The United Nations (UN) is a highly complex organisation. It can be difficult for civil society advocates to know where to start and the best way to exert any influence. This toolkit will help civil society organisations (CSOs) and other stakeholders to navigate the politics and structure of the UN system and its main decision-making bodies. It will also provide a roadmap to help guide CSOs through the main types of UN agreements and how they are negotiated, with a [...]

An analysis of financial flows, systemic issues and interlinkages

by Jesse Griffiths

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are ambitious objectives: not only do they call for an end to poverty and hunger, they also recognise the need to fight inequality, including gender inequality, protect the environment, provide decent work, ensure sustainable consumption and production and achieve global peace. Unlike the Millennium Development Goals that preceded them, they apply equally to all nations.

It is already clear that we are not on track to meet the SDGs. For example, though [...]

The United Nations face a funding dilemma. On the one hand, member states continue to transfer new responsibilities to the UN system, not least in implementing the 2030 Agenda and their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); on the other hand, they do not match these mandates with adequate resources.

Some see the way out of this financial mess in reinforced UN partnerships with private donors and their foundations. The UN Foundation (UNF) plays a special role here. It was established by [...]

Report of the third session of the UN working group on a binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (“treaty”)

n 2014, following a resolution initiated by Ecuador and South Africa, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations decided by a majority vote for the establishment of a process to create a human rights treaty to regulate business activity. In 2015 and 2016 the first two sessions of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (OEIGWG) took place, and between October 23 and 27, 2017 the working group convened [...]

Development players mine a new seam

“Data is the new Gold” headlined a 2014 article in the business press on the marketing power it offers. “Each click, like, and share creates new data in the world, much of which can be used to deliver relevant marketing information and bring increased value to consumer audiences.” Picking up on the potential of so-called Big Data to measure national and global progress on development goals agreed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 2030 agenda has driven a [...]

Global Policy Watch Briefing #18

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. Further, many Member States have promoted and the UN [...]

Reclaiming Policies for the Public

Join the Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UNRISD and FES for the Geneva launch of the Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2017 report. Carrying the subtitle "Reclaiming policies for the public. Privatization, partnerships, corporate capture and their impact on sustainability and inequality - assessments and alternatives", the civil society "shadow" report provides a wide-ranging independent assessment of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. At the event, contributors will present and discuss key [...]

Global Hunger Index 2017

Despite years of progress, food security is still under threat. Conflict and climate change are hitting the poorest people the hardest and effectively pitching parts of the world into perpetual crisis. Although it has been said that “hunger does not discriminate,” it does. It emerges the strongest and most persistently among populations that are already vulnerable and disadvantaged. Hunger and inequality are inextricably linked. By committing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the international community promised to eradicate hunger and [...]
A new briefing from Eurodad reveals how the increased promotion of public-private partnerships (PPPs) by the World Bank and others is having a disastrous impact on both developed and developing countries. From the hospital in Lesotho which has swallowed up a quarter of the country's health budget, to the motorways which nearly bankrupted the Portuguese government - we expose how PPPs are enriching the already wealthy whilst ripping off citizens.

On the Role of the Private Sector in Development

European governments and the European Commission have been increasingly supporting a greater role for the private sector in their development cooperation. With new EU policies and instruments such as the European External Investment Plan, it was deemed important for CONCORD members to agree on a common position, common messages and priorities regarding the role of the private sector in contributing to sustainable development. To write this paper, CONCORD Europe's specific work stream on the private sector collaborated with all of [...]

Oligarchy and Global Power in the UN Security Council

By James A. Paul. When the United Nations was founded over seventy years ago, the victorious Allies saw it as the capstone of the postwar order. This new organization would work to keep the peace that had been achieved at such tremendous cost. At its head would be the Security Council, dominated by its five permanent members, united in a “trusteeship of the strong.” These powerful nations would serve as the world’s policemen, taking on the burden of keeping the [...]

On the last official day of the UN High-Level Political Forum, civil society express concern that ‘vision without implementation is hallucination’.

New York, 19 July 2017: Despite soaring rhetoric, glossy reports and slick presentations, the fact remains that implementation on the ground is “stalled”, as highlighted in a series of civil society national reports as part of the global Spotlight Report initiative.

Increasingly, civil society is expressing concern that the SDGs are being used not as a roadmap for social, economic and environmental transformation, but as a vehicle to entrench inequitable power relations. In particular, as exhibited in many speeches at [...]

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