Category: Blog

How United Nations reform can support a reimagined democracy

By Chantal Line Carpentier
Just three years ago our world leaders committed “to working tirelessly” for the full implementation of a “comprehensive, far-reaching and people-centred set of universal and transformative goals and targets” (para 2). The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, also commonly referred to as the Global Goals, is made up of 17 powerful and, some say, overly ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Taken as a whole, Agenda 2030 envisions a world free of poverty, hunger, inequalities, sickness and war, and the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources, by 2030. Read more…

What role for the people in public private partnerships?

By Roberto Bissio
Over the last months multinational corporations have jumped from the ‘economy and business’ pages of world newspapers to the sections on ‘crime and police’: Volkswagen was found guilty of programming its cars to cheat on emission tests enabling it to contaminate while on the streets way beyond the acceptable limits. The sugar industry was exposed as having a long record of fake scientific research aimed at blaming other factors for the health problems that they create. Goldman Sachs helped the Greek government in 2001 to lie about the state of its economy, in order to be admitted into the Eurozone. Between 2012 and 2015 the most powerful banks of the world, including Barclays, Chase Morgan, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland and others, paid billions of dollars in fines for having manipulated for their own benefit the exchange rates among global currencies and the Libor interest rates that determine the cost of billions of credit operations around the world every day. Read more…

Public Event: Changing Course for Sustainable Development

“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. At this event, co-organized by UNRISD and FES, some of the key findings and recommendations of this year’s global Spotlight Report will be presented and discussed from various perspectives. 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…

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…