Category: Blog

UN Health Summit must stop philanthrocapitalism taking over the WHO

Global UN Watchdog warns that while big donors bridge the gap in WHO funding they are also shaping health programmes according to business norms, and marginalising public health programmes. The writers suggest measures to reinstate the WHO at the centre of Universal Health Coverage.
When the Global Health Summit opens on Monday, its morning session will focus on using the campaign for Universal Health Coverage as a driver of the Sustainable Development Goal 3: Ensuring healthy lives. Read more

UN Climate Summit: 23 September

Will world leaders at the Climate Summit match the courage of the school students who strike around the world against the climate emergency, or will they be put to shame?
Will the tone of Monday’s UN Climate Summit pale in contrast with the courage of striking students who are taking a day off school in 120 countries,  to march for action to confront the climate emergency, though many know they could face severe penalties? Read more

When one session closes, another one opens: Looking ahead to the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly

By Elena Marmo
With the focus firmly on preparations for the UN General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level Week (23-27 September), the Presidents of the General Assembly (PGAs) and the UN Secretary-General expressed their concerns and ambitions in closing the 73rd Session and opening the 74th Session.
While the UNGA High-Level Week will feature high-level meetings on climate, universal health coverage, financing for development, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and solutions for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the UNGA’s remit goes far beyond that week, with meetings spanning the entire year, and a new session beginning each September. Read more

Brussels Launch: Who’s paying the bill?

Four years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda the world is off-track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In order to turn the transformational vision of the 2030 Agenda into real transformational policies, there needs to be a shift towards more coherent fiscal and regulatory policies. In addition, policy coherence for sustainable development requires to fully take into account the externalities and spill-over effects of European policies, production and consumption patterns. With an emphasis on environmental and social impact beyond our borders, the “Spotlight Report Sustainability in Europe. Who is paying the Bill?” will be presented in Brussels on September 11, 2019. Read more

UN General Assembly Week of Summits: Q&A

From Barbara Adams, Roberto Bissio, Karen Judd and Elena Marmo
Over a hundred Heads of State or Government are expected to arrive to New York in the last week of September for a series of back-to-back summit meetings at the opening of the General Assembly of the United Nations. On top of the usual photo opportunities and a myriad of bilateral meetings between leaders, this High-level week provides an opportunity for multilateral action to shift away from ‘business as usual’ and address some enormous current challenges. Read more.

VNRs and Progress Measurement Beyond the HLPF

By Elena Marmo
Since 2016, 142 countries worldwide have submitted Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) as part of the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF), reporting on progress made towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the action plan of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The VNRs play a prominent role in the annual Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) HLPF with both criticism and acclaim. However, it’s important to consider how VNRs are taking hold beyond the formal sessions in the HLPF every year. The VNRs elucidate gaps in the global indicator framework and are appearing in discussions of UN Country Teams (UNCTs), the UN Statistical Commission and the Committee for Development Policy (CDP). Read more

Technocratic Fiddling While the Planet Burns: Towards a Higher Level of Ambition for the HLPF

by Kate Donald, Director, Human Rights in Economic and Social Policy, Center for Economic and Social Rights
The 2019 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development—the global platform for reviewing progress on the SDGs—took place last week at the UN in New York, and in general terms, it was more of the same. Admirable rhetoric, but not much evidence of serious efforts at comprehensive implementation, and a host of major flaws and limitations to contend with. As CESR has observed at previous HLPFs (see 2017 and 2018), the space given to civil society is far too limited, most of the Voluntary National Reviews feel very disconnected from reality, and one leaves with the feeling that most governments are at best timidly tinkering around the edges, making minor adjustments to business-as-usual while the planet burns. Read more…

VNRs, National “Spotlight” Reports and the Future of the HLPF

Every year since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda in 2015, governments are invited to present Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) on their progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) of the UN. This process is heralded by some as a great opportunity to hold governments accountable to their actions and by others as a beauty contest riddled with misrepresentation and power imbalances. Civil society organizations in many countries produce their own alternative “spotlight reports,” playing with the name of “shadow reports” traditionally given to such independent voices in the Human Rights context. Read more

Reshaping Governance for Sustainability: 2019 “Spotlight” Report Launched at the UN HLPF

By Elena Marmo and Sophia McCarron
“There needs to be an examination of the hardware of the 2030 Agenda, rather than an upgrade of its software” concludes the 2019 Spotlight Report launched on Thursday, 11 July during the High Level Political Forum that reviews the United Nations 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. Under the title of “Reshaping governance for sustainability”, the civil society report explores transforming institutions, shifting power and strengthening rights. The launch event showcased the ideas presented by a variety of the report’s authors. Read more