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Treaty Alliance letter to UN Member States

TA_letter_June2018On the occasion of the current open informal consultations in Geneva on a legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (“UN-Treaty”) more than 430 civil society organizations globally have signed a letter to UN Member States. They call on all UN Member States to engage without delay in this stage of the process in active and constructive negotiations of the substance of the treaty to improve the human rights of communities and people affected by the operations of TNCs and OBEs and their access to effective remedy, and to put an end to corporate impunity for human rights abuses.

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Neues Briefing: Regeln zu Wirtschaft und Menschenrechten - Wirtschaftslobby gegen jegliche Verbindlichkeit und wie die Politik darauf reagiert

Briefing_0518_Wirtschaftslobby_NAPIn den letzten Jahrzehnten haben Regierungen eine Reihe von Maßnahmen initiiert, um Unternehmen zur Einhaltung von Menschenrechten in ihren Aktivitäten zu bewegen. Seit Jahren versuchen Interessenvertretungen der Wirtschaft, verbindliche Regeln im Bereich Wirtschaft und Menschenrechte international und national zu verhindern – mit Erfolg. In Deutschland zeigte sich dies im Jahr 2016, als die deutschen Unternehmensvertretungen alle Hebel in Bewegung setzten, jegliche Verbindlichkeit im deutschen Nationalen Aktionsplan für Wirtschaft und Menschenrechte (NAP) zu verhindern. Ein neues Briefing von Brot für die Welt, Global Policy Forum und MISEREOR veranschaulicht, wie die Wirtschaftslobby die Einführung einer menschenrechtlichen Sorgfaltspflicht der Wirtschaft verhinderte. Es zeigt auf, wie die Unternehmensverbände versuchen, ähnliche Regelungen auf internationaler Ebene, darunter dem Europarat, bei der OECD und im Menschenrechtsrat der Vereinten Nationen abzuwehren.

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Looking forward: How can the FfD Follow-up live up to its full potential?

Flyer_How_can_the_FfDF_live_up_to_its_full_potential_smallThe Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) has defined the follow-up process for the Financing for Development process as well as the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This includes assessing progress, obstacles, challenges as well as new and emerging topics of relevance, and “provide policy recommendations for action by the international community” (para. 131). At a side-event during the 2018 ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development Follo-up, participants are invited to provide their insights into their assessment of previous FfD Fora, their link with other international processes, and discuss with participants about opportunities and challenges, also with view to the upcoming High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development of the General Assembly in 2019. The format of the side event will be highly interactive. After a short framing presentation, the moderator will facilitate active dialogue with a small panel of respondents and the audience.

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New Working Paper: The UN Foundation - A foundation for the UN?

The_UN_Foundation_onlineThe United Nations face a funding dilemma. On the one hand, member states continue to transfer new responsibilities to the UN system, not least in implementing the 2030 Agenda and their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); on the other hand, they do not match these mandates with adequate resources. Some see the way out of this financial mess in reinforced UN partnerships with private donors and their foundations. The UN Foundation (UNF) plays a special role here. It was established by US billionaire Ted Turner two decades ago principally to champion and support the work of the United Nations.The Global Policy Forum, in cooperation with the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, has taken a closer look at the work of the UNF and its special relationship with the UN in a new working paper. It describes the origins and the evolution of the UNF and its relationship with the UN. It shows that, in pursuing this aim, the Foundation appears to have developed a business model and growth strategy that primarily promote its own priorities, activities and expansion, while the direct financial support to the UN decreased significantly. The UNF’s support of the UN must also be seen in context. Ted Turner and the UNF leadership have a clear vision of the way to tackle global problems and the role the UN should play, centred solidly on public-private partnerships and multi-stakeholder approaches. The UNF has been among the driving forces behind the opening of the UN towards the business sector. The working paper examines benefits, risks and side effects of these trends, and ends with a few findings and conclusions.

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Neuerscheinung: Ungleichheiten verringern! Schlüssel zur Verwirklichung der Agenda 2030

Ungleichheiten_verringern_WebklDie Regierungen haben ein eigenständiges Ziel zur Reduzierung von Ungleichheiten sowohl innerhalb als auch zwischen Ländern in den Katalog der 17 SDGs aufgenommen – eine der größten qualitativen Neuerungen der Agenda 2030 gegenüber den MDGs. SDG 10 ist Ausdruck des in den letzten Jahren enorm gesteigerten Interesses in Wissenschaft, Wirtschaft und Politik am komplexen Phänomen der sozialen wie ökonomischen, der horizontalen und intersektionalen Ungleichheiten. Mit dem vorliegenden Arbeitspapier werden SDG10 und die daraus zu ziehenden Schlussfolgerungen genauer unter die Lupe genommen. Es beschreibt die verschiedenen Formen ökonomischer, sozialer und politischer Ungleichheiten und die damit verbundenen Indikatoren. Und es erörtert, welche Ansatzpunkte und Politikinstrumente es gibt, um Ungleichheit zu reduzieren – und damit der Verwirklichung der Agenda 2030 einen Schritt näher zu kommen. Denn ohne die Verringerung von Ungleichheiten innerhalb und zwischen Ländern werden sich auch die anderen Ziele der Agenda 2030 kaum realisieren lassen.

