Publications: Reports

Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2020

Lessons from the global COVID-19 crisis

This is the fifth edition of the report Spotlight on Sustainable Development. Since 2016, we have published this report annually to assess not only the implementation of the 2030 Agenda but also the structural obstacles in its realization.

When we started to plan for this year’s report in Autumn 2019, mass protests were shaking a growing number of countries in various regions of the world. In Ecuador, Brazil, Chile and Argentina, in Egypt, Lebanon, [...]

Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2019

Transforming institutions – shifting power – strengthening rights Four years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda the world is off-track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Most governments have failed to turn the transformational vision of the 2030 Agenda into real transformational policies. Even worse, xenophobia and authoritarianism are on the rise in a growing number of countries. But there are signs of change. Social movements have emerged worldwide, many with young people and women in the lead. [...]

Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2018

How to overcome obstacles and contradictions in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda “The world is off-track in terms of achieving sustainable development and fundamental policy changes are necessary to unleash the transformative potential of the SDGs.” This is the main message of the Spotlight Report 2018, the most comprehensive independent assessment of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Who shapes the agenda?

A new GPF working paper, jointly published with Brot für die Welt and MISEREOR, examines the role and impact of philanthropic foundations in development. It addresses the impacts and side effects of philanthropic engagement by taking a closer look at the priorities and operations of two of the most prominent foundations, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in two crucial sectors, health and agriculture. So far, there has been a fairly willing belief among governments and [...]

Private funding and corporate influence in the United Nations

"Follow the money” is the recipe for good investigative journalism and Fit for Whose Purpose does precisely that for the institution created to defend global public goods. Digging into the numbers behind the funding of the United Nations, Adams and Martens uncover a trail that leads to corporate interests having a disproportionate say over the bodies that write global rules. This book shows how Big Tobacco, Big Soda, Big Pharma and Big Alcohol end up prevailing and how corporate philanthropy [...]

The EU's role in supporting an unjust global tax system 2014

Eurodad, together with partners from all over Europe (including GPF) has released a new report “Hidden Profits”. Coming right in time to complement the Luxembourg Leaks investigations, the report compares 15 EU countries’ performance on combating tax dodging and ensuring financial transparency and finds they are still failing to address urgent problems, which cost both developed and developing countries billions of euros in lost tax revenue every year. Each country is also directly compared with its fellow EU member states [...]

A guide to environmental-social budgeting

International development policy is at a crossroads. By September 2015, governments plan to adopt a Post-2015 Development Agenda – an agenda that is supposed to shape the fundamental priorities, goals and strategies for development policy beyond 2015. In parallel, governments have agreed to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals integrating all dimensions (social, economic and environmental) of sustainable development and being applicable to all countries in the world. Forming one coherent Post-2015 Agenda, including the SDGs, affects all policy [...]

A critical view on the Responsibility to Protect

Global Policy Forum and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office publish a joint report on the concept of a Responsibility to Protect (R2P). "In whose name? A critical view on the Responsibility to Protect” by Lou Pingeot and Wolfgang Obenland provides an overview of the history and content of R2P, its positive contributions and its flaws. It concludes that R2P does not give a satisfying answer to the key question it is supposed to address: how best to prevent and, if [...]

Private military and security companies and the future of the United Nations

Today Global Policy Forum and the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office publish a new report on recent developments and practices of the security outsourcing of the UN. GPF's Lou Pingeot discusses the increasing use of private military and security companies (PMSCs), the shifting understanding of their role and activities, and how this influences the perception of the UN by other actors. The report discusses the UN’s attempt to increase transparency and accountability in their selection processes of PMSCs. Finally, Pingeot [...]

Mining conditions and supply chains in the commodity sector and the responsibility of the German automobile industry

In a recently released short documentary, Brazilian initiative Justiça nos Trilhos (JnT) explains about social and environmental conflicts in iron ore extraction in the Amazon region of Carajás, northern Brazil—and the connections with the German car industry. Again and again, mining and processing of natural resources has involved violations of human rights and an escalating of violence and conflicts. Largely, this problem has lately received public attention as far as diamonds, coltan and other “conflict commodities” are concerned. However, the [...]


Growing inequalities and unregulated finances are expropriating people everywhere from their fair share in the benefits of global prosperity. The Social Watch Report 2012 concentrates on the effects of present mismangements and false recepies on the rights and well-being of future generations. “The ‘right to a future’ is the most urgent task of the present,” writes Roberto Bissio, coordinator of Social Watch, member of the Reflection Group and editor-in-chief of the study. “It is about nature, yes, but it is [...]

Private Military and Security Companies and the UN

GPF's report on the use of Private Military and Security Companies by the United Nations is out! This investigative report reveals that the UN has dramatically increased its use of these companies in recent years, hiring them for a wide array of “security services” and giving them considerable influence over its security policies. It also reveals that the UN has no process to vet these companies and that UN leadership has been closing its eyes to company misconduct for more [...]

