Inquirer Photo / Grig C.

OZAMIZ CITY, Philippines—The proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) law is dead, and President Aquino and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte should share the blame for its fate.

Thus declared a group of advocates who have been pushing Congress for years to enact the measure that would allow greater access to public records and help reduce corruption in government.

“(W)ithout decisive support from the President and the leadership of the House of Representatives, the bill will not pass,” read the statement from the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition which has been campaigning for the FOI bill for more than 15 years.

One of the tools that States have in order to respect, protect and fulfill human rights is the creation of national development banks. Indeed, if the financial sector is left to autonomously determine where capital should be allocated it is likely that private rather than overall social returns will end up determining the allocation of financial savings and investment. National development banks are totally or partially public sector financial institutions mandated to provide credit at terms that render certain socially desirable investments viable. Many countries have relied on them as part of the array of tools to intervene in financial markets and help ensure higher standards of living for their population.

Social Watch finds much to criticize in the Czech Republic, sees rising intolerance. Last year, the Czech Republic managed to overcome economic stagnation, but many people in the country are imminently threatened with poverty, according to the annual report that its authors from the Social Watch international network’s Czech branch presented today.

Islam and immigrants became new targets of intolerance, while public expressions of hatred of Romanies were less frequent compared with previous years, the report on the situation in the Czech Republic in 2014 says.

Though the Czech Republic has a new strategy of promoting equal opportunities for women and men, the implementation of particular steps is stagnating, the report adds.

The role of foreign investment in financing development has been a matter of considerable debate in the negotiations leading up to all Financing for Development (FFD) conferences. But deliberations towards the one which took place in Addis Ababa in July 2015 have seen a definite tendency to propose a greater reliance on foreign investment in financing development. It will be important to watch how the Addis Ababa conference frames the regulatory role of the state, and the practices of using aid as an incentive to attract private sector funding, and Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and institutional investors’ role in closing the infrastructure finance gap. With the transnational corporate sector more involved than ever in defining policies around sustainable development, winning the struggle for the narrative around the contribution of private capital flows to development is a crucial prize at stake in the Financing for Development negotiations in Addis Ababa and beyond.

The Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) hosted a meeting on Tuesday August 18, 2015 with Mr. Leonardo SC Castilho, a Human Rights Officer from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the United Nations in New York.

The meeting comes in the lead up to the UN General Assembly in New York in September – where Sustainable Development goals (SDGs) will be adopted – and a month after the Addis Ababa Conference on Financing for Development (FfD III).

The meeting oversaw an interactive discussion between various Lebanese organizations and the representatives from OHCHR on the outcome document of the United Nations Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda. 

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