Means of implementation or means of appropriation?

Global spotlight report challenges the notion that “trillions of private finance” are needed to advance SDG implementation.

New York 13 July 2017: As the SDG 17 is under review today at the HLPF 2017, civil society groups express their concern for the inadequacy of the combined MoI/AAAA framework to match the ambition of the 2030 Agenda. The worrying slogan of ‘making the business case for sustainable development’, clearly exemplifies how private finance, rather than public policies and investments, is being portrayed as the fundamental key to SDG implementation, says the Spotlight Report, a comprehensive independent assessment released in New York on the opening day of the High Level Political Forum 2017.

Two main challenges undermine the implementation of the Agenda 2030: the refusal of developed countries to engage in any meaningful democratization of global economic governance and the pervasive private sector bias, explains Stefano Prato, Managing Director of the Society for International Development and one of the authors of the Spotlight Report.

While developing countries are being pressured to advance national implementation of the 2030 Agenda, developed countries oppose strong resistance to the call for democratization of the global economic governance, and continue to strengthen their own institutions (i.e.OECD) and those they unevenly control (i.e Bretton Woods institutions).

International tax cooperation to tackle illicit financial flows, multilateral mechanisms to ensure debt sustainability, equitable multilateral trade systems, alignment of international finance with sustainable development, are all essential to create the policy and fiscal space for countries to advance implementation. However they remain peripherical, if not completely unaddressed, in the follow-up and review process of the 2030 Agenda. This translates into the persistence of systemic structural obstacles for developing countries to advance any meaningful development progress.

We are witnessing an increasing abdication of the state’s responsibility to challenges - such as human mobility, climate, trade, finance. The state seems to feel inadequate or powerless to confront - points out Stefano Prato - ceding portions of public space to the private sector.

Rather than means of implementation, the international community is confronted with ‘means of appropriation’ of the development aspirations of developing countries and their communities to maintain an outdated, untenable, fragile and undemocratic economic order, claims the Spotlight Report.

The Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2017 Report is published by the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), Global Policy Forum (GPF), Public Services International (PSI), Social Watch, Society for International Development (SID), and Third World Network (TWN), supported by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. It provides the most comprehensive independent assessment of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).