Social Entrepreneurship Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

A Description of the UN s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Economic Development

The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical analysis of case of an existing social enterprise, the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, as well as an examination concerning how entrepreneurial practices are introduced in response to social problems at this organization. A brief history of this organization is followed by descriptions of the social challenge it is tasked with addressing and the business model that it uses for this purpose. Finally, a discussion concerning the conflict between the organization’s social and economic purposes and the corresponding issues which were identified that remain to be resolved is followed by a summary of the research and important findings concerning the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs and its mission in the paper’s concluding section.

Review and Analysis

1. History of Social Enterprise

Originally founded in 1948 as the Department of Economic Affairs, the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs has become a vital interface between global policies and national action in the economic, social and environmental spheres today (About us, 2020). According to the description provided by the UN, “Rooted in the United Nations Charter and guided by the universal and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other global agreements, [the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs] responds to the needs and priorities of the global community” (About us, 2020, para. 3). At present, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs partners with more than 75 nations to promote innovative, evidence-based approaches to sustainable development based on the principles, goals and targets set forth in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Towards Sustainable Development for All, 2019).

2. Social Challenge Explained

Given its global mandate and the scope of the problem, it is not surprising that the social challenge tackled by the UN’s 2030 agenda for sustainable development is especially ambitious. In this regard, the preamble to the UN’s “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (hereinafter alternatively “the Agenda”) states that: “We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet [and] are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world on to a sustainable and resilient path” (p. 3). This initiative was introduced during the U.N. Sustainable Development Summit held at New York City in September 2015 (At UN Summit, World Rulers Adopt Agenda for Global Socialism 2015). At that summit, more than 150 national leaders formally accepted the provisions of the document, "Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The Agenda developed by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs provides an overview of problems of interest and the urgency that is involved in responding to them (Manandhar & Hawkes, 2018). The Agenda also sets forth a series of prioritized, global sustainable development goals as well as nearly 170 targets that are based on the effectiveness of a predecessor program, the global Millennium Development Goals. Although similar to the previous goal model, the Agenda also includes a number of timely social issues that have assumed greater urgency in recent years (Oda, 2019). For instance, according to Krisbreg (2015, p. 2), “The new Sustainable Development Goals address health and well-being, poverty and hunger, as well as a range of social and environmental needs, such as education, gender equality, job opportunities, climate change, energy access, resource consumption, biodiversity loss and ocean conservation.”

With peak oil looming on the horizon, climate change causing worldwide extremes in weather patterns and an ongoing Covid-19 global pandemic, these are indeed ambitious goals, and the UN is directly on point in noting the urgency that is involved in effecting these types of major global changes. It is also noteworthy that the UN’s commitment extends to all 8 billion of the world’s citizens. For instance, the preamble adds that: As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind” (p. 3). In sum, the Agenda promulgated by the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development sets…

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It is reasonable to suggest that many if not most of the criticisms that have been leveled against the Agenda are not only inaccurate, they are actually hampering efforts by the United Nations to effect meaningful changes in regions of the world that desperately need them. For example, Newman (2018, p. 22) and like-minded opponents of the Agenda argue that, “There are 17 ‘Goals’ in all, with 169 ‘targets,’ that, taken together, would replace liberty, self-government, free markets, and nationhood with totalitarian technocratic rule at the global level. Reading the document, that much becomes clear.”

While most reasonable observers dismiss such conspiracy theorists out of hand, there is some justification for their criticisms against the Agenda. For example, Newman (2018) cites the unwavering support of China and former socialist UN secretary-generals as proof that the Agenda is actually a means to an end. In this regard, Newman (2018, p. 22) notes that former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon characterized the Agenda as “a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world” and “we must use the goals to transform the world…. Institutions will have to become fit for a grand new purpose.”

Likewise, other critics argue that, “As with all socialist and totalitarian schemes, the UN's controversial agenda was marketed using vague, meaningless platitudes such as, for example, creating a ‘better’ world, and ‘ending’ poverty--common slogans among tyrants stretching back centuries” (At UN Summit 2015, p. 8). Certainly, this type of hyperbolic rhetoric is jarring to some observers in the West that, a la QAnon, but growing fear a global conspiracy is afoot and opponents maintain that the Agenda is one of its main tools in overthrowing the current status quo and replacing it with one headed by child-trafficking pedophiles with a fundamentally evil agenda of their own.

6. Proposed Social Innovation

The research to date confirms that it is useless to try to argue with conspiracy theorists that have their mind made up about a controversial issue, and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is certainly no exception. A…

Sources Used in Documents:


‘About us.’ (2020). UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. [online] available:

‘At UN Summit, World Rulers Adopt Agenda for Global Socialism.’ (2015, October 19). The New American, vol. 31, no. 20, p. 8.

Krisberg, K (2015, November-December). ‘New 15-year goals support healthier lives for world's population: Poverty targeted.’ The Nation's Health, vol. 45, no. 9, pp. 1-4.

Manandhar, M & Hawkes, S. (2018, September). ‘Gender, Health and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development.’ Bulletin of the World Health Organization, vol. 96, no. 9, pp. 644-651.

Newman, A. (2018, August 20). UN "environmental’ schemes advance world government. The New American, vol. 34, no 16, pp. 29-33.

Oda, Y. (2019, March). ‘Mainstreaming Gender Perspectives in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): A Study on Selected 2017 Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs).’ Journal of Asian Women's Studies, vol. 25, p. 1.

‘Towards Sustainable Development for All.’ (2019). UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. [online] available: 2019/05/UN_DESA_pamphlet_080519_review.pdf.

Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. New York: United Nations.

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