Event Details

  • Time to reimagine sustainable development? On the eve of the UN General Assembly - the eighth in the series, "The Yale Development Dialogues: Economic Policy Lessons from History"
  • Hosts: Yale Economic Growth Center, the Department of History, and the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs
  • Date and time: Tuesday September 14, 2021, 12:00PM EST

Event Description

The 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly opens on Tuesday, September 14, and leaders from around the world will meet virtually to discuss progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. Adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, the SDGs marked a move away from traditional economic measures of development to account for broader issues such as just human rights, gender, and the environment. Today they serve not only as standards by which to judge progress, but also as focal points for new ideas on how to solve the world’s greatest challenges. 

The Goals are also the subject of intense debate: Do they measure the right things? How realistic are they? And how are they faring in a world changed by health and climate emergencies?

The panelists in the 8th Yale Development Dialogue have contributed to development policy as researchers in government and at the World Bank, written extensively on poverty reduction, and thought deeply about sustainable development. In this opening session of the Fall 2021 series, they will discuss how the SDGs hold up in today’s world and how some of the best new ideas in global development might advance progress on the Goals.


Stefan Dercon is Professor of Economic Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and the Economics Department, University of Oxford. Between 2011 and 2017, he was Chief Economist of the Department of International Development (DFID, now merged into FCDO), the UK government department in charge of aid policy and spending. Dercon also serves as Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford, and as Policy Advisor to Dominic Raab, the UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs and First Secretary of State. 

Shanta Devarajan is Professor of the Practice of Development at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. His previous positions include Senior Director for Development Economics (DEC) and a former Acting Chief Economist of the World Bank Group. He was a director of the World Development Report 2004, “Making Services Work for Poor People”.

Rory Stewart is a Senior Fellow at Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, where he focuses on contemporary politics in crisis and on international development and intervention in fragile and conflict affected states. Stewart served as the UK Secretary of State for International Development where he doubled the U.K.’s investment in international climate and environment.

Catherine Cheney ‘10 is a Senior Reporter for Devex, covering the West Coast of the U.S., focusing on the role of technology, innovation, and philanthropy in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.