The old debate around ends and means usually deals with unacceptable procedures claiming legitimacy because of the intended results. Not any more. In the current international debate around development goals for the United Nations, the “ends” are set so low that no major effort is really required from anybody. “No means are needed if the goals are meaningless” commented report editor-in-chief Roberto Bissio at its launch.

The Social Watch Report 2014, launched on July 9th in New York during the ministerial meeting of the High Level Political Forum of the UN, is a summary review of fifty country reports and an analysis of global trends by civil society organizations. The report, titled “Ends and Means” and it monitors how government and international institutions are doing in implementing their solemn commitments to eradicate poverty, achieve gender justice and promote sustainable development.

Iraqi Al-Amal Association mourns with deep sorrow and anguish, the assassination of one of its activists, Saad Abdul Wahab Ahmed.

Unknown terrorists assassinated our Colleague Saad, with silenced guns in Muqdadiyah, Diyala Provence last Monday 18th August. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

The UN’s Inter-governmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (it is a bit of a mouthful, I know) met for the last time this month to put the final touches to their much anticipated report on how the world should finance the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals – or SDGs.

So what have they come up with? Does it offer a sensible strategy for financing the new international development vision? Will the report be the game-changer many civil society organizations want to see? And how far will it support human rights realization for all?

Social Watch calls on the international community to declare the Gaza Strip as an "international humanitarian disaster zone", as requested by the Palestinian NGOs. The flow of humanitarian assistance needs to be accelerated and civilians need to be protected. "The recurrence of these episodes in Gaza -says the Social Watch statement- is the result of not having acted before on similar war crimes and of not having pursued with good faith negotiations towards a lasting peace. The current ceasefire has to be maintained and the international community should back it proactively.

The last few decades have seen two mutually reinforcing trends with regard to government budgets. First, though fiscal policy has long been seen as a key tool for governments to support stable economies and provide public services, the instrumental role of budgets in promoting development, redistributing wealth, and reducing poverty has been increasingly recognized. Second, this growing recognition of the importance of budgeting in addressing some of the world’s most persistent challenges has been a major factor in transparency and accountability becoming fashionable.

While budgets today have a global profile like never before, the lingo connecting public budgets to people’s lives has a clear precedent in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1966

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