Category: Blog

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…

Conversation with authors of Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2018

The world is off-track in terms of achieving sustainable development. Fundamental policy changes are necessary to unleash the transformative potential of the SDGs. In particular, there is a need for more coherent fiscal and regulatory policies and a whole-of-government approach towards sustainability. These are the main messages of the Spotlight Report 2018, the most comprehensive independent assessment of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The Spotlight Report 2018 describes policies, resources and actions that are necessary to implement the 2030 Agenda. It highlights strategies and approaches which depart from business-as-usual and prioritize fulfilment of human rights and respect for planetary boundaries. Read more…

Partnership or Business Case? Side-event during HLPF 2018

Among civil society organizations (CSOs), the increased involvement of the private sector in sustainable development has received mixed responses. Some CSOs welcome more business involvement as a necessary recognition of responsibility and a shift in the understanding of the private sector’s role in society. As a result, various partnerships between CSOs, governments and the private sector have emerged. Other CSOs view the growing involvement of the private sector in sustainable development critically. The democratic legitimation of this trend as well as the budgetary rationale of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) is being questioned as governments hand over more of their duties and power to private companies, particularly in the social sector. Some CSOs view this as a further push towards the privatization of public goods and services and worry about a new form of greenwashing with the SDGs. At a side-event to the 2018 HLPF, we will discuss: What are the activities and strategies of private sector actors in SDG implementation? Does private sector involvement lead to more sustainability and better implementation of the SDGs? Does it positively affect business models and behavior in the long run? What are criteria and political frameworks for private sector engagement in SDG implementation? What are recommendations for the private sector, governments and civil society organizations with regard to sustainable development? 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…

Looking forward: How can the FfD Follow-up live up to its full potential?

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) has defined the follow-up process for the Financing for Development process as well as the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This includes assessing progress, obstacles, challenges as well as new and emerging topics of relevance, and “provide policy recommendations for action by the international community” (para. 131). At a side-event during the 2018 ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development Follo-up, participants are invited to provide their insights into their assessment of previous FfD Fora, their link with other international processes, and discuss with participants about opportunities and challenges, also with view to the upcoming High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development of the General Assembly in 2019. The format of the side event will be highly interactive. After a short framing presentation, the moderator will facilitate active dialogue with a small panel of respondents and the audience. Read more…

Is the private sector the “preferred partner” of the UN over civil society?

“Civil society organizations are natural allies of the United Nations, but the partnership modality is not the primary way for civil society to engage with the UN” argued Barbara Adams at a panel discussion on “Strengthening partnerships and stakeholder engagement” that took place in the framework of the ECOSOC Operational Activities for Development on 27 February 2018. From a CSO perspective, she added, the primary way of leveraging resources for the Sustainable Development Goals is fair and progressive taxation. See the video here.

Invitation side-event CSW: Strategies for Empowering Rural Women

This public panel will discuss the multiple roles of rural women and girls for enhancing food sovereignty, preserving biodiversity, reducing inequalities, and combating climate change. The presentations will affirm the importance of engaging women in policy-making around more equitable and sustainable production and consumption.

Panelists will offer perspectives from the local level, addressing challenges such as intellectual property rights and land ownership for small-scale women farmers. 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…