The increased influence of corporations over the UN development agenda was highlighted by several civil society organizations last April 8 in New York. During a side-event at the Church Center, (see the video here) different worrying trends were highlighted: the redefinition of ODA that will put more public funds in the hands of corporations, the lack of accountability of the different associations between corporations and UN agencies and the privileged access that big corporate players may be getting over international norm-setting. At the General Assembly hearing on partnerships, Roberto Bissio denounced how information access is being made more restrictive under corporate pressure. Brazilian Ambassador Guilherme Patriota condemned the "outsourcing of development responsibilities" and announced his country opposition to the UN Partnership Facility proposed by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. (see the video here).

The European Parliament has just released a major report with a clear message for all those engaged in the growing debate about the role of external private finance in development: quality matters far more than quantity. As the post-2015 debate on financing development continues, and the UN gears up for a major Financing for Development conference in 2015 or 2016, this timely paper – co-authored by Jesse Griffiths and three other experts - gives clear recommendations on how European governments can ensure that fighting poverty stays at the heart of this agenda. 

Is European Union really committed to Human Development? EU has made an undeniable progress in promoting the integration of policy coherence for development (PCD) at the discursive level, nevertheless European policies developed in the last five years have not only had profoundly negative consequences for other countries and people, but have made living conditions significantly precarious for large part of the population living in Europe. There appears to be a more than significant gap between the policy commitments undertaken by the European institutions and Member States, and the real actions to promote greater PCD at both EU and national levels.

The World Bank is a structural driver of the land grabs that is dispossessing and impoverishing rural communities across the globe. It is a central player that is using its financial and political might to force developing countries to follow a pre-prescribed model of development, based on the neoliberal principles of privatization, deregulation, low corporate taxation and ‘free market’ fundamentalism. Evidence clearly shows that this model overwhelmingly favors large agribusiness interests at the expense of smallholders, and is designed to extract the maximum value from developing countries’ natural and human resources.

Join us to tell the World Bank that it has no business in ranking countries and opening them up to foreign corporations thirsty for the extraction of their resources and the exploitation of their work force.

A statement issued today by the ITUC and its Global Unions partner organisations in advance of this weekend’s Spring Meetings of the IMF and World Bank (Washington, 11-13 April) calls on the international financial institutions (IFIs) to take concrete actions to follow through on their announced intentions to pay greater attention to employment and inequality issues. The ITUC notes the IMF’s World Economic Outlook forecast made on Tuesday that economic growth will strengthen in 2014, in large part because of “a strong reduction in the pace of fiscal tightening”. ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow stated: “We are pleased to see the IMF recognise that drastic fiscal consolidation policies have been a drag on growth, something that unions have been saying since the inappropriate shift to austerity made in 2010.” However she also observed that threats to growth may increase in emerging-market economies because of capital outflows. “The IFIs should help boost aggregate demand in countries with output and employment gaps and ensure that their financial support maximises decent work creation,” said Burrow.

“Partnerships” for sustainable development are increasingly being promoted as a major, if not the primary, enabler for the implementation of the successor international sustainable development goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. However, a growing number of civil society groups warn against a partnerships approach that places primary emphasis on enticing private sector participation and investments as this risks reinforcing the corporate capture of the post-2015 agenda.

This one-and-a-half hour Public Forum seeks to provide critical perspectives on the major issues and challenges associated with partnerships with the “private sector” for sustainable development.

Uruguayan ministers at the
Social Watch meeting.
Photo: Wolfgang Obenland.

Alternatives to austerity programs do exist, conclude civil society organizations and networks from around the world that met in Montevideo, convened by Social Watch to discuss strategies to face the multiple global crises. In the opening of our debates, the Uruguayan ministers of Interior, Eduardo Bonomi, of Labour, José Bayardi, and of Social Development, Daniel Olesker explained the way in which they managed to eradicate extreme poverty, reduce inequalities and grow at the same time. See the video here. (To see the English subtitles, press on the CC at the bottom right of the video).

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