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After two years of measuring for SDG implementation the emphasis has shifted from the pressure to develop a global indicator framework to the need for capacity development. This has generated a significant increase in interest in national statistical offices (NSOs) for data disaggregation, not only by income, gender and population group but also by municipal and neighborhood levels in an effort to ’leave no one behind’. The shift to implementation and capacity-building has also spawned a host of initiatives and partnerships, designed primarily to enable NSOs to integrate data from non-traditional sources, such as satellite imagery, mobile phones, and social media and scanning data.

Almost three years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda at the highest level of the United Nations, the indicators to assess its progress are still being debated. The set of indicators around which there is agreed methodology and available data (known as Tier I in the insiders' jargon) shows a great degree of overlap with the existing indicators for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and misses most aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that make them transformative or represent a paradigm change.

There are 93 indicators in Tier I of the SDGs (see Table 1), of which 42 are either identical to or an elaboration of (e.g., disaggregated by sex, etc.) the already existing MDG indicators. And some important MDG indicators, particularly those related to implementation, have been lost.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) has defined the follow-up process for the Financing for Development process as well as the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This includes assessing progress, obstacles, challenges as well as new and emerging topics of relevance, and “provide policy recommendations for action by the international community” (para. 131). At a side-event during the 2018 ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development Follo-up, participants are invited to provide their insights into their assessment of previous FfD Fora, their link with other international processes, and discuss with participants about opportunities and challenges, also with view to the upcoming High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development of the General Assembly in 2019. The format of the side event will be highly interactive. After a short framing presentation, the moderator will facilitate active dialogue with a small panel of respondents and the audience.

Last October, more than 150 organisations signed a PPP Global Campaign Manifesto, expressing our alarm at the increasing use of PPPs to deliver infrastructure projects and public services around the world, and in particular the World Bank’s role in promoting these contracts. Our combined evidence shows that the experience of PPPs has been negative, and few PPPs have delivered results in the public interest. Our concerns are echoed by many more organisations and individuals across the world, who are alarmed by the risk that this represents for developing countries.

The Indian state government of Tamil Nadu this year presented a Gender Budget Statement as part of the annual budget documents, quantifying the allocations that will benefit women during this fiscal year. Finance Secretary K. Shanmugam said it is the first time such an exercise has been undertaken. Kamakshi Sundaramurthy, senior researcher of Social Watch Tamil Nadu, said the gender budget does not address the needs of sub-categories among women, such as those from among the minorities, Dalits and sub-castes. “These women need better education, healthcare and hostel facilities. Employment is also critical for their empowerment. They need the gender budget more than any of us but remain excluded,” Ms. Sundaramurthy said.

Figures released on 10 April by the Federal Council show that Switzerland has clearly missed its own development assistance target. The country is thus moving further away from the international goal of allocating 0.7% of gross national income to development funding. While this allocation remained just about stable across OECD countries, in Switzerland it dropped from 0.53% to 0.46%. A hefty 14% contraction.

Most farms in developing and least developed countries are small, generally plots of less than two hectares of land. Smallholder farmers manage over 80% of the world’s estimated 500 million small farms and provide over 80% of the food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, contributing significantly to poverty reduction and food security. As much as 75% of global seed diversity in staple food crops is held and actively used by smallholder farms. However, despite their vital role in the global agricultural community, the participation and priorities of smallholder farmers – most of whom are women – are often neglected. Effective mechanisms giving smallholder farmers a voice in policymaking are imperative to address their needs and interests, to promote the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources and more broadly, to ensure food security.

"Civil society organizations are natural allies of the United Nations, but the partnership modality is not the primary way for civil society to engage with the UN" argued Barbara Adams at a panel discussion on "Strengthening partnerships and stakeholder engagement" that took place in the framework of the ECOSOC Operational Activities for Development on 27 February 2018. From a CSO perspective, she added, the primary way of leveraging resources for the Sustainable Development Goals is fair and progressive taxation.

Morocco is planning to build Africa's tallest building and a bullet train between its main cities, but local Social Watch groups argue that the people need instead basic infrastructure for clean water, health services and education.

In the more than 11 years since Mexico’s last periodic review by the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, international scrutiny of the human rights situation in Mexico has centered largely on civil and political rights. However, the human rights crisis in our country also includes a multiplicity of economic, social, cultural, and environmental (“ESC”) rights violations committed by state and non-state actors, through acts and omissions that remain in impunity.

In this context, the undersigned civil society organizations and networks submit this Alternative Report to the Committee with the aim of contributing to its important and urgent work in the supervision of the situation of ESC rights in Mexico. The report reflects our collective experience of many years in the investigation, documentation and defense of these rights, and seeks to clarify the current situation in the country, as well as identify key obstacles, setbacks, limitations, and challenges for the full enjoyment of ESC rights.

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