GCSPF @ Spotlight on Sustainable Development Report 2019

e-GCSPF # 28 - September 2019

Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2019


Four years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda the world is off-track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Most governments have failed to turn the transformational vision of the 2030 Agenda into real transformational policies. Even worse, xenophobia and authoritarianism are on the rise in a growing number of countries.
But there are signs of change. Social movements have emerged worldwide, many with young people and women in the lead. They not only challenge bad or inefficient government policies, but also share a fundamental critique of underlying social structures, power relations and governance arrangements.
Thus, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is not just a matter of better policies. Meaningfully tackling the obstacles and contradictions in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs requires more holistic and more sweeping shifts in how and where power is vested, including through institutional, legal, social, economic and political commitments to realizing human rights.

The GCSPF and several members of the Global Coalition participated in the 2019 Report. The chapter on SDG 1 is entitled “Applying human rights standards for the governance of social protection will unleash its transformative potential” by the GCSPF. Read the publication here and see below the contributions by members of the GCSPF.


Reshaping Governance for Sustainability: 2019 “Spotlight” Report Launched at the UN HLPF


Photo: FES

“There needs to be an examination of the hardware of the 2030 Agenda, rather than an upgrade of its software” concludes the 2019 Spotlight Report launched on Thursday, 11 July during the HLPF that reviews the UN 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. Under the title of “Reshaping governance for sustainability”, the civil society report explores transforming institutions, shifting power and strengthening rights. The launch event showcased the ideas presented by a variety of the report’s authors. Read more


SDG 1. Applying human rights standards for the governance of social protection will unleash its transformative potential


By Sylvia Beales and Nicola Wiebe, Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors
The Agenda recognizes that economic growth alone misses those left furthest behind, and its transformative vision is to reach the furthest first, to leave no one behind, to empower the disadvantaged and to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030.
Social protection is key to accomplishing this vision and is mandated in SDG 1, target 1.3. When properly designed, social protection effectively prevents and reduces poverty and inequality. Guaranteed social protection supports improved nutrition and access to essential services and can therefore interrupt the vicious cycle of poverty and its intergenerational transfer. Universal access rights to social protection means that those at extreme disadvantage can be reached, which contributes to overcoming deeply rooted experiences of discrimination and exclusion, disempowerment and gender inequality. But currently only 29 percent of the global population count on comprehensive social protection over the lifecourse and for the different contingencies that may occur. Read more


Civil society reports show conflicting priorities and trade-offs in SDG implementation


By Roberto Bissio, Social Watch
The trade-offs between different priorities competing for scarce budget resources, for the limited attention of policy-makers or the interest of the media rarely emerge in the official debates, but they are permanently highlighted by the independent reports of civil society on implementation of the 2030 Agenda... or lack of it. Read more


Unveiling the hidden dimensions of poverty


By Xavier Godinot, International Movement ATD Fourth World
The 2030 Agenda recognizes that poverty is multidimensional. However, apart from income poverty, hitherto these dimensions have not been well-specified, several of them have gone unrecognized, and the ways in which they all interact to shape the experience of poverty has not been properly understood. Read more


Human Rights in the 2030 Agenda: putting justice and accountability at the core of sustainable development governance


By Ignacio Saiz, Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR)
Over the seven decades since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), human rights have become deeply embedded in the discourse, norms and structures of global governance. Promoting human rights is one of the foundational purposes of the United Nations. Human rights agreements - and disagreements - have profoundly shaped the dynamic of relations between States, as well as between governments and their people. The principles affirmed in the UDHR represent the closest humanity has come to an agreed universal framework of standards for how such relations should be governed. Read more


Club governance: Can the world still be run by gentlemen's agreements?


By Roberto Bissio, Social Watch
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development clearly identifies several issues, ranging from finances, to climate to trade, where global governance agreement is required. But actual decisions on these issues often run in the opposite direction. Non-accountable ‘clubs’ exercise de facto authority and raise obstacles to implementing the SDGs. Read more


SDG 8. Reclaiming the socio-economic transformation space for realizing SDG 8 in Africa


