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PRESS RELEASE: Launch of Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2021

17. September 2021 - 16:07

Global civil society report demands justice beyond rhetoric

New York, 17 September 2021

Policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis have greatly exacerbated national and global inequalities. Blatant examples are the unfair distribution of care work, relying mainly on women and poorly remunerated if at all, and the global disparity in the distribution of vaccines.

So far more than 60 percent of people in high-income countries have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but less than 2 percent have done so in low-income countries. In view of this dramatic disparity, the “leave no one behind” commitment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development remains hollow.

The dominant interests of rich countries, and corporate powers continue to dominate political decision- making. Given the urgency of the COVID-19 crisis and the other unresolved global problems, most notably the climate emergency, it is high time for transformative policies at all levels.

This is the key message of the Spotlight on Sustainable Development Report 2021. The report is launched on the first day of the Global Week to #ACT4SDGS by a global coalition of civil society organizations and trade unions.

According to the report, economic justice based on human rights can be achieved, but the trend towards privatizing, outsourcing and systematic dismantling of public services must be reversed. To combat growing inequality and build a socially just, inclusive post-COVID world, everyone must have equitable access to public services, first and foremost to healthcare and education.

To prevent the COVID-19 pandemic being followed by a global debt and austerity pandemic, governments must be enabled to expand their fiscal policy space and properly tax multinational corporations and wealthy individuals, many of whom pay virtually no income tax at all. Fundamental reforms in the global financial architecture, including a debt workout mechanism beyond piecemeal relief measures for debt servicing, are long overdue.

Download the Press Release here (PDF version). More information can be found here.

The annual Spotlight Report has been published since 2016 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 Stiftung.

Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2021
Demanding justice beyond rhetoric – Time to overcome contradictions and hypocrisy in the COVID-19 crisis
Global Civil Society Report on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs
Beirut/Bonn/Ferney-Voltaire/Montevideo/New York/Penang/Rome/Suva, September 2021
www.2030spotlight.org
#SpotlightSDGs

For media requests please contact:

Tobias Gerhartsreiter
Global Policy Forum
Coordinator – Public Relations
Email: media@globalpolicy.org

Some quotes from the Spotlight Report 2021:

“The COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis have reminded the global community of the essentials of reviewing and in many cases rewriting international rules and the urgency of Just Transition strategies to move in this direction.
The scourge of COVID-19 struck an already stark reality of multiple inequalities – in households, across communities, in national context, and among countries. Its waves of devastation have exacerbated pre-existing conditions and disparities as well as creating new ones.”
Barbara Adams, Global Policy Forum

“The majority of governments in the world are expected to start austerity cuts with negative social impacts, such as social security/welfare reforms and wage bill adjustments. There are alternatives, even in the poorest countries. Instead of cutting public expenditure and much needed public services, governments must look at new fiscal space and financing sources.”
Isabel Ortiz, Global Social Justice Program

“It took a global pandemic to open the world’s eyes to the absolutely vital role of education. Free quality inclusive public education for all is imperative to any recovery effort. To make it happen, governments must work with teachers, education personnel, and their representative organisations. They must be supported and empowered to lead the recovery in education.”
David Edwards, Education International

“A People’s Recovery should be prioritised, we found that 63% of all the recovery money in the global South countries we studied went to big businesses, with only spent on 22% to social protection. Now people across the world are campaigning to extend and make permanent the grants that were increased during Covid-19, but austerity policies are proposed instead.”
Matti Kohonen, Financial Transparency Coalition

“This [UN Food Systems Summit] creates a dangerous precedent in the United Nations, giving corporations a special entry point to global food governance without clear rules, and sidelining existing democratic multilateral and human rights-based bodies such as the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).”
Magdalena Ackermann, Society for International Development & Charlotte Dreger, FIAN International

Contributing partners of the Spotlight Report 2021

The post PRESS RELEASE: Launch of Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2021 appeared first on Global Policy Watch.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

UNGA76 Side Event titled Multi-lateralism & Multi-stakeholderism: Where does accountability for the corporate sector fit in?

16. September 2021 - 19:40

We are thrilled to invite you to a UNGA76 Side Event titled Multi-lateralism & Multi-stakeholderism: Where does accountability for the corporate sector fit in?

When September 24th at 8:00 AM New York / 8:00 PM Beijing / 2:00 PM CET

What An event exploring corporate influence across the United Nations System, and identifying ways in which civil society and all actors can resist corporate influence with a view to build a more accountable and equitable system that operates in the interests of people and planet, rather than profit.

Register bit.ly/AccountabilityForCorporateSector

Interpretation Available in French and Spanish

Corporate influence across the UN system manifests in many ways and these methods/means are increasing. From the introduction of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to newer language regarding “multistakeholderism” and “networked multilateralism”, corporations are being offered varying levels of status and access to many policymaking spaces. At the same time, pushes to democratize these spaces and to be inclusive of all partners appear to be leaving behind civil society, specifically the most marginalized civil society organizations including feminist and grassroots women-led organizations, and movements from the Global South.

At large, this corporatization of the UN legitimizes the importance of the business and corporate sector in international decision-making, bringing business closer to the values of the UN. Some specific cases include the UNâ€s MOU with the World Economic Forum (WEF) from the S-Gâ€s office, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and its observer status in the General Assembly and the Global Compact and its “10 Principles” for corporate sustainability.

This joint event, held in the margins of the 76th Session of the UNGA and the SDG Moment will explore this “dark side” of multistakeholderism at the United Nations and in other intergovernmental fora, and identify ways in which civil society and all actors can resist corporate influence with a view to build a more accountable and equitable system that operates in the interests of people and planet, rather than profit.

Help us spread the word:

Share the event on your Twitter using the sample tweet below and the graphic attached!

Sample Tweet:
What’s up with #CorporateInfluence in the @UN?
Join @globalpolicy, @Women_Rio20 & @Global_Demands for a #UNGA76 side event you don’t want to miss!

📅 Sept 24 at 8am New York / 8pm Beijing / 2pm CET

📲 Register: bit.ly/AccountabilityForCorporateSector

#FeministsWantSystemChange

The post UNGA76 Side Event titled Multi-lateralism & Multi-stakeholderism: Where does accountability for the corporate sector fit in? appeared first on Global Policy Watch.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

LAUNCH SPOTLIGHT REPORT 2021: Demanding Justice Beyond Rhetoric

7. September 2021 - 19:37

Time to overcome contradictions and hypocrisy in the COVID-19 crisis

Friday, 17 September 2021, 9:00-10:30am EDT

PLEASE REGISTER HERE!

Policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis have exacerbated rather than reduced global inequalities. The most visible example of this is the global disparity in the distribution of vaccines.

So far more than 60 percent of people in high-income countries have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but less than 2 percent have done so in low-income countries. In view of this dramatic disparity, the “leave no one behind” mantra of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development remains hollow.

In fact, the vested interests of economic elites continue to dominate political decision-making. Given the urgency of the COVID-19 crisis and the other unresolved global problems, most notably the climate emergency, it is high time for transformative policies, strategies and structural changes.

This year’s Spotlight on Sustainable Development Report describes the highly uneven socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis and analyses the policy responses to it. It explores beyond the rhetoric, highlighting deepening inequalities, self-serving and hypocritical policies and governance failures at national and international level.

Addressing the imbalance in global vaccine production and distribution, the report also examines a few key areas where political and structural changes are necessary to correct the limited and asymmetric recovery.

With this virtual launching event, we will present key findings of the report.

Brief snapshots by

K.M. Gopakumar, Third World Network
Vanita Mukherjee, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)
Roberto Bissio, Social Watch

Policy conclusions by

Kate Donald, Center for Economic and Social Right
Daria Cibrario, Public Services International (PSI)
Isabel Ortiz, Global Social Justice

Moderators

Bodo Ellmers, Global Policy Forum
María Graciela Cuervo, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)

PLEASE REGISTER HERE!

Participants will receive the login details one day before the event.

Further information on the Spotlight Report 2021 will be available shortly at www.2030spotlight.org

The post LAUNCH SPOTLIGHT REPORT 2021: Demanding Justice Beyond Rhetoric appeared first on Global Policy Watch.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

UN Convenes CSO Consultation for LDC5

24. August 2021 - 19:23

Download UN Monitor #27 (pdf version).

By the GPW team

With preparations underway for the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) being held in 23-27 January 2022, the co-chairs of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom), have convened two consultations with CSOs, one on 20 May and one on 28 July.

