The Sustainable Development Goals and Laudato si'

Comparison in the light of post-development

  • News 03.11.2017

Comparing the Agenda 2030 of the United Nations and the Laudato si' by the Pope, both authored in 2015, one point stands out: The development enthusiasm of the twentieth century is gone. In its place, there is now the demise of expansive modernity that has to be dealt with. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Sachs, Senior Researcher at the Wuppertal Institute, concludes that the world is in crisis roundabout: The biosphere is being shattered and, in more ways than one, the gap between the rich and the poor is widening. While both the Agenda 2030 and the Laudato si' agree that the global economic model can now be considered old iron, there are equally significant differences. The Agenda 2030 seeks to repair the existing global economic model significantly, whereas the encyclical calls for a pushing back of economic hegemony and for more ethical responsibility on all levels. While the Agenda 2030 envisions a green economy with social democratic hues, the encyclical foresees a post capitalist-era, based on a cultural shift towards eco-solidarity.

In his article "The Sustainable Development Goals and Laudato si': varieties of post-development?", Wolfgang Sachs compares both publications. The article was published in Third World Quarterly as contribution to the "Post-Development" section. Cause for this thematic section is the 25th anniversary of the "Development Dictionary. A Guide to Knowledge as Power", which was published in 1992 and reprinted in 2009 with a new preface by the editor Wolfgang Sachs. The article is available for download at the Wuppertal Institute publication server.