preferences by countries can led to different forms of the challenges that they face and the strategies they choose to address these challenges. However, in an increasingly globalized world, many modern challenges are increasingly affecting the world’s population as a whole; like climate change for example. Thus the next generations of challenges will require solutions that involve an unprecedented level of global collaboration. Furthermore, these challenges can be thought of in terms of social, economic, and environmental challenges. This paper will briefly outline three development challenges that are facing development in the 21st century.
Climate change, also known as global warming, is an environmental phenomenon that has attracted significant global attention in recent decades. This is arguably an issue that can be thought of as an existential issue. Climate change stands the potential not only to threaten many animal species around the world in a new global masses extinction event, but also has the potential to virtually change the climate system in a way inhospitable to future generations of humans. With the world population recently climbing to over seven billion people, many researchers are questioning the natural ecosystem’s ability to support the global population (Hanna & Osborne-Lee, 2011). The global human population might reach a point, if they haven’t already, in which ecological systems and the planet’s natural systems lose their ability to regenerate.
The response required from the developed countries of the global north, the developing countries of the global south, and the transitional developed countries will all need to contribute differently and many of these contributions are heavily debated. For example, the developed countries have used fossil fuels to growth their modern economies and fuel development. However, fossil fuels are heavily contributing to climate change. If the developing countries develop along the same paths and using the same means, using fossil fuels for development, then many scientist believe that there is no hope in preserving the climate. Therefore, the developed countries had something of an unfair advantage in their development and many argue that they should assist developing countries in their development.
However, at the same time, the individuals responsible for the emissions of greenhouse gases had no knowledge of the environmental damage that they were causing at the time. The ethical responsibilities needed from countries at different stages of development are far from clear. Bangladesh is particularly at risk in the face of a changing climate. Bangladesh, with its low elevation and severe tropical storms, is among the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, though it has contributed little to the emissions that are driving it (Harris, 2014). Thus, despite contributing very little in terms of greenhouse gases, Bangladesh will be among the countries most effected by the consequences of climate change.
Inequality is a problem on many levels throughout the world. Not only is there significant amount of inequality between countries, but there is also many developed countries, such as the U.S., that have significant amounts of inequality within their county itself. Inequality is closely linked to social sustainability. A society needs to ensure that all of its member’s basic needs are met in order to maintain a level of social stability. If large parts of the population are oppressed and excluded from prosperity, then social instability is a potential outcome and this can have implications for all parts of society.
There have been attempts to try to incorporate levels of inequality and social sustainability into different metrics that can help track its progress. One model, the 3Ps, tries to encourage a balance between people, profits, and the planet (Tsai & Chou, 2007). Another model which is actually required in accounting from by regulatory agencies in some companies is the triple bottom line (Norman & MacDonald, 2004). While such metrics can help organizations and institutions make more sustainable decisions, others have argued that more comprehensive measures than GDP alone needs to be used on a macro scale that can help illustrate levels of inequality.
The Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) was one of the first alternatives to the GDP to be vetted by the scientific community and used regularly by governmental and non-governmental organizations worldwide; such a measure includes many factors that go beyond economic factors, such as income distribution, education, resource depletion, health measures, and even leisure times to evaluate the real health of a country (Redifining Progress, N.d.). If such a measure were applied to a country such as Bangladesh, it would clearly illustrate the low level of education, limited access to land, low paying jobs, and high levels of overall inequality (The World Bank, N.d.)
Security is a primary concern of all nations of the world. The example of how security concerns in Latin America are provided and serve as a great example of security concerns in the developing world. Since the formation of the Latin American countries, they have largely been beholden to imperialist interests from countries such as the U.S., UK, and Spain (The Transitional Developed Countries). The U.S. still remains a dominant player in Latin America and has been known to intervene, in some cases militarily or through use of the CIA, in many Latin American affairs.
However, in the last generation, many of the South American countries have worked diligently to cooperate and coordinate their objectives to become more independent and autonomous and be able to resist outside influence from external interests. The book gives the example of Hugo Chavez who was a socialist president of Venezuela. Chavez was heavily critical of U.S. interventions in Latin America.
“The devil came here yesterday, and it smells of sulfur still today,” Chavez told shocked world leaders at the UN General Assembly in 2006 when Chavez lambasted then U.S. president George W. Bush as “the devil” (AFP, 2013).
Chavez urged South American leaders to unite in order to become more regionally independent and be able to operate independent of the U.S. Such strategies have appeared to pay off as the U.S. has become more respectful of Latin American autonomy. For example, President Obama has approved a track to begin to normalize relations with Cuba who has long been a Latin American enemy.
The South American countries and their strategy to form closer regional alliances to offset the U.S. domination of the hemisphere has also been mirrored in other forms. For example, the current struggle in Syria and the rise of Isis has illustrate other tensions in the region between Russia and the U.S. Putin has been outspoken on the need for countries to form alliances to offset the U.S. dominance of many regions of the world. Therefore Russia has been working to form regional alliances in the region and there has been evidence of tension between the U.S. and Russia that has emerged. In Bangladesh, there have been a different set of security challenges that include instances of voter rigging which can lead to social and political instability (Kabir, 2015). Coupled with an economy that has roughly stagnated, Bangladesh could have many security challenges in the near future.
AFP. (2013, March 14). Chavez ‘devil’ speech recalled at UN tribute. Retrieved from Nation: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/world/Chavez-devil-speech-recalled-at-UN-tribute/-/1068/1719726/-/2omnx2z/-/index.html
Hanna, S., & Osborne-Lee, I. (2011). Sustainable economy of the ecological footprint: economic analysis and impacts. In V. Esteve, Ecosystems and Sustainable Development VIII (pp. 313-342). Southampton: WIT Press.
Harris, G. (2014, March 25). Borrowed Time on Disappearing Land. Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/29/world/asia/facing-rising-seas-bangladesh-confronts-the-consequences-of-climate-change.html
Kabir, A. (2015, May 14). Democracy Departs From Bangladesh. Retrieved from The Diplomat: http://thediplomat.com/2015/05/democracy-departs-from-bangladesh/
Norman, W., & MacDonald, C. (2004). Getting to the bottom of “Triple Bottom Line.” Business Ethics Quarterly, 14(2), 243-262.
Redifining Progress. (N.d.). Genuine Progress Indicator. Retrieved from Redifining Progress: http://rprogress.org/sustainability_indicators/genuine_progress_indicator.htm
The Transitional Developed Countries. (n.d.).
The World Bank. (N.d.). Poverty in Bangladesh: Building on Progress. Retrieved from The World Bank: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTPOVERTY/EXTPA/0,,contentMDK:20208955~menuPK:435735~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:430367~isCURL:Y~isCURL:Y,00.html
Tsai, W., & Chou, W. (2007). Selecting management systems for sustainable development in SMEs: A novel hybrid model based on DEMATEL, ANP, and ZOGP. Expert Systems with Applications, 36(2), 1444-1458.
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