Peace and sustainable development should be mutually reinforcing, but at the same time we should not ignore that development implies deep changes in societies and those transformations will be resisted by those who benefit from the status quo. "Development is conflict" argued Social Watch coordinator Roberto Bissio at the 12th Seoul ODA International Conference on "Inclusive ODA for Global Peace, Democracy and Human Rights".

Bissio was a speaker in the session "The Role of ODA for Promoting Democratic Governance" and he argued that the homicide rates of different countries, a key indicator introduced by SDG 16 on just and inclusive societies, correlates with inequalities.

In cooperation with the National Union of Journalists in Iraq, the Iraqi Women Network (IWN) held a press conference on September 12, 2018, on the position of Civil society organizations (CSOs) on the report issued by Iraqi government in 2018 in connection with the implementation of the recommendations of 2014 of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

The statement of the Iraqi Women Network and Al-Namaa Center for Human Rights in solidarity with the demonstrations of the people of Basra and their legitimate demands to hold the corrupt accountable and improve the basic services and living standards of citizens and condemn the practices of intimidation and threats against peaceful demonstrators, which is a flagrant violation of the freedom of expression, the peaceful assembly and demonstration guaranteed by the Iraqi Constitution. It also praised in particular the participation of women activists from Basra in the protests, confronting the campaign of smear and threats.

Austerity is a major concern in the report of Brazil. After over a decade of meaningful progress in tackling poverty through public investments in health, education and social protection, constitutional amendment 95/2016 (CA 95), known as the “Expenditure Rule”, came into force in 2017, freezing real public spending for 20 years. “By constitutionalizing austerity in this way”, comments the report by INESC, “any future elected governments will be prevented from democratically determining the size of human rights and basic needs investments.”

Rule CA 95 has already begun to “disproportionately affect disadvantaged groups” as “significant resources are diverted from social programmes towards debt service payments”. These fiscal decisions “put at risk the basic social and economic rights of millions of Brazilians, including the rights to food, health and education, the implementation of the SDGs, while exacerbating gender, racial and economic inequalities”.

In Benin the Social Watch-Benin network set up four working groups (social, economic, environmental and governance) to draft a parallel report to the government's Voluntary National Review which reviewed 33 priority targets selected from each of the six SDGs to be reviewed at the HLPF in 2018. Indicators were available for only six of these. The network concludes that while the SDGs “have been incorporated in the government's Programme of Action and the projects initiated by the development cooperation partners” the lack of “an efficient information system able to illustrate about implementation” risks resulting in “bitter observations, as has happened with other international commitments and conventions”.

Bold Alternatives to Business as Usual
Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2018
Geneva Launch of the Civil Society Reflection Group Report
MONDAY 17 SEPTEMBER 2018, 1.00 – 3.00 PM; ROOM XII, PALAIS DES NATIONS

“The world is off-track in terms of achieving sustainable development and fundamental policy changes are necessary to unleash the transformative potential of the SDGs.” This is the main message of the Spotlight Report 2018.

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