Social Watch news

The implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Tunisia suffers from almost the same challenges encountered by the rest of the Arab economies. It is not legally binding and it provides the government only with guidelines. It also remains dependent on the good will of the government and its own priorities. It is subject to different threats such as instability, regional conflicts, immigration and displacements, demographic movements, social inequalities, economic crises and high public indebtedness. The economic crisis and the lack of funding sources are often mentioned to justify the incapacity of the Tunisian government to invest in infrastructure and development projects.

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”.

The Cypriot government strongly supported the process of developing the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and has repeatedly expressed its commitment to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, it has yet to adopt a comprehensive policy framework for implementation of the goals in the national context, concludes the independent report contributed by the Center for the Advancement of Research & Development (CARDET), a member of the global Social Watch network. This report discusses the progress made towards a national strategic framework for the implementation of the SDGs and identifies the steps taken, the challenges and opportunities as well as the issue of budgeting. As Cyprus is a divided country looking for reunification, the SDGs could act as catalyst during the implementation of a solution to the national problem.

Yesterday, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) released their ranking of the best and worst cities to be a woman in Canada. The report, by CCPA senior researcher Kate McInturff, is now in its fourth year and provides an important snapshot of the discrimination faced by women across the country—underemployment, a persistent wage gap, and life-threatening barriers when it comes to health, personal security, and more.

It is also a wake-up call—a reminder that in the absence of meaningful government intervention, Canada’s gender gap has persisted.

This session will present findings and recommendations from the global civil society report "Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2017" at the Civil Society Forum at the Annual Meetings of IMF and World Bank.

Speakers will examine the impacts of privatization, public-private partnerships and corporate capture on 2030 Agenda implementation, and explore the IMF and World Bank's role in policy coherence and tackling inequalities.

At the event, contributors will present and discuss key findings and recommendations of this year’s report.

Roberto Bissio (coordinator of Social Watch) said that it is vital that NGOs play a watchdog role on the SDGs and this is even more important because the official assessment, evaluation and review of the SDGs is very week, currently the reporting process is voluntary and there is no assessment of the reports that governments submit. For example in the human rights framework with the Universal Periodic Review, what governments say is really scrutinize and recommendations are formulated officially as to what governments should do. This is not the case on the SDGs, not yet at least, and that is why precisely the watchdog, looking at what governments report and what governments plan with a critical view and pushing the agenda forward making sure that the promises are met is an important rol for NGOs.

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