SDGs Archive

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Karsten Weitzenegger joins Action4SD

Logo.Action4SDKarsten Weitzenegger supports ACTION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT http://action4sd.org and calls civil society organisations to become members of this global platform.

From the Mission Statement

We see the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as opportunities to move towards such transformation. If these commitments are met, we have a chance of saving the planet and delivering just outcomes for all people. This agenda is the responsibility of us all, not just those we put into political office . The sustainable development agenda is a social contract between the people and public authorities. Democratic and participatory processes where people are able to effectively contribute are critical to achieving this agenda. We come together to inspire and to commit to actions that empower all peoples, especially those who have been marginalised, and in order to collectively tackle the root causes of inequalities, injustice, human rights violations, poverty, environmental degradation and climate change.

We want a world where social, environmental and development justice is assured and all people are able to live in a prosperous, healthy, secure and peaceful environment. We urgently need a world where everyone is able to equally and freely participate and influence the decisions that affect their lives and hold governments, international institutions, private sector and other stakeholders to account. We want an inclusive society where everyone has the right to express themselves in a way that their voices are heard , respected and can directly shape the decision-making process . Our vision is a transformational shift that ensures gender justice and equality, enabling everyone to live their lives in dignity, free from hunger and from the fear of violence, oppression, discrimination or injustice – including due to gender identity or sexual orientation – in a way that protects the planetary systems required to sustain all life on earth.

We want to see a world where a phrase like ‘leave no one behind’ actually delivers for those who are at risk of marginalisation. We will strive to combat inequalities of all forms, between and within countries. We commit to take actions that are accountable and responsive to local needs. We want a new global approach where the economic and financial systems are an instrument to deliver wellbeing for all. This implies an economic model that is not based on debts; where trade is not an objective on its own, but a way to distribute goods and services equitably; where labour standards and limits of planetary boundaries are respected; where local and regional trade, small and medium social enterprises and cooperatives are supported to achieve sustainable consumption and production.
An economic approach where the global trading system is just, people-responsive and where developing countries have the right to develop according to their own models.

We further call for a holistic approach that recognises the balance of economic, natural and social rights, as set out by traditional and indigenous wisdoms. We also need a financial system which supports and does not contradict sustainable development. Fair financial mechanisms and investments are crucial and we will push for robust implementation of commitments made, including the Financing for Sustainable Development process.

We come together to support each other in achieving this world we urgently need

Current areas of work are:

  1. Policy & Advocacy. We will analyse and ask tough questions where we see problems, risks and shortcomings; we will work in a coordinated way to push power-holders to deliver better outcomes for people and planet.
  2. Monitoring & Accountability. We will actively monitor implementation of the agreed agenda and invest in the capacity and agency of civil society to monitor progress on sustainable development.
  3. Innovative solutions. We will showcase examples of how civil society is itself delivering on the sustainable development agenda, not just to highlight best practice and innovation, but also to hold ourselves accountable. We will share inspiring ideas and resources tomake sure that alternative solutions are grounded in local needs.
  4. Public mobilisation. Recognising that this should be a People’s Agenda, we will work to familiarise the public with sustainable development and the commitments made by governments, in order to promote people- powered accountability and support the mobilisation of people. We will organise solidarity actions with people working for sustainable development and cooperate with others to build a people’s movement.

Latest Activities

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Knowledge Networks for Sustainable Development – The 2030 Agenda as an Imperative for a Sustainable Future

5 Discussion Points by Karsten Weitzenegger
delivered at the German Development Institute (DIE) Alumni Conference, Bonn, 9 September 2016

Challenges and Solutions -The 2030 Agenda as an Imperative for a Sustainable Future

1 The implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is challenging at local, national, and global scales. Knowledge is recognised as ‘Means of implementation’ for the SDGs, in form of capacity‐building, technology development and transfer. Beyond the technical solutions, knowledge for social change is needed at all levels.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” (Albert Einstein)

2 Sharing knowledge has helped humankind to survive and evolve into an intelligent and productive species. Knowledge sharing can make the difference between survival and extinction. In a historical dimension, states have to learn quickly how to cooperate, especially in managing the global commons. However, humankind has not enough experience in saving our planet. We have to learn beyond experience, from the future we want.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.
For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” (Albert Einstein)

3 Although widely agreed, the SDGs still stay at the level of technical expert discussions. Risk of losing the momentum to technical details is high. For getting started with implementation, practical solutions for sustainable development are needed. Policy makers and managers, as well as citizens and educators, need tools and guidelines, which are harmonised with the entire 2030-Agenda, but applicable to their particular practice. Capacity comes from experience by actions. Evaluation can bring knowledge on what works, in which context, how and why. But the link to better policy making is weak. Informed Global Citizens have to push governments towards result-oriented and evidence-based policies. In most contexts, this means a conflict scenario.

Everybody knows something; nobody knows everything. Knowledge is the only resource that grows when shared. The need for knowledge sharing is evident in der SDGs. No single individual can cover all aspects of the SDGs; even not entire scientific disciplines are enough to solve the holistic and interlinked problems. We have to rely on knowledge of others, accept diversity of approaches and learn to deal with uncertainty.

