How Can You Have Development Without Peace? Interview with Nikhil Seth

A photo of the light show celebrating the new Sustainable Development Goals on September 22, 2015 as it decorates the United Nations, mashed up with a photo of Nikhil Seth.

How can you have development without peace, when in many countries, “people are worried about the safety of their life and limb, of their property,” asks Nikhil Seth, former head of the Secretariat for the intergovernmental negotiations that created the United Nations’ goals for achieving sustainable development around the world.

“Even to talk about sustainable development in these contexts is somewhat of a joke,” he said in this interview conducted one day after finishing a marathon of intense negotiations, a sprint that capped the long process of drafting new global goals in consulting with United Nations member states and 8 million people worldwide. Mr. Seth, along with Kenyan Ambassador Macharia Kamau and Irish Ambassador David Donoghue, led the process.

These goals will be officially signed by all UN member states Friday, and, for the first time, they include specific goals and targets to create “peaceful and inclusive societies.” These goals will guide the next 15 years of sustainable development work at the UN, and they are seeking broad support from all citizens.

The interview was conducted by Jimena Leiva Roesch, Policy Analyst at the International Peace Institute. This video is part of a series around @SDGs4Peace, which looks at the intersection of peace and sustainable development.

The Secretary-General recently appointed Mr. Seth as the new Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

Other videos in this series:
Implementing UN Global Goals Requires New Mentality: Interview with David Donoghue
Thomas Gass: Heads of State Should Enact Common Vision in Sustainable Development Goals
Global Goals Even a Pope Can Love: Interview with Ambassador Kamau