Reclaiming policies for the public

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Font: socialwatch.org

In the 2030 Agenda governments committed to a revitalized Global Partnership between States and declared that public finance has to play a vital role in achieving the SDGs. But in recent decades, the combination of neoliberal ideology, corporate lobbying, business-friendly fiscal policies, tax avoidance and tax evasion has led to a massive weakening of the public sector and its ability to provide essential goods and services.

The same corporate strategies and fiscal and regulatory policies that led to this weakening have enabled an unprecedented accumulation of individual wealth and increasing market concentration.

The proponents of privatization and public-private partnerships (PPPs) use these trends to present the private sector as the most efficient way to provide the necessary means for implementing the SDGs. But many studies and experiences by affected communities have shown that privatization and PPPs involve disproportionate risks and costs for the public sector. PPPs can even exacerbate inequalities, decrease equitable access to essential services and jeopardize the fulfilment of human rights.

Therefore, it is high time to counter these trends, reclaim public policy space and take bold measures to strengthen public finance, regulate or reject PPPs and weaken the grip of corporate power on people’s lives. These are indispensable prerequisites to achieve the SDGs and to turn the vision of the transformation of our world, as proclaimed in the title of the 2030 Agenda, into reality.

Download the full report here (pdf, 3,5 MB).

Download the full report in Spanish here (pdf, 3,5 MB).

For single chapters, see here.

For national reports see here.

Table of contents

Download the full report here (pdf version), for chapters see below.

  Preface

Part I – Overview

Reclaiming the public (policy) space for the SDGs
Jens Martens, Global Policy Forum
on behalf of the Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 

Stalled implementation at national level
Roberto Bissio, Social Watch

Implementing the 2030 Agenda requires acknowledging extraterritorial obligations
Barbara Adams and Karen Judd, Global Policy Forum

Part II – Spotlights on the SDGs

Pro-poor or pro-corporations?
Roberto Bissio, Social Watch
Box: Measuring extreme poverty: who decides what?
Xavier Godinot, International Movement ATD Fourth World

Facilitating corporate capture or investing in small-scale sustainable agriculture and agroecology?
Stefano Prato, Society for International Development
Box: Agribusiness mega-mergers expose need for UN Competition Convention
ETC Group

Corporate influence on the global health agenda
K M Gopakumar, Third World Network (TWN)
Box: Healthcare is not a commodity but a public good
Sandra Vermuyten, Public Services International (PSI)

Cashing in on SDG 4
Antonia Wulff, Education International (EI)
Box: The primary education conundrum in Africa: between corporate capture and public challenges
Aidan Eyakuze, Twaweza East Africa

Corporate power: a risky threat looming over the fulfilment of women‘s human rights
Corina Rodríguez Enríquez, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)

Ensuring just and sustainable water infrastructure
Meera Karunananthan, Blue Planet Project and Susan Sponk, University of Ottawa
Box: Water in the MENA region: privatization amid scarcity
Housing and Land Rights Network – Habitat International Coalition (Cairo)
Box: Remunicipalization: putting water back into public hands
Satoko Kishimoto

Peoples’ power or how to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Hans JH Verolme, Climate Advisers Network

Decent work requires decent public policies
Sandra Massiah and Sandra Vermuyten, Public Services International (PSI)

Industrialization, inequality and sustainability: what kind of industry policy do we need? (en español)
Manuel F. Montes, South Centre
Box: The new generation of PPPs in infrastructure – meeting the needs of institutional investors
David Boys, Public Service International

Squeezing the State: corporate influence over tax policy and the repercussions for national and global inequality
Kate Donald, Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR)
Box: Consolidating misery or catalyzing opportunity?

The political economy of inequalities in East Africa
Arthur Muliro Wapakala, Deputy Managing Director, Society for International Development

Commodification over community: financialization of the housing sector and its threat to SDG 11 and the right to housing
Leilani Farha, Canada Without Poverty, and Bruce Porter, Social Rights Advocacy Centre
Box: Reclaiming OUR public transport
Alana Dave, International Transport Federation (ITF)
Box: Four critical steps to operationalize the New Urban Agenda’s transformative commitment to decent work and inclusive and sustainable cities (SDG 11)
Daria Cibrario, Public Services International (PSI)
Box: The “Aerotropolis” phenomenon – high risk development thwarting SDGs
Anita Pleumarom, Tourism Investigation and Monitoring Team

Binding rules on business and human rights –a critical prerequisite to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Jens Martens and Karolin Seitz, Global Policy Forum
Box: Can the (interlinked) SDGs curtail the extractive industries?
Volker Lehmann and Lennart Inklaar, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung New York Office

The pivot point: realizing Sustainable Development Goals ending corporate capture of climate policy
Tamar Lawrence-Samuel with Rachel Rose Jackson, Corporate Accountability International, and Nathan Thanki, Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice

The role of transnational corporations and extractive industries in seabed mining, and the impacts on oceans health and food security
Maureen Penjueli, Pacific Network on Globalization

Trends in the privatization and corporate capture of biodiversity
Simone Lovera, Global Forest Coalition and Centre for Sustainable Development Studies, University of Amsterdam
Box: Corporate capture of agricultural biodiversity threatens the future we want
Lim Li Ching, Third World Network (TWN)

Progressive implementation of the 2030 Agenda depends on achieving sustainable peace
Ziad Abdel Samad, Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND)
Box: Private Military and Security Companies – obstacle to the realization of SDG 16
Lou Pingeot, Global Policy Forum
Box: Whistleblower protection – how serious are governments to address corruption
Camilo Rubiano, Public Services International (PSI)

Means of implementation or means of appropriation?
Stefano Prato, Society for International Development
Box: Leveraging corruption: how World Bank funds ended up destabilizing young democracies in Latin America
Roberto Bissio, Social Watch

Part III – NATIONAL REPORTS
National reports are being published weekly.

ARMENIA
BANGLADESH
BRAZIL (en español)
BULGARIA
COLOMBIA (en español)
CYPRUS
CZECH REPUBLIC
EGYPT
EL SALVADOR (en español)
FINLAND
FRANCE
GERMANY
GUATEMALA (en español)
HUNGARY
JORDAN
KENYA
LEBANON
MALTA
MEXICO (en español)
NEPAL
PERU (en español)
THAILAND
TUNISIA
UNITED KINGDOM

Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2017
Reclaiming policies for the public
Privatization, partnerships, corporate capture and their impact on sustainability and inequality – assessments and alternatives

Report of the Civil Society Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Published by:
Social Watch, Third World Network (TWN), Global Policy Forum (GPF), Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), Society for International Development (SID), Public Services International (PSI), Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR)

ISBN 978-3-943126-33-4
Beirut/Bonn/Ferney-Voltaire/Montevideo/New York/Penang/Rome/Suva, July 2017