UN and global governance

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GPF’s core mission is to monitor policy making at the United Nations. This covers thematic areas, like sustainable development, human rights, and financing for development, but also more general issues of global governance and the funding and reform of the United Nations.

In this section you will find information, analyses, material etc. on questions of UN reform, the financing of international organizations, the role of various international “clubs” (like the G20), new forms of public-private interactions, like multi-stakeholder initiatives and global partnerships, the modi operandi of global institutions and their subsidiary bodies, the role of civil society organizations and social movements, and much more.

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 [...]

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 [...]

Young FoEE/Simona Getova CC BY-SA 2.0

108 national and international environmental organizations sent a letter to the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to raise their concerns about the selection of authors for the special report on the impacts of global warming, which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will present next year. One of the selected authors (proposed by the US government) works for ExxonMobil, another for the Saudi oil company SaudiAramco. The signatories criticize that this selection does not correspond [...]

The world already looks very different to the place it was when UN member states adopted the SDGs in September 2015. How can we ensure that the international community remains committed to the pledges it made?

By Gabriele Köhler Honorary Associate, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Philip Mader Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Richard Jolly Honorary Professor and Research Associate, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Robin Luckham [...]

The case of the B20 and transnational business networks

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 [...]
The General Assembly hall
The General Assembly hall
Photo: Patrick Gruban/flickr

World's largest business association gets direct voice in UN decision making

In an unprecedented and historic move, the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly recently granted observer status to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The resolution was submitted by France, Albania, Colombia, the Netherlands and Tunisia. The resolution sets out the ICC’s position as observer in the General Assembly from 1 January 2017 on. Granting observer status to the ICC risks to further strengthen the power of big business and widens the imbalance between corporate interests and civil society [...]

Foreign Voices #2

Since 2005, the work on a draft declaration on the right to international solidarity has been progressing – the final draft to be presented in June 2017. In Foreign Voices 2|2016, the current Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity of the UN Human Rights Council, Virginia B. Dandan, explains the genesis of the draft declaration, its understanding of international solidarity, key issues for its final revision as well as a the path for the right to international solidarity [...]

Switzerland—arguably the world's leading tax haven—faced tough questions from a UN human rights body in Geneva today over the toll that its tax and financial secrecy policies take on women's rights across the globe. Prompted by a submission from CESR, Alliance Sud, the Global Justice Clinic at NYU School of Law, Public Eye and the Tax Justice Network, the UN Committee mandated to oversee compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) probed [...]

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 contributed to this debate. The list of criticisms is long: pollution scandals, disregard for basic labour and human rights standards, massive bribery allegations, on top of widespread corporate tax avoidance.

At the same time, corporations and their interest groups have become powerful actors in international policy debates on poverty eradication, development, the environment and [...]

by Shiney Varghese, Sr. Policy Analyst, IATP

On 21 September 2016 the newly convened High Level Panel on Water (HLPW), called for a fundamental shift in the way the world looks at water. Supported by the World Economic Forum and its water initiative, the HLPW was formed to help “build the political momentum” to deliver on the UN mandated Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on “water and related targets” that the UN member [...]

Global Policy Watch Briefing #13

By Barbara Adams

This briefing is an unedited version to be published in Development Journal, Issue 58.4, forthcoming (Online October 2016, Printed version November 2016).

In order to intensify the effort to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN is exploring financial solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals. This includes examining the transformations needed in the financial sector that will encourage implementation and addressing a number of questions such as: What are the most effective means to better [...]

Trade Policies in Times of De-Globalisation

"Free trade has both been negatively affected by and an active contributor to an anti-globalisation backlash in the public opinion of many advanced economies. Further trade liberalisation is increasingly resisted. Much of the backlash can be viewed as a reaction to the underlying policies that, in the past, have produced many »losers« – not just »winners« – and especially have increased income inequality. Most of the »low-hanging fruit« in trade liberalisation has already been harvested. In the search for further [...]