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With two more sessions left to go, work at the United Nations on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) faces continuing challenges.

On Friday 9 May, the Co-Chairs of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) produced a narrative ‘chapeau' of two pages that will accompany the framework of the goals, sent to all Member States.

The 11th session of the OWG took place on 5-9 May at the UN headquarters in New York. The Co-Chairs are Ambassadors Macharia Kamau of Kenya and Csaba Korosi of Hungary.

Since the OWG started holding intergovernmental discussions in March 2013, developing countries in the Group of 77 and China (G77) have consistently called for a narrative to accompany the SDG framework.

The specific call was to extract the language of the narrative primarily from the Rio+20 Outcome Document, titled ‘The Future We Want.' This would prevent the risk of opening to re-negotiations the very language and principles that were agreed to less than two years ago in Rio.

Will sinking Doing Business report drag World Bank with it?

In 2012, after repeated complaints from different stakeholders, including civil society and shareholders of the World Bank, the Bank's President Mr. Jim Kim appointed an Independent Panel ("the Panel"), chaired by Mr. Trevor Manuel, to review the Doing Business report. The appointment was scheduled to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the flagship publication, which despite the influence it came to have on benchmarking investment policies had, at that point, never been subject to peer-review by non-Bank experts.

Unexpectedly, and perhaps without deliberately planning to do so, the Panel's recommendations achieved the difficult feat of catalyzing a broad-based consensus on the necessary reforms. This was in evidence in the support that its recommendations received across governments, civil society and trade unions.


Before the world economy has been able to fully recover from the crisis that began more than five years ago, there is a widespread fear that we may be poised for yet another crisis, this time in emerging economies (EEs).  Once again, most specialists on international economic matters have been caught unawares.  In fact, the signs of external financial fragility in several emerging economies have been visible since the beginning of the financial crisis in the US and Europe.  The South Centre has constantly warned that the boom in capital flows that had started in the first half of the 2000s and continued even after the Lehman collapse is generating serious imbalances in the developing world along with the danger of a sudden stop and reversal.

World of Work Report 2014

This year’s edition focuses on developing countries and argues that quality jobs are a key driver for development. It draws on evidence from over 140 developing countries and finds that a common factor amongst those countries that have achieved higher per capita income and sustained growth was quality jobs.

Read the report


If the repeated discourse of the Western media is to be believed, the idea of the revival of the Non-Alignment is unrealistic. According to that discourse, all that happened in the world between 1945 and 1990 can be explained merely by the ‘cold war’ and nothing else. The Soviet Union disappeared and the page of the Cold War has been turned, and any posture analogous to what we have known has no meaning. Let us examine the ineptitude of this discourse and its incredibly dismissive prejudice - nay, even racism. What is its basis? The real story of Bandung and Non-Alignment that arose from it showed that the peoples of Asia and Africa actually seized at the time an initiative by themselves and for themselves. The reader will find in what I have written a demonstration that the Non-Alignment was already a movement of countries non aligned on globalisation’ in contrast to the globalisation that the imperialist powers wanted to impose on countries that had regained their independence, substituting the deceased colonialism with a neocolonialism.

Focus on Financing for Development Negotiations

The High Level Dialogue of ECOSOC with the Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Trade Organization and UNCTAD is held every year and it is one of the follow up tracks for the Financing for Development Conference. This year’s edition, held on April 14-15, 2014, took place at a significant juncture. Governments are deliberating on the features of a new generation of development goals that, as part of the “post-2015 development agenda,” will replace the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. Commitments to financing the new goals are expected to play an important role in those negotiations. At the same time, governments are in negotiations to define when the Third International Conference on Financing for Development will be held.

Some days ago in Kathmandu

The European Commission's Private Sector Plan in Development Cooperation

On Tuesday 13 May the European Commission (EC) released its promised communication on ‘a stronger role of the private sector in achieving inclusive and sustainable growth in developing countries.” It sets out a strategic framework that contains seven principles, six criteria and 12 actions, aimed at “harnessing the potential of the private sector as a financing partner, implementing agent, advisor or intermediary to achieve more effective and efficient delivery of EU support”. While it is widely stated that the private sector has a role to play in development, as both creator of decent jobs and driver or economic growth, its contribution to poverty reduction and the fight against inequality should not be seen as a given.

Corporatising agriculture

As an institution which aims to end extreme poverty, the World Bank should stand on the side of smallholder farmers, the primary producers of food and investors in the agriculture

sectors of developing countries. However, Alice Martin-Préval of the Oakland Institute argues that the Bank’s new project, Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture, is unlikely to benefit

smallholders but will instead further facilitate corporate grabbing of countries’ natural resources and land.

Read the report
Civil society protests against Melinda Gates at the World Health Assembly

We the undersigned organizations express our strong protest against the decision of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to invite Melinda Gates (of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – BMGF) as the keynote speaker at the 67th World Health Assembly, that begun in Geneva on 19th May. This is the third time in the last 10 years that someone from the BMGF and of the family has been an invited speaker at the WHA (Melinda Gates was preceded by her husband Bill Gates, in 2005 and 2011). Ms.Melinda Gates’ credentials as a leader in public health are unclear.


Inequality and Democracy

Not a day goes by without news on the growing inequality that is the telling indicator of the kind of economic model in which we have put ourselves, following the neoliberal binge unleashed by the Washington Consensus. The idea that economic growth is “a rising tide lifting all boats”, as the late Margaret Thatcher declared when she announced war on the welfare state, and its twin “capital will trickle down to everybody”, are now totally discredited. Facts, as it has been said, are stubborn.

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