Introducing the second consultation, the co-chairs reiterated interest in CSO perspectives and participation throughout the LDC5 process:

“Co-chair Ambassador Bob Rae and myself, we are very, very keen to remain engaged with all of it for the process… It is also very, very important that you [CSOs] reach out not only to us here, but also to reach out at the country level with your governments, and other stakeholders as they prepare for this very, very important meeting.”
-H.E. Co-Chair Rabab Fatima

“Thank you to all of the participants. I think it reinforces the importance of your own engagement and the engagement of your organizations. You not only provide us with critical perspectives from the ground, which are really important, but you also provide us with facts, with what is actually happening, and with a broader perspective that I think sometimes is missing from some official documentation. So please, keep peppering us with your perspectives, because it’s important that we try to have as broad a perspective as possible in the final document.”
-H.E. Co-Chair Bob Rae

In addition to presentations in the consultations themselves, a number of CSOs have submitted written contributions to the zero draft of the outcome document, which was delivered by Malawi on behalf of the LDC Group. This draft provided the basis of informal Member State negotiations during the Second PrepCom, and the negotiations are anticipated to continue in September 2021. The CSO submissions included detailed comments and textual suggestions covering the full range of issues such as gender inequality, the need for a people’s vaccine, digital governance, and inadequacies of trade and finance architecture.

In addition, CSOs expressed their disappointment at the lack of transparency and CSO inclusivity within the preparatory process. They underscored that this weakened their ability to contribute effectively and in a manner consistent with their commitment.

The CSO verbal and written statements are available on the UN – OHRLLS website. This Monitor provides some excerpts from the consultation itself. The written contributors are listed below with links to the statements submitted.

Brac Centre Just Net Coalition Caneus SIDIFEP Centre de défense des Droits de l’Homme et Démocratie Sightsavers Civil Society Financing for Development Group Soroptimist International EquityBD The Inclusivity Project (TIP) Groupe d’Action et de Réflexion sur l’Environnement et le Développement (GARED) Third World Network and Social Watch
International Organization of Employers Universal Esperanto Association International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific) Veille Citoyenne Togo
Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development

Inclusion and Representation of LDCs

  • “…calls for “greater action and extraordinary measures” in order to tackle the challenges facing LDCs. This means a break with current economic policies and a new framework for cooperation with LDCs. We hope that the international community will heed that call.”
    -Demba Moussa Dembele, LDC Watch
  • “On governance, we share the document’s “deep concern” about the under-representation of LDCs in the global decision-making processes. Indeed, this applies to the Global South in general.”
    -Demba Moussa Dembele, LDC Watch
  • “Global norm setting on these critical issues of global finance continues to take place in forums that suffer from serious democratic deficits. In the process, LDCs are systematically excluded from decision-making and reduced to being ‘rule takers’ rather than ‘rule makers’. The result is a global economic and financial system that is ineffective and unsuitable for LDC contexts.”
    -Dereje Alemayehu, Global Alliance for Tax Justice

Environmental and Food Security

  • “When you remember that one third of the LDC population lives with under $1.90 a day you should remember also that every European cow gets two dollars a day of subsidies. And that destroys food systems and agriculture in LDCs, but also contributes to climate change… which is an additional burden on the LDCs that do nothing to create it.”
    -Roberto Bissio, Social Watch
  • “The current text of the zero draft, which only mentions disaster risk reduction, is very limited in scope, pertaining to only risk insurance and disaster relief. And hence this needs to be rightly addressed by including the language of loss and damage consistent with the Paris Agreement.”
    -Prerna Bomzan, LDC Watch
  • “For example, many LDCs rely on international markets for an important share of their basic food staples. That food in many cases could and should be grown domestically. A thriving rural economy is a proven basis for inclusive economic growth.”
    -Sophia Murphy, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)
  • “We are very concerned that CBDR and equity continues to be pushed back even though it is a foundational principle of sustainable development forged at the UN Environment and Development Summit in 1992. It is explicitly operationalized in the legally binding UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement.”
    -Yoke Ling Chee, Third World Network

Digital Divide

  • “Current models in the platform economy are based on a winner-take-all model led by a handful of digital firms who are de facto owners of the data amassed in a non-regime of free data flows. This data, locked up in private enclosures, provides the vital foundation for a new architecture for value creation in the LDCs. The prior failures of the market model of technology transfer cannot be forgotten.”
    -Anita Gurumurthy, Just Net Coalition
  • “Yet, the Zero Draft continues to fall back on the standard rhetoric of “private sector partnerships” for research and innovation, technology transfer and technical competencies. This misplaced faith we believe will lead to loss of technological sovereignty, and a hollowing out of local productive capacity in the LDCs.”
    -Anita Gurumurthy, Just Net Coalition
  • “Further, the vision of digital governance, as put forth by the UN Secretary General’s Roadmap, has been held up as the standard-bearer for an equitable digital future for all. However, the proposals for global digital cooperation in this Roadmap dangerously legitimize the role of Big Tech in digital governance.”
    -Anita Gurumurthy, Just Net Coalition
  • “Secondly, the e-commerce development agenda that is outlined does not adequately emphasize the importance of LDCs preserving the policy space to assert their jurisdictional sovereignty over cross-border data flows to protect and promote their strategic economic interests.”
    -Anita Gurumurthy, Just Net Coalition

Trade

  • “Section IV on Enhancing international trade of LDCs and integration needs to ensure that there is alignment with key decisions and commitments in other fora and processes. While we do not want to prejudge other processes, there must however be coordination in bringing comprehensive LDC perspectives to where key decisions are made.”
    -Sophia Murphy, IATP
  • “The Outcome Document must call for the adoption of the proposal at the WTO on a mandated permanent solution on public stockholding, and for trade rules to support LDCs and developing countries to have strong public food programmes to deal with small farmers’ livelihoods and food security…”
    -Sophia Murphy, IATP
  • “LDCs are not excluded so much as exploited by the existing systems. LDCs are big traders, and heavily reliant on trade, but their people do not make much money from the activity. The rules are skewed against them, and deep and prevailing poverty denies the large majority of LDC citizens their fundamental human rights.”
    -Sophia Murphy, IATP

Financial Equity and Inclusive Economies

  • “These requests are important. But they have the unfortunate tendency to project an image of static – and functional – global economic systems into which LDCs need to gain admittance. On the contrary, as is made clear in the SDG agenda, for example, and in the vital work on the African continent to strengthen regional ties, we need system transformation.”
    -Sophia Murphy, IATP
  • “There is a tendency to push developing countries to focus on domestic issues even at international meetings supposed to address global issues which impact domestic processes. We thus would like to emphasize that the LDC5 outcome document should recognize that systemic transformation of LDC economies depends on addressing blockages emanating from the international economic and financial structure.”
    -Dereje Alemayehu, Global Alliance for Tax Justice
  • “This means the priorities should be those addressing the external constraints that shrink the fiscal and policy space of LDCs such as illicit financial flows, debt and the multiple layers of policy conditionalities that are increasingly narrowing the capacity of LDCs to shift their development path to a strategy focusing on people-centered, rights-based socio-economic transformation strategies.”
    -Dereje Alemayehu, Global Alliance for Tax Justice
  • “As in the past, we are concerned about the volatility and unreliability of financing strategies based on private investors. The current global financial architecture serves mainly to extract wealth; to exploit labour, to amplify gender and other intersectoral inequalities. It generates periodic crises and destabilizes the global economy exposing countries, in particular the LDCs, to havoc and destruction. There is therefore an urgent need to bring the global financial architecture into democratic governance and accountability.”
    -Dereje Alemayehu, Global Alliance for Tax Justice
  • “Financing for development is ridden with conditionalities, and even for LDCs financing is shifting from grants to loans to blended finance and to reliance on private finance where rating agencies determine the fates of entire nations.”
    -Yoke Ling Chee, Third World Network

International Support and Equity for LDCs

  • “The document calls for the mobilization of international solidarity and revived global partnerships in support of sustainable graduation. However, solidarity and partnerships should be based on true policy ownership and the development priorities set by LDCs.”
    -Demba Moussa Dembele, LDC Watch
  • “Finance is increasingly being provided in loans rather than grants, which totally exacerbates the debt crisis in LDCs and developing countries compounded by the ongoing covid-19 pandemic. It is therefore essential to specify provision of public finance as grants in the outcome document.”
    -Prerna Bomzan, LDC Watch
  • “And then there is vaccine hoarding, which increases inequalities even more and has been called a “moral outrage” by Doctor Tedros Adhanom, director of WHO. What happened with the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” that should be guiding multilateralism and international cooperation?”
    -Roberto Bissio, Social Watch
  • “Today’s vaccine inequity shows that it is human lives that have to be paid if we do not remove persistent and worsening structural & systems obstacles… they do not constitute the international enabling environment for policy space to get to truly sustainable development and realization of human rights and the Right to Development. The Outcome Document can be a historic milestone to remove those road blocks.”
    -Yoke Ling Chee, Third World Network
  • “The LDCs met their part of that contract, they went through painful structural adjustment and liberalization, either voluntarily or because of strict conditionalities imposed on them. But their so called “development partners” never met their commitments. ODA never reached the required levels, their damaging agricultural subsidies were renamed but never lifted.”
    -Roberto Bissio, Social Watch
  • “Structural transformation means changing the rules so that we have an international enabling environment which protects Policy Space for countries to autonomously design national policies on agriculture, industrial and services sectors that diversify the economy, shape the rules for a digital economy that truly benefit LDCs, all in tandem with social policies – to realize the Right to Development.”
    -Yoke Ling Chee, Third World Network

