Changing views of how to change the world

World leaders concluded three large agreements last year. Each represents a vision of how to change the world. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development agreed to move from “billions to trillions” of cross-border flows to developing countries. The agreement on universal sustainable development goals (SDGs) sets out priorities (albeit a long list) for what needs to change. The Paris Agreement on climate change endorses a shift to low-carbon (and ultimately zero carbon) economic growth trajectories.

There is a common thread to these agreements. They each reflect a new theory of how to change the world that is not made explicit but has evolved as a matter of practice. Understanding this new theory is crucial to successful implementation strategies of the three agreements.

In the past, when governments have wanted to change the world, they negotiated intergovernmentalagreements….

The new theory of how to change the world can be stripped down to three elements.

  • Use market forces to drive business towards scalable investments that simultaneously generate sustainable solutions to development challenges;
  • Create more data from more sources with more disaggregation, and make these more easily transparent and accessible, to drive towards evidence-based reforms and accountability;
  • Encourage innovations (technical, organizational, and business-model) to drive the world away from business-as-usual…(More)”