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Peru has experienced sustained economic growth, due largely to rising prices of gold, copper and other minerals, but virtually the entire territory has been given in concession to mining, oil, and logging companies, frequently in conflict with local populations. Income poverty has decreased, but multidimensional poverty has worsened. Progress has been made in circulation of money and electronic and telephone connectivity, but there has been a decline in quality of life and public safety, as increased levels of crime is taking over streets and cities and corruption resulting from the influence of corporate power reaches every part of the government.

Cyprus is situated in the intersection of Africa, the Middle East and Europa. However, instead of the more nuanced and fluid identity required for the country to be a truly multicultural society, public and private discourses are polarized, traditionally between Turkey and Greece and, since the banking crisis of 2015, between those defending public welfare spending and the power of labor unions and the advocates of free market neoliberalism and limited government. The 2030 Agenda risks confronting  a long established inertia on the part of the Government with regard to non-binding agreements and will likely be opposed by the corporate sector, as it will be assumed that the ethical standards, like due diligence and minimization of carbon footprint, will increase their operational cost or lower the demand.

Social Watch, with different partners will be co-hosting several side-events during the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) to be held in New York, July 11th to 20th, 2016. See below the information of the side events.

Signing up to the promise of a Philippines where no one is left behind and following the path to sustainability, Social Watch Philippines (SWP), along with the CSO contributors from its network, presents on Friday our "Spotlight Report" on the 2030 Development Agenda in a dialogue with the National and Economic Development Authority (NEDA) at SEAMEO-Innotech, Quezon City.

This is in time for the presentation of the Philippine report to the first High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on July 11-20 at the UN Headquarters in New York. In consort with 22 other countries, the Philippines is expected to lead the national review and report on how the 2030 agenda will be translated into national sustainability plans.

The Philippine economic growth is unjust and not sustainable, as the nation's wealth is concentrated among few billionaires and highly dependent on fossil fuels, according to Social Watch Philippines.

"A just and sustainable growth ensures that no one is left behind," Isagani Serrano, SWP co-convenor and Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement president, said on Friday.

The civil society group noted the Philippines can achieve its sustainable development goals by 2030 if the economic growth is not concentrated in the hands of a few billionaires.

More than 9 million Afghans (over one third of the population) are not able to meet their basic needs and many more people are highly vulnerable to becoming poor because of the ongoing conflict and heavy reliance on agriculture and international aid as well as the lack of clear pro-poor policies. Women’s participation in the national Parliament (27%) is well above the global average of 21.8 percent, but gender norms in the culture and long walking distances to school in rural areas still prevent many girls to access education and violence against women remains a daunting challenge.

The Afghan civil society report acknowledges that the country “has received an unprecedented amount of international development aid over the past 14 years”. This huge aid inflow “has benefited the country, buy it has also brought problems: corruption, fragmented and parallel delivery systems, poor aid effectiveness and weakened governance.”

Tax evasion and environmental vulnerability have been identified by Salvadorean civil society as the major obstacles to achieving the SDGs in El Salvador. Tax evasion in 2013 was estimated at $1.5 billion, more than one fourth of total government revenue. At the same time, the annual average of losses due to extreme weather events in the XXI century so far is "equivalent to almost 60 percent of the annual average of its public investment". It is urgent to take a development path that protects Nature from further degradation and strengthens ecosystems to reduce environmental vulnerabilities that mostly affect the poorest sectors of the population.

For several years the Group of 20 (G20) has been increasing the intensity of its focus on infrastructure investment, resulting since the beginning of 2014 in the launch of a Working Group on Investment in Infrastructure. Over those years, the G20 has tasked the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), whose membership comprises 34 countries, to provide numerous technical inputs for its work on infrastructure. The OECD is, indeed, one of the most visible and prolific of the international organizations acting as resources for the G20, often co-branding its reports with the grouping. A recently-released report, “In Search of Policy Coherence: Aligning OECD Infrastructure Advice with Sustainable Development,” puts this facet of the organization’s work under the spotlight.

The contradictions between economic growth and a sustainable development approaches appear in National Framework Strategy on Sustainable Development (NFSSD) 2012-2024. The first approach identifies classic economic growth as a priority goal; while the second emphasizes environmental preservation and, accordingly, a shift to sustainable consumption and production patterns. The ”decoupling” of economic growth and environmental destruction is envisaged, but it has so far not led to a reduction of the global environmental load in absolute terms, although it has contributed to a modest reduction in its rate of growth.

Whether the 2030 Agenda can live up to its promise to advance the sustainable development process and further international cooperation in this regard will only be seen in the implementation process: provided that it creates a precise and transparent monitoring system, argues the Hungarian civil society report.

The Thai government has announced a “Pracha Rath” (State of the People) policy framework, but this “ironically has become a shared agenda between the Government and the industrial and corporate complex, enabling industrial and corporate interests to become the main drivers of development rather than the society and the citizen”.

The Thai Social Watch report 2016 describes a “development trap” with community self-reliance decreasing in rural areas. “As agro-industry takes over, farmers are becoming paid labor or even contract laborers on their own land. Land resources are being excavated mining and other extractive industries owned by by transnational corporations.” Meanwhile, development plans “call for big projects to facilitate the provision of resources, fuel, energy and transportation to the industrial sector and urban areas, causing under-reproduction of labor and damaging the environment”.

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