LDC Graduation

  • “The document raises concern over the slow process of graduation as illustrated by the failure of the Istanbul Program of Action to achieve its major goals, especially the graduation of 24 countries by 2020. We reiterate our view that only a break with the current approach to graduation could lead to a better outcome. Therefore, we recommend reexamining the criteria and the quality of the data used to determine graduation thresholds.”
    -Demba Moussa Dembele, LDC Watch
  • “We strongly support a post-graduation transition of 12 years for TRIPS implementation noting that there is no magical duration that will work in every case…There are valuable lessons from developing countries and LDCs that have graduated – numerically defined “transition” periods are not enough to ensure that a country with its specific circumstances and needs can climb up the technology level and work towards sustainable development. With external shocks beyond a country’s control, a developing country can also free fall into crisis.”
    -Yoke Ling Chee, Third World Network

The post UN Convenes CSO Consultation for LDC5 appeared first on Global Policy Watch.

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Feminists for a People’s Vaccine Campaign

6. August 2021 - 17:48

Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) and Third World Network (TWN) are facilitating the Feminists for a People’s Vaccine Campaign (FPV) for equitable, accessible, and affordable COVID-19 vaccines, drugs, therapeutics, and equipment—Access to Medicines or A2M for short.

The FPV Campaign brings the unique perspective of feminists from the Global South and our partners and allies in the North to challenge the causes and consequences of extreme inequalities in access to medicines. Geography, wealth, income, gender, race, caste, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and other factors shape who has access and who has not, who will live and who will die.

We analyse and question the rapidly changing pandemic panorama and shed light on key players. We look closely at initiatives such as the waiver proposal on implementing the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS), administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO), the COVAX Facility and the South versus North imbalance in global trade, investment and financing.

The Campaign includes global, regional, and national groups from across Sub-Saharan Africa and MENA, Latin America, the Caribbean, East, South-East, and South Asia, the Pacific and other allies. Two meetings, one held in March, another in May 2021, created synergies through discussions and explored future collaborations. We established Working Groups in this process to focus on 1) Global Analysis & Campaign; 2) Regional analysis, campaign and networking; 3) Communications.

The FPV campaign builds knowledge through analysis and action. An evolving set of resources combines feminist analysis with salient information on the latest developments on key issues such as the TRIPS Waiver proposal led by India and South Africa at the WTO, Issue Papers, Podcasts and ‘DAWNTalks’ an online discussion series among others. They are designed to provide information and analysis to better understand the complex politics and processes at work, and trigger engagement and deeper discussions on the way forward to more equitable access to medicines worldwide.

The Feminists for a People’s Vaccine (FPV) is encouraging feminist groups and organizations across the globe to volunteer for Working Groups and engage globally and/or regionally/nationally to expand the scope and depth of the campaign.

Source: Feminists for a People’s Vaccine (FPV).

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2021 HLPF side event: “Voluntary National Reports on the 2030 Agenda: What can we learn for a post-pandemic world?”

3. August 2021 - 21:18

On 12 July, Social Watch and Global Policy Forum co-organized together with the Secretariat of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) and the New School, the HLPF virtual side event “National Reports on the 2030 Agenda: What can we learn for a post-pandemic world?” to launch the CDP Background Paper “What did the 2020 Voluntary National Review (VNR) reports still not tell us?”. CDP members presented key findings of their analysis of the 2020 VNRs, highlighting the disconnect between the ambition of the 2030 agenda and the attention given to the transformative policies in such areas as productive capacities, pandemic preparedness, inequalities and sustainable consumption and production.

Social Watch and Global Policy Forum are members of Civil Society Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that publishes the global Spotlight Report assessing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

See a video recording of the event here.

Documents

Infographics

More information

For consolidated information on the CDP work on “Voluntary National Reviews” go to:
https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/voluntary-national-reviews.html

Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

The post 2021 HLPF side event: “Voluntary National Reports on the 2030 Agenda: What can we learn for a post-pandemic world?” appeared first on Global Policy Watch.

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Heard during UN LDC5 preparations

15. Juli 2021 - 21:32

Download UN Monitor #26 (pdf version).

By Alexa Sabatini

“We are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. The severity of its impact is being felt globally. The LDCs are bearing its heaviest brunt. They have weak infrastructures, and a serious lack of capacity to cope with internal and external shocks.”

— H.E. Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh and Co-chair of the Fifth UN Conference on LDCs (LDC5) Preparatory Committee

Ambassador Fatima’s remarks highlight the drastic consequences the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought on LDC countries. Referring to the scheduled process of LDC “graduation” out of that category, managed by the UN Committee on Development Policy, she underlined the way in which the pandemic has upended progress since the last LDC conference, 10 years ago in Istanbul, and its outcome document, the Istanbul Programme of Action:

“Since Istanbul, considerable progress has been made by many LDCs. Four countries have already graduated from the LDC category and 16 others are in different stages of graduation. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has jeopardized these decade-long development gains.”

**************

On 24-28 May, Member States met for the first Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for LDC5 to discuss priority issues for the draft outcome document to be adopted in January 2022 in Doha, Qatar. The second PrepCom session, 26-30 July 2021, will further address preparations for the LDC5 conference and launch negotiations on the successor Programme of Action. Additionally, on 18 June, the Presidents of the General Assembly (PGA) and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) initiated a joint event: “Diversifying the Financing Toolbox to Enhance Investment in Least Developed Countries”.

These meetings served as inputs to the LDC5 Conference which will aim to:

  • Undertake a comprehensive appraisal of the implementation of the IPoA;
  • Mobilize additional international support measures and action in favour of LDCs; and
  • Agree on a renewed partnership between LDCs and their development partners to overcome structural challenges, eradicate poverty, achieve internationally agreed development goals and enable graduation from the LDC category.

Throughout preparations thus far, Member States have shared their main concerns. Among the concerns of LDCs include: the impact of COVID-19 on LDCs, financing mechanisms, the digital divide, graduation support, and domestic best practices to enable growth.

LDC Member States articulated that reaching these objectives will require greater support from the international community, including: debt cancellation, funding and investment in LDCs, innovative financing mechanisms, assistance for graduation transitions, and greater transparency and accountability from international partners. Additionally, developed countries also highlighted: the need to center efforts on SDG implementation, building productive capacities in LDCs, mobilizing greater domestic resources, reiterating LDC commitments within domestic policies, curbing corruption, and diversifying markets for structural transformation. They further recognized LDC challenges of COVID-19 recovery, climate change, and the LDC graduation transition.

**************

LDC Graduation

  • “Let me share our expectations for Doha…a new architecture of incentives-based graduation packages that will ensure that all LDCs graduate and a continuum of development to support those LDCs that have graduated.” –Malawi on behalf of the LDC Group, 18 June
  • “Upon graduation, LDCs are likely to lose LDC specific support, potentially in addition to the impacts of the pandemic. Continued support is required to sustain the development trajectory.” –President of the General Assembly, 18 June
  • “Also, graduating from the LDC category should be part of a holistic process, coupled with appropriate support, in view of a smooth economic transition and a sustainable path to development.” –Portugal, 18 June
  • “We must take a cold, hard look at the UN processes related to LDCs, including… timelines and incentives associated with the graduation process.” –New Zealand, May PrepCom
  • “And I think that graduation is something that we come back to quite often in relation to LDCs. So potentially something around support for smooth transitions and for countries graduating could be very impactful in terms of supporting LDCs as they make that transition.” –UK, May PrepCom

