Working holistically

Unlocking a series of positive chain reactions to generate sustainable development

The United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognises the critical connections between the various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) spanning economic, social and environmental sustainability.

It’s clear that gains in poverty eradication, food security, health, gender equality, climate action and environmental protection can’t be achieved in isolation from each other: lack of progress in one area is likely to hold back progress in other areas. Current challenges exacerbate each other in mutually reinforcing vicious cycles, so responses must work at the very intersection of these issues in order to achieve and sustain real change.

When it comes to climate change and associated extreme weather events, responsibility and impacts are distributed unevenly across different regions and countries in the world.

Major greenhouse gas emitters must take rapid and bold action to reduce their emissions, while those countries suffering from the effects of climate change require help to adapt and build their resilience. This may include efforts to diversify livelihoods, address unmet family planning needs and strengthen local environmental protection initiatives.

The links between population dynamics and sustainable development are extremely complex, and some past interventions based on overly simplistic models have resulted in terrible human rights violations of population control, forced sterilisations and birth limiting policies. However, this doesn’t mean that we should shy away from holistic, rights-based approaches to sustainable development that take into account how population dynamics set the scale and influence the shape of the challenges we face.

In order to address these issues that are fundamentally interlinked across sectors, the Population & Sustainable Development Alliance (PSDA) works to strengthen and promote intersectoral approaches that encompass sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), food security, gender equality, community-based natural resource management and climate action.