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” (Albert Einstein)

4 Development policy must provide the best conditions for dialogue and learning. Creation and dissemination of sustainable development solutions must be organised and promoted. All stakeholders (Agencies, academia, think tanks, businesses, consultants, citizen organisations, indigenous communities, add more) need more incentives to share and use these solutions. However, knowledge is increasingly owned by proprietors, especially if based on patents or “big data”. Financial and non-financial instruments are needed to increase open access, public domain and Free and Open Source and to support knowledge brokers. Germany can lead a transparency initiative by opening its own knowledge production. German discussions and knowledge networks must be better linked to European and global networks – to get knowledge flow in all directions.

“The problem with internet quotes is that you can’t always depend on their accuracy” (Albert Einstein)

5 Peer-to-peer learning networks are an important way to share, replicate, and scale up what works in development. Germany sponsors many interesting knowledge networks, gathering large numbers of alumni. However, the real peers from Germany are mostly missing in these networks. German development policy should link individuals and partner organisations better to their peers in Germany, instead of creating separate South-South networks. Sustainability of knowledge networks often suffers, because Websites and hubs go offline with the end of funding. Germany should fund and build knowledge and learning structures, which are driven by knowledge communities themselves. This should be part of the main research and innovation networks, not separated from them.

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Solutions Summit gathers solutions for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals

The second annual Solutions Summit is a catalytic gathering that will take place at UN Headquarters in NY on the evening of 21 September 2016 during UN General Assembly week. Solutions Summit 2016 will highlight projects advancing the objectives of one or more of these upcoming global Summits and Conferences: UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants – UNHQ NY – September 2016 UN Habitat III Conference – Ecuador – October 2016 UN Climate Change Conference – Morocco – November 2016 Open Government Partnership Global Summit – France – December 2016 Oceans Conference – Fiji – June 2017 _WHAT ARE THE INTENDED OUTCOMES? During the Solutions Summit, a group of selected global innovators will be invited to give a ‘lightning talk’ outlining their breakthrough efforts to a juxtaposed audience of senior policymakers who have the means to pave solid regulatory foundations, investors who care deeply about long-term change and impact, and […]

The second annual Solutions Summit is a catalytic gathering that will take place at UN Headquarters in NY on the evening of 21 September 2016 during UN General Assembly week.

Solutions Summit 2016 will highlight projects advancing the objectives of one or more of these upcoming global Summits and Conferences:

UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants – UNHQ NY – September 2016

UN Habitat III Conference – Ecuador – October 2016

UN Climate Change Conference – Morocco – November 2016

Open Government Partnership Global Summit – France – December 2016

Oceans Conference – Fiji – June 2017

_WHAT ARE THE INTENDED OUTCOMES?

During the Solutions Summit, a group of selected global innovators will be invited to give a ‘lightning talk’ outlining their breakthrough efforts to a juxtaposed audience of senior policymakers who have the means to pave solid regulatory foundations, investors who care deeply about long-term change and impact, and industry leaders who are able to deploy quickly and at scale. The gathering will serve as a catalyst to convene resources and talent around solution-makers.

_WHO IS ORGANIZING THE EFFORT?

Solutions Summit is led by the UN Foundation, the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) and the Global Innovation Exchange, in collaboration with the Global Entrepreneurship Council, and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, with an open invitation for governments and other partners to join. UN-NGLS is coordinating the open and transparent application and selection process to curate solutions to be featured during the Solutions Summit.

_SUBMIT YOUR PROJECT OR APPLY FOR SELECTION COMMITTEE

http://bit.ly/Solutions-Summit-2016-Apply

_DEADLINES

21 August 2016:  Apply to be a part of the Selection Committee
28 August 2016:  Submit proposals for inclusion in the Solutions Summit
Source: UNLGS
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The Great Investment Turnaround: how to finance a sustainable world economy

Berlin, 07/20/2016 – Banks and insurers can play a crucial part in stabilizing the climate, while at the same time safeguarding their clients’ assets. Leading representatives of finance and climate research will discuss the best strategies for a turnaround in investing this Thursday in Berlin. The event is hosted by the Swiss global bank UBS, the French multinational insurance firm AXA, CDP, the European innovation initiative Climate-KIC, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Divestment – the diversion of capital from fossil fuel industries to green innovation and sustainable businesses – is a new approach to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, which could turn out to be a global “game changer”. The Great Investment Turnaround: how to finance a sustainable world economy Already today, investments of billions of Euros are being redirected. Pioneered by students of wealthy US universities, divestment has reached financial big shots like Allianz […]

Berlin, 07/20/2016 – Banks and insurers can play a crucial part in stabilizing the climate, while at the same time safeguarding their clients’ assets. Leading representatives of finance and climate research will discuss the best strategies for a turnaround in investing this Thursday in Berlin. The event is hosted by the Swiss global bank UBS, the French multinational insurance firm AXA, CDP, the European innovation initiative Climate-KIC, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Divestment – the diversion of capital from fossil fuel industries to green innovation and sustainable businesses – is a new approach to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, which could turn out to be a global “game changer”.

