Nepal has faced one socioeconomic shock after another in a relatively short period of time, be it the ten- year civil war or the devastating earthquake or the unstable government, which has changed 25 times since the restoration of democracy in 1990.

At the end of 2015, the government introduced the Public Private Partnership (PPP) policy followed by trainings and programmes emphasizing the need for private investment to finance public services, especially for the SDGs. The ultimate need of private entities to maximize profits in order to stay in business is fundamentally incompatible with protecting the environment and ensuring universal access to quality public services. This is evident in the failure of Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Ltd. (KUKL), the first PPP scheme in 2008, to deliver its promise to improve the water delivery efficiency around Kathmandu Valley. High water tariffs, undersupply of water and high deficits also shows the inefficiency of the board, chaired by the representative from a private sector, along with KUKL.

When Hungarian government officials talk about implementing the SDGs they mean less public expenditure in social sectors. Between 2010 and 2015 the Orbán government on the one hand increased state expenditures, doubled spending on the economy, and significantly increased spending by allocating about US$ 340 million annually on sports, mainly for building football stadiums. On the other hand, it decreased expenditures on public health, education and pensions.

The government did not save only on pensioners, but also on unemployment benefits, by decreasing their size and duration even when they were taking place on an insurance basis. These measures decreased annual family support expenditures as well, which can be explained by a decrease in the number of children and the decades-long freeze in services. Social benefits were decreased, while extreme poverty increased over the past eight years.

Growing global interdependence poses greater challenges to policymakers on a wide range of issues and for countries at all levels of development.

Yet, the new mechanisms and arrangements put in place over the past four decades have not been adequate to the growing challenges of coherence and coordination of global economic policymaking. Recent financial crises have exposed some such gaps and weaknesses.

Following 8 days involving 43 Voluntary National reviews (VNR) and 147 side events with 77 ministry-level participations and 2458 registered stakeholder representatives, the statistical outlook of the 2017 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Goals is quite promising. It is only the second review and just two years after the kick-off for the implementation of a universal agenda towards leaving no-one behind. Yet, time is marching on and there is a long way to go on the level of implementation.

At the 2017 HLPF, Jordan became the third country from the Arab region to participate in the VNR process; following Egypt and Morocco in the 2016 review. The first words of Jordan’s national report made reference to the same issues: ‘the power of working together’ and taking into consideration ‘the urgent world issues’.

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).

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