Social Watch E-Newsletter - Issue 310 - August 25, 2017

Issue 310 - August 25, 2017
Social Watch reports
Spotlight report on the 2030 Agenda

Bulgaria fails at fighting poverty by undermining the state


Bulgaria is the poorest EU member state, with almost half of its children living in low-income households and more than half of elderly people with pensions below poverty line. The Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (BGRF) and Bulgarian Social Watch coalition report that policies shaped by EU priorities and advice provided by the IMF and the World Bank declare as their fundamental purpose “the struggle against poverty”, but “they keep on demanding economic reforms which have proved to be totally inefficient”. The leading assumption is that only the free market and strictly restricted government intervention can guarantee prosperity. Once adopted, "no one measures whether the welfare of people has improved, but only to what extent the recommended neoliberal policies have been implemented". Read more



Guatemala cannot meet SDGs based on extractivism and remittances


Guatemala should abandon the old patterns of ‘development’ based on the extraction of natural wealth, environmental predation and exploitation of cheap labour, and turn its gaze towards more creative and inclusive forms of production, promote democracy and make the distribution of wealth and political power more equitable, recommends the civil society report on the SDGs contributed by Helmer Velasquez and Arlyn Jimenez of the Coordination of NGOs and Cooperatives of Guatemala (CONGCOOP). 
Guatemala is a country without sustained public investment and with private investment based on financial speculation, textile maquilas and extraction of raw materials, highly dependent on prices abroad, with no capacity for sovereign maneuver and not many possibilities to generate endogenous development processes. The economy is kept afloat by the remittances sent by the poor working in the United States. Read more


Social Watch publishes country reports 2017

Social Watch coalitions around the world are contributing their assessments and reports to the global Social Watch report 2017 on the national implementation of the 2030 Agenda in its first year. Stalled, or slipping back, is the theme that appears in many of the contributions. Natural and un-natural disasters, some of them of catastrophic proportions, appear again and again not just as an obstacle to faster progress towards the agreed goals, but in fact setting the clock back. Part of the reason for lack of progress has to do with an over-reliance on public-private partnerships, urged by the World Bank as a way to finance implementation of the SDGs.

The Social Watch national platforms are independent coalitions of civil society organizations struggling for social and gender justice in their own countries. The Social Watch network has been publishing since 1996 yearly reports on how governments implement their international commitments to eradicate poverty and achieve equality between women and men.


In discussions at the UN about achieving Agenda 2030, it has become de rigueur to highlight the role of the private sector. It is often introduced as the discovery of the idea that private sector investment and financing is indispensable to achieving Agenda 2030.
"For developed country diplomats and their associated experts this new celebrity treatment appears to be an article of faith, at least during negotiations on economic matters in the UN" argues Manuel Montes, senior advisor at the South Centre.
The new celebrity treatment of private investment and financing by developed countries is quite ironic because, as reported by the UN's financing for development technical task force (in which the staffs of the IMF, the World Bank, and WTO participate) in its 2017 report, the growth of private non-residential investment (in new factories and ventures) in DEVELOPED countries is at an unprecedented low at this point in time. Read more



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