The Great Investment Turnaround: how to finance a sustainable world economy

Already today, investments of billions of Euros are being redirected. Pioneered by students of wealthy US universities, divestment has reached financial big shots like Allianz by now: the financial services company announced its intention to divest from its assets in coal mining. The foundation of the legendary US oil dynasty Rockefeller plans to divest their funds from the fossil fuel industry as well.

“The risks of climate change affect everyone and everything. When the finance sector now divests billions from the fossil business, this does not only reflect a moral responsibility but also makes good business sense,” says PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, co-initiator of the conference. “While weather extremes increase already, many of the biggest climate impacts, like the consequences of sea-level rise, will become perceptible only after it would be too late to act. Therefore it is important for the finance sector to recognize the warnings of science and to ramp up sustainable investments as soon as possible. The Paris Agreement substantiates that the nations of the world aim at reaching zero emissions by 2050. This means we are now in year one of the Great Transformation. Whoever still invests in coal and oil will not only damage the environment, but eventually also lose a lot of money.”

“Recognize the possible economic and social impacts of climate change”

„As a global bank it is of major importance to recognize the possible economic and social impacts of climate change, in order to better prepare us and our clients,” says Axel Weber, Chairman of the Board of Directors of UBS Group AG. “The financial sector is working hard to lay the foundations for filling gaps in financing climate action and to support nations in delivering on their corresponding commitments. We aim for a sensible long-term allocation of capital that is congruent with a low-carbon economy.”

Christian Thimann, Global Head of Strategy, Sustainability, and Public Affairs at AXA Group and Vice-Chair of the FSB Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure, says: “Finance has an important role in addressing climate change, because it steers long-term investment. Investors need to understand how companies address climate change in their strategies, which goes well beyond the current carbon footprint. Under the mandate of the G20 and the Financial Stability Board, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure seeks to develop consistent voluntary disclosures by companies and enhance investor understanding of climate-related business risks and opportunities. Such disclosures and better investor understanding will foster implementation of the COP21 agreement.”

„Divestment is one of the most potent signals of investor discontent”

Susan Dreyer, CDP Country Director Germany, Austria, Switzerland adds: „Divestment is one of the most potent signals of investor discontent and can be a valuable method to manage portfolio risk, given climate risks are becoming more urgent every day. Having built a platform for transparent and comparable climate strategies, into which 5600 companies worldwide are voluntary reporting today, CDP knows of the impact investor engagement can unfold. Shareholder resolutions or setting joint reduction targets are good examples. And yet, the clear signal from both civil society and investors that fossil based business models do not have a future in the decarbonized world of 2050, is helpful and needed.”

Among the distinguished speakers are also Rainer Baake, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Laurence Tubiana, French Ambassador for international climate negotiations at COP 21, Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and high-ranking finance representatives, from the major bank HSBC to Union Investment, from the central bank of the Netherlands to the French Ministry of Finance.

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UNCTAD 14: Policy coherence needed to turn trade into an engine for growth in Africa

Trade and investment can be drivers of inclusive growth for sustainable development in Africa, says the ILO’s Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnerships, Gilbert Houngbo, at UNCTAD 14 in Nairobi but calls for more integrated policies to realize that potential. By Gilbert Houngbo, Deputy Director for Field Operations and Partnerships, the International Labour Organization (ILO). Africa’s rapidly growing workforce needs decent work. Increased trade and investment can help drive inclusive growth for sustainable development but we need more integrated policies to realize that potential. It could prove vital for the creation of decent jobs, especially for millions of young Africans, and this is the message that the ILO is bringing to the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development  (UNCTAD 14) being held from 17 to 22 July in Nairobi, Kenya. How to translate decisions into actions after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ? That’s […]
Trade and investment can be drivers of inclusive growth for sustainable development in Africa, says the ILO’s Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnerships, Gilbert Houngbo, at UNCTAD 14 in Nairobi but calls for more integrated policies to realize that potential.
By Gilbert Houngbo, Deputy Director for Field Operations and Partnerships, the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Africa’s rapidly growing workforce needs decent work. Increased trade and investment can help drive inclusive growth for sustainable development but we need more integrated policies to realize that potential.

It could prove vital for the creation of decent jobs, especially for millions of young Africans, and this is the message that the ILO is bringing to the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development  (UNCTAD 14) being held from 17 to 22 July in Nairobi, Kenya.

How to translate decisions into actions after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ? That’s what will be at the heart of the conversation among Heads of State and Government, ministers of economic affairs and trade, accompanied by leaders from international organizations, business, civil society and media.

After decades of assuming that sound economic, trade and investment policies would automatically deliver growth and thereby employment and decent work, the world has come to know better. That is why all Member States explicitly made inclusive growth and decent work for all one of the 17 global sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The 2030 Agenda is an integrated approach to development where economic growth, environmental protection and social justice shall go hand in hand. Full employment and decent work for all is placed together with inclusive economic growth as SDG number 8 , at the very heart of the 2030 Agenda.

