Author: Ana Zeballos

SDG Indicators and Data: Who collects? Who reports? Who benefits?

By Barbara Adams

As part of its mandate to develop an indicator framework by which to monitor the goals and targets of the post-2015 development agenda, the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDGs (IAEG-SDGs) held its second meeting in Bangkok, 26-28 October 2015. The objective was to seek agreement on the proposed indicators for each target—keeping in mind that indicators alone can never be sufficient to fully measure progress on the goals. More specifically, it was to move provisional indicators marked yellow—needing further agreement—to either green—agreed by all parties—or grey—no agreement possible. As a result, there are now 159 green indicators (including 52 moved from yellow and 9 new ones), and 62 greys (including 28 moved from yellow plus 5 new ones). Read more…

SDG indicators: Counting the trees, hiding the forest

By Roberto Bissio

The Inter-Agency Experts Group agrees on 159 indicators for most of the SDG targets, but in too many cases what they suggest to measure is not what the governments agree to so. To acknowledge the difficulties in monitoring the Agenda 2030 because of the complexities of the issues, the lack of statistical capacity in many countries or even the ambiguities in the wording that made the agreement possible is sensible. To propose indicators that substantially rewrite key aspects of the consensus is simply unacceptable.

Can development goals help development finance? If so, how?

By Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven.
Last month, the “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) were launched at the UN in New York. This is the outcome of two years of consultations, lobbying, and debate about what the “post-2015” agenda should look like. This agenda is likely to have far-reaching implications both for development finance and for the promotion of social and economic rights. However, why adopt goals at all? Any systematic effort to answer this seemingly elementary conceptual question has been disturbingly absent. What’s more, not only has this basic question not been answered, what is most striking is that it has hardly been asked. Read more…

The world agrees on a better future… just not yet on how to get there

By Roberto Bissio
Last August 2 in New York, the United Nations agreed on the new sustainable development agenda as the guide for their global, regional and national policies over the coming fifteen years.

At the core of this new global consensus, seventeen “sustainable development goals” (SDGs) spell out a vision for a better future where poverty everywhere will be eradicated, inequalities within and between countries will be substantially reduced, and current unsustainable consumption and production patterns will be transformed. Read more…

Public SDGs or Private GGs?

By Barbara Adams

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) negotiated painstakingly over two years by all UN Member States  with thousands of public interest organizations providing their commitment and expertise have been copyrighted. And by whom? The UN you would think? But no. They have been re-branded as Global Goals (GGs) and the copyrighted by Project Everyone, a private company incorporated and registered in London. Read more…

Truth and reconciliation in sustainable development

“The UN must champion a process of truth and reconciliation” in development, said Barbara Adams, on behalf of Global Policy Forum and Social Watch during a round table at the United Nations in New York. Adams emphasised that “those who have benefitted the most from the past and current model are those that need to change the most”. Read more…

U.N. Targets Trillions of Dollars to Implement Sustainable Development Agenda

After more than two years of intense negotiations, the U.N.’s 193 member states have unanimously agreed on a new Sustainable Development Agenda (SDA) with 17 goals — including the elimination of extreme poverty and hunger — to be reached by 2030. The new goals, which will be part of the U.N.’s post-2015 development agenda and to be approved at a summit meeting of world leaders Sep. 25-27, cover a wide range of political and socio-economic issues, including inequality, poverty, hunger, gender equality, industrialisation, sustainable development, full employment, human rights, quality education, climate change and sustainable energy for all. However, the Agenda is far less ambitious when it comes to the means of implementation, warns GPF’s Jens Martens: “The implementation of the SDGs will require fundamental changes in fiscal policy, regulation and global governance. But what we find in the new Agenda is vague and by far not sufficient to trigger the proclaimed transformational change. But goals without sufficient means are meaningless.” Read more…

Fit for Whose Purpose?

By Barbara Adams and Gretchen Luchsinger

A critical issue repeatedly arising in the post-2015 negotiations relates to responsibility. There is shared responsibility, the preference of rich countries who would like to shift traditional official development assistance (ODA) and other “burdens” given the “rise” of some developing countries. There is common but differentiated responsibility, stressed by developing countries to link common commitment with the reality of varying capacities.

Debates also circle, directly or otherwise, around the role of the state, with some camps continuing to promote its central responsibility. Others call for more room for “stakeholders” to be responsible—notably, the private sector.

For a look at how the balance between public and private responsibility has shifted, and what this means in the real world in terms of adherence to international standards and norms, one needs to look no further than the United Nations itself. A new Global Policy Forum Report—Fit for Whose Purpose? Private funding and corporate influence in the United Nations—details how private corporations and corporate philanthropic organizations are increasingly paying to play there.Read more…

Civil Society Response to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development

We, members of hundreds of civil society organizations and networks from around the world engaged in the Third FfD Conference, would like to express our deepest concerns and reservations on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, based on both our ongoing contributions to the process and the deliberations of the CSO FfD Forum (Addis Ababa, 10-12 July 2015).
The Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) lost the opportunity to tackle the structural injustices in the current global economic system and ensure that development finance is people-centred and protects the environment. Read more…

Financing for Development is ‘Preserving’ the Status Quo

“We started from an optimistic viewpoint on FfD3 and now ending with so much disappointment over what seems like retrogression from old agreements. There is no mention at all of peace dividends generated from the elimination of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons, and the reduction in defense spending. Debt relief and condonation are treated marginally. The emerging document suggests business as usual. It doesn’t explain the fundamental reasons for why there is lack of financing sustainable development,” lamented Isagani Serrano, co-convener of Social Watch Philippines.