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New briefing: One step further towards global regulation of business

GPF-Briefing_One_step_further_Report_of_the_3rd_session_on_the_TreatyIn 2014, following a resolution initiated by Ecuador and South Africa, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations decided by a majority vote for the establishment of a process to create a human rights treaty to regulate business activity. In 2015 and 2016 the first two sessions of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (OEIGWG) took place, and between October 23 and 27, 2017 the working group convened for the third time. More than 100 states and 200 representatives of civil society organizations participated in the third session, during which draft elements for a treaty presented by the Chair-Rapporteur of the OEIGWG were discussed. The draft elements include suggestions on state obligations, prevention, effective remedy, jurisdiction, international co-operation, and enforcement mechanisms. Despite persistent efforts by certain states to block the process, the march towards a binding treaty will continue. The Chair-Rapporteur will now hold informal consultations on the way forward and prospectively prepare a zero draft of the treaty up to the fourth session (expected in October 2018). Governments and other actors can hand in comments on the draft elements up to the end of February 2018.

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Justice for People and Planet

Justice-for-people-and-planetThe new report by Greenpeace “Justice for People and Planet” demonstrates the need for urgent action to establish justice for people and planet and to end corporate capture, collusion and impunity. Through 20 case studies this report presents how corporate power has been used to repeatedly abuse and violate human and environmental rights. The cases show that corporate impunity for environmental destruction and human rights violations is a result of the current economic and legal system. State failure to protect human rights and the environment is caused by corporate capture of decision makers and state institutions, leading to the consequent refusal of politicians to implement binding frameworks and hold corporations to account. The clear failure of voluntary codes and corporate self-regulation to safeguard human rights or the environment has led to renewed public demand for binding rules. Greenpeace calls on governments to adopt 10 Principles for Corporate Accountability.

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Neues Bündnis gegen Marktmacht der Megakonzerne

Aktion_Agrar_Konzernmacht

Foto: Aktion Agrar

Wichtige Märkte sind in den Händen von immer weniger Mega-Konzernen. Dagegen stellt sich anlässlich des 60. Geburtstags des Bundeskartellamtes ein breites Bündnis von 24 Umwelt-, Landwirtschafts-, und Entwicklungsorganisationen, darunter auch das Global Policy Forum. Unsere Forderung an die nächste Bundesregierung: Das Kartellrecht verschärfen, um die Marktmacht von Konzernen zu begrenzen. Die Marktkonzentration ist mittlerweile so weit fortgeschritten, dass sie kleinere Unternehmen stark benachteiligt. Zulieferer, Bauern und Bäuerinnen und Arbeiter/innen in Produktionsländern können sich gegen übermächtige Unternehmen kaum durchsetzen. Letztlich wird so die soziale Ungleichheit verschärft.

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Neuauflage: Die Agenda 2030

Agenda_2030_online_neukAm 25. September 2015 verabschiedeten die 193 Mitgliedsstaaten der Vereinten Nationen auf einem Gipfeltreffen in New York die Agenda 2030 für nachhaltige Entwicklung. Sie bildet den globalen Rahmen für die Umwelt- und Entwicklungspolitik der kommenden 15 Jahre. Kernstück der Agenda sind die 17 Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung, die SDGs, mit ihren 169 Zielvorgaben. Sie berühren alle Politikbereiche, von der Wirtschafts-, Sozial-, Umwelt- und Finanzpolitik über die Agrar- und Verbraucherpolitik bis hin zu Bereichen wie Verkehr, Städtebau, Bildung und Gesundheit. Die vollständig überarbeitete und aktualisierte Neuauflage dieses Berichts bietet neben einer politischen Einordnung der Agenda 2030 überblicksartig grundlegende Informationen und Analysen von SDG 1 bis 17.

