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Input from the Civil Society Financing for Development Group in response to the announcement by the Presidents of the UN Economic and Social Council and the UN General Assembly, regarding the establishment of a High-level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Integrity and Transparency for Achieving the 2030 Agenda.

High individual and household debt, which accounts for a significant portion of private debt in most countries, has been associated with inequality, macroeconomic instability, unsustainable sovereign debt and financial crises.

This is one of the main conclusions highlighted by Mr Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of human rights, in his report to the UN Human Rights Council.

The UN has announced the launch of a Food Systems Summit in 2021. This is to be welcomed as the world urgently needs more inclusive and sustainable food systems tackling the challenges of climate change. Yet, the World Economic Forum, representing powerful companies, is expected to be behind the organization of the Summit, as strategic partner of the UN. In addition, the UN Secretary-General has appointed the current President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) as Special Envoy for the Summit.

Corporations in the global industrial food chain alone are the biggest drivers of ecological destruction and increasing hunger and malnutrition rates. And yet, the UN is turning to them to solve the world’s crises?! The UN should build instead on the successful innovations in democratic food governance. These are the result of the work of civil society organizations and social movements representing those most affected by hunger and malnutrition.

The WORLD Policy Analysis Center and University of California Press are thrilled to announce a new, freely downloadable book, Advancing Equality: How Constitutional Rights Can Make a Difference Worldwide. This resource pairs a quantitative analysis of the constitutions of all 193 U.N. member states with case law from more than forty countries. By systematically examining protections against discrimination on the basis of sex/gender, race/ethnicity, religion, migration status, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity, alongside guarantees of the rights to health and education, Advancing Equality offers insights into the range and implications of different constitutional and judicial approaches to ensuring equal opportunities.

Official development assistance (ODA) and blended finance alone are insufficient in both quantum and nature to enable the finance needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

This is one of the main conclusions highlighted by UNCTAD in a Secretariat Note presented at the third session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Financing for Development taking place from 4-6 November.

The 5th session of the open-ended working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (OEIGWG) met in Geneva on 14 to 18 October 2019.

This marked the beginning of intergovernmental negotiations on the basis of a revised draft legally binding instrument (LBI) published in July 2019.

Kinda Mohamadieh, from Third World Network, says the 5th meeting of the OEIGWG was a success in advancing the discussions and clarity on various elements of the revised text. Yet, some core issues continue to generate different approaches in the working group, including the scope of the proposed treaty, the extent of new obligations that the proposed treaty should impose on States, the possibility and ways of addressing direct obligations of business enterprises, and the scope of human rights law to be covered under the LBI.

Diversification, in addition to an effective risk management strategy, remains crucial for commodity-dependent developing countries in order to increase resilience and reduce macroeconomic risks related to the commodity sector.

This is one of the main conclusions highlighted by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in a Secretariat Note presented at the eleventh session of the multi-year expert meeting on commodities and development.

A majority of the 3.3 billion people employed globally in 2018 experienced a lack of material well-being, economic security, equal opportunities or scope for human development, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has found.

In its latest World Employment and Social Outlook report released last week, the ILO pointed out that being in employment does not always guarantee a decent living.

"Many workers find themselves having to take up unattractive jobs that tend to be informal and are characterized by low pay and little or no access to social protection and rights at work."

The statement of the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, was submitted to the UN Financing for Sustainable Development Office as a stakeholder input to the 2019 report of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development. A major part of the statement is about social protection, which is a theme this year in the Commission on Social Development, Commission on the Status of Women, and the Financing for Development Follow-up Forum.

Human rights must be an integral component of policymaking to ensure economic reforms help advance societies, rather than hinder people’s lives, an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council said. Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, the Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, published the Guiding Principles on Human Rights Impact Assessments of Economic Reforms to assist States, international financial institutions, creditors, civil society and others to ensure that economic policies are embedded in human rights.  They will be presented to the Human Rights Council on 28 February 2019.

“The thrust of the Guiding Principles is that States cannot shy away from their human rights obligations in economic policymaking at all times, even in times of economic crisis,” said Bohoslavsky. 

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