Following the completion of eight 'information sessions' on a variety of themes over the course of nearly one year, the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals has published a list of 19 “Focus Areas”, while another group commissioned by Ban Ki-moon has put out a list of possible SDG Indicators.
The OWG co-chairs (from Hungary and Kenya) write that the focus areas do not constitute a 'zero-draft' of the OWG's upcoming report, but that UN member states should use this document as a basis to identify SDGs and accompanying targets.
Fifty people from six continents representing 30 organisations adn platforms, incluing GCAP, gathered in Istanbul at the end of February, in a meeting convened by CIVICUS with the financial support of the United Nations, to discuss Post-2015 campaigning and explore possibilities of joint action.
CIVICUS Secretary-General Danny Sriskandarajah writes that the meetings "have the potential to transform the role of civil society in the post-2015 process".
Other participants and observers aren't so sure. They point to a lack of gender and regional balance in the room as well as an outcome document, a "meta-narrative" called The Istanbul Text, that does not include many of the key Post-2015 issues identified by GCAP, Social Watch and others.
The Istanbul document envisions a "flotilla approach" in which different organisations have their own messages but are all pointing in the same direction.
The BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – risk losing their international credibility if they don't behave as responsible donors, writes GCAP Russia co-chair Vitaliy Kartamyshev.
These five countries produce about 20% of the world's economic output and account for a growing percentage of official development assistance. But it's clear that the BRIC have “fewer scruples” about how this aid impacts human rights, democracy, women and ethnic minorities.
At a minimum, the BRICS should adopt a set of guiding principles to ensure that they do not uphold political regimes that impoverish communities, exploit natural resources and undermine the development prospects of recipient countries.
At a time when inequality is growing across the globe, Uruguay has managed to dramatically reduce poverty and inequality over the past decade. It now has the most equal income distribution in Latin America.
The country is also working to generate 100% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020.
Social Watch coordinator Roberto Bissio writes that the Uruguayan experience shows that "there are, indeed, viable alternatives to the classical neoliberal formulas" which can be models for the Post-2015 agenda.
Following the 2002 economic crisis, Uruguay chose not to follow the austerity path recommended by multilateral institutions and instead promoted decent work and a social safety net through
emergency cash transfers
active state participation in the economy to promote growth
collective bargaining that led to salary increases and
enforcing labour rights for rural and domestic workers.
Instead of repelling investors, Uruguay's Labour Minister told a recent global gathering of civil society activists in Montevideo that the policies boosted economic growth and coincided with a peak in foreign greenfield investment.
Despite lip service and some efforts to the contrary, international organisations and campaigners rarely manage to really build an agenda from the grassroots.
That's the conclusion of veteran activist Olivier Consolo, a GCAP supporter who served as the director of the European NGO confederation CONCORD from 2003 - 2013.
"We mainly encourage local movements and organisations to input our own international agenda or to join our global campaign . . . it is unlikely that we propose to local leaders and movements to support their processes or to co-build joint action."
Instead, as we work on the Post-2015 agenda, Consolo proposes an alternative course . . .
First, we must make explicit two important assumptions:
Martin Luther King Jr., the heralded minister who was born 85 years ago today and led the United States's civil rights movement until he was assassinated in 1968, is most remembered for his non-violent fight against racism.
"I have a dream," MLK told over 250,000 supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, "that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character."
But Martin Luther King Jr. was also a powerful voice for peace and against poverty.
"Just as nonviolence exposed the ugliness of racial injustice," King said upon accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, "so must the infection and sickness of poverty be exposed and healed - not only its symptoms but its basic causes."
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