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Data is the new gold

GPW19_2017_11_28kl“Data is the new Gold” headlined a 2014 article in the business press on the marketing power it offers. “Each click, like, and share creates new data in the world, much of which can be used to deliver relevant marketing information and bring increased value to consumer audiences.” Picking up on the potential of so-called Big Data to measure national and global progress on development goals agreed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,  the 2030 agenda has driven a variety of new initiatives, bringing together a vast array of global corporations, foundations, and CSOs ready to mine this new seam.

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Warnings of a new global financial crisis

South-Centre-Logo-with-tagline_EN-e1501254200582"There are increasing warnings of an imminent new financial crisis, not only from the billionaire investor George Soros, but also from eminent economists associated with the Bank for International Settlements, the bank of central banks. The warnings come at a moment when there are signs of international capital flowing out of some emerging economies, including Turkey, Argentina and Indonesia. Some economists have been warning that the boom-bust cycle in capital flows to developing countries will cause disruption, when there is a turn from boom to bust," analyzes South Centre's Executive Director Martin Khor.

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Remedies for Cross-Border Human Rights Violations: A Status Report on the Binding Treaty on TNCs and other Business Enterprises

gpf_logo_4cTo implement the 2030 Agenda many in the international community have proclaimed a need to go from “billions to trillions” of dollars. Certainly, the transformation of our world requires fundamental changes in the way our societies produce and consume goods and services. At the international level, instruments to hold corporations accountable for human rights abuses and the violation of social and environmental standards are weak. Victims of human rights violations by corporations often face insurmountable barriers to access justice. A regulation gap exists especially with regard to corporations operating transnationally. Against this background, the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution of 26 June 2014 establishing an open-ended intergovernmental working group (OEIGWG) to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate within the scope of international human rights law and the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises deserve to be called historic. At this public event the panelists will discuss how a binding treaty could overcome obstacles for remedy in cases of cross-border human rights violations by TNCs. It will further inform about the state of the treaty process and next steps to be taken.

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New Briefing: Procedure and Format - Options for an UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights

Briefing_UN_Treaty_Procedure_and_FormatIn 2014, following a resolution initiated by Ecuador and South Africa, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations decided by a majority vote to establish a process to create a human rights treaty to regulate business activity. Since 2015, the open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights has convened three times, and substantial discussion about the scope and content of the prospective treaty has taken place. It is now time to explore the possible forms of such an instrument and set out the options for the way forward in the process. Good rules and procedures can make treaty negotiations move more effectively forward and open doors to getting the best advice and text into an agreement. The substance of an agreement and the procedures to achieve that agreement are closely inter-connected. Consequently, this paper has three parts. The first and second parts look at the choice of contents and format of the agreement. The third part provides options for the institutional settings needed with regard to a bureau, the HRC Secretariat, the relationship to other UN entities and processes, and the financial questions to be solved. It also elaborates on the options for the drafting process itself with regard to the drafting of the text, the structure, and the timetable of negotiations. The third part further assesses the options for participation of civil society organizations and business.

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Neuerscheinung: Die Agenda 2030, Geberprioritäten und ein neuer Funding Compact der UN

GPF-Briefing_0318_GeberprioritatenkDie Vereinten Nationen (UN) und viele ihrer Sonderorganisationen befinden sich seit Jahren in einer strukturellen Finanzierungskrise. Es besteht eine zunehmende Diskrepanz zwischen den Anforderungen der Mitgliedstaaten an die UN und den ihr zur Verfügung gestellten Mitteln. In den letzten Jahren konnte ein Trend weg von Pflicht- und flexibel einsetzbaren Beiträgen der UN-Mitgliedstaaten hin zu freiwilligen und zweckgebundenen Mitteln einer Vielzahl von Gebern beobachtet werden. Im Zuge dieses Trends verfügen die einzelnen Geber, ob öffentlich oder privat, über einen wachsenden Spielraum zur Einflussnahme auf die Arbeit der UN-Organisationen. Besonders deutlich ist dies im Fall der Weltgesundheitsorganisation (WHO). Als Reaktion auf die Finanzierungsprobleme schlug UN-Generalsekretär António Guterres im Juni 2017 im Rahmen des Reformprozesses zur Neustrukturierung des UN-Entwicklungssystems die Schaffung eines sogenannten Funding Compact vor, eines Finanzierungspaktes zwischen den Mitgliedstaaten und dem UN-Entwicklungssystem.

