Author: Ana Zeballos

Data is the new gold – development players mine a new seam

by Barbara Adams and Karen Judd
“Data is the new Gold” headlined a 2014 article in the business press on the marketing power it offers. “Each click, like, and share creates new data in the world, much of which can be used to deliver relevant marketing information and bring increased value to consumer audiences.” Picking up on the potential of so-called Big Data to measure national and global progress on development goals agreed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 2030 Agenda has driven a variety of new initiatives, bringing together a vast array of global corporations, foundations, and CSOs ready to mine this new seam. Read more…

Urgent climate action as key component of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development

by Karolin Seitz
How can we ensure that implementation of the Paris Agreement truly helps foster more just and sustainable development, and what is standing in the way of this progress? It is no secret that a dual relationship exists between climate change and sustainable development. While climate change influences the environment and has deep impacts on human living conditions and therefore affects the cornerstones of social, economic and environmental development, the way society chooses to develop has implications on greenhouse gas emissions. Read more…

UN partnerships in the public interest? Not yet.

by Barbara Adams and Sarah Dayringer
The World Bank, together with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the development banks, have been proclaiming since 2015 that “to meet the investment needs of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the global community needs to move the discussion from ‘billions to trillions’” — that is from billions in official development assistance (ODA) to trillions in investments of all kinds: public and private, national and global, in both capital and capacity. Read more…

“Women are losing out”

In countries of the Global South, trade and investment agreements often have a negative effect on the weakest parts of society, in particular women. Why is this so? And how can unequal power relations that foster an economic system at the expense of the weakest be challenged? At a recent International sef: Expert Workshop, Ranja Sengupta shared the results of her research in India. Read more….

The G20 and the 2030 Agenda: Contradictions and conflicts at the Hamburg Summit

by Jens Martens
On 7 and 8 July 2017, the summit meeting of the G20, the group of 19 major economies and the European Union, was held in Hamburg, Germany. Media perception of the event was marked by the US President’s appearance and the conflicts in climate and trade policies. In contrast, other topics, including the G20 activities regarding the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, took a backseat. Hardly any attention was given to the Hamburg Update of the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda.
Many observers representing academia and civil society viewed the Summit resolutions as insufficient or even counterproductive. Above all, they criticized the blind faith in economic growth reflected by the Summit documents and the one-sided focus on private investments to finance development. Read more…

State of Play in the WTO Toward the 11th Ministerial in Argentina

By Deborah James
The 11th Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 10–13, 2017. After years of languishing while other “free trade” agreements were negotiated, big business has turned its focus back to the WTO, particularly among the high-tech sector that now includes five of the seven largest corporations globally. They are determined to achieve in WTO what they have yet to secure in any other deal: new rules that will lock in profit-making opportunities in the digitalized economy of the future. The prize they seek in Argentina is a mandate for new negotiations under the rubric of “e-commerce,” but the reality is that these new rules will further constrain the ability of governments to promote prosperity and reduce inequality, even as they suffer the political consequences of the revolts of communities that have been left behind. Read more…

Which Finances for Whose Development?

The ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development (FfD Forum) met four days at the UN headquarters in New York to review the promises made at the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and its predecessors (the 2002 Monterrey Consensus and the 2008 Doha Declaration on Financing for Development). The FdD Forum is also the place for diplomats to discuss the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, but civil society is disappointed by the scarce results and the excessive confidence on the private sector filling in the funding gap. Read more…

Women rights without borders: Combatting inequalities within and among countries is key to women’s empowerment

By Barbara Adams and Karen Judd

The economic empowerment of women is the priority theme for the 2017 UN Commission on the Status of Women with special attention to the empowerment of indigenous women.

The struggle to empower women and to combat gender inequality goes hand in hand with the struggle for women’s human rights. The increasing application of human rights instruments from local to global continues to be the hallmark of organizing that crosses sectors, policy tracks and borders. The work of human rights advocates and defenders has required establishing new rules and systems as well as removing discrimination and bias in the application of existing ones. This is as relevant across territorial borders as within them and the gap between transnational economic activities and global economic governance can magnify inequalities or nullify measures to overcome them. Read more…

The UN development system: Can it catch up to the 2030 Agenda?

By Barbara Adams and Gretchen Luchsinger

The current model of UN development assistance—operating country by country, and issue by issue, with priorities heavily driven by individual donors and their interests—is no longer fit for its intended purpose. The ambitious vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development challenges the UN development system to fully respond to the inextricable links across countries and among social, economic and environmental concerns. This is not just an issue of greater efficiency and effectiveness within existing arrangements. It is a question of how the UN development system can meet the high demands of new commitments aimed at transforming the course of development so that it is equitable, sustainable and aligned with human rights, and remains within planetary boundaries. Read more…

World’s largest business association gets direct voice in UN decision making

By Svenja Brunkhorst and Jens Martens.

In an unprecedented and historic move, the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly recently granted observer status to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The resolution was submitted by France, Albania, Colombia, the Netherlands and Tunisia and was adopted during the seventy-first session of the General Assembly. The resolution sets out the ICC’s position as observer in the General Assembly from 1 January 2017 on.

Read more…