Harnessing the potential of trade and investment as an important stimulus for the generation of decent work opportunities and sustainable development is a crucial component of the global partnership for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The ILO and its Decent Work Agenda  brings several interconnected policy tools and supporting evidence-based research to such a new global partnership.

The Decent Work Agenda has four strategic objectives, considered equally important and mutually reinforcing: To set and promote standards and fundamental principles and rights at work; to create increased opportunities for women and men to decent employment and income; to enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all, and to strengthen tripartism and social dialogue – that is, to strengthen trade unions and employers’ organizations and their capacity for dialogue with each other and with governments.

Working women and men across Africa recognize the need for such policies. The Addis Ababa Declaration at the 13th African Regional Meeting of the ILO  in December last year spells it out: In spite of high and sustained growth over the past decade – in fact six of the top ten fastest growing economies were in Africa – progress has been lacking in diversifying productive capacity, inequality is increasing and poverty remains among the highest in the world.

Lack of employment and decent work for young people is the continent´s most pressing challenge. The ILO´s report on Global Employment Trends for Youth 2015  pinpointed the fact that North Africa has the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, at more than 30 per cent, a majority of them long-term unemployed. While sub-Saharan Africa fares better, at 11.6 per cent youth unemployment – the long-term figure there of 48.1 per cent is also very serious. And this does not count the millions of young people who have given up to look for a job altogether. If they are included, the figures nearly double in low-income countries.

With high unemployment and underemployment depicting a bleak scenario, employers including foreign investors are also concerned that they cannot find the skilled workers they need. This indicates a serious skills gap – which certainly is a barrier for African countries to take successful part in global supply chains, the dominating mode of production, trade and growth in the globalized economy.

The ILO is assisting our member states in addressing this multifaceted challenge by leading the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth . This is a unique partnership developed by 21 United Nations agencies as a platform to engage all partners investing and supporting youth employment around the world. Better skills development and linkages to global markets and investments are key among the actions to be taken under this initiative.

Meeting the challenge of assuring progress towards decent work throughout global supply chains will require the strengthening of a range of labour market institutions, including the capacity of public authorities and employers’ and workers’ organizations to effectively monitor and enforce compliance with laws and regulations. This was one of the conclusions of the discussions on the ILO´s International Labour Conference , which met in Geneva, Switzerland last month.

These conclusions can instil new life into the trade and investment outlooks of the African continent. They urge governments to adopt a more integrated and coordinated approach to policy-making. It is crucial to ensure that all relevant ministries are involved across their respective portfolios when their policies influence each other – and that is certainly the case for trade, investment and labour policies.

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How to Finance a Sustainable World Economy

Berlin, 07/20/2016 – Banks and insurers can play a crucial part in stabilizing the climate, while at the same time safeguarding their clients’ assets. Leading representatives of finance and climate research will discuss the best strategies for a turnaround in investing this Thursday in Berlin. The event is hosted by the Swiss global bank UBS, the French multinational insurance firm AXA, CDP, the European innovation initiative Climate-KIC, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Divestment – the diversion of capital from fossil fuel industries to green innovation and sustainable businesses – is a new approach to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, which could turn out to be a global “game changer”.

The Great Investment Turnaround: how to finance a sustainable world economy

Already today, investments of billions of Euros are being redirected. Pioneered by students of wealthy US universities, divestment has reached financial big shots like Allianz by now: the financial services company announced its intention to divest from its assets in coal mining. The foundation of the legendary US oil dynasty Rockefeller plans to divest their funds from the fossil fuel industry as well.

“The risks of climate change affect everyone and everything. When the finance sector now divests billions from the fossil business, this does not only reflect a moral responsibility but also makes good business sense,” says PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, co-initiator of the conference. “While weather extremes increase already, many of the biggest climate impacts, like the consequences of sea-level rise, will become perceptible only after it would be too late to act. Therefore it is important for the finance sector to recognize the warnings of science and to ramp up sustainable investments as soon as possible. The Paris Agreement substantiates that the nations of the world aim at reaching zero emissions by 2050. This means we are now in year one of the Great Transformation. Whoever still invests in coal and oil will not only damage the environment, but eventually also lose a lot of money.”

“Recognize the possible economic and social impacts of climate change”

„As a global bank it is of major importance to recognize the possible economic and social impacts of climate change, in order to better prepare us and our clients,” says Axel Weber, Chairman of the Board of Directors of UBS Group AG. “The financial sector is working hard to lay the foundations for filling gaps in financing climate action and to support nations in delivering on their corresponding commitments. We aim for a sensible long-term allocation of capital that is congruent with a low-carbon economy.”

Christian Thimann, Global Head of Strategy, Sustainability, and Public Affairs at AXA Group and Vice-Chair of the FSB Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure, says: “Finance has an important role in addressing climate change, because it steers long-term investment. Investors need to understand how companies address climate change in their strategies, which goes well beyond the current carbon footprint. Under the mandate of the G20 and the Financial Stability Board, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure seeks to develop consistent voluntary disclosures by companies and enhance investor understanding of climate-related business risks and opportunities. Such disclosures and better investor understanding will foster implementation of the COP21 agreement.”

