Including marginalized and vulnerable is crucial for sustainable development

The concept of sustainable development was first introduced in response to environmental concerns. However it has been defined primarily by the mainstream tradition of economic analysis, which tends to marginalize the issue of ecological and social sustainability itself. But recently, many scholars have advanced different critical perspectives to the analysis of sustainable development. The separation of environment, society and economy often leads to a narrow approach.

Thus the issues related to society are challenging the present socio-economic structure, in particular the sustainability of communities and the maintenance of cultural diversity. Furthermore a competent approach to sustainable development requires combining insights from various critical approaches and perspectives. For instance the main issues in this respect are lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution. And the keyword is Community participation’ and ‘strengthening civil society’ that refers to the support to mobilize individual and community potential to take effective action based on need is critical to reach the goal.

“Sustainable Development Goals, 17 goals to transform the world” was adopted by United Nation in 2015. “Partnership for the goals” is one of these 17 goals. Nevertheless enhancing and achieving this goal is essential for achieving the other 16 Sustainable Development Goals. It is also important to emphasize that civil society has a crucial role in “Partnership for the goals.

Swedish international development agency (Sida) explains its objective in partnership with civil society in developing countries as follow: ”The overall objective of Sida’s cooperation with civil society is a vibrant and pluralistic civil society in developing countries that can effectively contribute to poverty reduction in all its dimensions. The work will be conducted with a human rights perspective, to strengthen the individual’s own right to influence their own lives and development.”

On the other hand, strengthening civil society to respond to local needs requires the leaders of grassroots on all level. Furthermore, including women and marginalized population as active leaders and decision makers remains as the main challenges.  According to all evidence, positive and sustainable change and development must proceed from those who are supposed to benefit from the changes. Thus one of the main challenges of sustainable development is the bottom-up approach and the inclusion of marginalized and vulnerable populations and especially women. This means critical, but minimal support needs to mobilize individual and community potential to take effective action based on need.

/Manijeh Mehdiyar

Member of the Regional Council, 1.e. vice president in Gothenburg board of healthcare

PhD at Inst. of Biomedicine, Sahlgrenska Academy

Active member of the Swedish Green party in Gothenburg 


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