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After a long process of negotiation since the 2012 Conference for Sustainable Development – Rio+20, the Outcome Document for the upcoming UN Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda, was agreed by consensus at UN headquarters in New York on August 1st, 2015.

This final text, titled Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, presents a political declaration and a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets in the search to overcome poverty and for a sustainable future for all mankind. As opposed to the Millennium Development Goals, the former international development framework, the SDGs were built in an open debate with the participation of not only UN agencies and governments, but also civil society and other stakeholders.

As the dust settles on the recent July meetings in Geneva of the new UN Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) on transnational corporations and other business enterprises, which kicked off negotiations towards a treaty on this topic, there are some interesting developments to consider. These developments concern how the human rights narrative at the UN related to business activities might finally be shifting toward recognition and interaction with important traditional human rights principles.

Within human rights law and in the practice of human rights advocates, much is made of the primacy of human rights over all other legal obligations states have. In particular, article 53 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, and various articles of the UN Charter, have created a solid international legal foundation for understanding this norm, although so far not much has been made of emphasizing the primacy of human rights in the context of the UN’s debate around ‘business and human rights.’

Inquirer Photo / Grig C.
Montegrande

OZAMIZ CITY, Philippines—The proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) law is dead, and President Aquino and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte should share the blame for its fate.

Thus declared a group of advocates who have been pushing Congress for years to enact the measure that would allow greater access to public records and help reduce corruption in government.

“(W)ithout decisive support from the President and the leadership of the House of Representatives, the bill will not pass,” read the statement from the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition which has been campaigning for the FOI bill for more than 15 years.

One of the tools that States have in order to respect, protect and fulfill human rights is the creation of national development banks. Indeed, if the financial sector is left to autonomously determine where capital should be allocated it is likely that private rather than overall social returns will end up determining the allocation of financial savings and investment. National development banks are totally or partially public sector financial institutions mandated to provide credit at terms that render certain socially desirable investments viable. Many countries have relied on them as part of the array of tools to intervene in financial markets and help ensure higher standards of living for their population.

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