Publications

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 [...]

Civil Society activists critique first week of deliberations at High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

New York City, 14 July 2017: With the first week of deliberations at the 2017 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development coming to a close this Friday at the UN in New York, civil society activists are criticizing a piecemeal approach to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Especially worrisome to activists is a growing gap between aspirational goals and a lack of proper and comprehensive means of implementation.

On many occasions – during side-events as well [...]

Global spotlight report challenges the notion that “trillions of private finance” are needed to advance SDG implementation.

New York 13 July 2017: As the SDG 17 is under review today at the HLPF 2017, civil society groups express their concern for the inadequacy of the combined MoI/AAAA framework to match the ambition of the 2030 Agenda. The worrying slogan of ‘making the business case for sustainable development’, clearly exemplifies how private finance, rather than public policies and investments, is being portrayed as the fundamental key to SDG implementation, says the Spotlight Report, a comprehensive independent assessment released [...]

Global Spotlight Report warns against risks of Public-Private Partnerships

New York, 13 July 2017: Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), usually portrayed as a useful tool towards sustainable development, actually “involve disproportionate risks and costs for people and the public purse”, claims a global coalition of civil society organizations and trade unions in the Spotlight Report 2017 launched earlier this week.

Global Spotlight Report says SDG2 is only achievable if present food systems change towards agroecological diversification and food sovereignty.

New York, 12 July 2017: SDG2 ‘end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, articulates one of the highest aspirations of the 2030 Agenda. Failure to advance it will significantly affect the entire agenda, claims the Spotlight report, a comprehensive independent assessment released in New York on the opening day of the High Level Political Forum 2017.

New independent Spotlight report points out that women´s lower wages and poorer labor conditions have resulted in unfair advantages for corporations

New York, 12 July 2017: Corporate power threatens women´s human rights by promoting a race to the bottom in labour standards and avoiding taxes in the countries where profits are obtained, concludes the report Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2017, in its analysis of the fifth Sustainable Development Goal which promises to achieve gender equality by 2030 and empower all women and girls.

Global Spotlight Report says that the Agenda 2030 proposal to eradicate poverty by 2030 is achievable but tax policies need to change.

New York, 11 July 2017: “The promise made by governments to eradicate poverty by 2030 is doable if countries cooperate to fight tax evasion and capital flights” argues an independent report submitted to the High Level Political Forum of the United Nations as an input to its debate today around the first of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Global Spotlight Report says that the proposed “cascade” of private financing for infrastructure will result on more corruption, high fees for essential services, and massive resource transfers to the rich from the poor

New York, 11 July 2017: The “leave no one behind” slogan and the proposition to increase funding “from billions to trillions” made by the development banks and the International Monetary Fund are the two policy messages most commonly heard at the debate around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that started yesterday at the United Nations. “You cannot have both at the same time” commented Roberto Bissio, coordinator of Social Watch, summarizing the analysis of the first SDG by the global [...]

Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2017

New York, 10 July 2017: A global coalition of civil society organizations and trade unions presents today the report Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2017. It is published on the opening day of the High Level Political Forum at the United Nations in New York. The report provides the most comprehensive independent assessment of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2017

Privatization, partnerships, corporate capture and their impact on sustainability and inequality - assessments and alternatives In the 2030 Agenda governments committed to a revitalized Global Partnership between States and declared that public finance has to play a vital role in achieving the SDGs. But in recent decades, the combination of neoliberal ideology, corporate lobbying, business-friendly fiscal policies, tax avoidance and tax evasion has led to a massive weakening of the public sector and its ability to provide essential goods and [...]

Multi-Akteur-Partnerschaften nehmen eine Schlüsselrolle bei der Umsetzung der 2030-Agenda und der Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung (SDGs) ein. Neben den Chancen, die solche globalen Partnerschaften für nachhaltige Entwicklungsprozesse bieten können, existieren auch eine Reihe von Risiken. Ein gemeinsames Dossier von Brot für die Welt, Global Policy Forum, Misereor und welt-sichten nimmt daher verschiedene Formen des derzeit herrschenden Partnerschaftstrends kritisch unter die Lupe. Die Beiträge befassen sich mit einigen der großen globalen Partnerschaften im Bereich Ernährungssicherheit, Erneuerbare Energien und Datenverfügbarkeit. Auch eine [...]

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 [...]

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 importance of global cooperation on tax issues is becoming more and more evident. The sums lost amount to hundreds of billions annually. While steps to curb the losses are underway, gaps in global tax governance remain both in the institutional setting and with regard to substantive issues. For example, there is still no body with universal membership that could discuss issues that are of particular importance to countries in the Global South. In order to fill these gaps, either [...]

Global Policy Watch Briefing #14

As the first year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development concludes, the technical work at/of the UN continues to refine and agree on the global indicators to measure progress. This involves circulating selected indicators for consultation, adopting a lead agency to collect and submit the data and adopting an agreed methodology, as well as fundraising to increase the extent of data coverage and building capacity. At the same time, as this is a work in progress, many [...]

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 [...]

The new Framework of Engagement with non-State Actors at the World Health Organization

After several years of intense discussions and negotiations, the World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted the World Health Organization’s Framework of Engagement with non-State Actors (FENSA) on 28 May 2016. The establishment of the framework was a response to the growing concerns of many governments and civil society organizations about the corporate influence on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) normative and operational activities. The objective of the new framework was therefore to provide guidelines for clear and informed decision making on [...]

The 2030 Agenda requires an integrated approach to sustainable development

By Barbara Adams and Karen Judd

The 2030 Agenda goes far beyond previous development agendas. First, it recognizes that inequality and unsustainable consumption and production are by-products of economic growth and constitute a big challenge in a world of finite resources.  This understanding would have been unthinkable as little as 10 years ago.

Second, it has put governments and the UN system on notice that the silo approach to development embraced by the MDGs does not work. Efforts to achieve [...]

Towards global regulation on human rights and business

In June 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council took the historic decision to establish a 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.” This binding agreement should complement the existing UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which show serious shortcomings. Between 24 and 28 October 2016, the second session of the working group will take place in Geneva. Agains this [...]

Report of the Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Independent monitoring and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its structural obstacles and challenges are key factors for the success of the SDGs. It is for this reason, the Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development together with other civil society organizations and networks has produced the first annual Spotlight Reportassessing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the structural obstacles in its realization. The report puts a spotlight on the fulfillment of the [...]

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 [...]

Time to reconsider their role in implementation

By Barbara Adams and Jens Martens

  • “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 [...]

Global Policy Watch Briefing #10

By Barbara Adams and Karen Judd

On 11 March 2016 the UN Statistical Commission agreed “as a practical starting point” with the proposed global indicator framework by which to measure progress towards the 17 goals and 169 targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It recognized that the development of a robust and high quality indicator framework is a process that will need to continue over time and authorized the Interagency and Expert Group for Sustainable Development [...]