The High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development (FfD) on 26 September featured inspired discussions on combatting illicit financial flows, financing the SDGs and climate action against rising debt burdens, highlighting the need for structural, macroeconomic changes to lending and trade in order to best equip countries to achieve the SDGs. Secretary-General António Guterres noted that ‘collaboration is crucial in cracking down on tax avoidance, tax evasion, corruption and illicit financial flows that deprive developing countries of tens of billions of dollars of potential resources for their development every year’.

A debate on ‘The IMF and inequalities: tensions between structural adjustments and structural transformations’ will be held next October 17 at the IMF headquarters in Washington as a side event during the Spring meeting of the Bretton Woods institutions. A panel of civil society researchers and IMF representatives will debate around the contradictions between IMF-advised structural adjustments and the need for global socio-economic transformations. Discussants will draw on the 2019 Spotlight Report on Sustainable Development and propose ways forward for the Fund’s work to tackle inequalities and achieve the SDGs.

Women's and feminist organizations are increasingly involved in economic issues and are actively participating in global resistances that challenge the implications of financialization, the concentration of wealth, the rise of inequality and the increasing power of corporations, argues Corina Rodríguez Enríquez, from Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) in a chapter of the recently launched Spotlight report.

The advance of the women's agenda, as well as many years of advocacy work, has also permeated the agendas of multilateral institutions and the spaces of the multi-stakeholder global governance. However, both the approach that these institutions have on ‘gender issues’, as well as the space that they allow for the articulation of women’s voices are controversial and limited.

For the first time since 2003, Baghdad hosted last August a regional conference on gender issues, co-organized by the government, civil society and UN agencies. The Forum discussed the role of the various institutional mechanisms for women operating in the Arab region and promoted the establishment of an independent national body for women's empowerment in Iraq. Reporting on the debate, the Iraqi Al-Amal association concludes that ‘effective institutional mechanisms are required to confront the challenges that hinder women's rights in the Arab region, especially during and after conflicts, and to confront the Israeli occupation, terrorism, extremism, religious radicalism, patriarchal mentality, tribal norms and corruption, and policies of exclusion and marginalization of qualified and active women in decision-making positions.’

Global multi-stakeholder partnerships and initiatives between public and private actors, which move beyond traditional nation-state multilateralism, are now perceived as the future of international cooperation. The UN is already involved in hundreds of partnership initiatives with individual companies and business associations. ‘Rules of engagement between the UN and private actors,’ a paper by Jens Martens and Karolin Seit from Global Policy Forum, demonstrates that the existing guidelines are weak and highly heterogeneous. Effective and comprehensive rules for such cooperation are still missing.

The non-regulated engagement between the UN and the private sector could result in a loss of reputation, increased influence by private actors on political decision-making, and could divert scarce public resources away from UN goals.

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