„Divestment is one of the most potent signals of investor discontent”

Susan Dreyer, CDP Country Director Germany, Austria, Switzerland adds: „Divestment is one of the most potent signals of investor discontent and can be a valuable method to manage portfolio risk, given climate risks are becoming more urgent every day. Having built a platform for transparent and comparable climate strategies, into which 5600 companies worldwide are voluntary reporting today, CDP knows of the impact investor engagement can unfold. Shareholder resolutions or setting joint reduction targets are good examples. And yet, the clear signal from both civil society and investors that fossil based business models do not have a future in the decarbonized world of 2050, is helpful and needed.”

Among the distinguished speakers are also Rainer Baake, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Laurence Tubiana, French Ambassador for international climate negotiations at COP 21, Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and high-ranking finance representatives, from the major bank HSBC to Union Investment, from the central bank of the Netherlands to the French Ministry of Finance.

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The Sustainable Development Goals as Business Opportunities

OECD Development Co-operation Report 2016 The face of development has changed, with diverse stakeholders involved – and implicated – in what are more and more seen as global and interlinked concerns. At the same time, there is an urgent need to mobilise unprecedented resources to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The private sector can be a powerful promotor of sustainable development. Companies provide jobs, infrastructure, innovation and social services, among others. Increasingly, investments in developing countries – even in the least developed countries – are seen as business opportunities, despite the risks involved. The public sector can leverage the private sector contribution, helping to manage risk and providing insights into effective policy and practice. Yet in order to set the right incentives, a better understanding is needed of the enabling factors, as well as the constraints, for businesses and investors interested in addressing sustainable development challenges. The Development […]

OECD Development Co-operation Report 2016

The face of development has changed, with diverse stakeholders involved – and implicated – in what are more and more seen as global and interlinked concerns. At the same time, there is an urgent need to mobilise unprecedented resources to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The private sector can be a powerful promotor of sustainable development. Companies provide jobs, infrastructure, innovation and social services, among others. Increasingly, investments in developing countries – even in the least developed countries – are seen as business opportunities, despite the risks involved. The public sector can leverage the private sector contribution, helping to manage risk and providing insights into effective policy and practice. Yet in order to set the right incentives, a better understanding is needed of the enabling factors, as well as the constraints, for businesses and investors interested in addressing sustainable development challenges.

The Development Co-operation Report 2016 explores the potential and challenges of investing in developing countries, in particular through social impact investment, blended finance and foreign direct investment. The report provides guidance on responsible business conduct and outlines the challenges in mobilising and measuring private finance to achieve the SDGs. Throughout the report, practical examples illustrate how business is already promoting sustainable development and inclusive growth in developing countries. Part II of the report showcases the profiles and performance of development co-operation providers, and presents DAC statistics on official and private resource flows.

With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world now has the most ambitious, diverse and universal development roadmap in history. To meet the challenges they represent, the global community needs to move well beyond the approximately USD 135 billion provided annually as official development assistance (ODA). Investment needs for the SDGs in developing countries are estimated to be in the order of USD 3.3 to 4.5 trillion per year. Taking action to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre‑industrial levels will require some USD 100 billion every year until 2020 from developed countries alone. At the same time, the new goals make it clear that the challenges of sustainable development are no longer merely a question of what is happening in poor countries – they are challenges for us all. To tackle these global and interlinked concerns, a diverse array of stakeholders will need to join forces – with the private sector taking a pivotal position.

Investment in sustainable development is smart investment

The business case for the SDGs is strong. This Development Co‑operation Report 2016 makes it clear that investing in sustainable development is smart investment. Companies that introduce sustainability into their business models are profitable and successful, with positive returns on capital in terms of reduced risk, diversification of markets and portfolios, increased revenue, reduced costs and improved value of products. Increasingly, investments in developing countries – and even in the least developed countries – are seen as business opportunities, despite the risks involved. On the other hand, companies provide jobs, infrastructure, innovation and social services, among others. This report explores five pathways for realising the enormous potential of the private sector as a partner for delivering on the SDGs, providing the quantity and quality of investment needed to support sustainable development.

Five pathways to the Sustainable Development Goals

1. Foreign direct investment is by far the greatest source of international capital flows to developing countries and is considered one of the most development‑friendly sources of private investment. It can create jobs, boost productive capacity, enable local firms to access new international markets and bring with it transfers of technology that can have positive long‑term effects. Many are expecting these flows to play a major role in filling the SDG financing gap. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), a concerted effort by the international community could help to quadruple foreign direct investment by 2030, especially in structurally weak countries. There is, however, some cause for concern: global capital flows have started to decelerate, while economic vulnerabilities are growing. Chapter 2 warns that a slowdown, or even reversal, in foreign direct investment could have serious negative ramifications for both developing and international investment markets. Framing development strategies around the complementary and mutually reinforcing qualities of private investment and development co‑operation can help to offset the cyclic, changing nature of foreign direct investment trends.

