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The election of Roberto Azevêdo is a victory for the countries of the South, comments y Isolda Agazzi, analist of Alliance Sud. However, the Brazilian must demonstrate that he will work in favour of developing countries and their small farmers – something Brazil has not always done.

It is a first for the WTO: the industrialized countries' candidate, Herminio Blanco from Mexico, lost out to the developing countries' aspirant. Brazil and Mexico follow very different trade policies.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
(Photo: UN)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka from South Africa as the new Executive Director of UN Women, the organization leading UN’s work on advancing gender equality and women’s rights.

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka’s appointment came as  a surprise to the race’s observers as her name had not been raised as a potential or even formal candidate for the post.

After five months of negotiations, UN Member States agreed on the resolution text that defines the format, functions and organizational aspects of the high-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF or the forum). The resolution will now be formally adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The HLPF will be the intergovernmental institution in the UN mandated to “provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations for sustainable development, follow-up and review progress in the implementation of sustainable development commitments, [and] enhance the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development in a holistic and cross-sectoral manner at all levels.” Its establishment was decided by Member States during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.

Whether in the realm of environmental oversight, subsidies and tax abatements, consumer labeling and protection, or financial regulation, the human rights impacts of corporate lobbying are extensive.  In the United States, much has been made of the impact of campaign financing on elections following the Citizens United ruling by the US Supreme Court in 2010.  The ruling ostensibly paved the way for vastly increased financial contributions to political action committees, commonly known as ‘Super-PACs’.  But while Citizens Unitedsensitized the public once again to the role of money in elections, this issue has been around for a long time and plays a very big role in the realization of human rights.

Photo: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

The World Health Organization's head, Dr Margaret Chan, has heavily criticized how big business influences public health by way of a combination of lobbying, litigation and misleading representations of research. Dr Chan's remarks were part of her address to the 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion, held in Helsinki, Finland. Comments such as those made by Dr Chan are rather unusual for UN officials, raising the level of concern with regard to the relationship between public health and big business.

From People's Rights to Corporate Privilege: A South Feminist Critique of the HLP Report on Post 2015 Development Agenda

The High Level Panel of Eminent Persons Report on the Post 2015 Development Agenda conveys a questionable sense of optimism for women. The report at first appears to have positively responded to the world-wide call from women to have a stand-alone and expanded gender equality goal. There are targets for gender, children and young people across several of the goals, as well as possibilities for indicators on gender, children and young people to be later developed at country level. Sexual and reproductive health and rights is also explicit.

The much awaited High-Level Panel (HLP) Report on the Post-2015 development agenda is deeply disappointing for LDC civil society. While setting the ending of extreme poverty as a core objective, and an aspiration to ensure every person achieves a basic standard of well-being, it ignores existing agreements that focus particularly on the world’s poorest and most marginalised LDCs.

The HLP Report ironically gives no “special attention” to the LDCs, as called for in previously agreed development efforts. It is even regressive in the spirit of global partnership,

United Nations independent experts today called on countries to ensure the post-2015 development agenda focuses on equality, social protection and accountability, noting that one billion people around the world are still living in poverty.

“The rise of inequality has severely undermined the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs,” the independent experts said in their message to Member States which will meet this week in New York to discuss how to a shape a new set of global development goals for the period after the 2015 deadline of the MDGs.

Developing countries stressed the importance of international economic factors and means of implementation in formulating the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The third session of the United Nations General Assembly Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals took place on 22-24 May in New York. The thematic clusters were food security and nutrition, sustainable agriculture, desertification, land degradation and drought, as well as water and sanitation.

Magdalena Sepúlveda.

Interview with Magdalena Sepúlveda, Special UN Rapporteur for Human Rights and Extreme Poverty

What are the Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights?

They are a set of human rights norms recently adopted by the UN Human Rights Council. They provide, for the first time, global policy guidelines validating specific obligations incumbent on States with respect to persons living in extreme poverty.

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