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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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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