have led to high human development to the detriment of environmental sustainability. As in climate policy and in the covid-19 crisis, rich and poor countries have to learn to truly collaborate, share knowledge, foster systemic change and generate positive effects across various fields, at home, as much as elsewhere.

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Source: United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC), 14 December 2020