Social Watch E-Newsletter - Issue 344 - April 12, 2019

Issue 344 - April 12, 2019
Social Watch reports
Spotlight report on the 2030 Agenda

Achieving the SDGs in India: Rhetoric and reality


The Government of India presented its first Voluntary National Review (VNR) report on Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to United Nations in 2017. Despite VNR guidelines urging countries to inform on “progress and status of all SDGs”, India reported on only seven goals. This is surprising as India’s VNR claimed its national development goals are “mirrored in the SDGs” and as Government had asserted 11 of 17 SDGs were already being worked on even before the SDGs were adopted. Given the consensus that SDGs’ success largely depends on India’s achieving them, an appraisal of its performance in critical social sectors, including those associated with the SDGs left out of VNR, becomes necessary.
The thrust of India’s VNR is that rapid economic growth has sharply reduced poverty. A 2018 study backs this claim saying extreme poverty is declining in India at rate of 44 people per minute as a result of which, since May 2018, India no longer has largest number of poor people. Despite this dramatic poverty reduction, over 73 million Indians still live below the international poverty line. Most of these people subsisting on less than US$1.90 a day are in rural areas. Even as the absolute numbers of poor fall there is rapid rise in inequality. Be it income, consumption, or assets, India ranks among countries with highest inequality. Read more


Natural and financial catastrophes in Puerto Rico


From Puerto Rico, the women's organization Cohitre also describes a “colonial condition that imposes agendas foreign to our people”. In September 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the island, destroying 70,000 homes and collapsing its electric network (still not completely restored), its transport system, hospitals and fuel and food supplies.
The catastrophic effects are sharpened by the absence of political powers -the island is a US 'unincorporated territory' since 1898- and the control of its finances by a US-imposed Fiscal Control Board, due to its indebtedness. “The diversion of funds to pay off public debt, adjustment plans, austerity measures, the reduction of the public sector and privatization has compromised the government's capacity to respond to the crisis” while “the response of the US government is slow, erratic and centralized” and “the US Congress has shown no rush to provide aid to Puerto Rico, given the debate over corruption and how to manage the funds”.
It is estimated that over a hundred thousand people (3% of the population) have migrated following the hurricanes, either for health reasons (seeking appropriate medical services), for reasons of education (closed schools) or looking for a job (due to economic collapse and job loss) and “especially due to a policy from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that stimulates migration".
Civil society groups demand the elimination of the Fiscal Control Board that undermines democracy and that “the payment to creditors not be placed above the payment of the ordinary expenses of the government that directly benefit the population, which causes a problem of human rights”. Read more



What policies are needed to achieve Goal 8? The trade union recipe for SDG implementation


Promoting the Decent Work Agenda (DWA) remains the main objective of the trade union input into the 2030 Agenda. Based on rights and democratic ownership, the DWA is the foundation for sustainable development, as opposed to palliative interventions.
Human and labour rights, freedom of association and collective bargaining and social dialogue are not only essential ingredients for sustainable economic growth but are the pillars of democracy-building. Building and fortifying democratic processes is in turn the cornerstone of just development.
Evidence shows that social dialogue can foster socio-economic progress and be a governance instrument for sustainable development, representing a key means of implementation of the SDGs. Bringing together workers’ and employers’ representatives, when making decisions that impact on social, economic and environmental conditions reinforces institutional stability. However, this requires an enabling environment underpinned by respect for labour rights and the full recognition of the role of trade unions. Read more


Social Watch publishes country reports 2018

Social Watch coalitions around the world are contributing their assessments and reports to the global Social Watch report 2018 on the national implementation of the 2030 Agenda. While circumstances and capabilities are unique in each country, common threads emerge: Inequalities, often exacerbated by the international policy framework, are not being reduced, poverty is underestimated or hidden but not eradicated, sustainability is sacrificed to extractivism.

The Social Watch national platforms are independent coalitions of civil society organizations struggling for social and gender justice in their own countries. The Social Watch network has been publishing since 1996 yearly reports on how governments implement their international commitments to eradicate poverty and achieve equality between women and men.


UN Partnership Forum 2019: “Partnerships Driving Inclusive Implementation of the SDGs”


The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Partnership Forum held its annual session at UN headquarters on 11 April 2019. This year it focused on partnership efforts supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 2030 Agenda is the subject of review by the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) annually under ECOSOC and at summit level every four years (including 2019) under the auspices of the UN’s highest political body, the General Assembly. Read more



Invitation to contribute to the 2019 report


Social Watch invites you to participate in our renewed collective effort to make governments accountable for the ambitious promises they made us.
This report will be launched next July during the meeting of the High Level Political Forum of the United Nations that will review at ministerial level the Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Almost four years after the adoption of this ambitious agenda, the 2019 report will look at how it is implemented. The Guidelines for the 2019 Social Watch contributions are available here. The Guidelines are also available in Spanish and French.




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