Angélica Beltrán, Karla Díaz and David Cruz, researchers from Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad of Colombia argue that “extractive industries and atmospheric pollution in the cities are a major source of socio-environmental conflicts”. The report states: “Environmental protection shows a progressive weakening…. Due to the lack of updated environmental information and the simplification of procedures in the granting of permits and licenses, the affected communities find it increasingly difficult to monitor the threats over their land and livelihoods.” Further, environmental control institutions do not have the capacity to oversee extractive activities adequately, which has allowed serious ecocides such as the outcropping of crude oil in the Lizama Block and the violation of environmental rules by Emerald Energy in the Ombu Block, located in the Amazon region.

Circumstances look promising in Cyprus, where the 2013 financial crisis seems over and NGOs work together with government and parliament to implement the SDGs, as reported by Charalambos Vrasidas and Sotiris Themistokleous, from CARDET. Yet, even when progress is observed in all SDGs and planning is in place, the official review acknowledges important challenges: “High public debt, high unemployment rate, the low contribution of the agricultural sector in the GDP, under-representation of women in political and public life, the need for a sustainable consumption policy, a high percentage of non-attainment in mathematics, science and reading and the need to increase ODA.”

Peace and sustainable development should be mutually reinforcing, but at the same time we should not ignore that development implies deep changes in societies and those transformations will be resisted by those who benefit from the status quo. "Development is conflict" argued Social Watch coordinator Roberto Bissio at the 12th Seoul ODA International Conference on "Inclusive ODA for Global Peace, Democracy and Human Rights".

Bissio was a speaker in the session "The Role of ODA for Promoting Democratic Governance" and he argued that the homicide rates of different countries, a key indicator introduced by SDG 16 on just and inclusive societies, correlates with inequalities.

Iraqi civil society organizations expressed their shock and disappointment at the format, methodology and content of the 2018 report by the Iraqi government on the implementation of the recommendations of 2014 of the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women). They argue that the report does not responds to the principles and texts of CEDAW on non-discrimination, equality and State commitment, as a frame of reference in the presentation and analysis of information, data and activities to measure progress. The crimes of honor or honor killings are not considered discrimination against women, but the official report denies the existence of cases of impunity in Iraq.

Austerity is a major concern in the report of Brazil. After over a decade of meaningful progress in tackling poverty through public investments in health, education and social protection, constitutional amendment 95/2016 (CA 95), known as the “Expenditure Rule”, came into force in 2017, freezing real public spending for 20 years. “By constitutionalizing austerity in this way”, comments the report by INESC, “any future elected governments will be prevented from democratically determining the size of human rights and basic needs investments.”

Rule CA 95 has already begun to “disproportionately affect disadvantaged groups” as “significant resources are diverted from social programmes towards debt service payments”. These fiscal decisions “put at risk the basic social and economic rights of millions of Brazilians, including the rights to food, health and education, the implementation of the SDGs, while exacerbating gender, racial and economic inequalities”.

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