Vaccine Equity & Inequity

  • “First, the new Programme of Action should come up with some concrete actions and support measures at national, regional and local levels to enable LDCs to recover from the pandemic fully and expeditiously, while access to vaccines at an affordable cost is the number one priority. We need much more to build a broken health system to deal with the public health issues.”
    –Malawi on behalf of the LDC Group, May PrepCom
  • “…technology and technical know-how relating to the manufacturing of drugs and vaccines is key for a sustainable and resilient recovery in LDCs and should be given thorough consideration in the next Programme of Action.” –Turkey, May PrepCom
  • “Official development assistance providers should meet the financing gap over the access to COVID-19 tools, accelerate and rally behind the efficient and equitable distribution of vaccines to ensure universal vaccination in LDCs.” 
    –President of the General Assembly, 18 June
  • “These challenges should strengthen our determination to give more priority to LDCs in our ongoing international response to COVID-19, including ensuring timely access to vaccines and strengthening public health systems, providing debt relief and scaling up financial support.” –ECOSOC Vice President [Permanent Representative of Botswana], 18 June
  • “The first one is vaccines. When we look at the world today, we have over 30 people in every one hundred million who have been vaccinated. We have 2.6 on the [African] continent. So 30 people in the advanced economies, 2.6 [in developing] countries.” –Economic Commission for Africa, 18 June

Digital Technologies

  • “Technology and renewable energy are urgently needed, for the pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital technologies and e-commerce as a tool for continuing economic activities during the crisis. Regrettably, LDCs are completely left out from this field.” –Malawi on behalf of the LDC Group, May PrepCom
  • “Things like conflict, human rights, gender equality, governance or issues related to digital connectivity can have significant impact and must be part of these deliberations.” –New Zealand, May PrepCom
  • “We also need new commitments to build productive capacities in the health and education sectors, investing in digital infrastructure, science, technology and innovation, designing and implementing green industrial policies and diversification of economic and export structures.” –Botswana,18 June
  • “…measures to build digital infrastructure, knowledge and technology-based societies in LDCs are critical to that 2030 trajectory and in closing the digital divide.” –Malawi on behalf of theLDC Group, 18 June
  • “At the core of the 2030 Agenda is our declared goal to leave no one behind. We must work towards universal and equitable access, and this means investment in digital infrastructures and technologies. This investment in connectivity is a key ingredient to building back better and building resilience against future shocks,…extending digital technology to all, including remote areas to connect rural-urban supply chains can be done in cost effective ways and surely will contribute to alleviating poverty…” –High Representative of LDCs, LLDCs, & SIDS, 18 June
  • “This is a moment where we can invest significantly together in a global digital, inclusive economy. These are unique moments that are both critical in terms of coping with a crisis, but also an accelerating recovery.” –Achim Steiner UNDP, 18 June

Trade

  • “We want to see renewed and reinvigorated commitment of development partners and the countries of the South…in areas of trade.” –Malawi on behalf of the LDC Group, May PrepCom
  • “Turkey strongly supports the inclusion of solid commitments to build productive capacities in LDCs to promote structural economic transformation, mobilizing domestic resources and creating enabling environments for private investment as the laws preventing unfair trade and financial rules, subsidies and other policies should be part of our discussions…” –Turkey, May PrepCom
  • “…according to the latest reports, LDCs have not improved their participation in world trade during the Istanbul Programme of Action and faced numerous structural challenges for financial resources and capacity building.” –Brazil, May PrepCom
  • “Financing and the implementation of suitable well-managed financing mechanisms are difficult to address and even more difficult to accomplish. Least Developed Countries are still marginalized from the decision-making processes including those pertaining to global trade and finance.” –Eritrea,18 June
  • “I encourage you to use this meeting to consider measures that will address the long-standing flaws in the prevailing multilateral trade and financial and debt architecture and bring the outcome of your discussions.” –President of the General Assembly, 18 June

Investment

  • “The situation has worsened. Remittances have declined, while flows of foreign direct investment have decreased significantly and official development aid remains under pressure as donor countries themselves struggle with their own economic woes.” –UN Secretary-General, 18 June
  • “The right policy and institutional frameworks must be put in place to facilitate an unprecedented investment push in the productive capacities of LDCs. The evidence has shown that LDCs with more productive capacities have been better equipped to withstand COVID-19.” –President of the General Assembly, 18 June
  • “These countries are struggling to service their debts and have to make a painful choice at the expense of much needed investment in health, education, and social protection in the context of an unrelenting pandemic…. …And as we work to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, the support by the international community is needed for LDCs to introduce new financing tools and investment products to overcome the challenges increasingly faced by these countries.” 
    –ECOSOC Vice President [Permanent Representative of Botswana], 18 June
  • “Almost half of the LDCs are now assessed at a high risk of debt distress or in debt distress. While we commend the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, a more aggressive and comprehensive debt relief measure is urgently needed for LDCs. Special Drawing Rights allocations of US$650 billion can ease pressure on the current account balances of LDCs and reduce some financing gaps.” –President of the General Assembly, 18 June

Funding

  • “As the means of implementation are critical, we want to see renewed and reinvigorated commitments of our development partners… these include…launching of different bonds and guarantee schemes for LDCs to address funding gaps and build resilience against future shocks.” –Malawi on behalf of the LDC Group, 18 June
  • “LDCs have not improved their participation in world trade during the Istanbul Programme of Action and have faced numerous structural challenges for financial resources and capacity building…” –Brazil, May PrepCom
  • “The risks to the achievement of the SDGs in LDCs from a lack of ambitious and transformative global development, finance and policy responses cannot be overstated. The annual financing gap to achieve the SDGs by 2030 was US$2.5 trillion before the pandemic. It is now US $4.2 trillion, and ODA remains a key mechanism to support and support the LDCs.” –President of the General Assembly, 18 June
  • “Debt cancellation is what is needed for the LDCs to avoid widespread defaults and to facilitate investment in recovery.”
    –ECOSOC Vice President [Permanent Representative of Botswana], 18 June
  • “We must strengthen domestic resource mobilization of least developed countries too and close international tax loopholes. We must reverse the decline in official development assistance and step up…triangular cooperation. And we must put in place the incentives to reverse the decline in foreign investment and ensure that long term private international capital flows promote sustainable risk, informed, resilient and inclusive economies.” –UN Secretary-General, 18 June

Climate Change

  • “Climate change and associated natural disasters are taking a heavy toll on the lives and livelihoods of LDCs. If we cannot build our coping capacity, LDCs will continue to lose decades of gains by recurring shocks and crises.” –Malawi on behalf of the LDC Group, May PrepCom
  • The pandemic has demonstrated that all aspects of our planet, including ourselves, are inextricably linked. We will all suffer if LDCs cannot recover from COVID-19 and LDCs will suffer if we do not fulfill our international commitments, including on climate where they have the least capacity to absorb the costs of adaptation.” –President of the General Assembly, 18 June
  • “Energy transition investment is the key driver to meet the net zero emission targets of the LDCs. It is an investment that can help transform and reinvigorate economies, support the recovery phase and create a wide range of jobs.” –High Representative for LDCs, LLDC, & SIDS, 18 June
  • “Climate change induced disasters that are happening with high frequency and intensity are also a common phenomenon in LDCs. This has caused further loss in income and investment opportunities in these countries.”
    –ECOSOC Vice President [Permanent Representative of Botswana], 18 June
  • “Most will likely take several years to reach the level of GDP per capita they had in 2019 and for some possibly five years or more. All of this is compounded by intensifying climate impacts, such extreme weather events which cripple communities and impede development….So we must ensure that the goal to mobilize US$100 billion in climate finance annually for developing countries is met or exceeded before this year’s United Nations climate conference.” –UN Secretary-General, 18 June

SDGs

  • “Yet, in six years after the adoption of [the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on FfD] implementation is nowhere to be seen. How do we assure ourselves that the other goals and targets will not face a similar fate? How do we explain the failure to scale up collective action to match the collective ambition?” –Nepal, 18 June
  • “Most importantly, it [DPoA] must outline that the 2030 Agenda presents the roadmap for more prosperous, peaceful, just and greener societies. Our focus should not be on reiterating these goals and targets, but rather on identifying the specific issues and actions that will best support LDCs achieving them.”
    –New Zealand, May PrepCom
  • “It is estimated that LDCs will take at least five years to return to their pre COVID status. Achievement of the 2030 Agenda is severely at risk.” –President of the GA, 18 June
  • “With weak economic growth and existing inequalities and vulnerabilities rising, the prospects for achieving the 2030 Agenda become even more unlikely.” –ECOSOC Vice President [Permanent Representative of Botswana], 18 June
  • “Poverty, hunger, malnutrition, maternal and child mortality and lack of capacity to develop sustainably present serious challenges which are directly linked to the fulfillment of the goals established in the Istanbul Programme of Action and in the 2030 Agenda.” –Portugal, 18 June
  • “Our conversations have to address the international economic models, norms and institutions that are often rigged against the billions living in the developing world.” –Eritrea, 18 June

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Kategorien: english, Ticker

LDCs present VNRs at the HLPF (13–15 July 2021)

8. Juli 2021 - 17:26

Download UN Monitor #25 (pdf version).

