The outcome reached by the international track of sustainable development objectives amounts to a dangerous twist in the concept of development, especially in terms of determining the roles of stakeholders in the development process. For example, it proposes giving the business sector the key role, being a contributor to job-generating growth. This comes before the adoption of “business-binding human rights standards.”

In a recent report (“the report”), the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty, Mr. Philip Alston (“the Rapporteur”) addressed the issue of economic inequality, drawing its connections to the enjoyment of human rights and to policy recommendations needed to tackle it. Among the recommendations offered in the report, some squarely focused on economic policies. States should “reduce inequality by adopting taxation policies that are instrumental to achieving that aim,” the report said. By linking economic inequality to human rights enjoyment and to the actions and omissions by the state (in pursuing a particular tax policy), the report constitutes yet another important building block in the emerging body of standards that connect acts and omissions of the state in the field of economic policy to human rights.

With a "Fiesta Social" combining music, films and speeches, some twenty Belgian civil society organizations launched last October 3 a major campaign titled "Social protection for all" with the aim of defending social security as a human right in Belgium and abroad.

A rare sense of euphoria permeated the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York this weekend. The multitude of events that have been taking place on First Avenue and beyond had a party atmosphere. And it was not only government delegates but many civil society activists who negotiated for systemic change that celebrated the new agenda that promises transformative change for sustainable development. Yet will implementation actually bring real change?

Security was tight during the Papal address at the Opening Plenary of the UN Summit, so I missed these events as only a few civil society representatives could be accommodated, but certainly this was better than Addis Ababa during the 3rd Financing for Conference. The UN General Assembly formally adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the opening session without further debate as the document had gone through months of debates ad revisions before Member States agreed on the final text.

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