The new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is navigating the unchartered territory of defining a workable universal development agenda that will apply to all countries. Emerging economies (EMEs) will play a pivotal role in the implementation of this new global agenda. This paper examines the position of four of the most influential EMEs – Brazil, China, India and South Africa, outlining what they stand to gain or lose from a series of issues that require global action and that are fundamental for the successful implementation of the SDGS.
We focus our analysis on six selected issues: global finance, technology transfer, trade, climate change, sustainable consumption and production and global governance.
Our study finds that:
- EMEs are already taking action domestically, bilaterally and regionally even in areas where they have been unwilling to make commitments at the international level.
- There are a number of issues that could be of interest to EMEs beyond changes to global governance including technology transfer, cooperation on tax information and tracking illicit financial flows, and climate finance.
- On their part, these influential EMEs could improve standards employed by their national development banks and private sector actors and, if they are genuine in their advocacy for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), spend political capital pushing for a specific LDC Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) target and increase access to their own markets for LDCs.
- There is a possibility that China could set ODA targets in the future.