By Barbara Adams and Tejaswini Vavilala

Two days ago at the opening of the UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, addressed the problem of inequalities– inside households, within national economies and across different countries. Concerning “vaccine inequality”, she added that as of 1 July there had been 1.3 doses per 100 people in least developed countries (LDCs) compared with 83 doses per 100 people in developed countries.

Six weeks ago, on 24-28 May, Member States met in the first Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the Fifth Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) to be held 23-27 January 2022 in Doha, Qatar. The second PrepCom session will take place on 26-30 July 2021 and will launch negotiations on the Programme of Action for LDCs for the next decade, a decade that coincides with the last decade of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This is the last HLPF before the Doha conference / LDC5. During the HLPF Ministerial segment of the HLPF, eight LDCs will present their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), making a total of 53 LDC VNR presentations over the last six years, many by countries for the second, and some for a third, time.

Table 1 lists the LDCs, their VNR presentations and contains links (denoted by X) to the individual national reports.

Country

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

Afghanistan

X

X

Angola

X

Bangladesh

X

X

Benin

X

X

X

Bhutan

X

X

Burkina Faso

X

Burundi

X

Cambodia

X

Central African Republic

X

Chad

X

X

Comoros

X

Democratic Republic of the Congo

X

Djibouti

X

Eritrea

Ethiopia

X

Gambia

X

Guinea

X

Guinea-Bissau

Haiti

Kiribati

X

Lao People’s Democratic Republic

X

X

Lesotho

X

Liberia

X

Madagascar

X

X

Malawi

X

Mali

X

Mauritania

X

Mozambique

X

Myanmar

Nepal

X

X

Niger

X

X

X

Rwanda

X

Sao Tome and Principe

Senegal

X

Sierra Leone

X

X

X

Solomon Islands

X

Somalia

South Sudan

Sudan

X

Timor-Leste

X

Togo

X

X

X

Tuvalu

Uganda

X

X

United Republic of Tanzania

X

Yemen

Zambia

X

The Presidents of the UN General Assembly and the ECOSOC, the Secretary-General, as well as CSO representatives, have sounded the alarm on the complex agenda facing the LDCs, an agenda that requires quality policy responses across many inter-governmental processes and fora, such as the WTO, to shape a robust and meaningful Doha Programme of Action.

For more information, follow the Global Policy Watch Monitors on the website: https://www.globalpolicywatch.org/blog/category/un-monitor/

The post LDCs present VNRs at the HLPF (13–15 July 2021) appeared first on Global Policy Watch.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

CSO Perspectives on the LDC5 Programme of Action

2. Juli 2021 - 23:36

Download UN Monitor #24 (pdf version).

By Elena Marmo and Alexa Sabatini

The Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) will be held In Doha, Qatar in January 2022. Preparations are already underway to negotiate the Outcome Document to be adopted in Doha, which will serve as a new 10-year Programme of Action (PoA) for the LDCs.

On 20 May 2021, Co-Chairs of the LDC5 Preparatory Committee bureau–Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh and Bob Rae, Permanent Representative of Canada–facilitated a virtual consultation with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), designed to address policy prescriptions that LDC5 must deliver to meet the needs of people and planet.

The consultation took place a few days before the First Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meeting 24-28 May, which signaled the beginning of the deliberations to shape the Outcome Document of LDC5. Member States and Civil Society also gathered for an event titled, “Diversifying the Financing Toolbox to Enhance Investment in LDCs” co-convened by the Presidents of the General Assembly and ECOSOC on 18 June. Discussions will continue during the Second PrepCom meeting 26-30 July.

Thus far, CSOs have highlighted a number of challenges and policy measures. In this compilation, their comments have been organized around the six PrepCom themes that were identified to guide Member State discussions and negotiations. They are:

  • Investing in people in least developed countries: eradicating poverty and building capacity to leave no one behind
  • Leveraging the power of science, technology and innovation to fight multidimensional vulnerabilities and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Structural transformation as a driver of prosperity Enhancing international trade of least developed countries and regional integration
  • Supporting our climate, recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and building a resilient society against future shocks
  • Mobilizing international solidarity, reinvigorated global partnerships and innovative tools for risk-informed sustainable development: a march towards sustainable graduation.

In their presentations the CSOs also addressed the interlinkages and gaps in the framing itself. These included more emphasis on the impacts of COVID-19 and the related opportunities to accelerate transformative changes needed on issues of the trade regime, digital technologies, the chronic debt crisis, social protection, tax policy and worsening inequalities.

Engaging the process thus far, Civil Society members have made demands that span across the six PrepCom themes. This includes the call to move beyond siloed thinking and to consider a shift away from the status quo in the upcoming PoA. Yoke Ling Chee, Executive Director of Third World Network highlighted a need to consider growing inequality and policy coherence, saying: “we talk about transformation, the 2030 Agenda and need for it. But today we have deepening inequalities.” She emphasized the need for “aligning international policies to support international development. LDCs may have the right aspirations at the national level but if you don’t have coherent policies at the international level, you won’t achieve them.” She urged Member States to address policy changes not only in the LDC5 process, but in other global fora to usher in the much-needed transformation for LDCs.

This needed shift in the overall framing and orientation of the PoA was also cited by Demba Moussa Dembele, Chair of LDC Watch: “The pursuit of old and failed policies may only worsen the economic and social situation of LDCs in a way never seen before. Therefore, a radical change in approach to LDCs’ problems is required, both in terms of economic policies and international cooperation. Bold and decisive actions are needed as well as firm commitments and effective implementation.”

Dembele reiterated this observation, noting that: “the problem is that there is a gap between commitments and delivery”. He added:

“What LDCs need most is policy ownership and fiscal space to enable them to mobilize more domestic resources. They need the policies to help curb capital flight and tax evasion through international cooperation. In the concept note, it is said, I quote, ‘The business-as-usual approach is not going to make any considerable change.’ The logical conclusion is the need for radical change to approach both in terms of economic policies and international cooperation.”

Asad Rehman of War on Want called for a transition from rhetoric to action, specifically referencing: “the claim uttered by the richest countries in the world…that ‘no one is safe, until we are all safe’ rings as hollow as the unmet commitments to address the multiple crises facing many in the global South and in particular the LDC countries”.

Eradicating poverty & leaving no one behind

Emilia Reyes of Equidad de Género highlighted the importance of incorporating universal social protections in the proposed action plan: “We warn against promoting a private finance first approach…Human Rights Rapporteurs have shown the linkages to poverty and human rights violations. The Programme of Action must therefore be ambitious and structural in nature, under the human rights framework, gender equality and environmental integrity principles.”

Roberto Bissio of Social Watch challenged the ‘investing in people’ for profit framework: “…Health, education, access to water and to social security are human rights. And the Right to Development is part of the HR architecture of particular relevance to LDCs. Depriving people of these rights is a human rights violation”.

Gershom Kabaso, National Coordinator for Zambia Social Forum (ZAMSOF) highlighted specific concerns regarding the rollback in education funding as governments’ fiscal space is constrained by debt servicing: “Reduced budget allocations towards education in order to focus on debt servicing and economic performance also detrimental… Imposition of user/school fees hit the poor at a time when cost of living is increasing and incomes reducing causing many to be left out and this has continually manifested – now there is no free education for all.”

This, Kabaso notes, is inextricably linked to economic policy. He states that “the neoliberal context mostly prioritises a ‘growing economy’ ideology over the holistic well-being of people’s lives and this has been detrimental to LDC’s. Globally, the rolling out of neoliberal policies has led to a additional of harmful socioeconomic consequences, including increased poverty, unemployment, unproductive labour force, and deterioration of income distribution.”

COVID-19 & Social Protection
Representing DAWN, Gita Sen highlighted the need to consider the ways in which COVID-19 has impacted the ability of LDCs to advance poverty eradication. Speaking during the thematic panel discussion at the First PrepCom, she noted: “critical thus far for LDCs have been the economic effects threatening to wipe out gains in poverty reduction, schooling and human development more generally. UNCTAD’s December 2020 report warned that LDCs were likely to suffer the worst economic performance in 30 years. The CDP report’s data show that key sectors, tourism, remittances and manufacturing have been hit very hard.”

Citing the disproportionate effects on already marginalized and vulnerable populations, particularly women, Sen said a focus on social protection and health systems is critical. This was echoed by Gabriela Bucher of Oxfam International, who called for a focus on investments in social protection, health and education—“those are the great equalizers that really are transformative and system transformative. And…we know that for LDCs on average, it will take 10 percent of GDP to invest in social protection to the level requirement to have a minimum social protection floor.”

