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Social protection, when properly designed, effectively prevents and reduces poverty and inequality highlight Sylvia Beales and Nicola Wiebe (Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors) in the Spotlight report. Guaranteed social protection supports improved nutrition and access to essential services and can therefore interrupt the vicious cycle of poverty and its intergenerational transfer. Universal access rights to social protection means that those at extreme disadvantage can be reached, which contributes to overcoming deeply rooted experiences of discrimination and exclusion, disempowerment and gender inequality. But currently only 29 percent of the global population count on comprehensive social protection over the lifecourse and for the different contingencies that may occur. Fewer than 16 percent of older people in low-income countries have a pension, with older women less likely than older men to receive one.

Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) issues a statement on the ‘Deal of the Century’ and recalls that an immediate end to Israeli occupation and the recognition of the universal, indivisible and inalienable Palestinian Rights are the foundations of a sustainable Peace in the Middle East.

On January 28th, 2020 the Middle East Peace Plan known as the Deal of the Century was presented by the US President Donald Trump in Washington DC. A “peace” plan that was built unilaterally and that considers the Israeli occupation as the exclusive partner. The “peace” plan markets an illusion of peace at the expense of Palestinian people’s rights and dignity. It gives further impunity to all human rights violations committed by the Israeli occupation, including through legalizing illegal Israeli settlements.

In Finland, the civil society report of Fingo, the association of Finnish development NGOs, concludes that “conflicts of interest between actors lead to decisions where a short-term economic advantage eclipses long-term sustainability.”

Finland claims to be “among the first to draft a national implementation plan, to initiate sustainable development budgeting, to establish an inclusive monitoring system and a citizens’ panel, and commission an external evaluation of the world's first national 2030 Agenda policy, the PATH2030 report published in March 2019”. Yet, the alternative report shows that Finland is not consistently committed to the human rights-based approach of the 2030 Agenda, to ensure that “no one is left behind”. Further, “the 2030 Agenda is widely known about in Finland, but there is no consistent understanding of its interpretation and political significance”.

In India the official VNR's main point 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 claims to no longer have the 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. A 2018 Oxfam report says India’s richest one percent garnered 73 percent of national wealth generated in 2017.

“The Data Revolution” has been promoted as a vital tool to help to achieve the SDGs or, at least, to better measure progress. Having access to massive amounts of data is seen as helpful for countries to plan, design and implement development and public policies in general. This chapter highlights concerns about this revolution and suggests how to rethink global governance for the digital era.

The redefinition of the principles, norms and policies (software) and the structures and institutions (hardware) of sustainable development governance is closely related to our capacity to adopt new rules and adapt international structures to govern data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and their impact on our lives and rights.

The numbers provided by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) about the assistance contributed by its members to developing countries are “inflated”, include “fictional figures”, suffer from “fundamental flaws of overcounting, incoherence and premature implementation of an unfinished system” and have therefore “become incoherent as a statistical quantity”, argues David Scott, former head of the statistical division of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in an article recently published by the Brookings Institution.

The Second Committee of the UN General Assembly, in charge of Economic and Financial Affairs, concluded its 2019 deliberations last November 27. Fifty resolutions were passed and discussion was closed on all but one agenda item: the Revitalization of the UN General Assembly. The range of the resolutions, dealing with sustainable development, macroeconomics, operational activities for development and countries in special situations show that the UN is relevant in macroeconomic and financing matters. More attention will be demanded in the coming year to the issue of Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly through the lens of coordination for sustainable development, while the old debate about the role of consensus in the Committee’s deliberations was reopened.

In Jordan the plans are good but just not implemented. The submission of the Voluntary National Review in 2017 was an opportunity "to further strengthen national ownership of the 2030 Agenda, build a proactive momentum around it, and accelerate its realization”. The preparation of the VNR “ensured the widest participation of all major groups and organizations” according to the report by the Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies. This report was “a remarkable step forward in creating an inclusive strategy to achieve the SDGs” but “the lack of concrete and effective implementation of this strategy, as well as the failure in implementing an effective monitoring system, dramatically affected its effectiveness as a tool for integrating the SDGs in the national agenda”.

Approving good plans and failing to implement them is also true in Canada. With the release of Opportunity for All in August 2018, followed by the introduction of the Poverty Reduction Act in November 2018, the federal government has for the first time set targets for reducing poverty in Canada, defined an official poverty line, and established a framework and a process for reporting publicly on progress – in keeping with its commitment to “end poverty in all of its forms everywhere” set out in the 2030 Agenda. The report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives praises this “significant policy win”, which provides “an architecture and different mechanisms for holding governments to account for creating a society where everyone’s basic needs are assured and their active participation in community life supported”. But, at the same time, it adds, the report “does not include any new investments in the programmes needed to achieve the strategy’s stated goals”. The targets to reduce poverty by 20 percent by 2020 and by 50 percent by 2030 “lack ambition and sense of urgency”. The report values the new plan “more as a framework than a strategy to accelerate poverty reduction.

Global powers and Pacific Island nations are racing to divide up the ocean's resources using the narratives of Blue Economy and Blue Growth to justify their exploitation, argues Maureen Penjueli, of the Pacific Network on Globalization. Technology advances make once-unfeasible seafloor depths increasingly viable and will allow corporations to plunder oceanic resources in a bid to secure food security and alternative sources of minerals and energy for rapid growing populations.

The Blue Economy concept grew out of the broader green growth concept and a growing concern about the heavy damage wrought on our ocean ecosystems by overfishing, habitat destruction, marine pollution, ocean acidification and climate change.

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