Category: Briefings

UN partnerships in the public interest? Not yet.

by Barbara Adams and Sarah Dayringer
The World Bank, together with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the development banks, have been proclaiming since 2015 that “to meet the investment needs of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the global community needs to move the discussion from ‘billions to trillions’” — that is from billions in official development assistance (ODA) to trillions in investments of all kinds: public and private, national and global, in both capital and capacity. Read more…

The G20 and the 2030 Agenda: Contradictions and conflicts at the Hamburg Summit

by Jens Martens
On 7 and 8 July 2017, the summit meeting of the G20, the group of 19 major economies and the European Union, was held in Hamburg, Germany. Media perception of the event was marked by the US President’s appearance and the conflicts in climate and trade policies. In contrast, other topics, including the G20 activities regarding the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, took a backseat. Hardly any attention was given to the Hamburg Update of the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda.
Many observers representing academia and civil society viewed the Summit resolutions as insufficient or even counterproductive. Above all, they criticized the blind faith in economic growth reflected by the Summit documents and the one-sided focus on private investments to finance development. Read more…

Women rights without borders: Combatting inequalities within and among countries is key to women’s empowerment

By Barbara Adams and Karen Judd

The economic empowerment of women is the priority theme for the 2017 UN Commission on the Status of Women with special attention to the empowerment of indigenous women.

The struggle to empower women and to combat gender inequality goes hand in hand with the struggle for women’s human rights. The increasing application of human rights instruments from local to global continues to be the hallmark of organizing that crosses sectors, policy tracks and borders. The work of human rights advocates and defenders has required establishing new rules and systems as well as removing discrimination and bias in the application of existing ones. This is as relevant across territorial borders as within them and the gap between transnational economic activities and global economic governance can magnify inequalities or nullify measures to overcome them. Read more…

The UN development system: Can it catch up to the 2030 Agenda?

By Barbara Adams and Gretchen Luchsinger

The current model of UN development assistance—operating country by country, and issue by issue, with priorities heavily driven by individual donors and their interests—is no longer fit for its intended purpose. The ambitious vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development challenges the UN development system to fully respond to the inextricable links across countries and among social, economic and environmental concerns. This is not just an issue of greater efficiency and effectiveness within existing arrangements. It is a question of how the UN development system can meet the high demands of new commitments aimed at transforming the course of development so that it is equitable, sustainable and aligned with human rights, and remains within planetary boundaries. Read more…

Refining the Indicators: Opening the process; open for influence?

By Barbara Adams and Karen Judd
As the first year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development concludes, the technical work at/of the UN continues to refine and agree on the global indicators to measure progress. This involves circulating selected indicators for consultation, adopting a lead agency to collect and submit the data and adopting an agreed methodology, as well as fundraising to increase the extent of data coverage and building capacity. At the same time, as this is a work in progress, many Member States have undertaken national initiatives to review the SDGs and incorporate them into national policy and budget processes. Read more…

United Nations and business community, out-sourcing or crowding in?

By Barbara Adams
In order to intensify the effort to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN is exploring financial solutions for the Sustainable better align the trillions of dollars of annual private investment with the sustainable development goals and their targets? Can this approach be prioritized with regard to long-term investments made with funds from multiple domestic and international sources? Can it be made to cover the full range of the 2030 Agenda – and might it reach into all countries, including the least developed and small island developing states? Read more…

The HLPF 2016: First global meeting on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs

The United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) met in New York from 11 to 20 July 2016. It is the central UN body addressing sustainable development, and its chief task is to monitor the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The HLPF is still in a trial phase. Whether it can justifiably claim a central role in global sustainability policy will only be revealed over the next few years. Read more…

Partnerships and the 2030 Agenda: Time to reconsider their role in implementation

“Partnership” is a misleading term to cover every type of engagement between UN entities and non-State actors. It promotes a false sense of equality. Lumping CSOs and corporate actors together according to their non-State status ignores the profound differences in their orientation, interests and accountability. Before considering ways to enhance the effectiveness of partnerships between UN entities and non-State actors and establishing a system-wide delivery support, more fundamental questions should be addressed. This Background Note poses necessary questions and offers perspectives both from the work of Global Policy Forum as well as from previous proposals on partnerships offered by some Member States.Read more…

Options for strengthening global tax governance

The importance of international—or even better, global—cooperation on tax issues is becoming more and more evident in the light of tax evasion and avoidance scandals during the last few months and years. Countries in the global North and South were shown to offer preferential treatment to foreigners—from Panama to Luxemburg from the Cayman Islands to Hong Kong. Individuals as well as huge transnational corporations are using a fragmented and inconsistently regulated global system of trans-border taxation to evade and/or avoid taxes. The sums lost amount to hundreds of billions annually. Depending on the model of estimation, developing countries are losing more than one trillion US dollars per year in illicit financial flows, the majority of which can be attributed to the abuse of transfer pricing rules. A panel of the UN Economic Commission for Africa chaired by former South African president Thabo Mbeki estimates the losses of Africa alone at approximately 50 billion US dollars per year. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) puts global revenue losses from Base Eros ion and Profit Shifting at an annual 100 to 240 billion US dollars. Read more…