2. Blended finance – using public funds strategically to provide, for instance, de‑risking instruments for private investors – can dramatically improve the scale of investment in development. Blended finance offers huge, largely untapped potential for public, philanthropic and private actors to work together to dramatically improve the scale of investment in developing countries. Its potential lies in its ability to remove bottlenecks that prevent private investors from targeting sectors and countries that urgently need additional investment. To accelerate social and economic progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, blended finance needs to be scaled up, but in a systematic way that avoids certain risks. Chapter 3 takes a close look at the use of development and philanthropic finance to unlock resources through blending mechanisms that have the potential to transform economies, societies and lives. It notes that while the concept of blending public and private finance in the context of development co‑operation is nothing new, it has played a marginal role so far.

3. Chapter 4 of this report describes work underway to monitor and measure the mobilisation effect of public sector interventions on private investment. This is expected to be an important element of the new “total official support for sustainable development” (TOSSD) framework, which will provide important information about financing strategies and best practices, helping to attract development finance to support the SDGs. A recent OECD survey has confirmed the feasibility of collecting and measuring data on the direct mobilisation effect of guarantees, syndicated loans and shares in collective investment vehicles; work is underway to develop similar methodologies for other financial instruments. Much work still remains to be done, however, in particular to find ways of measuring the indirect – or “catalytic” – effect of public interventions on the achievement of the global goals and in tackling climate change. The OECD is co‑ordinating its efforts with work underway in other fora to ensure coherence.

4. If development is to be truly sustainable and inclusive it must benefit all citizens – in particular the poorest, most marginalised and vulnerable. Social impact investment has evolved over the past decade as an innovative approach to increasing the benefits of business for the world’s poorest and most marginalised populations. Enterprises that generate measurable social as well as financial returns can bring effectiveness, innovation, accountability and scale to development efforts. Public funds can be used to strengthen and promote this type of investment by sharing risks, and also by supporting a sound business environment, particularly in the least developed countries and in countries emerging from conflict. These new business models can complement existing ones, especially in areas not traditionally popular with business – but essential to the poor – such as education, health and social services.

5. For business to do good while doing no harm, the private sector must be held to the same international transparency and accountability standards as all other actors. Chapter 6 looks at the principles and standards of responsible business conduct and how following them can give responsible businesses an advantage that benefits their bottom lines, while at the same time producing positive results for people and the planet. Business and government have complementary roles to play in implementing, promoting and enabling responsible business conduct. The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises help to optimise their contributions, supporting the development of responsible and accountable business practice to ensure that investment quantity is matched by business quality to produce social, economic and environmental benefits.

This report provides examples of how the OECD is stimulating dialogue and creating opportunities for co‑operation among the many stakeholders involved in sustainable development. It also presents practical cases that illustrate how businesses are already working to promote sustainable development and inclusive growth in developing countries. In this era hallmarked by globalisation, rapid technological advancement and competition for precious resources, it is important to remember that business thrives when the world thrives.

Read the full book on: 10.1787/dcr-2016-en

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The development effectiveness of Development Finance Institutions

Development funding is increasingly being channelled through Development Finance Institutions. These national institutions are particularly solicited when using development aid money to free up further investment, known as leveraging. When used well, these tools have the potential to allow sectors of developing countries’ economies that wouldn’t otherwise attract investment to strengthen and expand. However, this joint TUDCN-CPDE research paper highlights a number of alarming shortfalls in how these institutions operate that can seriously undermine international development goals.

This new report, entitled ‘The development effectiveness of supporting the private sector with ODA funds’ examined nine Development Finance Institutions (DFIs). It is jointly produced by the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) and the TUDCN. Five case studies (available below) provided a background for the study which found that DFI practice is lacking in three vital areas:

Ownership

Ownership has been repeatedly highlighted as a fundamental pillar of development. In spite of that, the majority of the DFIs examined had policies that expressed a preference for supporting the interests of the donor country. This is in clear contradiction of the aim of promoting local ownership and that of ensuring that aid by untied from external interests. In the case of COFIDES (Spain) and OPIC (USA) they go as far as requiring that any investment they make benefit their national (donor) companies. It is perhaps no coincidence that these are the only two DFIs examined in the study that are part owned by private national stakeholders. The issue of private ownership needs to be addressed as it creates a bias that can evidently lead to the compromising of development interests. The concept of ownership also extends to setting the aims of projects. However, not one of the DFIs require that either developing country governments or local social partners be consulted in setting out the aims of a project.

Development results

In order to obtain a good and independent idea of what the development impacts are on the ground, there is a need for performance standards and monitoring systems to be accessible. However, reporting standards are insufficient across the board. There is currently too strong a reliance on self-reporting and limited use of monitoring indicators. Key documentation required for ensuring accountability is not made available. Furthermore, as highlighted by the Panama Papers, it is widely recognised that offshore financial centres (OFCs) have a negative impact on developing countries. It is astounding then that 75% of CDC’s (UK) investments went through jurisdictions that are among the 20 most secretive. This poses serious challenges to the transparency of the DFIs’ work.

