Social Watch E-Newsletter - Issue 210 - April 17, 2015

Issue 210 - April 21, 2015
  Are FfD3 and Post-2015 striking the right public-private balance?

Getting the right balance between public and private sector roles and responsibilities in the Financing for Development and Post-2015 process will be fundamental to prospects for sustainable, inclusive development. Yet early evidence suggests this balance is already awry, skewed far in favour of private interests. Are we seeing a process of outsourcing the international agenda?
There’s no question that businesses around the world are sources of growth and employment. But they are also the source of the most serious threats to sustainable development—from pollution to illicit financial flows that undermine prospects for public resources.
Can we have a transformative development agenda without the transformation of business? Read more


A ‘universal’ financing for development agenda?


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 more


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


Between 2008 and 2014, the Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES), Brazil’s leading development finance institution, disbursed more than Brazilian Reals 654 billion. Of that total, approximately Brazilian Reals 289 billion (44 per cent) was earmarked for infrastructure, logistics and energy, considered strategic areas underpinning Brazil’s chosen model of economic growth, which rests on large–scale exports of agricultural and mining commodities.
The BNDES holds a larger portfolio than multilateral institutions including the World Bank and the Inter–American Development Bank. What is more, in recent years, it has taken on a leading role – much to the benefit of major Brazilian corporations – as one of the main funders of infrastructure projects in Latin America. Read more



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