Social Watch E-Newsletter - Issue 357 - November 29, 2019

Issue 357 - November 29, 2019
Social Watch reports
Spotlight report on the 2030 Agenda

Reducing inequality traded off to macroeconomic goals in UK


Scientific evidence shows inequality on the rise in the United Kingdom. “Human rights researchers and practitioners working in and on the UK generally have access to a large amount of relevant and detailed data, at least when compared with other countries” recognizes Just Fair, a group of economic and social rights campaigners. That is why they find it “all the more surprising” that the UK's Voluntary National Review (VNR) 2019, fails to disaggregate the information. “To ensure that nobody is left behind and to provide a truly meaningful picture, the government must gather and present the evidence based on all the prohibited grounds of discrimination according to both international and domestic human rights law, and this includes income and wealth disparities.”
Just Fair reports that “the UK is a highly unequal society. For example, life expectancy for women born in deprived areas has declined in recent years, something utterly unacceptable in the fifth largest world economy”. Read more



Human rights traded off for electoral success in Brazil


In Brazil the government of Captain Jair Bolsonaro does not make a secret of its disdain for policies and institutions aimed at supporting the people living in poverty. The civil society report by Instituto de Estudos Socioeconômicos (INESC), finds that the Bolsonaro administration by “acting as if human rights were linked to party politics or to a certain ideology and investing in hate speech, is also deepening the divide in our society”. Therefore “there is no path to the 2030 Agenda fulfilment, and instead civil society needs to go back to fighting for very simple assumptions that were taken for granted: that human rights are inherent to all human beings - regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status, and that we are all seen as humans and not only as enemies”. Read more



Preventing the next financial crisis while financing sustainable development


The global financial crisis has critically exposed the vulnerabilities of a liberalized, privately focused financial system, argues Kavaljit Singh, Madhyam, of the Society for International Development (SID). Governments worldwide intervened in such a system, providing support with an unprecedented range of measures including bailouts, nationalization of distressed financial institutions, mergers and recapitalization. However, many underlying structural conditions that led to the crisis were only partially addressed, if at all. As the past months exposed the worrisome combination of increasingly unsustainable debt levels, financial market volatility and currency instabilities, concerns for the possible eruption of another financial crisis have been on the rise. Three key proposals could help preventing the next crisis while providing critical financing to sustainable development: explore the potential of development banks; restore the management of capital accounts within the standard policy toolkit of governments; and introduce a system of financial transaction taxes. Read more


Social Watch publishes country reports 2019

Social Watch coalitions around the world are contributing their assessments and reports to the global Social Watch report 2019 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.


2019 Lebanese Revolution


Since 17 October 2019, Lebanon has been witnessing a massive wave of unprecedented nationwide protests, which are deemed to mark a new era in its history, reports the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND). These protests are motivated by the direct repercussions of the economic and monetary crisis on the Lebanese population, but are indeed rooted in a structurally flawed economic system and wicked political practices and corruption embraced by the successive governments for decades. The protests ar widespread across the country and remain non-sectarian, marking the biggest postwar civil movement, as the Lebanese people overcome their religious and political divergences and join forces in an attempt to achieve real change. This change was long awaited by the Lebanese, and the civil society specifically that has been for years trying to promote partnerships and engage in policy making at different levels, despite the lack of serious and effective channels. Read more



United Nations: LDCs need to use external aid to transform their economies


The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) need to use external finance to structurally transform their economies, in order to manage their aid dependency and eventually escape from it, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
In its latest Least Developed Countries Report 2019, UNCTAD said that the LDCs account for 15 of the 20 most aid-dependent countries in the world due to persistent shortfalls in their domestic savings, among other factors.
It said that the LDCs should take ownership of their development agenda and manage the allocation of external development finance in alignment with their national development priorities.
The international community also needs to step up its support towards their common goal, it added. Read more



Civil Society Letter concerning the draft UN Resolution on “External Debt Sustainability and Development”


More than 40 Civil Society Organizations endorsed the letter supporting the draft UN debt resolution currently being negotiated in the UN General Assembly‘s Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee). Read more




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