GCSPF E-Newsletter #15 - September 2018

e-GCSPF # 15 - September 2018

“The world is off-track in terms of achieving sustainable development and fundamental policy changes are necessary to unleash the transformative potential of the SDGs.” This is the main message of the Spotlight Report 2018, the most comprehensive independent assessment of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. When UN Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda, they signaled with the title 'Transforming our World' that it should trigger fundamental changes in politics and society, argues the report. Yet, “three years after its adoption, most governments have failed to turn the vision of the 2030 Agenda into real policies. Even worse, policies in a growing number of countries are moving in the opposite direction, seriously undermining the spirit and the goals of the 2030 Agenda.” The Spotlight 2018 report focuses on policies that are needed and, as the authors underline, “possible”.
The GCSPF and several members of the Global Coalition participated in the 2018 Report. The chapter on SDG 1 is entitled Mobilize the financial means for social protection systems for all by the GCSPF. Read the publication here and see below the chapters.

By the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors
There is no doubt that social protection is a key instrument to end poverty and to give people access to opportunities for a self-determined life in dignity. National social protection systems can also contribute to achieving other SDGs, including food security, good health, decent work, gender equality, reduced inequality and cohesive communities. The social protection target is ambitious as there is an extremely wide gap between the commitment and the current situation. The ILO World Social Protection Report 2017-2019 shows that only 29 percent of the world’s population is covered by adequate social protection.2 And yet many more countries than those who already have complete social protection systems could afford at least to complete their Social Protection Floors (SPFs). Read more

By Paola Simonetti, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
Implement international labour standards, including freedom of association, collective bargaining and social dialogue as a means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda Promoting the Decent Work Agenda (DWA) remains the main objective of the trade union input into the 2030 Agenda. Based on rights and democratic ownership, the DWA is the foundation for sustainable development, as opposed to palliative interventions. Read more

By Kate Donald, Center for Economic and Social Rights
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.
In the context of SDG 10, there is an urgent need to look more holistically at power imbalances and inequalities between countries. Even economic power is far broader than just GDP. Trade balance sheets, size of sovereign wealth funds, access to natural resources, sway over trade negotiations and global tax regimes, currency strength, size of national debt; all of these contribute hugely to inequalities between countries. Read more

By Francisco J. Marí, Bread for the World – Protestant Development Service
The inclusion in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of a stand-alone goal addressing the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans – SDG 14 – has resulted in a veritable boom in global ‘blue’ initiatives. No doubt it is encouraging to see the world’s largest habitat receiving more political attention. At the same time, however, one has to take a very close look at what enthusiasm over a ‘Blue Economy’ or catchwords like ‘Blue Growth’ actually conceals and who ultimately benefits from these concepts. Read more

By Roberto Bissio, Social Watch
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). Capacity-building on trade is required (target 8.a) and the WTO is urged to complete the Doha Round (target 17.10) as one of the key means of implementation for the whole Agenda. Read more

By Roberto Bissio, Social Watch
The 2030 Agenda and its universal commitments to eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities within planetary boundaries are inspirational. People from around the world expect their governments and the international system to act on their promises. While government reporting to the UN is voluntary and without any form of required response, civil society's role as ‘watchdog’ is exercised in multiple ways. Independent ‘spotlight’ reports by citizen groups throw light on obstacles and trade-offs in public policies.
The national civil society reporting promoted and compiled by Social Watch clearly show that while circumstances and capabilities are unique in each country, common threads emerge: Inequalities, often exacerbated by the international policy framework, are not being reduced, poverty is underestimated or hidden but not eradicated, sustainability is sacrificed to extractivism.
As the 2030 Agenda is universal, civil society in developed countries grab the opportunity to discuss both domestic policies and their extraterritorial impact. Those spotlights are welcome, and at the same time challenge the system to take on board the contribution of every lantern lit by those that were promised to not be left behind. Read more

By Xavier Godinot, International Movement ATD Fourth World
The universality of the SDGs is challenging most statistics institutions at international or national level. Implementing SDG 1 requires that extreme poverty be measured in absolute terms, with the meaning Amartya Sen gave to this term. Yet the World Bank is accustomed to measuring absolute poverty in developing countries, not in developed ones, while the OECD or Eurostat is accustomed to measuring relative poverty in high-income countries, not absolute poverty. Eurostat recently stated that “the target for eradicating extreme poverty focuses primarily on developing countries in continuity with the earlier Millennium Development Goals”, which is completely at odds with the spirit and the wording of the SDGs. As for the OECD, its set of indicators for monitoring SDGs in member countries includes an indicator of the absolute poverty rate at the level of US$ 10 per person per day, without providing any solid evidence for this figure. Read more

By Kate Donald, Center for Economic and Social Rights, and Jens Martens, Global Policy Forum
A major part of the inequality picture is increasing market concentration and the accumulation of wealth and economic power in the hands of a relatively small number of transnational corporations and ultra-rich individuals. Intense concentration of wealth and power is in fact inimical to progress across the entire 2030 Agenda.
This trend has not emerged accidentally: inequality is the result of deliberate policy choices. In many countries, fiscal and regulatory policies have not only led to the weakening of the public sector, but have also enabled the unprecedented accumulation of individual wealth and increasing market concentration.
But, there are robust and progressive alternatives to these policies, which could effectively redistribute wealth and counteract the concentration of economic power. Such alternative policies will be a prerequisite to unleash the transformative potential of the SDGs and fulfill their ambition “to realize the human rights of all”. Read more

By Roberto Bissio, Social Watch
The 2030 Agenda is enthusiastic about the “great potential” for accelerating human progress brought by information and communications technology and global interconnectedness. At the same time, however the UN now acknowledges “the dark side of innovation” and the new challenges of cybersecurity threats, the risks to jobs and privacy unleashed by artificial intelligence and the use of military related ‘cyber operations’ and cyber-attacks.
As with climate change, increasing inequalities or power concentration, those challenges cannot be solved by countries acting in isolation and urgently require strengthened multilateralism.
At the same time, a major technological shift is necessary to implement the global transition -required by the 2030 Agenda- towards less resource-intensive and more resilient economic and social development models. Most of that technology already exists, but new strategies are needed to generalize it at global level. Read more



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Civil Society Call for a Global Fund for Social Protection

Over 200 civil society organizations and trade unions unite to call for a Global Fund for Social Protection to protect the most vulnerable during COVID-19 and beyond.

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SP&PFM Programme

The programme Improving Synergies Between Social Protection and Public Finance Management provides medium-term support to multiple countries aiming to strengthen their social protection systems at a national level and ensure sustainable financing. The programme aims to support countries in their efforts towards achieving universal social protection coverage.

This initiative is implemented jointly by the ILO, Unicef, and the GCSPF.

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