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Independent monitoring and review of the 2030 Agenda and the identification of structural obstacles are key factors for the success of the Sustainable Development Goals, argued Roberto Bissio, coordinator of Social Watch, at the launch of the 2016 Spotlight Report at the United Nations.

The Spotlight report 2016 is published by the Reflection Group on Sustainable Development, an alliance of Social Watch, Third World Network, ANND and DAWN. The report includes contributions on each of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by civil society networks and experts and national reports from forty countries.

Areli Sandoval, from Equipo Pueblo (Mexico), Juerg Staudenmann from Alliance Sud (Switzerland), Mahinour El Badrawi, from the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights and Maria Victoria Raquiza, from Social Watch Philippines presented the conclusions from their national reports.

Tomáš Tozicka (from V
Ekumenické akademii), Ilona
Švihlíková (from Alternativa
Zdola) and Markéta Mottlová
(from Fórum 50 %)

The Czech Social Watch report launched last week in Prague recognizes achievements by its government in social policies, but also criticizes lack of progress in environmental issues. The Czech Republic supports peace and the Sustainable Development Goals, but on the other hand it stimulates arm exports and blocks developing country participation in international fora on tax havens and illicit financial flows. Although the Government generally supports the SGDs and the engagement of non-state actors in the planning process, some governmental departments fail, or in some cases, even refuse to take seriously the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

South Korean society is currently experiencing rising economic inequality, against which Government policy has done nothing to stop. The current regime and the ruling party are distancing themselves from the implementation of the SDGs that relate to economic inequality and democracy. Instead, new laws make it easy for chaebol (mega corporations) to accumulate wealth, while weakening fundamental consumer rights and protections and the new Anti-terrorism Act, adopted in March 2016 includes provisions threatening democracy.
Before the legislative election on 13 April 2016, SDG-related policies were included in the manifestos of all three opposition parties. Collectively these parties won more seats than the ruling party, which means that national level implementation of the SDGs might be on the parliamentary agenda in the near future.

As the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development started its first review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) July 11-20, civil society coalitions from around the world brought to New York their own findings, calling on member states to take note of these.

Because the Forum is the UN’s central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda adopted by world leaders on September 25, 2015. It is slated to adopt a Ministerial Declaration to provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations on the 2030 Agenda’s implementation and follow-up; keep track of progress of the SDGs; spur coherent policies informed by evidence, science and country experiences; as well as address new and emerging issues.

Civil Society Reflection Group launches Spotlight Report during the fourteenth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 14),to take place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 17 to 22 July 2016.

Jens Martens wrote this analysis on behalf of the Reflection Group* on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is part of Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2016, a Reflection Group Report.

The 2030 Agenda has the potential to correct the errors and omissions of the MDG approach to development, writes Jens Martens, from Global Policy Forum, in the introduction to this new report: “If taken seriously it has the potential to change the prevailing development paradigm by re-emphasizing the multidimensional and interrelated nature of sustainable development and its universal applicability.”

But before this can be done, a number of obstacles need to be addressed. Can the 2030 Agenda be achieved without a global approach to taxes? Can it be assessed without promoting human rights and addressing the responsibilities of the rich and powerful? Can it be reviewed without effectively addressing climate change, illicit financial flows, conflicts, and trade and investment agreements? Can it be measured with a single number? With 300 such numbers? Or do we need a new kind of dashboard to monitor sustainability?

Are governments genuinely committed to implement the ambitious Agenda 2030 they adopted last September at the highest level? Will the global financial system and the trade and investment regime allow for the policy space needed to change  course, eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities, protect nature and promote human rights?

As the United Nations started this Monday, July 11 2016 its first review of the new Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), civil society coalitions from around the world brought to New York their own findings, demanding to be heard.

UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-Moon addresses a session of
the HLPF. Photo: UN

As the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) convenes this week to review implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), CESR’s Kate Donald and Lena Kahler examine whether the new agenda will live up to its promise of promoting accountability and “leaving no one behind”. 

As the global follow up and review mechanism for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted at the UN nine months ago, the HLPF is where world leaders will take stock of countries’ SDG performance and address challenges in implementation. Yet serious doubts remain as to whether it will deliver on its mandate to “provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations on the Agenda's implementation and follow-up” as well as ensure accountability for the goals.

While more than 26.3 percent or about 27 million Filipinos live in poverty, the benefits from growth are concentrated in the hands of few billionaire families, the less than 1 percent who dominate the political economy.  Tax injustice is imbedded in the system and unregulated corporate activities harm people and the environment. The Philippines can reduce inequality by changing the economic geography. We can reverse the big city-oriented development by supporting the provincial and local economies. We can do this by shifting from conventional, fossil fuel-intensive farming to organic and sustainable agriculture and by changing the pattern of public expenditure so that adequate resources, and authority, too, are deliberately transferred from the rich regions to the poorer ones.

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