Global Policy Watch Blog

Public SDGs or Private GGs?

By Barbara Adams

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) negotiated painstakingly over two years by all UN Member States  with thousands of public interest organizations providing their commitment and expertise have been copyrighted. And by whom? The UN you would think? But no. They have been re-branded as Global Goals (GGs) and the copyrighted by Project Everyone, a private company incorporated and registered in London. Read more…

Is the UN fit for the ambitious new Sustainable Development Agenda?

New study highlights private funding and corporate influence in the United Nations

New York City, 22 September 2015. More than a hundred Heads of State and Government will gather in New York this week to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This agenda is intended to make the UN ‘fit for purpose’, but it is important to ask, ‘whose purpose will it be fit for’? Read more…

Truth and reconciliation in sustainable development

“The UN must champion a process of truth and reconciliation” in development, said Barbara Adams, on behalf of Global Policy Forum and Social Watch during a round table at the United Nations in New York. Adams emphasised that “those who have benefitted the most from the past and current model are those that need to change the most”. Read more…

Joint CSO letter on UN GA Resolution vote on “Basic Principles on Sovereign Debt Restructuring Processes”

On September 10, 2015, the international community must take an important step towards better prevention and resolution of sovereign debt crises. Adoption of the UN General Assembly Resolution “Basic Principles on Sovereign Debt Restructuring Processes” would be a milestone towards ensuring that debt crises can be tackled in a timely, orderly, effective and fair manner. An international coalition of civil society organisations working on debt justice urges representatives of European countries at the United Nations to vote in favour of this Resolution. Read more …

Investing in the SDGs: Whose Business?

by Aldo Caliari, Project Director at the Washington DC-based Center of Concern

The role of foreign investment in financing development has been a matter of considerable debate in the negotiations leading up to all Financing for Development (FFD) conferences. But deliberations towards the one which took place in Addis Ababa in July 2015 have seen a definite tendency to propose a greater reliance on foreign investment in financing development. It will be important to watch how the Addis Ababa conference frames the regulatory role of the state, and the practices of using aid as an incentive to attract private sector funding, and Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and institutional investors’ role in closing the infrastructure finance gap. With the transnational corporate sector more involved than ever in defining policies around sustainable development, winning the struggle for the narrative around the contribution of private capital flows to development is a crucial prize at stake in the Financing for Development negotiations in Addis Ababa and beyond. Read more…

Outcome Document finally available “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”

With a delay of ten days, the UN has now published the final outcome document for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to be officially adopted at the UN Summit on September 25-27, 2015 in New York. The Agenda sets out the aims of the organization and all its members for the coming 15 years in the fields of social development, curbing equalities, economic progress and environmental sustainability. If taken seriously, the 2030 Agenda will require profound changes in policies as well as governance and has the potential to shape debates in each and every country around the world.

Download the final version of the outcome document with letters by co-facilitators and the President of the General Assembly at

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld

UN Committee passes first ever set of UN debt restructuring principles

by Bodo Ellmers, Eurodad

Just ten days after the UN’s International Conference on Financing for Development, and just in time for the endorsement of the new sustainable development agenda, a UN Committee has agreed on a set of principles to guide further sovereign debt restructuring processes. The new UN principles were inspired by the devastating bank bailouts in Greece, and by the vulture fund lawsuits that Argentina faced at US courts. They build on preparatory work done by an expert group convened by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and, subject to approval by the UN General Assembly (UN GA) in early September, will be the first step towards a new multilateral debt restructuring framework that aims to prevent future debt crises, or at least manage them better. Read more…

Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 Presents a Bold Vision for Women and Girls

Advocates Gear Up for Work to Come
UNITED NATIONS—The Women’s Major Group, made up of more than 600 women’s organizations and networks from around the world, recognizes the historic agenda for global sustainable development that 193 governments agreed to on Sunday. At the center of this broad and ambitious plan are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be formally adopted by Heads of State in September at the UN General Assembly. The SDGs chart out global development across social, environmental and economic areas for the next 15 years, and if fully implemented could be transformative for women and girls everywhere. Read more…

U.N. Targets Trillions of Dollars to Implement Sustainable Development Agenda

After more than two years of intense negotiations, the U.N.’s 193 member states have unanimously agreed on a new Sustainable Development Agenda (SDA) with 17 goals — including the elimination of extreme poverty and hunger — to be reached by 2030. The new goals, which will be part of the U.N.’s post-2015 development agenda and to be approved at a summit meeting of world leaders Sep. 25-27, cover a wide range of political and socio-economic issues, including inequality, poverty, hunger, gender equality, industrialisation, sustainable development, full employment, human rights, quality education, climate change and sustainable energy for all. However, the Agenda is far less ambitious when it comes to the means of implementation, warns GPF’s Jens Martens: “The implementation of the SDGs will require fundamental changes in fiscal policy, regulation and global governance. But what we find in the new Agenda is vague and by far not sufficient to trigger the proclaimed transformational change. But goals without sufficient means are meaningless.” Read more…

Fit for Whose Purpose?

By Barbara Adams and Gretchen Luchsinger

A critical issue repeatedly arising in the post-2015 negotiations relates to responsibility. There is shared responsibility, the preference of rich countries who would like to shift traditional official development assistance (ODA) and other “burdens” given the “rise” of some developing countries. There is common but differentiated responsibility, stressed by developing countries to link common commitment with the reality of varying capacities.

Debates also circle, directly or otherwise, around the role of the state, with some camps continuing to promote its central responsibility. Others call for more room for “stakeholders” to be responsible—notably, the private sector.

For a look at how the balance between public and private responsibility has shifted, and what this means in the real world in terms of adherence to international standards and norms, one needs to look no further than the United Nations itself. A new Global Policy Forum Report—Fit for Whose Purpose? Private funding and corporate influence in the United Nations—details how private corporations and corporate philanthropic organizations are increasingly paying to play there.Read more…