Social Watch news

On the last official day of the UN High-Level Political Forum, civil society express concern that ‘vision without implementation is hallucination’.

New York, 19 July 2017: Despite soaring rhetoric, glossy reports and slick presentations, the fact remains that implementation on the ground is “stalled”, as highlighted in a series of civil society national reports as part of the global Spotlight Report initiative.

Increasingly, civil society is expressing concern that the SDGs are being used not as a roadmap for social, economic and environmental transformation, but as a vehicle to entrench inequitable power relations.

“SDG-implementation: How are governments doing their part?”
The experience of Civil Society shadow (or spotlight) reporting. How it is key for meaningful participation and accountability

Alternative “shadow” reporting is a well-established tool of civil society to hold governments accountable to their commitments. A number of CSOs have prepared shadow or spotlight reports to follow-up on their governments efforts to implement the 2030-Agenda. Stalled, or slipping back, is the theme that appears in many of the contributions.

Conversation with authors of the Civil Society Report
Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2017

Reclaiming policies for the public: Privatization, partnerships, corporate capture and their impact on sustainability and inequality - assessments and alternatives

The 2017 edition focuses on privatization, partnerships, corporate capture and the impact they have on sustainability and inequality. The articles and textboxes cover all sectors of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. According to the report, it is time to counter privatization trends, reclaim public policy space and take bold measures to strengthen public finance, regulate or reject PPPs, and weaken the grip of corporate power on people’s lives. These are indispensable prerequisites to achieve the SDGs and to turn the vision of the transformation of our world, as proclaimed in the title of the 2030 Agenda, into reality.

Civil Society sees ‘room for improvement’ in national implementation of 2030 Agenda as well as an unfavourable international environment.

New York, 18 July 2017: During the Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) of 44 countries at the 2017 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, many civil society activists raised questions, criticizing government (in-)action as well as crippling framework conditions that slow down implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the national level.

The SDGs are not a matter of developing countries that would only concern France in its external relations. They also impact French domestic policies.

The targets that risk not being met reflect the fact that they are not first and foremost issues related to environmental protection in the French context; instead, half of the targets that will be difficult to reach concern economic and social issues such as employment, poverty, educational inequalities, gender equality and official development assistance (ODA).

Jordan struggles to withstand the impact of economic and demographic shocks. Regional conflicts disrupt the country’s key trade routes and cause tourism revenues to drop; inflows of migrant workers and refugees contribute to strain government resources and the national infrastructure, and have exacerbated labour market challenges. These challenges underline the importance of developing clear priorities, policies and strategies in promoting the country’s development and ensuring the well-being of its population, particularly its most vulnerable segments. However, Jordan’s development policies and strategies have lacked consistency and continuity, with successive governments (most of which have remained in power for periods shorter than two years) often eschewing their predecessors’ programmes.

Will national partnerships with private sector accelerate implementation if global obstacles remain?

New York, 17 July 2017: On Monday, 17 July, the sponsors of the High-Level Panel report on Women’s Economic Empowerment are presenting a panel on “Accelerating women’s economic empowerment to achieve the 2030 Agenda”, head-lined by the Secretary-General. They will be joined by a diverse Member State ‘group of champions for women’s economic empowerment’. Given the knowledge and expertise of the High-Level Panel and the national level experience of the group of champions, they will have many examples of opportunities, but will they highlight the risks?

The Czech branch of the social watchdog group, Social Watch, has given a mixed appreciation of the Czech Republic’s moves to foster a more equitable and fairer country and world over the last year. The grouping of NGOs praised moves to increase the minimum wage and to take some steps to dealing with those profiting from citizens falling into the debt trap. However, it also highlighted the government’s failure to push through a bill on social housing, the continued wide gender gap on pay, and the high level of Czech arms exports to dubious regimes and low levels of development aid. The assessment was carried around in the context of the United Nations’ 2030 strategy for sustainable development.

Civil Society activists critique first week of deliberations at High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

New York City, 14 July 2017: With the first week of deliberations at the 2017 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development coming to a close this Friday at the UN in New York, civil society activists are criticizing a piecemeal approach to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Especially worrisome to activists is a growing gap between aspirational goals and a lack of proper and comprehensive means of implementation.

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