Since 2015, with the election of a new government, Argentina has seen a radical change of policies, from a development model based on strengthening local markets, trade protectionism, expansion of social rights and an active role of the State in redistributing the income from agricultural exports, to a model inspired by neoliberalism, free trade, competitiveness in global markets and tax exemptions.

According to the Argentinian Social Watch report, “this has led to a substantial redefinition of the role of the private sector in development policies”, of which the privatization of State-owned land is a striking example. Since 2015, the government has authorized the sale to private investors of 93 State-owned extensions, half of them in the city of Buenos Aires, where one-tenth of the population lives in overcrowded conditions and some 200,000 people live in slums.

The IMF’s approach towards social protection "has been principally oriented around the desire to reduce social protection coverage and contain expenditure, rather than ensuring adequate levels of protection for all". The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) expressed its deep concerns about these IMF policies and sent a statement to Ms. Christine Lagarde (Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund - IMF) and the Executive Directors of the IMF in order to draw their attention on the issue and in the hope to influence a reconsideration of their position.

The World Bank, together with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the development banks, have been proclaiming since 2015 that “to meet the investment needs of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the global community needs to move the discussion from ‘billions to trillions’” — that is from billions in official development assistance (ODA) to trillions in investments of all kinds: public and private, national and global, in both capital and capacity.

Join the Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UNRISD and FES for the Geneva launch of the Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2017 report. Carrying the subtitle “Reclaiming policies for the public. Privatization, partnerships, corporate capture and their impact on sustainability and inequality – assessments and alternatives”, the civil society “shadow” report provides a wide-ranging independent assessment of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. At the event, contributors will present and discuss key findings and recommendations of this year’s report.

The SDGs have served as a pretext to include private sector representatives on high-level governmental bodies in Thailand. In the Sustainable Development Committee, civil society only plays a minor role when compared with businesses.

A government-initiated Civil-State (Pracha-Rath) policy aims to promote the role of the private sector in investment, establish cooperation between private sector and community enterprises and develop new agricultural schemes. Although this claims to help farmers by lowering the prices of chemical fertilizers, the Social Watch report notes that “the real intention is to boost the sales of these chemical agricultural materials”. The policy is “irrelevant to sustainable agricultural development” it claims, “because excessive usage of pesticides has always been a major problem for Thai farmers”.

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