Mutual accountability

Meanwhile, accountability flows in only one direction. There is a need for stakeholders to have access to essential information and for complaint procedures to be systematically put in place in order for the opinions of the beneficiaries to be heard. The ability of workers to get organised and raise a complaint to the relevant body is also questioned. This reflects a broader approach of DFIs to labour standards as distinct from development goals. This outlook is symptomatic of a general contempt for labour interests among DFIs which is otherwise illustrated by the fact that none of them require the board to include a workers’ representative.

In light of these findings, the current performance of DFIs is unsatisfactory. Examples of best practice can lead the way to a sustainable approach to the use of financial tools for development.

The full report is available here: EN FR ES

The full case studies are available here:

Source: ITUC http://www.ituc-csi.org/DFI-study

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How to increase the positive impact of trade on rural development

Trade is a means by which poor countries can leverage economic growth, reduce their levels of poverty and even meet the SDGs. For example, SDG 2 on ending hunger and food insecurity points towards correcting and preventing trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets as an indicator towards its achievement. Trade has furthermore emerged as a means to finance development – a position catalyzed by significant reductions in ODA by traditional donors – as it was featured in the FFD3 outcome document.

As part of the Platform’s growing work on trade in agriculture and rural development (ARD), the Annual General Assembly, held on 20th January, posed the following question participants: Are agricultural trade and rural development playing a duet or a solo? This is because the governance issues surrounding agricultural trade lead to a number of debates, particularly surrounding how trade can work better for smallholder farmers and even how trade could help deliver food and nutrition security. Overarching such discussions is one on which instruments and support mechanisms exist and offer practical solutions and opportunities?

A panel session during the AGA discussed a number of institutional and legal opportunities to increase the positive impact of trade in ARD. The main messages, according to each panelist, were:

Christophe Bellman (ICTSD) spoke about the critical role trade flows that legally binding trade agreements play in allowing frameworks that make sure trade flows happen easily and remove distortions. We must ask ourselves what trade restrictions are legitimate, as it is not just about liberalization.

Three main priorities for food security are:

  1. Policy instruments to deal with excessive price volatility and make sure your population can access food.
  2. Consciousness about the impact of policies to support national food production. Countries want to ensure productivity, but how does this affect other (poor) countries?
  3. Market access, reducing tariffs and Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) measures. There needs to be a realization of which of these measures are legitimate and which may be disguised protectionism.

The topic of Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) measures and technical standards was discussed in more depth by COMESA representative Martha Byanyima, because in the majority of COMESA countries, agriculture is still a leading economic activity. Protection of plants and animals from pests and invasive species ensures food and nutrition security and prevents diseases.

SPS regulations on countries have to speak to international trade, but also ensure they serve domestic needs as well. Some overarching debates remain on the harmonization of standards, whether they should be harmonized towards international or regional standards. COMESA believes that there should be direct support to regional SPS and Standards programmes under regional integration. For this, it is essential to enhance the institutional capacities of African institutions charged with CAADP implementation (AUC, NEPAD, RECs). Linking these efforts to country level actions will ensure that trade/customs reforms and investments are directly supporting initiatives to enhance food and nutrition security.

The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) for Trade-Related Assistance supports the Least Developed Countries supports (LDCs) to better integrate into the global trading system and to make trade a driver for development. EIF representative Ratnakar Adhikari described its functions which include mainstreaming trade into national development strategies, setting up new structures or strengthen existing institutions needed to coordinate the delivery of trade-related technical assistance and building capacity to trade, similar to some of the discussions covered by COMESA and ICTSD.

The EIF is a mix of traditional and emerging donors. It is managed through a trust fund which builds capacity for developing countries to contribute to the multilateral trade agreements. Third parties, such as GIZ, implement the programs.

Philippe Jacques from the European Commission spoke about the Aid for Trade (A4T) initiative, specifying that we may consider five areas as requiring priority attention under the A4T initiative for the agricultural sector:

  • Technology transfer and utilisation – one reason for the lack of agriculture competitiveness in developing countries is the low productivity land and labour, as well as the low adoption of new technologies by the vast majority of small and medium-scale farmers.
  • Rural infrastructures – the ability of the existing value chains to respond to new trade opportunities, as well as for the emergence of new value chains, is highly conditioned by the availability of adequate rural infrastructures.
  • Investment in water Management – in conjunction with the two factors mentioned before, it can offer pay-offs to public and private sector investment in agriculture
  • Technical standards of products – activities in this field are being completed within the framework of the WTO Agreements on SPS measures and Technical Barriers to Trade
  • Capacity for trade negotiations and trade policy Analysis – in addition to multilateral trade negotiations, most countries have engaged or concluded trade negotiations at regional, bilateral and preferential levels. That places a significant burden on the capacity needs to be built in order to implement these agreements, for responding to trade disputes and for adopting and complying with rules and standards.

Source: https://www.donorplatform.org/about/aga/latest/1523-how-to-increase-the-positive-impact-of-trade-on-rural-development

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2015 Human Development Report – Rethinking Work for Human Development

“Address challenges and seize opportunities of the new world of work”, UNDP urges

2 billion people lifted out of low human development, in last 25 years, now focus on work is needed to galvanize progress, alerts the 2015 Human Development Report.

