Social Watch news

The negative impact on developing countries of the secrecy of the Swiss banking system, which encourages damaging tax evasion, corruption and illicit financial flows, was highlighted by civil society when Switzerland submitted its report about the 2030 Agenda to the United Nations. "Switzerland continues to host the largest offshore financial centre in the world" says the alternative report of Aliiance Sud. In 2015, Swiss banks administered foreign assets in the total amount of 2,300 billion francs.

Protest against fracking

The Mexican legal framework on energy amended in 2013 and 2014 presents obstacles to the exercise of human rights as well as to achieving the SDGs, as it prioritizes the activities of exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons "over any other involving the use of the surface and subsurface of the lands concerned". The framework establishes several legal provisions such as the determination of legal easements for hydrocarbons to public, private, national and transnational energy projects (some of which employ harmful techniques such as hydraulic fracturing or fracking), which constitutes a regression in terms of human rights and the environment, while seriously compromising the achievement of the SDGs.

How much is tax collection dependent on the policies of one individual country? When discussing tax policy a common tendency used to be to treat it as an exclusively domestic policy matter, one to which only the prerogatives and obligations of the State where the respective taxes are to be collected are relevant. Reality could be nothing further from the truth, as demonstrated by the amounts of revenue that get lost to tax evasion and avoidance by international actors because of their ability to straddle across a diversity of national jurisdictions. As more of such tax maneuvers come to light, international cooperation for tax matters gains more prominence on the development finance agenda.

CESR Executive Director Ignacio
Saiz speaks at the side event
on July 12

Inequality has been center stage at the United Nations headquarters in recent days, as government officials, development experts and civil society representatives gathered for the first meeting of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were agreed. 

The HLPF is the main platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The theme of this year’s HLPF – and one of the most potentially transformative elements of the Agenda – is the critical commitment to “leave no one behind.”

Prof. Leonor Briones

Much is made of the public-private partnership (PPP). This is where the public and private sectors combine to produce outcomes which are favorable to the nation. In practice, this has meant Luzon-based transportation infrastructure projects. Visayas and Mindanao have been largely left out. President Duterte will change this. Which is partly why a whopping 62 percent of Mindanaoans voted for him. In a presidential contest where there were four highly supported candidates, this is a remarkable mandate.

“Leave no one behind” has become a central rallying cry around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, but more needs to be done for it to be put into practice, said civil society during a review conference of progress made on the Post-2030 agenda here this week.

Unlike the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)  which failed to address structural inequality, ecological sustainability, and the responsibilities of the global North, the 2030 Agenda acknowledges the “enormous disparities of opportunity, wealth, and power,” as immense challenges to sustainable development – a first for an intergovernmental document.

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.

Syndicate content