Defining SDD

Sustainable development diplomacy, as an integral concept, remains under-defined. In a short series of clips we wish to extend the discussion on SDD with experts on the subject, both within and outside academia. We ask experts to recommend one article or book that holds a key insight into the field of SDD, as to shortly elaborate on this.

Prof. Dr. Bas Arts the head of our SDD track, and chair of Forest and Nature conservation at Wageningen University. Arts recommends two articles that together give a good introduction and critical reflection on the value and possible limitations of the mutual gains approach for SDD.

The first article that Bas Arts recommends:

Moomaw, William R., et al.
Sustainable Development Diplomacy: Diagnostics for the Negotiation and Implementation of Sustainable Development. Global Policy (2016).

The second article that Bas Arts recommends:

Fay, Derick A.
Mutual gains and distributive ideologies in South Africa: theorizing negotiations between communities and protected areas. Human Ecology 35.1 (2007): 81-95.

Luisa Steur is professor of anthropology at the University of Amsterdam. Steur reasons why someone interested in SDD should read Tania Li’s critical reflection on the effects of labels of in- and exclusion of people in development in a capitalist setting. The article exemplifies this by showing how large institutions, with their use of the term ‘indigeneity’, often take over the same paternalistic role of colonial officials.

The article that Luisa Steur recommends:

Li, Tania Murray, et al. “Indigeneity, capitalism, and the management of dispossession.” Current Anthropology 51.3 (2010): 385-414.

Brian Lowry, Deputy General Counsel at Monsanto Company, reflects on the value of the UN White Paper for corporations that wish to get involved in SDD.

The paper that Brian Lowry recommends:

UN Global Impact (2006) White Paper. The UN Global Compact Ten Principles and the SDGS: Connecting, Crucially

Niek Koning, professor in agricultural economy and sociology, makes a plea for a return to causal analysis, in order to understand how the world has evolved in different ways in different locations. According to Koning, Lenski’s book ‘Ecological-Evolutionary Theory: Principles and Applications’ (2015) offers valuable insights in such analyses, and holds key insights for sustainable development diplomacy.

The book that Niek Koning recommends:

Lenski, Gerhard. Ecological-evolutionary theory: Principles and applications. Routledge, 2015.

Thea Hilhorst, professor of humanitarian aid and reconstruction at ISS Erasmus University Rotterdam, elaborates on the implications of effective diplomacy in situations of crisis that can be found in the book ‘Famine in Somalia: Competing Imperatives, Collective Failures’ by Maxwell and Majid. Hilhorst offers a reflection on the potential of what she refers to as ‘scenarios’ for finding a middle ground between case-specificness and general recipes for diplomacy in crisis situations.

The book that she recommends:

Maxwell, Daniel, and Nisar Majid. “Famine in Somalia: Competing Imperatives, Collective Failures, 2012–2012.” (2016).

Marcel Beukeboom, climate envoy for the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and environment, stresses the need for diplomats to understand how language-use influences the way people perceive, and thus act on, climate change.

The article that he recommends:

Article Whitmarsh, Lorraine, and Adam Corner. “Tools for a new climate conversation: A mixed-methods study of language for public engagement across the political spectrum.” Global Environmental Change 42 (2017): 122-135.

Patrick Verkooijen, climate representative at the World Bank Group, explains why he is an optimist when it comes to creating large-scale transformative action to realize the global environmental commitments that were agreed upon in the Paris Agreement and the Development Agenda 2030. This report, initiated by the G20 and executed by Mike Bloomberg and 32 investors, concludes that unlocking the climate finance at required scale, which is in the trillions ($), requires that businesses disclose the climate risk to which they are exposed, and that they come up with strategies to address these risks.

The report that Patrick Verkooijen recommends:

Final Report Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures 2017.

Frank Heemskerk, executive director of the Netherlands’ constituency at the World Bank Group, stresses the value of both practical experience and literature when it comes to sustainable development diplomacy. He recommends the recently published booklet by VNO-NCW called ‘Global challenges, Dutch solutions; Agenda 2030’ (2017) which describes several examples of Dutch businesses who have translated the holistic SDGs into pragmatic solutions. In this video Heemskerk mentions some examples of Dutch enterprises that have successfully integrated several SDGs in their businesses, and he reflects on the role of the state and the private sector in the large-scale transition to global sustainable practices.

The report that Frank Heemskerk recommends:

VNO-NCW ‘Global challenges, Dutch solutions; Agenda 2030’ 2017.