Corporate influence and accountability

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Corporate actors – be they companies, their associations, foundations, or employees - play an ever increasing role in global, international and national policy making. They are regarded a source for finance for international organizations, for public service provision or infrastructure investments. They influence policy making on all levels as well as international discourses around issues like health, human rights, or tax.

This section looks at the role corporations play on various levels of governance. It highlights and analyzes the influence of corporate actors in various policy arenas and highlights the specific role of private philanthropic foundations. Are there potentially negative repercussions for relying too heavily on the private sector? And what could be the limits of and alternatives to the trend in establishing more and more so-called “partnerships” between the public and private sectors?

One specific focus in our work on corporations is following various processes that are aimed at creating binding norms for transnational corporations, especially in the area of business and human rights.

The increasing role of venture philanthropies in Global Health: Win-win situations or conflicts of interest with and for the WHO?

To coincide with the World Health Summit and the Grand Challenges Conference of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Berlin, Global Policy Forum, Brot fuer die Welt, medico international, and MISEREOR invite you to discuss the benefits, risks and side-effects of the WHO’s engagement with philanthropic foundations, and reflect on how the WHO can be strengthened in order to fulfill its responsibilities. Speakers will include representatives from the German Ministry of Health, the WHO (tbc) and international civil society.

The Private Sector and the Sustainable Development Goals

At the United Nations (UN) summit in September 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was adopted by all UN member states. The Agenda gives a comprehensive framework for a global socio-ecological transformation.

The novelty of the SDGs vis-à-vis the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is its paradigm shift: all countries, not just the countries of the Global South, have to implement the SDGs, working closely together to achieve the common goal of a [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Civil Society sees ‘room for improvement’ in national implementation of 2030 Agenda as well as an unfavourable international environment

New York, 18 July 2017: During the Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) of 44 countries at the 2017 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, many civil society activists raised questions, criticizing government (in-)action as well as crippling framework conditions that slow down implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the national level.

Ziad Abdel Samad, Director of Arab NGO Network for Development, highlighted the situation in his region: “Foreign occupation, armed conflicts and wars are key challenges, even before talking about [...]

Will national partnerships with private sector accelerate implementation if global obstacles remain?

New York, 17 July 2017: On Monday, 17 July, the sponsors of the High-Level Panel report on Women’s Economic Empowerment are presenting a panel on “Accelerating women’s economic empowerment to achieve the 2030 Agenda”, head-lined by the Secretary-General. They will be joined by a diverse Member State ‘group of champions for women’s economic empowerment’. Given the knowledge and expertise of the High-Level Panel and the national level experience of the group of champions, they will have many examples [...]