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IPCC’s Working Group III: Report on Mitigation of Climate Change

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) publishes the third of three Working Group reports in which it warns that climate change will have catastrophic consequences. The international body of scientists and representatives of countries from all over the world assesses and analyses the current state, risks and (possible) consequences of climate change and establishes recommendations for mitigation policies on sub-national, national and global level. In this context the new assessment report, which constitutes the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report on climate change, but which is not approved in detail yet, calls attention to the fast increasing level of CO2 emissions worldwide in the last decade, driven inter alia by economic and population growth.

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Civil society rallies to prevent privatization of post-2015 process

CESR_Official_LogoIIn a new blog, the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) emphasizes that debates intensify around the role of public-private partnerships in the Post-2015 Agenda. CESR warns that many governments were pushing hard to include the private sector, however this may drown out global civil society’s demands for human rights at core of a sustainable development framework. Proponents of private-public partnership failed to recognize risks of privatizing post-2015, one reason why civil society was rallying to decrease the role of corporations in the post-2015 process.

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CSO Statement on Partnerships for Financing Sustainable Development

CSO_statement_IECFSD_outreach_April_2014Civil Society Organisations participating in an outreach event of the UN Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing on “Co-Creating New Partnerships for Financing Sustainable Development” in Helsinki issued a statement on what they perceive as key elements of the experts committee's work. The CSOs underline that there is “need to act now. […] To put the world on track for a sustainable future, all actors have to contribute to sustainable development. We need financing of good quality and quantity, sustainable use of our natural resources and crucial policy changes, which works in favor of those currently left behind [...] Partnerships between public and private sectors and catalyzing private investment with public money can only be complementary to public finance.”

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Amnesty asks for Justice – Europe’s failure to protect Roma from racist violence

Amnesty_Roma_Report_BildAmnesty International publishes a new report “We ask for justice: Europe’s failure to protect Roma from Racist Violence”. On International Roma Day, Amnesty blames the EU and its member states for failing to respond to discriminations and racist violence against Roma communities. The International Roma Day celebrates Romani culture and wants to raise awareness of discrimination faced by Europe’s largest ethnic minority.
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Event: The Privatization of the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Side_event_privatization_of_Post-2015_-_04-2014Invitation to an event on April 8, 2014 in New York: Partnerships for sustainable development are increasingly being promoted as a major, if not the primary, enabler for the implementation of the successor international sustainable development goals to replace the MDGs by 2015. However, a growing number of civil society groups warn against a partnership approach that places primary emphasis on enticing private sector participation and investments as this risks reinforcing the coporate capture of the post-2015 agenda.

This one-and-a-half hour Public Forum aims to inform civil society organizations and member states with critical perspectives on the major issues and challenges associated with partnerships with the "private sector" for sustainable development.

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LBT Activists Call on Governments not to Use Rights as Bargaining Chips

dawn_blueGovernments at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) ignored evidence of and regional support for key elements of sustainable development in its declaration adopted March 21, 2014, says a coalition of lesbian, bisexual women, trans* (LBT) and allied activists and organizations in a statement. The human rights of people targeted because of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression have long been recognized by UN entities and expert bodies as part of general human rights protections. However, some governments continue to create conditions that limit the ability for all people to enjoy these rights.

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Women respond to UN SDG proposal

Women-s-MG-response-to-Co-Chairs_19FOCUSAREAAt the ninth session of the UN General Assembly's Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals, the Women's Major Group (WMG) issued a response to the 19 proposed focus areas, assembled by the OWG in February. Through their response WMG contributes to the intergovernmental processes on SDGs and reflect the broad range of areas. The WMG is pleased to see an integrated approach, recognising the inter-linkages between the focus areas. It appreciates the stand-alone focus on gender equality and women's empowerment, as well as the dealing with inequalities, multidimensional character of poverty or the universal access to education. However, it regrets that women's rights are not mentioned in the document, although equality and empowerment cannot be furthered "without firm commitment to and fulfillment of women's human rights".

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Subsidy reform and economic and social rights

ANNDThe Arab NGO Network for Development, in collaboration with the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights and the New America’s Middle East Task Force, recently conducted a study of IMF recommendations to Arab governments, particularly those pertaining to austerity measures and subsidy regimes. The report is based on systematic reviews of IMF staff reports on transitioning Arab countries – Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, Yemen and Egypt – and consultations with regionally-based civil society organizations and thought leaders.

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New development goals need to include commitments by the rich

SW_Istanbul_MeetingA meeting aimed at coordinating global advocacy on a new development agenda was held last February 23-24 in Istanbul, convened by the UN Secretary-General’s adviser on development planning, the UN Foundation, the Overseas Development Institute of the UK and CIVICUS. Social Watch addressed a letter to the meeting arguing that "joint civil society action around Post-2015 has to focus on goals and commitments for the countries of the North, the necessary changes of the consumption and production patterns in these countries, and the structural framework conditions shaped by these countries, particularly in the global financial, investment and trade systems".

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How corporations and lawyers are scavenging profits

profiting-from-crisis-imageSince the economic crisis hit Europe, international investors have begun suing EU countries struggling under austerity and recession for a loss of expected profits, using international trade and investment agreements. This is revealed by a new report released today by the Transnational Institute and Corporate Europe Observatory. The investors – and the lawyers involved – are scavenging for profits amidst crisis-hit nations, providing a salutary warning of the potential high costsof the proposed trade deal between the US and the EU, which start its fourth round of negotiations today in Brussels.

