The "unprecedented pressure" being placed on international human rights standards risks unravelling the unique set of protections that have been set in place after the end of World War II, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has said, in the run-up to Human Rights Day on 10 December.

In a UN news release, the UN human rights chief Mr Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein announced that on Human Rights Day, the UN Human Rights Office will launch a campaign entitled "Stand up for someone's rights today."

"As feminist, women’s rights and gender equality advocates we reaffirm our vision of a world where aid is no longer necessary. Where unequal power relations and undemocratic distribution of wealth and structures of injustices all forms of violence and war are transformed to create new forms of relations based on equality, dignity, respect and human rights that enhance solidarity, equity, inclusion, non-subordination and justice for all." Read here the statement by the Feminist Constituency at the High Level Meeting on the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation that was held in Nairobi, Kenya, 28th November to 1st December 2016.

Over the past decade, sub-Saharan African countries have been issuing sovereign bonds at an unprecedented rate and many are now facing new repayment difficulties. A recently-released report, Bond to Happen Recurring Debt Crises in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Rise of Sovereign Bond Issuance, explores the economic and financial situation of a selection of African countries, with a focus on the role of sovereign bonds. It finds that although there are substantial opportunities associated with sovereign bond issuance, there are also substantial risks.

The report asks the question: Is there a debt crisis waiting to happen on the subcontinent? And how can we improve our international system for responsible lending and borrowing? As financing for development is central to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the question of whether the existing frameworks for and practices of contracting debt are likely to be pro-development is of particular concern.

The importance of global cooperation on tax issues is becoming more and more evident. The sums lost amount to hundreds of billions annually. While steps to curb the losses are underway, gaps in global tax governance remain both in the institutional setting and with regard to substantive issues. For example, there is still no body with universal membership that could discuss issues that are of particular importance to countries in the Global South. In order to fill these gaps, either existing institutions need to be further developed, or new ones established, or both. In any case, a new body would have to perform certain functions and meet particular criteria with regard to composition. A new paper formulates options for achieving this.

The role of private sector in development is currently one of the most debated issues in international cooperation. It is inscribed in a wider context where financial resources for official development assistance (ODA) are shrinking, development cooperation is evolving beyond the traditional ‘aid’ concept, and the actors/entities that can be key players in development are growing. Fortunately, development is seen more and more as a holistic process that should be supported by integrated global policies (such as trade, investments, etc.), bringing about improvements in terms of both economic and social progress, the latter being based on the full respect of human rights.

The pivotal role of business in development discourse is based on the equation between economic growth and sustainable development, (voluntary) corporate social responsibility (CSR), enabling business environment provided by states, and finally public-private dialogues (private sector involved in policy making). The role of business has also been recognised in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

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