Global Policy Watch Blog

2030 Agenda demands UN reform

Juan Somavia, co-Chair of an Independent Team of Advisors to ECOSOC said that a “change of mindset” is needed to enable the UN development system to move from the MDGs to the SDGs; from a sectorial approach to an integrated one; from judging development by growth to judging it by sustainability; and to universal applicability. Read more…

UNCTAD 14: Nairobi “Maafikiano” barely saves minimal finance and development mandates

Due to UNCTAD’s decidedly pro-South and uncompromising development-focused mission, its quadrennial conferences have traditionally been North –South showdowns. Coming a few months after the adoption of the ambitious and universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 associated goals, the theme of the XIV Quadrennial Conference of UNCTAD (the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) was “From Decisions to Actions.” There was, therefore, reason to expect that this time members would bridge their differences for the sake of reinforcing mandates of the organization critical to the Agenda’s implementation. But that was not the case. Read more…

The Next United Nations Secretary General Town Hall Debate

In 2016, the UN is searching for a successor to Ban Ki-Moon as the next Secretary General. Over the years, several initiatives have urged reforms regarding the UN Secretary General election process. In this spirit, the President of the General Assembly together with Al-Jazeera organized a town hall debate with the candidates on 12 July. Read more…

Partnerships and the 2030 Agenda: Time to reconsider their role in implementation

“Partnership” is a misleading term to cover every type of engagement between UN entities and non-State actors. It promotes a false sense of equality. Lumping CSOs and corporate actors together according to their non-State status ignores the profound differences in their orientation, interests and accountability. Before considering ways to enhance the effectiveness of partnerships between UN entities and non-State actors and establishing a system-wide delivery support, more fundamental questions should be addressed. This Background Note poses necessary questions and offers perspectives both from the work of Global Policy Forum as well as from previous proposals on partnerships offered by some Member States.Read more…

Environmental Performance Index greenwashes the rich

An “Environmental Performance Index” to be launched on May 9 at the UN claims to align itself with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but actually hides the impact of unsustainable consumption and production patterns in the North as well as the contributions of the developing countries to achieving the internationally agreed targets. Read more…

Obstacles to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

During “The way ahead: Successful frameworks and strategies for financing the Sustainable Development Goals and the paradigm shift towards low carbon societies” panel discussion on “Financing poverty eradication and sustainable development” at the President of the General Assembly’s High-Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals held at the UN in New York on Thursday, 21 April 2016, Barbara Adams from Global Policy Forum pointed out governments on one hand are signing the Paris Agreement and on the other hand signing certain bilateral trade treaties. See the video here.

The long-term positioning of the UN development system

The United Nations – a 70-year-old institution – has reached an inflection point and like other institutions, is facing challenges in rapidly demanding times, challenges to which it must adapt in order to survive. Some Member States are asking if this important institution will maintain its relevance and credibility. They’re asking whether the UN development system will be able to be country-led and to deliver to all countries, and in particular demonstrate its commitment to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Read more…

Options for strengthening global tax governance

The importance of international—or even better, global—cooperation on tax issues is becoming more and more evident in the light of tax evasion and avoidance scandals during the last few months and years. Countries in the global North and South were shown to offer preferential treatment to foreigners—from Panama to Luxemburg from the Cayman Islands to Hong Kong. Individuals as well as huge transnational corporations are using a fragmented and inconsistently regulated global system of trans-border taxation to evade and/or avoid taxes. The sums lost amount to hundreds of billions annually. Depending on the model of estimation, developing countries are losing more than one trillion US dollars per year in illicit financial flows, the majority of which can be attributed to the abuse of transfer pricing rules. A panel of the UN Economic Commission for Africa chaired by former South African president Thabo Mbeki estimates the losses of Africa alone at approximately 50 billion US dollars per year. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) puts global revenue losses from Base Eros ion and Profit Shifting at an annual 100 to 240 billion US dollars. Read more…