“Set your ambitions higher”, civil society tells the UN

The old debate around ends and means usually deals with unacceptable procedures claiming legitimacy because of the intended results. Not any more. In the current international debate around development goals for the United Nations, the “ends” are set so low that no major effort is really required from anybody. “No means are needed if the goals are meaningless” commented report editor-in-chief Roberto Bissio at its launch.

The Social Watch Report 2014, launched on July 9th in New York during the ministerial meeting of the High Level Political Forum of the UN, is a summary review of fifty country reports and an analysis of global trends by civil society organizations. The report, titled “Ends and Means” and it monitors how government and international institutions are doing in implementing their solemn commitments to eradicate poverty, achieve gender justice and promote sustainable development.

In country after country, civil society organizations find that the Millennium Development Goals that guided development efforts during more than a decade were set too low for many countries and diverted attention from growing inequalities all over the world.

In the Philippines, for example, more than three fourths of the economic growth of the whole country is concentrated in forty persons. Such “oligarchic economies” are more and more common in rich and poor countries alike, and yet alternatives are easily available: many South American countries are managing to reduce inequalities and grow at the same time.

The Social Watch report regrets that “two years after Rio+20 the developed countries have still offered no hint on any new commitment on their side. In turn, developing countries are reluctant to commit themselves to achievements for which no means of implementation are made available”.

“Without the will there will be no transformation and the blatant unfairness of the current world can only become worse” concludes the report.

More information:

Social Watch Report 2014: Ends and Means is available here.

For additional information, contact:

Roberto Bissio, Social Watch Coordinator
Mobile: +33 6 1279 4750 - E-mail: rbissio@item.org.uy