Global Policy Watch

In the lead-up to the UN’s Financing for Development Forum that takes place virtually from April 12-15, the 2021 edition of the Financing for Sustainable Development Report has been released. The report is published by the so-called Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), which comprises numerous UN entities, but also the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. It is widely considered the most comprehensive source of data and analysis on development finance topics.

The video of the virtual Campaign Activation Workshop “Making the 2030 Agenda accountable: What is the role for civil society?” is now online. The virtual workshop was co-organized by Global Policy Forum, Global Policy Watch and Social Watch as part of the 2021 SDG Global Festival of Action and it was held on March 25, 2021.

The promise of the SDGs makes governments accountable but who is to be made responsible for global issues like the climate, the pandemic or finances? Join us to discuss this issue in a workshop hosted by Global Policy Forum, Global Policy Watch and Social Watch as part of the 2021 SDG Global Festival of Action. The workshop will be held on March 25, 2021 from 04:30 to 05:30 PM (CET).

The demands and urgency of addressing COVID-19 related issues have been added to the already crowded United Nations agenda, with consideration and intensity shifting up and down on the scale of priorities.

The United Nations and Member States begin the 2021 calendar confronted with the need to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and growing global inequalities. Despite the WHO’s efforts to make the COVID-19 vaccine “affordable and accessible for all” through the ACT Accelerator and calls by CSOs and UN leadership and world leaders for a People’s Vaccine (a global public good free from Intellectual Property Rights), the global vaccine distribution/rollout has been dominated by wealthy, developed countries, with little if any vaccines available for small and medium developing countries.

A survey among CSOs in “programme countries” evidences a very high level of commitment to UN values and principles, much dissatisfaction with the actual operations at country level and articulation of areas for improvement.

For a number of CSOs, the UN system is appreciated for its inspiration, legitimization and promotion of the values they stand for, but is also viewed as a competitor for funds and influence, often displacing the social sector instead of building it. And frequently it is seen as both at the same time.

The General Assembly (GA) will host its 31st Special session in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on 3 and 4 December 2020. The UN Charter (Chapter IV, article 20) provides for the General Assembly to meet in special sessions which can be "convoked by the Secretary-General at the request of the Security Council or of a majority of the Members of the United Nations."

UN special sessions are unusual, this will be 31st in the life of the UN and only the sixth since 2000. As the COVID-19 pandemic’s widespread effects range across development, peace, security, and socioeconomic affairs, there is no doubt about the special measures that the global community must address to confront the global pandemic.

Following the opening of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and a series of High-level meetings and events parallel to the General Debate, the UNGA plenary and committees have shifted to a pattern wherein the Member States debate and negotiate resolutions on a range of topics.

Across the UNGA agenda, priorities include COVID-19 recovery, the UN Decade of Action--the final 10 years to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ---and the call for necessary reforms for the UN to be effective across management, peace and security and development. Reform to the UN Development System (UNDS) will be a prime agenda item of the UNGA Economic and Finance (Second) Committee negotiations, with an outcome resolution of its Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) expected in November or December.

The first annual SDG Moment is set to take place on 18 September 2020, designed to reinvigorate efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Marking the last decade in which to achieve these goals, the moment will: “Set out a vision for a Decade of Action and recovering better from COVID-19; Provide a snapshot on SDG progress; Highlight plans and actions to tackle major implementation gaps; and Demonstrate the power and impact of action and innovation by SDG stakeholders.”

The 75th session of the UN General Assembly (GA) will open on 15 September and its first weeks will see a number of high-level meetings: the first annual “SDG Moment” launching the Decade of Action, the High-level meeting to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the UN, the Biodiversity Summit, the High-level meeting on the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing +25) and the High-level meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

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