Branding for business? Hungary and the sustainable development goals
- 63 Downloads
Negotiations leading to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) have dominated the diplomacy of global development in the past years. The paper looks at the actions and motivations of a relatively new development actor, Hungary, which co-chaired the United Nations General Assembly’s Open Working Group on SDGs, and thus had a highly visible position during the talks. Hungary had a key priority of having a SDG on water-related issues, driven mainly by its perceived comparative advantage in the sector. Using the insights of the literature on small state influence in multilateral negotiations, the paper argues that Hungarian diplomats used alliance building as well as reputational and framing strategies to counter the structural disadvantages of the country’s small state status, and were successful in shaping the final outcome. However, the Hungarian government did not act out of a strong commitment to sustainable global development, but rather used the forum to brand itself as an expert on water issues, with the hope of future business benefits.
KeywordsForeign aid Hungary Post-2015 Small state influence Sustainable development goals United Nations
Early versions of this paper were presented at the ‘Global Governance and the Politics of Aid’ symposium, University of Bradford, 2015, and at the UACES Conference in Bilbao, 2015. We are grateful to the participants for their feedback. We would also like to thank Mark Furness, Niels Keijzer, and three anonymous referees for their helpful and instructive comments on earlier drafts. All errors remain our own.
- Arter, David. 2000. Small state Influence Within the EU: The Case of Finland’s Northern Dimension Initiative. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies 38 (5): 677–697.Google Scholar
- Bozóki, A. 2015. Broken Democracy, Predatory State, and Nationalist Populism’. In The Hungarian Patient. Social Opposition to an Illiberal Democracy, ed. Péter Krasztev, and Jon Van Til, 3–36. New York: CEU University Press.Google Scholar
- Budapest Water Summit. 2013a. A Sustainable World is a Water Secure World, the Budapest Water Summit Statement, 11 October 2013.Google Scholar
- Budapest Water Summit. 2013b. Outcomes of Budapest Water Summit Presented at Friends of Water Meeting. www.budapestwatersummit.hu/budapest-water-summit/news/outcomes-of-budapest-water-summit-presented-at-friends-of-water-meeting-488. Accessed 10 November 2015.
- Dodds, Felix, David Donoghue, and Jimena Leiva Roesch. 2017. Negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals: A Transformational Agenda for an Insecure World. Abingdon: Routledge and Earthscan.Google Scholar
- Friends of Water. 2012a. Recommendations for Rio (‘10 Commandments’). Steering Committee of the Group of Friends of Water. www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/pdf/11_05_2012_friends_of_water_recommendations.pdf. Accessed 10 November 2015.
- Future We Want. 2012 Outcome Document Adopted at Rio + 20. www.uncsd2012.org/content/documents/727The%20Future%20We%20Want%2019%20June%201230pm.pdf. Accessed 20 November 2015.
- Easterly, William. 2015. The SDGs Should Stand for Senseless, Dreamy, Garbled’, Foreign Policy. foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/28/the-sdgs-are-utopian-and-worthless-mdgs-development-rise-of-the-rest/. Accessed 20 November 2015.
- European Commission. 2013. A Decent Life for All: Ending Poverty and Giving the World a Sustainable Future, COM(2013) 92 Final. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
- European Union. 2013. Speaking Points on Water and Sanitation. Meeting of the General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, New York, 22–24 May. sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/3849eu2.pdf. Accessed 12 December 2015.
- Field, Richard. 2015. Hungarian Politicians, Experts Discuss Foreign Policy Issues. Budapest Beacon, 12 March.Google Scholar
- Fukuda-Parr, Sakiko, and David Hulme. 2011. International Norm Dynamics and the “End of Poverty”: Understanding the Millennium Development Goals. Global Governance 17: 17–36.Google Scholar
- General Assembly. 2013 Open Working Group of the General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals. Methods of Work. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/1692OWG_methods_work_adopted_1403.pdf. Accessed 20 November 2015.
- Global Landscapes Community. 2014 Final Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals Reaches Consensus. www.landscapes.org/final-open-working-group-on-sustainable-development-goals-reaches-consensus/. Accessed 20 November 2015.
