Category: Blog

Sustainable development needs fundamental policy changes

“The world is off-track in terms of achieving sustainable development and fundamental policy changes are necessary to unleash the transformative potential of the SDGs.” This is the main message of the Spotlight Report 2018, the most comprehensive independent assessment of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The report is launched on the opening day of the High Level Political Forum at the United Nations in New York by a global coalition of civil society organizations and trade unions. When UN Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda, they signaled with the title ‘Transforming our World’ that it should trigger fundamental changes in politics and society, argues the report. Yet, “three years after its adoption, most governments have failed to turn the vision of the 2030 Agenda into real policies. Even worse, policies in a growing number of countries are moving in the opposite direction, seriously undermining the spirit and the goals of the 2030 Agenda.” The Spotlight 2018 report focuses on policies that are needed and, as the authors underline, “possible”. Read more…

SDG implementation at national level: What’s the point of national reports?

VNRs and shadow (or spotlight) reporting:
How it is key for meaningful participation and accountability

The national voluntary reporting to the High Level Political Forum of ECOSOC is a practice that has gained traction, as dozens of governments are volunteering each year to participate and contribute their VNRs. A number of CSOs have prepared their own shadow or spotlight reports to follow-up on their governments efforts to implement the 2030-Agenda. Is there a meaningful dialogue between the official and the alternative reports? What is the value of the whole exercise? Read more…

New Report: Highjacking the SDGs?

Analyse78-en-v08klAt the United Nations (UN) summit in September 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was adopted by all UN member states. The Agenda gives a comprehensive framework for a global socio-ecological transformation. Along with governments, various actors have been involved in the development of the SDGs, and are now part of implementation strategies. This is the case for organizations (CSOs) and academia as well as the business sector. As a matter of fact, the 2030 Agenda gives the private sector a significant role. The call for business engagement in the 2030 Agenda has been answered by various corporations and corporate lobby groups. Already during the SDG negotiations, the private sector was intensively engaged through many different channels. Now, with the adoption of the goals, several corporations have pledged their support for the SDGs or evaluated the relevance of the SDGs for their own business activities. The idea of business involvement with the SDG is trending but so far there is little systematic analysis: In which way are businesses engaging with the SDGs? What is the actual impact on sustainability of businesses’ SDG activities? And which strategies are needed in order to better align business activities with the transformative Agenda of the SDGs? Read more…

Warnings of a new global financial crisis

By Martin Khor
There are increasing warnings of an imminent new financial crisis, not only from the billionaire investor George Soros, but also from eminent economists associated with the Bank for International Settlements, the bank of central banks.
The warnings come at a moment when there are signs of international capital flowing out of some emerging economies, including Turkey, Argentina and Indonesia. Read more…

“Market discourse has captured the development agenda to a point that may be incompatible with UN mandates”

CIVICUS speaks with Barbara Adams, senior policy analyst at the Global Policy Forum (GPF), an independent policy watchdog that monitors the work of the United Nations and scrutinises global policy-making. Founded in 1993 by a group of progressive scholars and activists, GPF promotes accountability and citizen participation in decisions on peace and security, social justice and international law. It does so by gathering information and circulating it through a comprehensive website, playing an active role in civil society networks and other advocacy arenas, organising meetings and conferences and publishing original research and policy papers. Read more…

Trading away the SDGs?

By Roberto Bissio*   Less than two years after having committed themselves to implement the 2030 Agenda, the same governments that unanimously adopted an ambitious set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) at the UN...

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…

Preventing Future Conflicts: The Case of Climate Change

With climate change front and center as the United Nations Climate Change Conference / COP23 opened in Bonn, Germany, the Australian Mission to the UN hosted a meeting in New York focusing on the impact of climate change. This meeting was part of a series organized jointly with the United Nations University on Preventing Tomorrow Conflicts. Read more…

New Position Paper: Toward global Regulation on Human Rights and Business

Trade and investment protection agreements facilitate business enterprises’ access to markets and raw materials, and protect investor interests with enforceable rights. Although human rights are a cornerstone of international law, so far there are only voluntary guidelines to safeguard them within the activities of global enterprises. This needs to change; human rights need a mandatory commitment. This is where the “UN treaty process” comes in. It offers the chance for binding international regulation of global business: Since 2015, an intergovernmental working group has been negotiating an international human rights treaty that is binding for the contractual parties, outlines clear rules for business enterprises and strengthens access to justice for affected parties. The Treaty Alliance Germany – a coalition of organizations supporting such an approach – have formulated demands in a new position paper. Read more…