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Sharp rise in environmental and land killings

Deadly_Environment_Global_WitnessKillings of people protecting the environment and rights to land increased sharply between 2002 and 2013 as competition for natural resources intensifies, a new report from Global Witness reveals. In the most comprehensive global analysis of the problem on record, the campaign group has found that at least 908 people are known to have died in this time. Disputes over industrial logging, mining and land rights the key drivers, and Latin America and Asia-Pacific particularly hard hit.

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Report on private contributions to financing for development Post-2015

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New report on "Financing for Development Post-2015: Improving the Contribution of Private Finance" commissioned by the European Parliament's Committee on Development and co-written by Eurodad, Development Finance International, A&J Communication Development Consultants and Development Initiatives finds that global public finance cannot be directly substituted by private finance, as it pays for public goods, is more predictable and counter-cyclical, and can be targeted at the poorest countries. Global private finance mainly goes to higher income countries and has difficultly targeting MSMEs or paying for public services. Leveraging private finance has faced many problems including in proving additionality, in transparency and lack of ownership, and poor evidence of development impact.

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Video: The Privatization of the Post-2015 Agenda

The_Privatization_of_the_Post-2015_Development_Age_recordedMissed the event on The Privatization of the Post-2015 Development Agenda? Not to worry. WorldWeWant2015.org provides a webcast of the event and we're happy to provide it here.

Partnerships for sustainable development are increasingly being promoted as a major, if not the primary, enabler for the implementation of the successor international sustainable development goals to replace the MDGs by 2015. However, a growing number of civil society groups warn against a partnership approach that places primary emphasis on enticing private sector participation and investments as this risks reinforcing the corporate capture of the Post-2015 Agenda. This Public Forum aimed to inform civil society organizations and member states with critical perspectives on the major issues and challenges associated with partnerships with the "private sector" for sustainable development.

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Statement by Righting Finance Initiative

Statement_Financial_Helsinki684984168On April 3-4, 2014 the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing holds a consultation on  "Co-Creating New Partnerships for Financing Sustainable Development" in Helsinki, Finland. This committee was established by the outcome document of the Rio+20 conference, which called for committee of experts tasked with preparing a report "proposing options on an effective sustainable development financing strategy to facilitate the mobilization of resources and their effective use in achieving sustainable development objectives".

In a statement for the occasion, Righting Finance says that "in view of the systemic market failures of the past decade, we are convinced now more than ever of the need for an effective and capable government as a protector and guarantor of human rights in development rather than a mere enabler of private sector development".

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14 Misconceptions about Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations

6da9520a0aA new brochure by ETO Consortium reacts to the considerable urgency to strengthen Extraterritorial Obligations by States (ETOs) and implement the primacy of human rights in the middle of diverse and global crises. On the basis of its mandate, the ETO Consortium deals with economic, social and cultural rights and uses the Maastricht Principles on States’ extraterritorial obligations as its key term of reference. Just as the Maastricht Principles carry the spirit of indivisibility of human rights, so do the responses to these fourteen misconceptions. They are applicable to extraterritorial obligations related to human rights in general.

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The Political Economy of Offshore Jurisdictions

pol-eco-offshore-187x300A recently published book adds further insights into the political economy of offshore jurisdictions. It raises questions about why offshore has been off-limits for serious political discussion for so many decades. What is the importance of the offshore economy? Is online Gambling a Game Changer to Money Laundering? What is the rationale behind the Secrecy Index of Tax Justice Network? How does Automatic Tax Information Exchange work? Is Austria a tax haven? With which ideology and with which narratives was it possible to avoid public discussions about the offshore economy? Which were the effects of “offshore leaks” in the spring 2013?

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Country by Country Reporting - Tax Justice Focus

TJF-2014-Country-by-CountryThe Tax Justice Network has released its latest newsletter - this time a special edition on Country by Country reporting edited by Richard Murphy, whom you might call the godfather of this accounting idea. He has brought together different authors from the OECD, the Confederation of British Industry, from Global Witness and Eurodad. Together they present a unique picture of the current state of the campaign for country-by-country reporting throughout the world.

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UN Commission Calls for Increased Efforts to Promote Gender Equality

dawn_blueLast Saturday, March 22, 2014, the 58th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women ended with a strong call to prioritize gender equality and the human rights of women in order to achieve sustainable development. In an article, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) analyzes the outcomes of the meeting and applaudes the governments who stood up for the rights of all individuals to live free of violence, discrimination, and barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services, particularly for girls. However, advocates expressed disappointment that a small minority of conservative governments spurred on by the Holy See—which holds special observer status at the UN—held up negotiations by objecting to concepts as fundamental as gender and the human rights of women throughout the two weeks of negotiations.
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OECD’s new info exchange standard a watershed moment?

TJN2014_OECD-AIE-ReportThe OECD has published a report on a new global standard for countries and tax havens to exchange information with each other: a crucial tool for tackling offshore secrecy and tax evasion. The report represents significant progress by endorsing a principle that civil society organisations have been demanding for many years, and which has now been endorsed by the G20 finance ministers. In reaction to the report by the OECD, Tax Justice Network (TJN) publishes an analytic response on whether the OECD's new standard is indeedd a watershed moment. The OECD report, which focusses especially on due dilligence checks, a crucial element in any transparency regime, seems to have many positive details. Yet, TJN says, there are a number of shortcomings in the report, too: some technical, and some political.

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Alternatives to the debt crisis

When_Greece_fallsAs the lion’s share of the world’s nations suffer from austerity policies, politicians, financial experts and civil society activists came together this month for a three-day international conference to discuss alternative ways of tackling the debt crisis. Themes included debt restructuring options for countries suffering from high debt burdens, the value of carrying out debt audits to help identify and repudiate illegitimate debt, the problems caused by the tight mandates of central banks, and options how to bring interest rates and eventually the costs of debt service down.

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