We invite you to visit the streets of New York during the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the annual meeting where leaders from across the world, from all sectors and all impact domains, come together to expedite their progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These leaders and their entourages converge on the same stretches of congested, restricted-access roads. Traffic barely moves and a lack of signposting means they often struggle to determine the conversations in which to take part and whom to join in action.
For 50 years we have tried our best to ‘develop’ ‘less developed countries’ (LDCs). Increasingly, a realization has kicked in that doing ‘development’ for partners and participants through top-down funding, implementation, monitoring and evaluation is inherently certain to fail to break the cycle of inequality. Increasingly, a conviction has emerged that those who control the resources needed to break this cycle; ‘we’ need to be led by ‘them’.