New York, 10 July 2017: A global coalition of civil society organizations and trade unions presents today the report Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2017. It is published on the opening day of the High Level Political Forum at the United Nations in New York. The report provides the most comprehensive independent assessment of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Privatization, partnerships, corporate capture and their impact on sustainability and inequality - assessments and alternatives In the 2030 Agenda governments committed to a revitalized Global Partnership between States and declared that public finance has to play a vital role in achieving the SDGs. But in recent decades, the combination of neoliberal ideology, corporate lobbying, business-friendly fiscal policies, tax avoidance and tax evasion has led to a massive weakening of the public sector and its ability to provide essential goods and services.

Independent monitoring and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its structural obstacles and challenges are key factors for the success of the SDGs. It is for this reason, the Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development together with other civil society organizations and networks has produced the first annual Spotlight Reportassessing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the structural obstacles in its realization. The report puts a spotlight on the fulfillment of the 17 goals, with a particular focus on inequalities, responsibility of the rich and powerful, means of implementation and systemic issues.

What are currently the main obstacles to achieving the SDGs? Are there transnational spill over effects that influence or even undermine the implementation of the goals? Are the current policy approaches, as they are reflected, inter alia, in the 2030 Agenda, an adequate response to the challenges and obstacles (or are they part of the problem)? What has to be done? Which specific policy changes (at international level) are necessary?

For more:

New Discussion paper for the Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development Perspectives I March 2015

The Post-2015 Agenda with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as one of its key components is intended to be truly universal and global. This requires a fair sharing of costs, responsibilities and opportunities among and within countries. The principle of »common but differentiated responsibilities« (CBDR) must be applied. Coupled with the human rights principle of equal rights for all and the need to respect the planetary boundaries, this necessarily translates into different obligations for different categories of countries – as well as individuals within these countries.

The rich and powerful have special responsibilities. For them we can broadly distinguish three types of goals and targets: those that are of particular relevance to the internal affairs of all including rich countries, requiring changes in their domestic policies (»domestic sustainability targets«); those that address the need to change domestic policies in order to reduce negative external effects beyond a country’s borders (»do-no-harm targets«); and those that zero in on their international duties and responsibilities (»international responsibility targets«).

Three specific »goals for the rich« are particularly important for sustainable development worldwide. In the list of 17 SDGs proposed by the Open Working Group of the UN General Assembly these are: The goal to reduce inequality within and among countries (goal 10), the goal to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns (goal 12), and the goal to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for development (goal 17). The Post-2015 Agenda will only succeed if these goals include specific and time-bound targets and commitments for the rich that trigger the necessary regulatory and fiscal policy changes

Find out more in the new discussion paper for the Reflection Group on how nobody should be left out of the Post-2015 Agenda. Not even the rich.

In a new comment the the Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development Perspectives states that the SG’s report fails to address the core structural and macro-economic issues that shape the ability to implement and finance people-centered, ecologically sound policies and programs at all levels.
The UN Secretary-General’s (SG) report “A life in dignity for all” (A/68/202) calls for a “new post-2015 era […] a new vision and a responsive framework […] a universal agenda that requires profound economic transformations and a new global partnership.” Unfortunately that new vision and the new partnerships proposed by the SG derail our ability to meet the challenges we face today.

The debates on an agenda for international co-operation and development beyond 2015 offer the opportunity to (re-)address in a holistic manner well-being and justice in societies. Given the economic, social and ecological challenges in the world, this is urgently needed.

The present framework of international development goals centering on the MDGs and the related strategies do not provide adequate answers to the global problems, be they accelerated global warming, the growing gap between rich and poor, the financialization of the world economy or the disrespect for human rights. Given these problems we require changes in the economic and social systems. A development agenda focusing only on poor countries and not on the rich ones is inadequate.

This does not mean such an agenda should prescribe top-down identical goals, responsibilities and political recipes following a one-size-fits-all approach. A future development agenda ought to be based on common principles providing for a differentiation of countries according to their economic performance, social needs and ecological responsibilities. Similarly, the agenda ought to contain a differentiated catalogue of political commitments. Embedded between the general principles and the political implementation measures, Universal Sustainability Goals would be an essential albeit one element of the Post-2015 Agenda.

The discussions about any Post-2015 Agenda must address the structural obstacles and political barriers that prevented the realization of the MDGs. Without an honest assessment of these obstacles and barriers any so called »new« development goals will remain a paper tiger

Growing inequalities and unregulated finances are expropriating people everywhere from their fair share in the benefits of global prosperity. The Social Watch Report 2012 concentrates on the effects of present mismangements and false recepies on the rights and well-being of future generations. “The ‘right to a future’ is the most urgent task of the present,” writes Roberto Bissio, coordinator of Social Watch, member of the Reflection Group and editor-in-chief of the study. “It is about nature, yes, but it is also about our grandchildren, and about our own dignity, the expectations of the 99% of the world’s 7 billion men and women, girls and boys that were promised sustainability two decades ago and have found instead their hopes and aspirations being melted into betting chips of a global financial casino beyond their control.”

The lengthy study, based on the contribution of citizens’ organizations in 66 countries from all over the world that produced their national reports, concludes that “growing inequalities and unregulated finances are expropiating people everywhere from their fair share in the benefits of global prosperity”. “Our children will inherit the burden of deforestation, desertification, erosion of biodiversity and climate change. To revert this trend, the promise of universal dignity brought by human rights has to be enforced and the rights of future generations need to be recognized and properly defended,” concludes this 16th edition of the Social Watch Report.

The thematic chapters

The world faces an unprecedented coincidence of global crises. They testify to the failure of the dominant model of development and economic progress that is oriented on a technocratic modernisation path, is blind to human rights and the ecological limits of the global ecosystem, confuses growth of Gross Domestic Product with progress in society, and regards poverty as a primarily technical challenge in which categories of inequality and social justice are neglected.

The Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development Perspectives brought together 18 civil society activists and scholars from different disciplines from around the globe. Its members jointly drew lessons from the current crises, looked beyond conventional development concepts and goals, questioned the models and measures of development and social progress, and presented alternatives.

This report is the main outcome of the joint deliberations. It describes the root causes of the multiple crises, reconfirms the framework of universal principles and rights, reconsiders development goals and indicators, and draws conclusions for the post-2015 development agenda. It seeks to stimulate debates about alternative development paths, participatory and inclusive governance structures, and the transformation in politics and societies that future justice for all will require.

On 31 October 2011 the Reflection Group submitted a statement to the secretariat of the Rio+20 Conference to be held in June 2012. It was prepared during a drafting session in October in New Paltz, NY and highlights some of the issues and proposals that will come up in the final report of the Reflection Group again. The final report will come out in spring of 2012 after a final meeting of the Group.