Social Watch E-Newsletter - Issue 209 - April 10, 2015

Issue 209 - April 10, 2015
  Post-2015: Measuring the (real) scope of ambition

The post-2015 development agenda aspires to global transformation. Its content so far, including the set of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) agreed in last year's Open Working Group, affirms that aim through an unprecedented commitment to inclusion, sustainability and universality. This suggests that the world might finally move beyond current imbalanced patterns of consumption and production that have left wide swathes of human deprivation and pushed the limits of planetary boundaries. Yet the main question, after the most recent intergovernmental negotiations on the agenda in March in New York, is: will the political process live up to the agenda's promise? Read more


Size matters: Corporations and small business in sustainable development


At the opening of the United Nations hearings with business and civil society, Social Watch coordinator Roberto Bissio defends Sustainable Development Goals as expression of a new paradigm. For the SDGs to bare fruit, the power of the biggest 200 corporations, with combined sales that are bigger than the total economies of 180 countries, needs to be harnessed. The UN should not tarnish its image associating its programs with big tax evaders or endorsing private-public partnerships that are exclusive, untransparent and too frequently associated with corruption. A binding legal instrument for business and human rights, while disliked by business leaders, might introduce a predictable framework that ultimately benefits the small and medium entrepreneurs that create most of the jobs in times of crisis. Read his intervention here or see the video here


It is clear that traditional official development assistance will not be enough to finance the SDGs. It will continue to play a key role in the poorest countries and in countries destabilized by strife and conflicts. Alliance Sud is therefore calling for at least half the development budgets of donor countries to go towards the poorest countries. Should development aid budgets remain just as big – or small – as hitherto, greater concentration on the poorest countries would nonetheless create big losers as well. In middle-income countries, current development assistance programmes and projects would have to be abandoned. Total expenditure would need to be increased substantially if this is to be avoided. The old demand for 0.7 per cent of gross national income to be allocated to development aid has therefore lost none of its urgency. Read more


The Civil Society Reflection Group (CSRG) on Global Development Perspectives released a new study which calls for both goals and commitments – this time particularly by the rich – if the U.N.'s 17 proposed new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the post-2015 development agenda are to succeed.
Read more


At its 14th session, last February, the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee (“the Advisory Committee”) addressed for the first time the impacts of so-called vulture funds on human rights. “Vulture fund” is a generic name used to designate financial entities that use as a profit-making strategy the purchase of distressed debt owed by a sovereign debtor – that is, a State- on the cheap with the purpose of suing for the full amount once conditions for repayment improve.
In a resolution adopted last September, the Human Rights Council entrusted the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee with the preparation of “a research-based report on the activities of vulture funds and the impact on human rights.” In preparation of that report it requested the same Committee to seek views of, among others, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations, human rights mechanisms, Member States and relevant international and regional organizations. Read more



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