Global Policy Watch Blog

Panel discussion: Corporate accountability and influence in the UN

The international debate surrounding the environmental, social and human rights responsibilities of corporations has been gaining momentum. Growing public criticism of transnational corporations and banks has furthered this debate. A historic decision of the UN Human Rights Council (of 26 June 2014) to establish an intergovernmental working group “to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises” is one of the results. For the first time since decades, an intergovernmental body of the UN was established to address the international regulation of corporations. You are invited to a panel discussion on October 4, 2016, at the Church Center in New York, to assess the state of the current debate, discuss the pros and cons and the potential content of a legally binding instrument (or a treaty), and explore links to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs and to the agenda and responsibilities of the incoming Secretary-General. 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…

2030 Agenda demands UN reform

Juan Somavia, co-Chair of an Independent Team of Advisors to ECOSOC said that a “change of mindset” is needed to enable the UN development system to move from the MDGs to the SDGs; from a sectorial approach to an integrated one; from judging development by growth to judging it by sustainability; and to universal applicability. Read more…

UNCTAD 14: Nairobi “Maafikiano” barely saves minimal finance and development mandates

Due to UNCTAD’s decidedly pro-South and uncompromising development-focused mission, its quadrennial conferences have traditionally been North –South showdowns. Coming a few months after the adoption of the ambitious and universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 associated goals, the theme of the XIV Quadrennial Conference of UNCTAD (the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) was “From Decisions to Actions.” There was, therefore, reason to expect that this time members would bridge their differences for the sake of reinforcing mandates of the organization critical to the Agenda’s implementation. But that was not the case. Read more…

The Next United Nations Secretary General Town Hall Debate

In 2016, the UN is searching for a successor to Ban Ki-Moon as the next Secretary General. Over the years, several initiatives have urged reforms regarding the UN Secretary General election process. In this spirit, the President of the General Assembly together with Al-Jazeera organized a town hall debate with the candidates on 12 July. 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…

Environmental Performance Index greenwashes the rich

An “Environmental Performance Index” to be launched on May 9 at the UN claims to align itself with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but actually hides the impact of unsustainable consumption and production patterns in the North as well as the contributions of the developing countries to achieving the internationally agreed targets. Read more…

Obstacles to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

During “The way ahead: Successful frameworks and strategies for financing the Sustainable Development Goals and the paradigm shift towards low carbon societies” panel discussion on “Financing poverty eradication and sustainable development” at the President of the General Assembly’s High-Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals held at the UN in New York on Thursday, 21 April 2016, Barbara Adams from Global Policy Forum pointed out governments on one hand are signing the Paris Agreement and on the other hand signing certain bilateral trade treaties. See the video here.