Leveraging the power of science, technology and innovation

Speaking at the CSO consultation on behalf of the Just Net Coalition, Anita Gurumurthy observed: “If implemented in citizen-centric ways, digitalization of public service delivery can be a vital measure to address the multidimensional vulnerabilities of LDCs and LLDCs. However, most efforts in this direction are a slippery slope – hollowing out the public sector, transferring control of public data systems to opportunistic private entities, preventing local accountability for data and algorithms, and disregarding the human rights of citizens.”

Francisca Oladipo, coordinator of the Virus Outbreak Data Network, highlighted the need for digital capacity building for new opportunities: “Our youth needs such skills to fully participate in the new digital economy. But this requires that they have access to broadband.”

Digital Inequalities
However, embracing digital technologies also requires a careful consideration of data ownership. Oladipo stated: “The Ebola Outbreak in Liberia and West Africa taught us that digital tools are essential to solve a health crisis. Satellite equipment was flown in and data was used to get the crisis under control. However, today the Ministry of Health in Liberia does not have all the data generated in Liberia on the crisis. The data might be in many places but not in Liberia, where it was produced. The importance of data has become even more clear in the COVID-19 Pandemic. But who owns the data, and who has access to these?”

Oladipo added, “The Digital Economy is dominated by the US with 68 percent of market capitalization of the world’s largest digital platforms and China with 22 percent, and together the US and China hold 90% of the market. With data centres situated in the global north, data travel to the world’s economic powerhouses. This leaves LDCs in a weak negotiation position, with no benefits or economic opportunities returning from the data extracted from it.”

Structural transformation as a driver of prosperity

COVID-19 and Worsening Inequalities
Speaking at the first PrepCom, Gabriela Bucher outlined a need to address the deepening inequalities within and among countries as a result of the COVID-19 crisis: “it would take over a decade for the world’s poorest people to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa…On the other side, one thousand richest billionaires on the planet recoup their COVID-19 losses within just nine months and that’s the story at the top. So we are facing an inequality virus.” As such, “a radical pursuit of equality must define how we heal as people and as planet”.

This requires coordinated action by both donor countries and LDCs: “every country needs to set clear, time-bound and concrete targets and plans to reduce the gap between rich and poor. And donors need to give the fight against inequality the absolute priority”. And further, the PoA must address unequal COVID-19 recovery efforts. Bucher cites that “with fiscal space comes fiscal imagination to invest in people. We’ve seen rich countries unleash 9,836 dollars per person in stimulus spending, compared to 17 dollars per person spent by LDCs.”

Speaking at the CSO consultation, Roberto Bissio emphasized that global inequalities, particularly those of income, still existing between LDCs and developed nations six years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda: “With so much attention devoted to income poverty, it should be mentioned that while a person earning less than US$13.000 is considered poor in most rich countries, a person earning US$5.000 a year is part of the top 5 percent in most LDCs”.

Bissio further reiterated: “Most LDCs have less domestic inequalities than other developing countries, but the depth of global inequalities should be highlighted. It is so extreme, and worsening, that it falls beyond the understanding of most of the public and yet it might explain many of the problems we want to deal with, including the problem of conflicts affecting more than half of the LDCs. While peace is essential, but all of the permanent members of the Security Council in charge of overseeing peace are major arms exporters. Investing in arms for the LDCs seems to pay more than investing in their people in the real world.”

Division of Labour & Extractive Industries
Speaking at the CSO Consultations, Emilia Reyes cited neocolonial dynamics are “reproducing a pervasive Global Division of Labor, splitting the world between those who extract and exploit resources, data, human labor, as well as environmental and biodiversity integrity, and those who endure the externalities of that exploitation”.

Asad Rehman of War on Want discussed the ‘building back better’ policy agendas created by the global North in response to the COVID pandemic:“… but [they] are prefaced on the same model of extraction of resources, exploitation and prioritisation of capital accumulation for the richest in the world that has led to a world of violent contrasts: colossal wealth and immense poverty, chronic hunger and plentiful food, a restrictive economic system, yet abundant possibilities”.

Enhancing international trade of LDCs and regional integration

Francisca Oladipo expressed some of the technological challenges facing LDCs: “Today, only one in five people in LDCs are online. Half of the world remains offline. Women are more without access to connectivity in LDCs than anywhere else. The inequality in digital connectivity is increasing rapidly. Not being connected, not having access to data, means missing out on the digital economy”.

COVID-19 & TRIPS Waiver
At the first PrepCom meeting, Gita Sen also highlighted the intersections between international trade policy and the ability for LDCs to provide adequate health outcomes, and as such, COVID-19 recovery must be a central focus of the forthcoming PoA. She noted:

“Health and economics are closely intertwined everywhere, but nowhere, perhaps more so than in LDCs. Neither tourism nor remittances are likely to improve unless people are vaccinated. The single most important issue, therefore, today is access to vaccines, as well as to diagnostics and therapeutics. And the single biggest barrier to help globally and LDCs, where almost nobody has been vaccinated thus far or are unlikely to be in the rest of 2021 and possibly 2022, the single biggest barrier is the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) TRIPs Council.”

Given this reality, it is important for the WTO to approve the temporary TRIPS Waiver proposed by India and South Africa, which would waive the intellectual property protections on COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics so that countries can afford to develop vaccines across the globe.

At the CSO consultation, Roberto Bissio stated: “Demanding support is not enough: the Conference should highlight that many LDCs have capacity to produce vaccines, for them and for the world, if only the TRIPS provisions were waived”. Gita Sen also advocated for a permanent extension to the TRIPS transition period, “so that it lasts for as long as the country is in LDCs and for a further 12 years for a smooth transition”.

Intersections of trade & digital technologies
During the CSO consultation, Anita Gurumurthy of IT for Change highlighted: “Global rules in digital trade and TRIPS-plus provisions in FTAs perpetuate the laissez faire regime of cross-border data flows, pushing for unrestricted access of digital companies to LDC markets and preventing LDCs from developing their own technological capability”.

Supporting our climate, recovery from COVID-19 and building a resilient society

Emilia Reyes explained how the COVID pandemic has further strained LDC societies: “COVID 19 showed richer countries centralizing their efforts in their own recovery and profiting, including even with unethical hoarding of vaccines…LDC’s are already facing harsh conditions due to the climate emergency, and the debt crisis is worsening the conditions, even more for the most discriminated groups of population. In this regard, the usual dynamics of the financial and economic global architecture are the origin of the problem.”

Asad Rehman, speaking on the global inequities further exacerbated by the pandemic: “…Covid exposed the structural inequalities and injustices…between societies in the north and south. Rich countries responded by throwing away the neoliberal economic rule book that they imposed on others, directly intervening in their economies to safeguard their citizens and economies, whilst denying those very same tools and the financial means for countries in the global South to do the same.”

Rehman, emphasized the emerging threats of the changing climate: “The reality of the climate crisis…  that threatens the lives and livelihoods of so many in LDC countries, is one we are all too aware of. Just last month the current policies in place were assessed…we are heading to a warming of the planet 2.9c that threatens the very existence of many in the global South.”

He further warned: “It is clear to us all that we are in decade zero where the decisions being made will determine who lives, who dies, whose lives don’t matter and who is sacrificed. As the UN special rapporteur on human rights and extreme poverty warned we face a climate apartheid where the rich will seek safety and the poor are left to die.”

Amanda Khozi Mukwashi of Christian Aid reiterated these concerns during a thematic panel at the first Preparatory Committee meeting. She noted: “It is critical that at the very least, rich countries deliver the 100 billion for climate finance that was promised. This should be through additional pledges. They must ensure this is evenly allocated to both mitigation and adaptation initiatives. Alongside this, it is also important that additional financing is needed through a separate mechanism to address the additional impacts of irreversible loss and damage, especially for the small island states.”

Mobilizing international solidarity

Emilia Reyes underlined the need for global support for LDCs: “The problems of the LDCs will not be solved with a micro, local or national approach: they are macro in nature, and these should be addressed with the entire global community, with the LDCs seated at the decision-making table. Articulating the economic and financial dynamics within the new partnership to be developed in LDC5 will be crucial.”

Further, she added: “The weak outcome of the recent Financing for Development process will have an even more negative effect in the LDC’s, given that they are unable to attend elitist forums of decision making…It is therefore crucial to promote in the lead to the General Assembly this year a Monterrey plus or FfD conference to transform the current global dynamics.”

