Global Community: Sustainable Development vs Geopolitics? | EP Conference, Brussels


A conference in the European Parliament that investigates the increasing contradiction between sustainable development and geopolitics:

When: Tuesday 16 April 2024 (9.30 - 11.15)
Where: in the European Parliament (Brussels) - ASP 1G2
Languages: English (Spanish interpretation available)
Register HERE  before 12 April.
The event will be livestreamed.

Outline and aim of the initiative
Today, the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) appears increasingly elusive.

In September 2023, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed regret, stating that “only 15 percent of the goals are on track, and many are even regressing.” Hunger, poverty, inequality,
climate change, and environmental degradation persist as global challenges demanding
coordinated efforts among all nations, especially the leading industrialized ones.

The response in Europe and among the G7 to these challenges is disquieting. Instead of fostering peace, disarmament, and cooperation, they emphasize a “turning point” and boast of a “geopolitical” EU Commission, which, as Foreign Affairs Representative Borrell proclaimed, would speak the “language of power.” This geopoliticization of international relations translates into an increasingly confrontational foreign policy focused on militarization and power projection rather than détente and reconciliation, causing scepticism and discomfort beyond the Western sphere. Yet, how can we advance towards the SDGs if we yield to the pressures of geopolitics? What viable alternatives can we explore? And how might we envision a “global community” that fosters accountability, embraces our shared humanity, and integrates economic well-being,
environmental protection, and social inclusion as interconnected and indispensable pillars of

As ecological crises escalate and the limitations of growth-based economic models have become apparent to most citizens, it is clear that a paradigm shift is imperative. This shift calls for a
fundamental re-evaluation of not just our lifestyles, but also our worldviews, prioritizing
sustainability, equity, and global dialogue.

This event seeks to deepen our understanding of where tensions between the Agenda 2030 and
geopoliticization exist and how can they can be resolved, based on the insights of six experts.

Welcome and opening remarks
- Helmut Scholz, MEP - The Left
- Eugenia Rodríguez Palop, MEP - The Left
Challenges for sustainable development in times of geopolitics
- Richard Kozul-Wright (Director of UNCTAD’s globalization and development
strategies division)
- Reaction: Anuradha Chenoy (Adjunct Professor at O.P. Jindal Global University in
Sonipat and Associate of the Transnational Institute)
Competing political models - advantages and pitfalls
- Stefan Schmalz (Heisenberg-Research Group Leader at the Faculty of Economics,
Law and Social Sciences at University of Erfurt)
- Reaction: Guillaume Long (Senior Political Analyst at Center for Economic and Policy
Research and former Foreign Minister of Ecuador)
Global poverty and climate crisis - relegated issues?
- Olivier De Schutter (Professor at the Université Catholique de Louvain and UN
Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights)
- Patrizia Heidegger (Deputy Secretary General, Director for EU Governance,
Sustainability and Global Policies at European Environmental Bureau)
Discussion among panellists
Q&A with audience
Closing remarks by Helmut Scholz

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