Global Policy Watch Blog

Civil Society comments on Draft Outcome of the ECOSOC FfD Forum 2017

The Civil Society Financing for Development Group has formulated comments on the zero draft of an outcome document for the upcoming ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development Follow-up. The Group, a very broad platform of civil society organizations, networks and federations from around the world, that followed closely the Financing for Development since its origins, has facilitated civil society’s contribution to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, and continues to provide a facilitation mechanism for the collective expression of civil society in the FfD Follow-up process. While the group is diverse and positions might differ on specific issues, this document expresses the elements of common concern. Read more…

CSW highlights importance of public sector and tax justice

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres challenged participants at the 61st Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 61) in March 2017: “Do not let us at the UN off the hook. Keep our feet to the fire.” Many civil society organizations (CSOs) are doing just that – calling for more from the CSW. Read more…

Harmonization of ECOSOC and the General Assembly for the 2030 Agenda

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is driving discussions on reforming UN working methods. Consultations are being held at the UN headquarters, which aim to enhance synergies and coherence, and to reduce overlap between the agendas of the UN General Assembly (GA) and the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), including in the high-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF). Read more…

The UN Tax Committee holds out the begging bowl

Last week the UN Committee of Experts on International Tax (UNTC) met at the United Nations HQ in New York, a few metres from the Security Council meetings on Syria, followed by a special session on tax of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The undercurrent of the detailed technical discussions during the week has been a crisis of global tax governance. While, for example, the grand-sounding Addis Tax Initiative included a commitment to double the aid for tax issues to developing countries, very little has come to the UNTC. Funds are needed especially to facilitate the work of subcommittees, which are essential to work through technical details. Lacking travel funds, it is difficult for developing country members to attend, and the shortage of staff makes it hard to provide secretarial support. At several points during the meeting of the Committee there was frustration that an issue was being raised which had received no or insufficient attention in a subcommittee, and some work was not completed as a result. Read more…

Corporate influence on the G20

Over the past eight years, the G20 has emerged as one of the most prominent political fora for international cooperation. For transnational corporations and their national and international associations and lobby groups, the G20 process provides important opportunities to engage with the world’s most powerful governments, shape their discourse, and influence their decisions. For this purpose, business actors have created a broad network of alliances and fora around the G20, with the Business20 (B20) as the most visible symbol of corporate engagement. A new working paper published by GPF and Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung maps out the key business players and associations from the different sectors and branches involved in the work of the G20, and analyzes their core messages and policy recommendations. 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 wrong message – redundancy and unilateralism in measuring the SDGs

By Dr. Alexander Dill

Suppose you had ten teams of high class scientists assessing the same 141 countries each by its own criteria without knowing each other. One team is assessing ‘enabling environment’, others estimate ‘competitiveness’, ‘human development’, ‘social progress’, ‘prosperity’, ‘giving’, ‘ecological footprint’ and ‘peace’. Team no. 10 is assessing the progress of countries in meeting the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved at the UN.

After their assessment they publish their country ranking from 1 to 141. If two of these indexes rank the same countries in the same order, a statistician will say they are “redundant”, which means that somehow they ended up measuring the same thing even if under different names or through different proxies. If one index ranks a country as number 1 and the other as 141, the statistician will observe that this country has the maximum possible “standard deviation” (which in this case is 70). If we have ten independent teams measuring ten different things we can expect some of the results to be redundant (for example, better education for girls correlates with lower infant and maternal mortality), while others show deviation: low income equality, for example, can be found both in very rich and very poor countries. Read more…

The 48th Session of the UN Statistical Commission —A Quantitative UN Commission faces a Qualitative dialogue on the SDG global indicator framework

The 48th session of the UN Statistical Commission takes place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 7-10 March 2017. Thus far, there are 36 reports for the Commission to consider, 85 side events, an exhibition planned to celebrate the 70 years of work of the Commission, with presentations from the UN World Data Forum. Read more…

2030 Spotlight on “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development represents a compromise among 193 governments and is the first time in an intergovernmental document, it acknowledges the “enormous disparities of opportunity, wealth and power” as immense challenges to sustainable development. Furthermore, it aims to address adequately the structural flaws of the global economic and financial systems, the imperative of ecological sustainability and the responsibilities of the global North. 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…