- Hey, Jeana (ed.). 2003. Small States in World Politics. London: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
- Horký-Hlucháň, Ondřej, and Simon Lightfoot. 2015. Development Cooperation of the ‘New’ EU Member States, Beyond Europeanization. London: Springer.Google Scholar
- Jakobsen, Peter V. 2009. Small States, Big Influence: The Overlooked Nordic Influence on the Civilian ESDP. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies 47 (1): 81–102.Google Scholar
- Knudsen, Olav Fagelund. 1996. Analysing Small-State Security: The Role of External Factors. In Small States and the Security Challenge in the New Europe, ed. Werner Bauwens, Armand Clesse, and Olav F. Knudse, 3–20. London: Brassey’s.Google Scholar
- Lundsgaarde, Erik. 2013. The Domestic Politics of Foreign Aid. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2014. Magyarország nemzetközi fejlesztési együttműködésére vonatkozó szakpolitikai stratégiája és nemzetközi humanitárius segítségnyújtására vonatkozó szakpolitikai koncepciója (2014–2020) [Hungary’s Strategy for International Development Cooperation and Policy Concept for International Humanitarian Assistance]. nefe.kormany.hu/download/5/f0/a0000/El%C5%91terjeszt%C3%A9s_NEFEstrat%20v%C3%A9gleges%20strat%C3%A9gia_561NEFEFO.pdf. Accessed 20 November 2015.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2012 Jelentés Magyarország 2012. évi nemzetközi fejlesztési és humanitárius segítségnyújtási tevékenységéről [Report on Hungary’s International Development and Humanitarian Assistance in 2012], Budapest: Ministry of Foreign Affairs.Google Scholar
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2011. Magyar külpolitika az Uniós elnökség után [Hungarian Foreign Policy after the EU Presidency]. eu.kormany.hu/download/4/c6/20000/kulpolitikai_strategia_20111219.pdf. Accessed 25 November 2012.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2006. Hungarian International Development Policy. www.mfa.gov.hu/NR/rdonlyres/933C1461-8F65-403A-B841-B0A37C755BF4/0/061206_newdonor.pdf. Accessed 12 December 2012.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 2014. Komoly siker Magyarországnak az ENSZ 2030-ig szóló fenntartható fejlesztési céljainak kidolgozása [Developing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is a Huge Success for Hungary]. www.kormany.hu/hu/kulgazdasagi-es-kulugyminiszterium/hirek/komoly-siker-magyarorszagnak-az-ensz-2030-ig-szolo-fenntarthato-fejlesztesi-celjainak-kidolgozasa. Accessed 20 November 2015
- Mission of Hungary. 2013. Hungary. Input to Questionnaire Related to the Development of Sustainable Development Goals. sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?page=view&type=6200&nr=33&menu=172. Accessed 20 November 2015.
- MNO. 2014. Új magyar nagykövetségek nyílnak [New Hungarian Embassies to Open], Magyar Nemzet. http://mno.hu/kulfold/uj-magyar-nagykovetsegek-nyilnak-1288801. Accessed 26 August 2015.
- Neumann, Iver, and Sieglinde Gstöhl. 2004. Lilliputians in Gulliver’s World: Small States in International Relations. Reykjavik: Centre for Small State Studies, University of Iceland.Google Scholar
- Open Working Group. 2014. Open Working Group Proposal for Sustainable Development Goals. sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/1579SDGs%20Proposal.pdf. Accessed 20 November 2015.
- Panke, Diana. 2013. Getting Ready to Negotiate in International Organizations? Journal of International Organizations Studies 4: 25–38.Google Scholar
- Paragi, Beáta. 2010. Hungarian Development Policy. In European Development Cooperation—In Between the Local and the Global, ed. Paul Hoebink, 195–222. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.Google Scholar
- Pospisil, Jan, and Stefan Khittel. 2010. Is there an Advantage to Being Small? Security-Related Development Cooperation of Smaller European States. In European Development Cooperation—In Between the Local and the Global, ed. Paul Hoebink, 125–144. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.Google Scholar
- Rohonyi, Péter. 2015. Interview with H. E. Csaba Kőrösi, Co-Chair of the UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and then Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Hungary to the United Nations in New York. Külügyi Szemle 15: 21–25.Google Scholar
- Steinmetz, Robert, and Anders Wivel. 2010. Introduction. In Small States in Europe: Challenges and Opportunities, ed. Robert Steinmetz, and Anders Wivel, 1–15. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
- Sustainable Development Solutions Network (2012) A Framework for Sustainable Development. unsdsn.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/121220-Draft-Framework-of-Sustainable-Development1.pdf. Accessed 1 December 2015.
- Szent-Iványi, Balázs, and Simon Lightfoot. 2015. New Europe’s New Development Aid. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Tarrósy, István, and Péter Morenth. 2013. Global Opening for Hungary—New Beginning for Hungarian Africa Policy? African Studies Quarterly 14 (1–2): 77–96.Google Scholar
- Törő, Csaba. 2013. Hungary: The Europeanization of Perspectives and Purposes. In The New Member States and the European Union–Foreign Policy and Europeanization, ed. Michael Baun, and Dan Marek, 37–52. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- TST Issue Brief. 2013. Water and Sanitation. sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/1801tstissueswater.pdf. Accessed 1 December 2015.
- United Nations. 2010. New Permanent Representative of Hungary Presents Credentials. www.un.org/press/en/2010/bio4234.doc.htm. Accessed 20 November 2015.
- Vituki. n.d. Cégtörténet [Corporate History]. www.vituki.hu/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=26. Accessed on 10 November 2015.
- Weiss, Tomas. 2017. Promoting National Priorities in EU Foreign Policy: The Czech Republic’s Foreign Policy in the EU. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
List of interviews
- INT#01: Senior official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1, May 2014, Budapest.Google Scholar
- INT#02: Senior official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade 2, November 2014, Budapest.Google Scholar
- INT#03: Hungarian diplomat 1, July 2015, Budapest.Google Scholar
- INT#04: Hungarian diplomat 2, July 2015, Budapest.Google Scholar
- INT#05: Hungarian diplomat 3, July 2015, Brussels, via phone.Google Scholar
- INT#06: Hungarian diplomat 4, October 2015, Budapest.Google Scholar
- INT#07: Civil society representative 1, July 2014, Budapest.Google Scholar
- INT#08: Civil society representative 2, July 2015, Budapest.Google Scholar
- INT#09: Civil society representative 3, October 2015, Budapest, via email.Google Scholar
- INT#10: Civil society representative 4, September 2015, Berlin.Google Scholar
- OBS#1: ‘Post-2015 Development Agenda. Societal Consultation’, 10 September, 2013, event jointly organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Hungarian UN Society.Google Scholar