By Trywell Kalusopa, Africa Labour Research Network (ALRN), ITUC-Africa
This article seeks to add to the global dialogue from a trade union point of view, focusing on the assessment of progress in Africa towards SDG 8 targets on growth and employment. It argues that the current capitalist neoliberal global financial and economic production system tends to reproduce economic insecurities, a prime source of inequalities, unemployment and poverty. It asserts that the unfettered globalization enterprise, defined in the purview of the integration of trade, technology and labour, is an inherent driver of decent work deficits around the world. This is clear in the global commodity and value chains of the formal and informal economies that are now linked across borders, altering political, socioeconomic structures and ultimately employment relations. In that light, the increased integration of the global economy simply means that both formal and informal workers are enmeshed in integrated capitalist production processes that present newer challenges to worker organizations and ultimately undermine human development and progress. Read more


SDG 9. Towards a new approach to public infrastructure provision


By David Boys, Public Services International (PSI)
Public infrastructure and services are the bedrock of our societies – they help families thrive, they allow communities and businesses to grow and prosper, they provide support for people in need. They include health and social services; education; water and sanitation; energy; public transport; roads; land use planning (both urban and rural); justice, security and more. These core government responsibilities are one of the main guarantors of fulfilling human rights and reducing poverty.
Although the UN’s 2030 Agenda implicitly acknowledges the fundamental role of public services and the importance of universal access, its Financing for Development policies and the emphasis in SDG 17 on partnerships are pushing us towards the private, for-profit model. This even as the for-profit model demonstrates its inability to ensure universal access, especially for the poor. Therefore, a different framework is needed, one that rebalances the needs of people and planet over profit. Read more


SDG 10. The IMF’s role in economic governance: conducive to reducing inequalities within and among countries?


By Kate Donald, CESR, Grazielle David, University of Campinas and Mahinour El-Badrawi, CESR
The IMF plays a central role in economic governance, both at the global and national levels. Although it presents itself as neutral economic arbiter, its approach is in fact deeply rooted in certain economic orthodoxies, many of which have proven incompatible with the achievement of sustainable development and the meaningful reduction of inequalities, particularly in the Global South. Drawing on the examples of Egypt and Brazil, we present concrete examples of how IMF governance – in its various forms – has led to deepening of social and economic inequalities, and threats to human rights enjoyment. This is in stark contrast to the image that the IMF is painting of itself as a champion of the SDGs. Read more


SDG 11. Tackling the challenges of global urbanization: flagship local government initiatives to meet the SDGs


By Daria Cibrario, Public Services International (PSI) and Andrea Ciambra, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
Highlighting the crucial role of local and regional governments in the frontline implementation of the SDGs, this article showcases a selection of innovative initiatives by subnational governments, often in dialogue and cooperation with trade unions and community groups. Cases go beyond the scope of SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities) reaching out to other SDGs relating to essential public service access, housing, climate change and public procurement. Read more



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e-GCSPF # 27 - September 2019

Women and Green Economy: Engaging with the New Development Bank


By Govind Kelkar and Sudeshna Sengupta
The concept of Green Economy has been operationalized for the last 10 years. Politically, the concept became prevalent from the negotiation in Environmental Summit of 1992. Rio 20 became the platform where the idea of Green Economy started growing more prevalent. In a Green Economy, however, the Rights approach to development and gender equeality has been missing. Growth in income and employment is to be driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency, and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Pointing out the Global South concern on conceptualizing Green Economy in a recent webinar hosted by the BRICS Feminist Watch (BFW), Mariama Williams stated that some South feminists were not happy with this agenda as it might shift the focus from sustainable development, especially if the Green Economy only puts price tags on nature and was not concerned about human rights. Feminists are of the opinion that it is important that Green Economy should engage with political, social and environmental concerns and ensure adequate participation of women and recognize their contributions. Women are not to be looked at only as target beneficiaries impacted by the transition process to Green Economy. This position paper presents the progressive feminist position on incorporating Green Economy within the policy domain of New Development Bank (NDB). Read more


UN General Assembly Week of Summits: Q&A


Over a hundred Heads of State or Government are expected to arrive to New York in the last week of September for a series of back-to-back summit meetings at the opening of the General Assembly of the United Nations. On top of the usual photo opportunities and a myriad of bilateral meetings between leaders, this High-level week provides an opportunity for multilateral action to shift away from ’business as usual’ and address some enormous current challenges.
The calendar is certainly crowded: the Climate Action Summit and the High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage on 23 September, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit on 24-25 September, the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development (FfD) on 26 September, and the High-level Midterm Review of the SAMOA Pathway on 27 September.
These multiple events enable world leaders to confront policy gaps, address interlinkages among these issues and design policies and actions in an interconnected way. Similar vested interests that resist regulation of the corporate sector to protect the largest greenhouse gas emitters also block increased access to affordable medicines and vaccinations. Further, the conversations on financing the SDGs, particularly on ecological and climate issues cannot be divorced from the programme on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Read more


