Category: Blog

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…

Letter from CSOs about the Agenda of the WTO

More than 300 civil society organization from around the world have signed on to a letter regarding the ongoing negotiations of the WTO towards its 11th Ministerial meeting (MC11) in Buenos Aires from December 10 to 13, 2017. The organizations express increasing concern about press reports indicating that some WTO member are pushing a dangerous and inappropriate new agenda under the disgues of “e-commerce”, even though there had been no consensus to introduce the issue during or since the Nairobi Ministerial of 2016. The letter also raises concerns and questions on proposals to limit the scope and effects of public interest regulation, around fishery subsidy disciplines that discourage overfishing by rich countries, agricultural rules and more. Read more…

UN Security Council Priorities under the French Presidency

This month H.E. Ambassador François Delattre of France is Chairing the UN Security Council. During a #MeetUNSCPres briefing to civil society, he highlighted the situation in the Sahel region of Africa, the protection of civilians and human rights in conflict situations, and the on-going crisis in the Middle East and Myanmar as the key priorities for the French presidency, noting that above all, France seeks a multilateral approach that encourages the UN as a whole to respond to global challenges, voiced by French President Macron in his statement to the UN General Assembly. 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….

Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world – A false start?

Reflections on the 2017 United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

In his opening remarks, the UN Secretary-General said that 20 years ago “there was the idea that globalization would not only increase global wealth, but that it would trickle-down and would benefit everybody in our planet”.

He went on to describe that at the present time, “globalization and technological progress have dramatically increased global trade and global wealth. It is true that the number of absolute poor has been reduced and that living conditions have improved all over the world but it is also true that globalization and technological progress together have been factors in the increase of inequality”. Read more…

Inequality will not be solved by attention-grabbing private sector initiatives – it requires serious transformation of power relations and resource distribution

On the last official day of the UN High-Level Political Forum, civil society express concern that ‘vision without implementation is hallucination’.

New York, 19 July 2017: Despite soaring rhetoric, glossy reports and slick presentations, the fact remains that implementation on the ground is “stalled”, as highlighted in a series of civil society national reports as part of the global Spotlight Report initiative. Read more…

Stalled implementation at national level – unhelpful international environment

Civil Society sees ‘room for improvement’ in national implementation of 2030 Agenda as well as an unfavourable international environment

New York, 18 July 2017: During the Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) of 44 countries at the 2017 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, many civil society activists raised questions, criticizing government (in-)action as well as crippling framework conditions that slow down implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the national level. Read more…

“We don’t need ‘trillions’ to achieve the SDGs”

New York City, 14 July 2017: With the first week of deliberations at the 2017 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development coming to a close this Friday at the UN in New York, civil society activists are criticizing a piecemeal approach to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Especially worrisome to activists is a growing gap between aspirational goals and a lack of proper and comprehensive means of implementation. Read more…