African Civil Society is calling on Governments at this 14th session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 14) to rise up to the fundamental challenge of equitable development in and for Africa within the global order. 'UNCTAD's foundational vision is as critical today as 50 years ago. The specific developmental challenges which UNCTAD sought to address are still here with us, and in the case of Africa have become more acute' the statement stated. Hence the conference must provide UNCTAD with the necessary space and means to articulate the policy requirements of Africa's structural economic transformation and work in support of their realization. UNCTAD 14 will be held in Nairobi, from 15th to the 17th of July 2016.

For several years the Group of 20 (G20) has been increasing the intensity of its focus on infrastructure investment, resulting since the beginning of 2014 in the launch of a Working Group on Investment in Infrastructure. Over those years, the G20 has tasked the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), whose membership comprises 34 countries, to provide numerous technical inputs for its work on infrastructure. The OECD is, indeed, one of the most visible and prolific of the international organizations acting as resources for the G20, often co-branding its reports with the grouping. A recently-released report, “In Search of Policy Coherence: Aligning OECD Infrastructure Advice with Sustainable Development,” puts this facet of the organization’s work under the spotlight.

The contradictions between economic growth and a sustainable development approaches appear in National Framework Strategy on Sustainable Development (NFSSD) 2012-2024. The first approach identifies classic economic growth as a priority goal; while the second emphasizes environmental preservation and, accordingly, a shift to sustainable consumption and production patterns. The ”decoupling” of economic growth and environmental destruction is envisaged, but it has so far not led to a reduction of the global environmental load in absolute terms, although it has contributed to a modest reduction in its rate of growth.

Whether the 2030 Agenda can live up to its promise to advance the sustainable development process and further international cooperation in this regard will only be seen in the implementation process: provided that it creates a precise and transparent monitoring system, argues the Hungarian civil society report.

The Thai government has announced a “Pracha Rath” (State of the People) policy framework, but this “ironically has become a shared agenda between the Government and the industrial and corporate complex, enabling industrial and corporate interests to become the main drivers of development rather than the society and the citizen”.

The Thai Social Watch report 2016 describes a “development trap” with community self-reliance decreasing in rural areas. “As agro-industry takes over, farmers are becoming paid labor or even contract laborers on their own land. Land resources are being excavated mining and other extractive industries owned by by transnational corporations.” Meanwhile, development plans “call for big projects to facilitate the provision of resources, fuel, energy and transportation to the industrial sector and urban areas, causing under-reproduction of labor and damaging the environment”.

In discussions of sovereign debt, some actors occasionally project the sensibility, implicitly or explicitly, that efforts to bring issues of justice and sovereign debt together are not entirely appropriate. In this view, questions of human rights, governmental accountability to citizens, and justice more generally fall into one legal and political arena, while sovereign debt belongs to another sphere—namely, to the hard-headed world of international finance, which has its own set of rules and market principles.  This underlying assumption can ground the contention that, although it is possible for these areas to overlap to some degree, they should be understood as belonging to two separate worlds.  Relatedly, this assumption also can undergird resistance to criticism of the existing sovereign debt regime and undercut efforts to change these practices.

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