AIIB's Roads to Inequality: A Gender Case Study from Gujarat


By Priti Darooka and Sejal Dand
Rural roads have enormous economic and social benefits to the poor in terms of increased agricultural production, lower input and transport costs, increased school enrollment, increased access to health and other services. In addition, rural roads construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation are an excellent employment and income-generating opportunity for the local population.
Mukhya Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana (MMGSY) or the Chief Minister's Rural Road Project in Gujarat in India was selected as a case study to critically assess inclusion of, and impact on, women and girls at all stages of the project. MMGSY is an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) funded stand-alone project in India. The Gujarat Rural Roads Project, financed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), seeks to construct and upgrade rural roads to increase connectivity throughout the State. According to the project document, its aim is to provide all-weather rural roads to about 1060 villages in all of the state's 33 districts, benefitting about 8 million people at an estimated cost of USD 1.5 billion.
PWESCR and BRICS Feminist Watch are happy to present this gender analysis report of the project which includes observations, findings and recommendations from the field with an overview of relevant Indian and Gujarat State laws and policies and an analysis of the gaps and track record of implementation. Read more


How Informal Workers are Fighting for Healthcare, Child Care and Safety at Work


By Carlin Carr, WIEGO
Globally, 2-billion people work in the informal economy. They are some of the most vulnerable workers in the world, and they are the new majority. This means that 61% of workers globally rely on work that offers little pay and few protections, and women are particularly at risk. Public policies and social protection schemes often do not consider these workers, leaving them vulnerable to income losses and struggling to cope after an event or shock.
In this new podcast, Informal Economy: Social Protection, Cyrus Afshar hosts WIEGO social-protection experts, as well as external guests, in wide-ranging discussions on some of the most-pressing issues related to social protection from the perspective of informal workers. These include debates around the future of work, demographic changes and the informal economy, as well as social services, like child care and health that can protect informal workers' incomes. Read more


The World Bank and gender equality


BWP's new briefing explores how the World Bank addresses gender equality in Development Policy Financing (DPF), the World Bank instrument that provides credits, loans or guarantees to borrowing countries through fungible budget support, conditioned on policy reforms. It aims to stimulate further discussion around the linkages between gender equality, macroeconomic policy, and the role of the World Bank, ultimately to help create an enabling macroeconomic policy environment for gender equality.
The briefing presents the Bank's role in shaping macroeconomic and gender policymaking, examining how DPF is designed and illustrating how gendered impacts are examined in policy and practice. In its overarching policy, the Bank states that staff must determine whether “specific policies supported by the operation are likely to have significant poverty and social consequences, especially on poor people and vulnerable groups.” Yet the recent operations outlined as case studies in BWP's briefing highlight a number of gaps and remaining questions regarding the Bank's approach to analysing the potential gendered impacts of policy reforms introduced through this lending instrument.
Without critically and comprehensively reviewing its DPF from a gender perspective, especially in relation to macroeconomic policy reforms, the World Bank is at risk of supporting inconsistent and counterproductive policy reforms, which could undermine its own aims to promote gender equality and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Read more


For street vendors, finding water and toilets isn't just a nuisance, it's cutting into earnings


By Carlin Carr, WIEGO
The daily grind of street vendors comes with a host of obvious business challenges: sourcing and preparing goods to sell; attracting a steady stream of customers; and generating enough take-home pay to survive. It's a hustle, and one that these roadside entrepreneurs know well.
But the hustle only goes so far.
Conducting their livelihoods in public spaces, street vendors face difficult challenges extending beyond their everyday business transactions. Woefully inadequate infrastructure, particularly around access to clean water and toilets, often wreaks havoc on their working lives. Multiple costs – including trips to the toilet and water delivery – cut into already meagre earnings. Limited access takes a toll on vendors' mental and physical health, further reducing their earning potential. These are key findings from research by WIEGO and International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) with street vendors in Nakuru (Kenya) and Durban (South Africa). 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.

Read the Call

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.

Read more

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