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More than 9 million Afghans (over one third of the population) are not able to meet their basic needs and many more people are highly vulnerable to becoming poor because of the ongoing conflict and heavy reliance on agriculture and international aid as well as the lack of clear pro-poor policies. Women’s participation in the national Parliament (27%) is well above the global average of 21.8 percent, but gender norms in the culture and long walking distances to school in rural areas still prevent many girls to access education and violence against women remains a daunting challenge.

The Afghan civil society report acknowledges that the country “has received an unprecedented amount of international development aid over the past 14 years”. This huge aid inflow “has benefited the country, buy it has also brought problems: corruption, fragmented and parallel delivery systems, poor aid effectiveness and weakened governance.”

Tax evasion and environmental vulnerability have been identified by Salvadorean civil society as the major obstacles to achieving the SDGs in El Salvador. Tax evasion in 2013 was estimated at $1.5 billion, more than one fourth of total government revenue. At the same time, the annual average of losses due to extreme weather events in the XXI century so far is "equivalent to almost 60 percent of the annual average of its public investment". It is urgent to take a development path that protects Nature from further degradation and strengthens ecosystems to reduce environmental vulnerabilities that mostly affect the poorest sectors of the population.

For several years the Group of 20 (G20) has been increasing the intensity of its focus on infrastructure investment, resulting since the beginning of 2014 in the launch of a Working Group on Investment in Infrastructure. Over those years, the G20 has tasked the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), whose membership comprises 34 countries, to provide numerous technical inputs for its work on infrastructure. The OECD is, indeed, one of the most visible and prolific of the international organizations acting as resources for the G20, often co-branding its reports with the grouping. A recently-released report, “In Search of Policy Coherence: Aligning OECD Infrastructure Advice with Sustainable Development,” puts this facet of the organization’s work under the spotlight.

The contradictions between economic growth and a sustainable development approaches appear in National Framework Strategy on Sustainable Development (NFSSD) 2012-2024. The first approach identifies classic economic growth as a priority goal; while the second emphasizes environmental preservation and, accordingly, a shift to sustainable consumption and production patterns. The ”decoupling” of economic growth and environmental destruction is envisaged, but it has so far not led to a reduction of the global environmental load in absolute terms, although it has contributed to a modest reduction in its rate of growth.

Whether the 2030 Agenda can live up to its promise to advance the sustainable development process and further international cooperation in this regard will only be seen in the implementation process: provided that it creates a precise and transparent monitoring system, argues the Hungarian civil society report.

The Thai government has announced a “Pracha Rath” (State of the People) policy framework, but this “ironically has become a shared agenda between the Government and the industrial and corporate complex, enabling industrial and corporate interests to become the main drivers of development rather than the society and the citizen”.

The Thai Social Watch report 2016 describes a “development trap” with community self-reliance decreasing in rural areas. “As agro-industry takes over, farmers are becoming paid labor or even contract laborers on their own land. Land resources are being excavated mining and other extractive industries owned by by transnational corporations.” Meanwhile, development plans “call for big projects to facilitate the provision of resources, fuel, energy and transportation to the industrial sector and urban areas, causing under-reproduction of labor and damaging the environment”.

In discussions of sovereign debt, some actors occasionally project the sensibility, implicitly or explicitly, that efforts to bring issues of justice and sovereign debt together are not entirely appropriate. In this view, questions of human rights, governmental accountability to citizens, and justice more generally fall into one legal and political arena, while sovereign debt belongs to another sphere—namely, to the hard-headed world of international finance, which has its own set of rules and market principles.  This underlying assumption can ground the contention that, although it is possible for these areas to overlap to some degree, they should be understood as belonging to two separate worlds.  Relatedly, this assumption also can undergird resistance to criticism of the existing sovereign debt regime and undercut efforts to change these practices.

Recent austerity policies are undermining economic, social and labour rights within the European Union (EU) and are hitting the most vulnerable, the United Nations Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and human rights, Mr Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, has said.

This conclusion was highlighted in an end-of-mission statement following his recent official visit to EU institutions to assess the response of these institutions and of EU Member States "to the sovereign debt and financial crisis from a human rights perspective."

Last June 19th, we have been witnesses of the extremely violent actions of the Mexican State repressing the teachers and the organized civil society in resistance in different areas of the State of Oaxaca including the Istmus of Tehuantepec, Nochixtlán and the city of Oaxaca.

As a result of the excessive use of force, at least six persons have lost their lives and dozens have been injured and arrested. At this moment there is no information about the whereabouts of the arrested persons neither there is an exact total number of injured and killed persons. Medical attention was not guaranteed and civil society had to create points of emergency medical attention to injured persons without being able to cope with the demand.

There are happening particularly violent actions in the city of Oaxaca tonight. We have witnessed the arrival of a large number of airplanes of the Federal Police and the Gendarmerie in the city throughout the day as well as we witness that the tension is increasing every minute.

Malta will hold the Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2017 and it should practice what it preaches, argues the Maltese NGO Kopin, "by ending European agricultural subsidies and other unjust practices that are harming and keeping poor undeveloped countries from reaching their potential". Justice and dignity for Maltese citizens cannot be separated from that of all citizens around the world and therefore the role of Malta as tax haven should be revised, since "tax evasion and money laundering are two major causes of global poverty and injustice". Further, the Mediterranean island should do more towards the integration of migrants, combatting xenophobia and "putting special emphasis on the rights of children and youth who are migrating, irrespective of their reasons to move".

Jordan is a middle income country, but the consequences of the global economic crisis and the massive influx of Syrian refugees are enormous challenges. Despite some progress in achieving the MDGs, little was made on goals that required structural change, harmony among policies, continuity and sustainability of funding–notably the targets on employment and environmental sustainability. The country is not receiving adequate international support to host 1.3 million Syrians (one for every five Jordanians) which together with a fast growing population impose stress on social services and water provision. Yet, for civil society "the main challenge is lack of good governance".

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