Corporate Taxation & Illicit Finance
Roberto Bissio described the problems of illicit finance in LDCs: “The Mbeki panel has abundantly demonstrated how more money flows out of LDCs through illegal financial transfers, most of it by multinational corporations, that what flows in via ODA… productive investment is badly needed in LDCs. And it has not flowed in as the Istanbul declaration expected.”

Bodo Ellmers of Global Policy Forum called into question international policymaking on tax: “Global tax rules have been and are being negotiated, but the rules disadvantage LDCs, do not take their needs into account. Which is not surprising as they are being negotiated at the OECD, where LDCs have no stake.”

During the first Preparatory Committee meeting, Gabriela Bucher of Oxfam International called for “a system of progressive taxation that taxes at the highest levels of income and of course taxes corporations in LDCs. A critical component to advancing this requires the international community agree upon a global minimum corporate tax.”

She added that changes must be made to ensure progressive taxation: “the fairness and the equitability of the system relies on the poorest not being taxed for the sake of taxing, but rather a fair balance and a fair mix being applied to ensure that those who can afford pay and that there is a fair share of taxes paid”.

Roberto Bissio chimed in: “To not mention those allies of corruption and only point the finger to the existence of corruption in LDC countries adds damage to injury, as the reader easily concludes that LDCs are responsible for their fate and not the victims of a failed global order and the legacy of slavery and colonialism”.

Lending & Debt Cancellation
In his statement at the CSO consultation, Bodo Ellmers of Global Policy Forum outlined the limitations of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights. Given the fact that IMF Member States determine quotas, only a fraction of the allocation will end up supporting LDCs: “A reallocation mechanism is needed that ensures that the whole SDRs allocation goes to developing countries, with a substantial share to LDCs. This mechanism must preserve the SDR as a financial instrument that does not come with harmful economic policy conditionality attached. The use of SDRs should be determined by foreign actors but by LDCs themselves, in a democratic process.”

At a thematic panel during the official Preparatory Committee meeting, Gabriela Bucher cited the links between debt relief and increasing fiscal space for LDCs to advance social protection policies and the SDGs. She commented: “We need debt relief, canceling all payments, including to private creditors until the end of 2023. LDCs need to be paying for nurses and not paying back debt at the moment. We need to move now to deliver a first step.”

Others also commented on this, critiquing the inadequacy of the G20 efforts thus far. During the CSO consultation Ellmers noted: “The G20 have offered debt suspension to LDCs last year. But debt suspension is not debt reduction. The G20´s “DSSI” in practice just means kicking the can down the road. Many LDCs require actual debt cancellation. The G20´s Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the DSSI that was adopted in November has not achieved anything in this regard either.”

Amanda Khozi Mukwashi added, “since covid-19, the share of revenues spent on debt repayments has risen from 20 percent to 30 percent. The IMF estimates over half of these countries in the region are in debt, distress, or at least at high risk of it. The G20’s debt servicing suspension initiative falls far too short of what is needed. Almost half of all African government external debt is owed to commercial creditors who are outside the scope of the deal. Private creditors, including the multilateral development banks, must come to the table.”

Official Development Assistance (ODA)
Gabriela Bucher highlighted the role of ODA during the First Preparatory Committee meeting: “we need more aid. This is not charity, but justice. ODA matters to LDCs making up a full 1/4 of the external finance. So rich countries can do more as they’ve done at home in the pandemic, 0.32% of GNI spent on aid in 2020 is too little.”

This was echoed by Harpinder Collacott of Development Initiatives who called for a shift to thinking of ODA as instead, Global Public Investment: “moving away from the broken promises and the patronizing language of the current only system to assist a new system where all contributors approach public finance as a obligation that they all contribute to and they all receive from based on need.”

What’s missing? What gaps exist?

Gender Equality
Emilia Reyes underscored the gendered inequalities of the labour market, saying:

“We have seen the macro dimension of gender inequalities by realizing that while the larger global corporations’ last year profits rose to US$10.2 trillion, estimations of the value generated by unpaid domestic and care work performed by women amounts to US$10.8 trillion annually –three times the size of the world’s tech industry. The correlation in the extraction of value is quite clear. Add to that the precarious conditions women face in informal jobs, where they are majority. Women have been at the frontline of the response, and yet Women’s human rights have seen a regression of almost 20 years.”

Human Rights
Asad Rehman took into consideration discriminatory policies:

“Be it the response to the Covid pandemic, the ongoing climate crisis, the crisis of  economic inequality and the deliberate impoverishment of so many countries through unjust and unfair neoliberal economic policies , their continues to be an active denial of the universal truth that everyone, simply by being born into our world, has the right to a dignified life.”

Rehman additionally noted: “Just as with the response to the Covid pandemic that prioritizes the economic interests of the global North, through vaccine apartheid, countries in the global North are also basing their own recovery on a massive wave of resource extraction in the global South, whilst refusing to question the intense energy use of the wealthiest societies, or unequal energy distribution and access.”

He concluded: “This is because we have a world riven by deep imbalances of power, generated by historical injustices of recognition, distribution and exclusion. There are systems of injustice that have become entrenched over time, that as a result, we are not equal, neither in our exposure to violence or injustice, nor in our capacity to address it.”

Peace and Conflict
Amanda Khozi Mukwashi of Christian Aid emphasized: “Donors must reassess where their priorities are in order to deliver for least developed countries and stop focusing on security at the expense of peace, human rights and justice. While military expenditure is estimated to have accounted for 2.2 Percent of world gross domestic product in 2019, if even a fraction of this was invested in peacebuilding, we would see more transformative change.”

LDC Graduation
Many CSOs have released an open letter, calling on the US Trade Representative and the European Commission to support the LDCs’ request to extend the TRIPS transition period. This notes that:

“With the Transition Period expiring on 1 July 2021, and with LDCs suffering disproportionately in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we view with alarm the attempts to weaken and undermine the LDC request (IP/C/W/668) and the lack of progress so far.

According to UNCTAD’s LDC Report 2020, LDCs are now facing the worst economic crisis in 30 years as a result of COVID-19, and are expected to see falling income levels, widespread employment losses and widening fiscal deficits. At least 50 percent of the world’s extremely poor live in LDCs, and the current COVID19 crisis is estimated to have pushed at least 32 million more people into poverty in 2020.

The report informs that ‘at least 43 out of the 47 LDCs will likely experience a fall in their average income’ and that ‘the current account deficit of LDCs is forecast to widen from US$41 billion (or 3.8% of their collective GDP) in 2019 to US$61 billion (or 5.6% of their GDP) in 2020, the highest value ever’. Shockingly, the UN Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development’s 2021 report has found that ‘COVID-19 could lead to a lost decade for development – one most pronounced in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).’

At this moment LDCs need maximum policy flexibility. Even before the COVID-19 crisis LDCs faced severe constraints, such as limited availability of skilled labour, productive capacities, access to secondary education, electricity, and internet access. The basic conditions to benefit from full TRIPS implementation are mostly absent in LDCs. They also lack affordable access to knowledge-based goods crucial for sustainable development such as access to health products including for COVID-19 such as ventilators, educational materials, green technologies.”

Demba Dembele pointed out that the Debt Service Suspension Initiative is not the right answer to LDCs needs. But in this time of commitment, what is needed is an unconditional debt cancelation for all LDCs as called for by dozens of countries, several international institutions, civil society organizations and eminent persons”.

Harpinder Collacott of Development Initiatives called for "questioning entrenched power relations to build a much more democratically accountable approach to governance" and to depart "from the insistence that countries graduate after achieving a relatively low level of per capita income to thinking…long term".

Roberto Bissio reiterated the purpose of designating LDCs as a distinct group: “The idea was NOT to set them apart, stigmatize, or imply that those countries should be treated WORSE, but this is in fact what happens, and is also evident in the conceptualization/ some of the background papers for this PrepCom, that need urgently to be revised.”

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ONLINE | Voluntary National Reports on the 2030 Agenda: What can we learn for a post-pandemic world?

24. Juni 2021 - 16:04

The Committee for Development Policy (CDP) will discuss with Civil Society Reflection Group their key findings of its analysis of 2020 VNRs, highlighting the disconnect between the ambition of the agenda and the attention given to the transformative policies in such areas as productive capacities, pandemic preparedness, inequalities and sustainable consumption and production. 

Monday, July 12, 2021, 1:00PM to 2:30PM (EDT)

Speakers

Barbara Adams, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Kori Udovicki, Rolph van der Hoeven, Marcia Tavares, Natalya Volchkova, Leticia Moreno and Roberto Bissio.

Presented by the Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs at the Schools of Public Engagement and the UN CDP.