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Addis Ababa, 14 December 2015 (UNDP) — Fast technological progress, deepening globalization, aging societies and environmental challenges are rapidly transforming what work means today and how it is performed. This new world of work presents great opportunities for some, but also profound challenges for others. The 2015 Human Development Report, released today at a ceremony in Ethiopia, urges governments to act now to ensure no one is left behind in the fast-changing world of work.

The report, titled ‘Work for Human Development’, calls for equitable and decent work for all. In doing so, it encourages governments to look beyond jobs to consider the many kinds of work, such as unpaid care, voluntary, or creative work that are important for human development. The report suggests that only by taking such a broad view can the benefits of work be truly harnessed for sustainable development.

Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of the Federal Democratic
Republic of Ethiopia, said “Employment can be a great driver of progress, but more
people need to be able to benefit from sustainable work that helps them and their families
to thrive.”

The need for more inclusive and sustainable work opportunities was also emphasized by United Nations Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark who said: “Decent work contributes to both the richness of economies and the richness of human lives. All countries need to respond to the challenges in the new world of work and seize opportunities to improve lives and livelihoods.”

With better health and education outcomes and reductions in extreme poverty, 2 billion people have moved out of low human development levels in the last 25 years, the report says. Yet in rder to secure these gains and galvanize progress, a stronger focus on decent work is needed.

830 million people are classified as working poor who live on under $2.00 a day. Over 200 million people, including 74 million youth, are unemployed, while 21 million people are currently in forced labour.

“Human progress will accelerate when everyone who wants to work has the opportunity to do so under decent circumstances. Yet in many countries, people are often excluded from paid work, or are paid less than others for doing work of the same value”, said report lead author Selim Jahan.

Women do three out of every four hours of unpaid work

The report presents a detailed new estimate of the share of all work, not just paid work, between men and women. While women carry out 52 percent of all global work, glaring inequalities in the distribution of work remain.

Women are less likely to be paid for their work than men, with three out of every four hours of unpaid
work carried out by women. In contrast, men account for two of every three hours of paid work. Since
women often carry the burden of providing care services for family members, the report warns that this
disparity is likely to increase as populations age.

When women are paid, they earn globally, on average, 24 percent less than men, and occupy less than a
quarter of senior business positions worldwide.

“To reduce this inequality, societies need new policies, including better access to paid care services.
Ensuring equal pay, providing paid parental leave, and tackling the harassment and the social norms
that exclude so many women from paid work are among the changes needed. That would enable the burden of unpaid care work to be shared more widely, and give women a genuine choice on whether to
enter the labour force”, Helen Clark said.

Globalization and the digital revolution are double-edged swords

Globalization and technological changes are producing an increasingly polarized world of work. “There
has never been a better time to be a highly skilled worker. Conversely, it is not a good time to be unskilled. This is deepening inequalities”, said report author Selim Jahan.

Highly skilled workers and those with access to technology, including to the internet, have new
opportunities in the types of work available and the way that work is done. Today, there are seven billion mobile phone subscriptions, 2.3 billion people with smart phones, and 3.2 billion with internet access. This has brought about many changes in the world of work – for example, the rise of e-commerce and the mass outsourcing of banking, ICT-support, and other services. Despite new opportunities, however, more jobs are now becoming vulnerable and a wide digital divide remains, the report notes.

In 2015, 81 percent of households in developed countries have internet access, but only 34 percent in developing regions and 7 percent in the least developed countries have that access. Many types of outine work, such as clerical jobs, are predicted to disappear or be replaced by computers, or have already disappeared, the report warns, while many more workers face other insecurities. According to the International Labour Organization, 61 percent of employed people in the world work
without a contract, and only 27 percent of the world’s population is covered by comprehensive social
protection. The report calls on governments to formulate national employment strategies that take into account the many challenges emerging in the rapidly changing world of work.

Sustainable work, opportunities both for present and future generations

The report stresses the key roles that work can play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
“The types of work many of us do will need to change if our economies and societies are to make genuine
progress towards a low emission and climate-resilient future. These changes will influence what the
labour market of tomorrow looks like”, the report states. With green growth, new jobs will be created, the nature of others will be transformed, and others will end altogether. These changes ideally should be supported by systems of social protection and safety nets.

The report argues that work opportunities can be fostered by the global goals. It estimates, for
example, that around 45 million additional health workers will be needed to meet the health objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals. That would see the global health workforce increase in size from 34 million in 2012 to 79 million by 2030.

Setting the new agenda for work

While policy responses to the new world of work will differ across countries, three main clusters of
policies will be critical if governments and societies are to maximize the benefits and minimize the
hardships in the evolving new world of work. Strategies are needed for creating work opportunities and
ensuring workers’ well-being. The report therefore proposes a three-pronged action agenda:

  • A New Social Contract between governments, society, and the private sector, to ensure that
    all members of society, especially those working outside the formal sector, have their needs taken into account in policy formulation.
  • A Global Deal among governments to guarantee workers’ rights and benefits around the world.
  • A Decent Work Agenda, encompassing all workers, that will help promote freedom of association, equity, security, and human dignity in work life.