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Strategies for Empowering Rural Women – Side-event on the margins of 62nd CSW

Screenshot_2018-02-28_at_12.49.15A public panel organized by RLS-NYC, DAWN, GPF and Social Watch on March 12, 2018, will discuss the multiple roles of rural women and girls for enhancing food sovereignty, preserving biodiversity, reducing inequalities, and combating climate change. Presentations will affirm the importance of engaging women in policy-making around more equitable and sustainable production and consumption. Panelists will offer perspectives from the local level, addressing challenges such as intellectual property rights and land ownership for small-scale women farmers. We will also discuss the opportunities and shortcomings of a human rights approach and global advocacy efforts to increasing women's participation in decision-making to tackle poverty, malnutrition, and environmental degradation. Additionally, the panel will discuss approaches to advancing gender equality for rural women by analyzing the challenges small-scale women farmers face due to economic stressors such as food insecurity, hunger, and poverty.

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Neuerscheinung: Agenda 2030, Nachhaltigkeitsziele und Haushaltspolitik

Agenda_2030_und_Haushaltspolitik_WebklMit der Agenda 2030 und ihren Zielen für nachhaltige Entwicklung (SDGs) haben die Mitgliedsstaaten der Vereinten Nationen ambitionierte Schritte auf dem Weg zu einer sozial, ökonomisch und ökologisch gerechteren Welt vereinbart. Eine zentrale Frage lautet nun, wie die Umsetzung der SDGs finanziert werden soll und welche Rolle dabei die öffentlichen Haushalte spielen. Bundesregierung, Bundestag und zivilgesellschaftliche Organisationen haben unterschiedliche Rollen, Verantwortlichkeiten und entsprechend unterschiedliche Einflussmöglichkeiten, um den Bundeshaushalt „SDG-konform“ zu machen. Im Verlauf der verschiedenen Phasen des Budgetzyklus gibt es für sie eine Vielzahl von Handlungs- und Interventionsmöglichkeiten, die sie stärker als bisher nutzen sollten.

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Market discourse has captured the development agenda to a point that may be incompatible with UN mandates

barbaraCIVICUS speaks with Barbara Adams, senior policy analyst at the Global Policy Forum about the United Nations' turn to the the corporate sector. Adams explains that a trend for multi-stakeholder partnerships can be observed. This has been reinforced by the 2030 Agenda, and the push for its implementation and achievement of the SDGs. The accompanying policy influence, programme distortions, undermining of the 2030 Agenda and ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals have, however, not been adequately addressed.

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Rethinking the UN Security Council: A Book Launch

1503080209_magicfields_publication-archive_1_1The UN Security Council remains a mysterious body, hid­den most of the time behind a strict security perimeter and many closed door meetings. To understand the Council, it is necessary to penetrate a thick­et of myth and to examine the web of ideology, fear, and ambition that motivates its members. To promote a Council fit for the future, we must be ambitious, with a goal of thor­oughgoing transformation. For one thing is clear: Cautious pragmatism will not do. The book “Of Foxes and Chickens: Oligarchy and Global Power in the UN Security Council” by James A. Paul is based on the author’s unique access to the Council over many years. Providing a new and critical reading of the institution, it considers the Council’s history, its mode of operation, and its many sanctions regimes, military operations, and other initiatives, as well as its role as a “theater” in which great power rivalries are regularly on display.

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Neues Briefing: Agenda 2030 kommunal

GPF-Briefing_1117_Agenda2030_kommunalkDie Umsetzung der Agenda 2030 und ihrer Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung (SDGs) in und durch Deutschland ist nicht ausschließlich eine Bundesangelegenheit. Auch den Städten und Kommunen kommt eine wichtige Rolle bei der Verwirklichung der Agenda zu. Viele haben inzwischen Diskussionsprozesse zur Umsetzung der SDGs auf lokaler Ebene eingeleitet. Beispielsweise haben 15 Städte und Kreise in Nordrhein-Westfalen, darunter Köln, Dortmund und Bonn, beschlossen, die globalen Nachhaltigkeitsziele auf die kommunale Ebene „herunterzubrechen“ und integrierte Nachhaltigkeitsstrategien zu erarbeiten. Dabei muss das Rad keinesfalls neu erfunden werden. Vielmehr können Prozesse zur Umsetzung der Agenda 2030 auf lokaler Ebene auf bestehenden Initiativen und Institutionen aufbauen und diese neu beleben.

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Urgent climate action as key component of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development

DSCF2592kIt is no secret that a dual relationship exists between climate change and sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which governments agreed in September 2015, recognizes that climate change is “one of the greatest challenges of our time” and voices concern about “its adverse impacts undermine the ability of all countries to achieve sustainable development.” In order to ensure that the implementation of the Paris Agreement truly helps foster more just and sustainable development, governments have to respect Human Rights, question the partnership and multi-stakeholder approach, reclaim policies for the public and strengthen participatory and democratic governance structures, and tackle vertical and horizontal inequalities in and between countries.

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