By joining this online event, you will be prompted to accept Zoom Terms of Service. If the session is recorded, you acknowledge that by participating, your name, phone number, and profile picture might be visible to the public. You can customize your personal information when creating your Zoom account. The New School may use any recorded material from the event.

How to Attend: Free and open to all. Registration is required to receive the link and join the webinar. Register here.

Website: newschoolinternationalaffairs.org

Speakers

Barbara Adams is Board Chair at Global Policy Forum & Part-time Faculty at GPIA The New School.
Barbara Adams is an economist, professor, and serves as an independent policy advisor for the United Nations. During her career she has worked as a consultant to UNICEF, served on the board of directors for the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) and has undertaken development work in Latin America, including on housing and settlement projects in Uruguay.

Sakiko Fukuda-Parr is Vice Chair of CDP & Professor of International Affairs at the New School.
Development economist working in the multidisciplinary framework of capabilities and human development; her current research topics focus on global health, human rights and economic policy, and politics of global goal setting. She was lead author and Director, UNDP Human Development Reports 1995-2004.

Kori Udovicki is CDP member and Head of the Center for Advanced Economic Studies, Serbia.
Head of the Center for Advanced Economic Studies (CEVES) in Belgrade, independent think-and-do-tank devoted to advancing Serbia’s economic recovery, democratic consolidation and convergence with the European Union. Former positions include Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government of Serbia, Minister of Energy and Mines of Serbia, Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Rolph van der Hoeven is CDP member and Professor of Employment and Development Economics (Emeritus) at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University, Netherlands.
From 2005 to 2008, Rolph van der Hoeven was the Director for Policy Coherence at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva. Has worked for over 30 years in various countries for UNICEF and the ILO and is widely published on employment, poverty, inequality, and economic reform issues and has a PhD in Economics from the Free University of Amsterdam.

Marcia Tavares is Economic Affairs Officer, Secretariat of the CDP at UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Economist working on Least developed  countries, development policy, international trade. Former positions include Economic Affairs Officer at UNC TAD and the Economic Affairs Officer at the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC/ CEPAL). 

Natalya Volchkova is CDP member and Senior Lecturer and Policy Director at the Center for Economic and Financial Research, New Economic School, Central Economics and Mathematics Institute, Moscow.
Volchkova has been a visiting scholar at the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics; Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Lecturer in International Economics at the International College of Economics and Finance, Moscow.  She is the author of various publications and books on economic issues and has been awarded the VISBY Scholarship for Senior Researchers (Sweden), and the Fulbright Scholarship for Visiting Scholars (United States of America).

Leticia Moreno is CDP member and Professor at the Institute of Social Research, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico.
Leticia Moreno has worked extensively on the contribution of natural resources to the livelihoods of rural communities, particularly the rural poor in Mexico and Central America. Specialized in environmental governance, focusing on collective property, collective action and, more recently, the impacts of outmigration on the natural commons, and the impacts of policies on the livelihoods of the rural poor and on community management of natural resources. 

Roberto Bissio is Executive Director of the Instituto del Tercer Mundo (Third World Institute) and heads the secretariat of Social Watch.
Uruguayan journalist who has written on development issues since 1973. Roberto Bissio is Executive Director of the Instituto del Tercer Mundo (Third World Institute), a non-profit research and advocacy organization. He also heads the secretariat of Social Watch, an international network of groups monitoring issues related to poverty eradication and gender equality. He is a member of Third World Network’s international committee and of the civil society advisory group to the UNDP administrator.

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Mismeasuring foreign aid

24. Juni 2021 - 11:28

By Simon Scott and Hedwig Riegler*

For several years now, CSOs have become increasingly concerned that donors are over-reporting their foreign aid efforts.

The root of the problem is that donors set the rules themselves in the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC). The key measure is that of Official Development Assistance (ODA), for which the United Nations has a long-standing target of 0.7% of donors’ national income. ODA is supposed to be concessional – to give something of value away.

DAC members as a group have never got near meeting the ODA target, but for political reasons they have also never dared to abandon it. Their unfortunate solution to the conundrum has been a series of dubious rule changes that weaken ODA’s concessional nature and therefore help donors look as if they are spending more without really doing so.

Controversy on some ODA items is not new, but a major turning point came in 2014, when the DAC agreed to change how it measured loans. From 2019 reporting on 2018 loans, ODA would no longer measure a loan’s actual disbursements and repayments, but only its “grant equivalent” – the amount it effectively gave away compared to a loan at market rates.

This was plausible in principle, but only if the DAC used realistic benchmark interest rates to estimate loans’ grant equivalents. Instead, it set the benchmarks so high that even loans at commercial terms would easily score as ODA. The Center for Global Development recently calculated that, as a result, total loan ODA reported by the DAC is now more than double the loans’ true grant equivalents.

The DAC justified its over-generous benchmarks by saying that they allowed upfront for the risk that loans would not be repaid. As Eurodad observed, the “rules reward donors for the possibility of future debt relief as soon as the loan is granted”. But in a remarkable about-face, in 2020 the DAC decided to count actual debt relief as an additional ODA effort. This clearly broke its 2014 promise not to double-count loan risk. The campaigning group ONE condemned it as “an unfair change, particularly in the middle of a global pandemic when more aid — not double counted aid — is needed to tackle COVID-19 and its aftershocks.”

Unfortunately, this is not the end of the DAC’s sly changes to the rules. It now also counts equity investments in developing countries as ODA, but with an over-generous twist. When donors eventually sell their investments, they will only subtract what they receive if it is less than the original investment: if it is more, they will disregard their profits, and report that they only received what they originally invested. This will systematically inflate ODA figures on equity investment.

The DAC also now allows its members a choice of two different methods for reporting the operations of their “development finance institutions”. These organizations are supposed to lend and invest in developing countries on a commercial or near-commercial basis. As no real subsidy is involved, their operations should not count as ODA at all. But donors have now given themselves two options for doing so: they can record how much they subsidize the institutions, or what the institutions disburse, and they can also switch between these two figures.

So far, all these changes have mainly distorted the figures of donors who give a lot of loans. Japan’s 2018 net ODA would have been only $10 billion on the old basis, whereas it scored $14 billion under the new rules. But the full impact of the changes will take years to be felt as donors gradually replace real aid with more and more commercial lending and investing.

In the meantime, quite a few developing countries have been accumulating unsustainable debts, and a wave of debt relief initiatives is in the offing. The new rules will ensure this is also massively over counted. One remarkable innovation is to allow donors to count more new ODA for forgiving an ODA loan than the borrower still owes. On private loans, DAC members kept an old loophole allowing them to score the whole amount forgiven, even though they only own the credit because the private lenders insured it with them against payment of market-based premia, and had to hand over title in order to claim their payout when the borrower defaulted. In most such cases, the premia accumulated are used – and more than suffice – to cover any loss. That means that no official budget funds are used for compensation payments – an offence against the ODA concept, which claims to measure official budgetary effort.

CSOs view the degeneration of DAC ODA statistics with increasing concern. In April 2021, three Austrian organizations – the Austrian Bishops’ Conference, the Austrian Foundation for Development Research, and Global Responsibility – organized a workshop to analyse the problems and discuss potential remedial action under “Chatham House rules”. This helped identify the root causes of the problem, and point the way towards a solution.

The workshop found that much of the trouble had come from the nature of the DAC as a forum for political negotiations. As the DAC Chair admitted in 2019, “political compromises are always and inevitably a bit messy”. Of course, even messy political compromises can serve useful diplomatic purposes, but they cannot produce credible and consistent statistics. For this reason, the OECD itself recommends that statisticians have “exclusive authority…to decide on statistical methods and dissemination…[and] are protected…from political and other interference in developing, compiling and disseminating official statistics”.

In the long run, therefore, the DAC will need to cede its ODA rule-making authority to a body composed of statisticians. Former senior OECD officials have recommended that these should include developing country representatives. Bringing in UN and other multilateral representatives as well, and allowing a greater voice to civil society, would help ensure that ODA statistics meet user needs and contribute to the international statistical architecture.

In the short run, the DAC should stop making politically-driven, piecemeal decisions on ODA rules. These now show clear evidence of a “ratchet effect”, where each new rule change over counts more than the last. Before any further distortions are introduced, the OECD should itself institute a thorough quality review in line with its own standards. At a time when developing countries urgently need real aid to recover from the COVID crisis, the international community must have confidence that official aid data are honest and reliable.

* Simon Scott was Head of the OECD’s Statistics and Monitoring Division from 2007 to 2015.
Hedwig Riegler was Chair of the OECD’s Working Party on Development Finance Statistics from 2009 to 2013.

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