Report of the Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development Perspectives

The world faces an unprecedented coincidence of global crises. They testify to the failure of the dominant model of development and economic progress that is oriented on a technocratic modernisation path, is blind to human rights and the ecological limits of the global ecosystem, confuses growth of Gross Domestic Product with progress in society, and regards poverty as a primarily technical challenge in which categories of inequality and social justice are neglected.

The Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development [...]

An interim balance of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in the Central African Region

In numerous countries, the exploitation of mineral and fossil natural resources is resulting in violations of human rights, rising poverty and violence. Many partner organisations of “Brot für die Welt” and MISEREOR are campaigning for the people affected. They are urging that those concerned actually benefit from the exploitation of natural resources in their countries, that they can realise their human rights, that the environment is not destroyed, and, above all, that they are comprehensively informed about plans, projects and [...]

Interim assessment of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in the Central African Region

by Hedi Feldt/ Axel Müller

“We share a belief that the prudent use of natural resource wealth should be an important engine for sustainable economic growth that contributes to sustainable development and poverty reduction, but if not nmanaged properly, can create negative economic and social impacts”(EITI Principle 1)

In 2000, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) launched the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) campaign to oblige corporations and governments to disclose payments in the context of natural resource extraction and oil [...]

Globale Krisen. Soziale Auswirkungen – politische Konsequenzen

Ein internationaler Bericht zivilgesellschaftlicher Organisationen über den Fortschritt bei Armutsbekämpfung und Gleichstellung der Geschlechter

Als im Spätjahr 2008 die Auseinandersetzung mit der globalen Finanz- und Wirtschaftskrise die Schlagzeilen der Medien beherrschte, bestand die Gefahr, dass die anderen Krisen in den Hintergrund gedrängt würden. Doch die gegenwärtige globale Krisensituation zeichnet sich nicht nur durch die Gleichzeitigkeit der Finanz- und Wirtschaftskrise, der Klimakrise, der Ernährungskrise, der Wasserkrise, der Energiekrise im Süden und der Biodiversitätskrise aus, sondern auch dadurch, dass diese Krisen in [...]

Documentation of a workshop held at the ACUNS annual meeting 6 June 2008

Having seen dynamic developments in the 1990s, relations between the United Nations (UN) and civil society are now at a critical stage. The number of private actors participating in international negotiations has been increasing and led to a more extensive involvement of these actors in global policy processes. But all attempts to extend formal participatory rights for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the UN have failed so far.

Some governments have responded rather defensively to the increasing (quantitative) presence of non-state [...]

The Ruggie Report 2008: Background, Analysis and Perspectives1

Global Policy Forum's Jens Martens gives a critical analysis of the 2008 report by UN Special Representative for Business and Human Rights John Ruggie – "Protect, Respect and Remedy: a Framework for Business and Human Rights." Martens calls the report "a description of the status quo" that does not leave the door open for developing new ideas on international law and corporate responsibility. Martens offers concrete steps, based on Ruggie's recommendations, towards increasing corporate accountability, such as creating an International [...]

Since the March 2003 invasion, the US-UK occupation of Iraq has utterly failed to bring peace, prosperity and democracy, as originally advertised. This major report assesses conditions in the country and especially the responsibility of the US-led Coalition for violations of international law. In twelve detailed chapters, brimming with information, the authors provide a unique and compelling analysis of the conflict, concluding with recommendations for action. Among the topics covered are: destruction of cultural heritage, killing of civilians, attacks on [...]

Future Models of Multilateralism?

This Global Policy Forum-Friedrich Ebert Foundation joint paper analyzes how UN relations with NGOs as well as the corporate sector affect international policymaking and multilateralism. The author, GPF-Europe's Jens Martens, warns that "despite the image of greater flexibility and efficiency," such partnerships could increase businesses' influence in politics while impeding long-term development strategies. Martens therefore calls for a system to regulate the UN's interaction with corporations, ensuring that profit-driven initiatives do not overshadow public interests.

Tax evasion, capital flight and the misuse of public money in developing countries – and what can be done about it

To decrease their dependency on rich countries and achieve long-term development, poor countries must raise revenue domestically. In this paper, author Jens Martens looks at a range of different obstacles that prevent governments of poor countries from raising sufficient public revenue and spending it on development. For example, governments of rich countries pressure poor countries to liberalize trade, thus reducing customs revenues. Also, ineffective tax systems exempt transnational corporations, landowners and rich individuals from paying taxes to poor countries. ( [...]

After more than two years of work, the United Nations Millennium Project published its final report, "Investing in Development," in January 2005. This Global Policy Forum and Friedrich Ebert Foundation briefing paper provides a more accessible analytical summary on the massive report and places it in a political context.