Social Watch news

The United Nations, in a new report to be released next month, has warned “there is no escaping the fact that the global landscape for the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has generally deteriorated since 2015, hindering the efforts of governments and other partners”

And the commitment to multilateral cooperation, so central to implementing major global agreements, is now under pressure, says the 35-page report, due to be released ahead of the upcoming high-level political forum (HLPF) of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), July 9-18.

Trade and trade-related policies and international agreements are addressed explicitly in seven of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and are identified as key to implementation of the 2030 Agenda and of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA).

Market access is deemed essential to promote the graduation of the LDCs (targets 10.a, 17.11 and 17.12) and to improve the livelihood of small food producers (target 2.3). Trade distortions are to be dealt with, reducing subsidies on agriculture (target 2.b), on fossil fuels (12.c), and on fisheries (14.6).

The issue of inequalities between countries is often conceptualized and measured in terms of GDP. Moreover, the way to reduce these is often implicitly assumed to be convergence upwards through rapid growth. However, although economic growth may be important for many countries (especially LDCs), global convergence with the GDP of the richest countries would be environmentally catastrophic without "decoupling" growth from nature destruction.

The Political Declaration for the High Level Political Forum will be adopted by Heads of State and Government (HOSG) at the General Assembly’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit in September 2019. With the aim of reaching consensus, Member States have started negotiations and are now deliberating a second draft of the Political Declaration. The Declaration is currently titled, “Gearing up for a Decade of Action and Delivery for Sustainable Development: Political Declaration of the SDG Summit” and is divided into three sections: “I. Our Commitment, II. Our World Today, III. Our Call to Accelerated Action.”

“Ending poverty in all its forms everywhere” - the overaching goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - reflects the growing consensus on the need to consider other dimensions, beyond monetary ones, when thinking about poverty.

Last May, ATD-Fourth World and the OECD organized an international debate on “Addressing the Hidden Dimensions of Poverty” that advocated for multidimensional and participative approaches. The "Merging Knowledge" methodology, bringging together people living in poverty from different regions with academics and practicioners evidenced that despite differences in income, the daily lives and feelings of poor people across countries, are surprisingly similar.

"As of 2019, women’s representation in Parliament remains at an abysmal 13.7% and women constitute only 18.55% of all ministerial appointments. For the first time since its creation, the Gender Ministry no longer has cabinet status. Sexual and gender-based violence remains a big problem, notwithstanding the existence of the Domestic Violence Act, and budgetary allocations for effective implementation of the law is low." This is one of the conclusions about gender disparities in Ghana, as diagnosed by NETRIGHT, a network of about 100 civil society organizations and over 300 individuals. Netright believes that "the conditions of marginalized or disadvantaged groups, including women, can never be improved solely through their own efforts, no matter how dynamic they might be, since systemic barriers and structures of male privilege and dominance maintain the status quo."

The Philippine Congress, particularly the Senate, has a handful of days left to pass important legislation. One of the urgent bills that the Senate should pass is the increase in the tobacco tax rate.

The Executive has strongly endorsed the bill of Senator Manny Pacquiao and has even certified its urgency. Pacquiao’s bill proposes a tax rate of P60 (against the current rate of P35). Subsequently, the rate increases by 9% annually to keep cigarettes less affordable in light of rising income and inflation. Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and JV Ejercito have bills that introduce higher rates — P70 and P90, respectively.

Ghana has the best endowment for and is the biggest producer of solar salt in West Africa. The bulk of the production and export comes from artisanal and small scale (ASM) producers. Third World Network Africa (TWN-Af) presents a research report "Towards Optimal Expoitation of Salt from the Keta Lagoon Basin in Ghana" based on struggles between a large scale salt company and some communities around the Keta Lagoon in Ghana. At the centre of the conflict is the disruption of the livelihoods of the communities by the award of a concession to a foreign investor for large scale salt production, an act which has expropriated what the communities see as the commons around the lagoon where for generations they have carried out livelihood activities which combine fishing, farming and salt production.

Roberto Bissio, coordinator of Social Watch, Barbara Adams and Jens Martens from Global Policy Forum participated in the session “Civil Society Shadow Reporting: Meaningful Participation in the Voluntary National Review Process”. The Session was co-organized by Social Watch, Global Policy Forum, GCAP and Action for Sustainable Development and it was held in the framework of the Global Festival of Action on 2nd May 2019 in Bonn, Germany.

Spain submitted its first Voluntary National Review in 2018 and the alternative report by La Mundial regrets the lack of dialogue on the SDGs between the government and stakeholders like academia and civil society. Spain is seen as starting late to take note of the 2030 Agenda and the High Level Group (GAN in its Spanish acronym) was perceived by civil society as not having the required political standing or participation of key ministries. Further, civil society feared that the policies required to achieve the SDGs would be undermined by the continuity of policies of fiscal austerity and shrinking rights that were pushing Spain away from the agreed goals and targets.

Syndicate content