The European Commission sends a strong message in its 377 page-long report: the Sustainable Development Goals will require substantial additional finance (well beyond ODA), but any additional financing should be coupled with reformed policy frameworks at the local, national and global level to bring about the expected results.
In other words, the achievement of the SDGs needs finance, and finance needs effective policies to deliver on the expectations of the new universal and transformative post 2015 agenda. The Report’s premise is the steady increase of finance accessed by developing countries since the 2002 Monterrey Consensus. For instance, in 2011, developing countries accessed to an additional USD 0.9 trillion in private international financing, USD 3 trillion in private domestic finance and USD 4 trillion in public domestic revenues, while public international finance increased only by USD 0.1 trillion and represents less than 1.5% of the total resources available.
On Wednesday last week (6 May) all major parties represented in the Belgian federal parliament signed a proposal that will curtail the harmful speculation by vulture funds: investment companies that buy up defaulted debts for bargain prices and then sue the country in question for full immediate repayment. Belgian Eurodad members 11.11.11 and CNCD-11.11.11 – together with the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt (CADTM) – have long been advocating for more stringent legal measures against vulture funds and welcome this proposal.
'Bread for the World',the German NGO, published a report on the place of social protection in policies of development cooperation:
The fact that social protection now figures prominently in all documents on EU development cooperation must
be welcomed. It is evidence of a greater awareness of the need for human development. The Commission’s Socieux
programme and the strategic partnership with the ILO are extremely important in promoting an agenda for
decent work and social justice. The concept of the social protection floor and the promotion of the 2012 ILO Recommendation
202 could signify enormous progress.
Nevertheless, we have to remain cautious. We cannot ignore that while the EU is promoting social protection in
the South, it is disassembling social protection systems in its own Member States. The EU’s austerity policies have
caused havoc in social policies in many countries
Virtually every major international conference concludes with a “programme of action” (PoA) – described in U.N. jargon as “an outcome document” – preceded by a political declaration where 193 member states religiously pledge to honour their commitments.
But over 620 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), a hefty coalition of mostly international water activists, are complaining that a proposed political declaration for the U.N.’s post-2015 development agenda is set to marginalise water and sanitation.
Obituaries have been written for the World Bank following the arrival of China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the implied question being whether the US remains willing and able to lead the global economic governance system. Yet the other Washington-based Bretton Woods institution, the International Monetary Fund, reveals a different story. It appears to be on the verge of a third epoch in which it is set to become indispensable, ushering in the global economic reforms now considered necessary in the ‘new mediocre’.
Although they do not specifically target women, social policies like family allowances and pensions have improved the lives of women in Latin America, the region that has made the biggest strides so far this century in terms of gender equality, although there is still a long way to go.
Luiza Carvalho of Brazil, U.N. Women’s regional director for the Americas and the Caribbean, said that can be seen in each report by her agency.
“It’s interesting to note that of all of the world’s regions, Latin America has in fact shown the greatest progress,” Carvalho said in an interview with IPS during the global conference “Women and Social Inclusion: From Beijing to Post-2015”, held in the Argentine capital from Wednesday May 6 to Friday May 8.
Sustainable development is central to a range of key discussions at the United Nations and elsewhere at the moment.
The role of South-South cooperation in the context of sustainable development deserves greater recognition as significant numbers of developing countries begin to ascend the development ladder in a sustainable manner, causing fundamental changes to the development infrastructure the world has known up to now.
The steady expansion of South-South cooperation is causing a lasting impression on the existing order of things.
First, the best practices adopted by the more economically advanced developing countries could provide workable and relevant models for the others.
In his introductory essay in the European Journal of Development research, Juergen Wiemann concludes that the rise of the middle class in the developing world is a cause for optimism. Whether it is seems to me to depend on two factors in each developing country: the proportion of the population that meets a reasonable standard of being not only above some poverty line but sufficiently above that line to constitute a reasonably income-secure “middle class”; and the extent to which the middle class gets richer and bigger as a result of sufficient and sufficiently shared economic growth over the next 15 to 25 years. In other words, the middle class has to be big enough, and it has to continue (as it has in the last 15 years or so) to get richer and bigger still to warrant “optimism” about its role.
In early April 2015, the Cabinet of the Government of Bangladesh approved in principle its new National Social Security Strategy (NSSS), subject to some changes. Since independence, Bangladesh has instituted a range of social security schemes although the level of investment in conventional cash-based schemes has remained relatively low, at no more than 0.7% of GDP, while overall spending on social protection – once civil service pensions and food transfers are included – is over 2% of GDP). Research by Development Pathways has indicated that the impact of the current social security system is minimal, reducing the poverty rate by a mere 4.5%. The Government of Bangladesh has also been concerned about inefficiencies in the system as well as a proliferation of small schemes across a wide range of Ministries (often promoted and financed by development partners). The NSSS is an attempt by the government to bring coherence to the national social security system while also developing a long-term vision for a more modern and comprehensive system. Development Pathways – in collaboration with the Policy Research Institute (PRI) and SANEM – were contracted to support the Planning Commission in developing the Strategy.
Income and wealth inequalities in most countries – in the West, the former
‘communist’ economies and in the developing world – have been on the rise in the
last three decades with some notable exceptions. Inequalities in the 19th century
(Figure 1) were much higher than before the Industrial Revolution. Following the
rise of workers’ movements in the West and the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, the
growth of inequalities of the previous century was reversed for over half a century
until the 1980s as the threat of the spread of communism inspired welfarist
redistributive reforms, giving capitalism a more human face. Such checks and
balances have been greatly weakened in recent decades, even though improved
economic performance in many developing countries, including sub-Saharan
Africa in the last decade, contributed to some convergence of incomes between rich
and poor countries.
Economists love free trade, not least for its positive effects on residents of poor countries, and naturally this has become a frequently invoked argument on behalf of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. "Here is an assessment from the Peterson Institute that Vietnam will be the biggest gainer from TPP," Tyler Cowen writes. "Do you get that, progressives? Poorest country = biggest gainer. Isn’t that what we are looking for?"
But Kimberly Ann Elliott, an economist at the Center on Global Development who studies the effects of trade policy on the global poor, says the issue is more complicated. Overall, she's neither strongly for nor strongly against TPP, and thinks its effects are likely to be small. But she also argues that supporters often exaggerate the benefits for developing countries, and that some of its effects will actually hurt the world's poorest people.