The European Commission and the EU member states have been pushing for special rights for European investors whose operations are internationally enforced by secretive, business-friendly tribunals in trade agreements such as the EU-US TTIP deal. These tribunals give corporations unlimited opportunities to defend their interests, threatening democratically agreed environmental and social policies by national states.

Yet, the European countries and the European Commission are derailing attempts to develop a legally binding treaty at the UN level which would give citizens [...]

By  Puvan Selvanathan


I write to inform you of my resignation from the Working Group of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Businessses. I have recently accepted a UN staff position.

This is an open letter, wrtitten as a courtesy and with thanks to all those who have heloed me in my time as a mandate-holder since 2011.

I joined fellow mandate holders in issuing a statement last week “As the Covenants turn 50, it is time to [...]

In der internationalen Entwicklungspolitik hat in den letzten Jahren eine Akteursgruppe in der Grauzone zwischen Zivilgesellschaft und Wirtschaft an Bedeutung gewonnen: Philanthropische Stiftungen.

US-amerikanische Stiftungen wie die Rockefeller Foundation sind bereits seit dem frühen 20. Jahrhundert in der internationalen (Entwicklungs-)Zusammenarbeit aktiv. Aber erst in den letzten Jahren haben sich mit der wachsenden Anzahl von Stiftungen und vor allem mit der Gründung der Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation deren finanzielle Leistungen rapide erhöht. In Zeiten stagnierender öffentlicher Mittel für die Entwicklungszusammenarbeit [...]

Geneva, 9 December (TWN) – Philanthropic foundations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations Foundation have seconded their staffers to top management positions at the World Health Organization.

A UN Foundation staffer was placed in the office of the Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan as senior strategist (D1 level) for a 24-month contract this year.  One Gates Foundation staffer is seconded at P5 level as manager of program operations and cluster management at the Polio and [...]

by K M Gopakumar

Millions of dollars given by major pharmaceutical companies to the World Health Organization (WHO) raise questions of compliance with the organization’s guidelines on interactions with commercial enterprises.

Currently, WHO’s relations with commercial enterprises are guided by the “Guidelines on interaction with commercial enterprises to achieve health outcomes” (http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/78660/1/ee20.pdf?ua=1). The 107th Session of the Executive Board in 2001 “noted” the Guidelines that cover cash donations, contributions in kind, seconded personnel, collaboration for product development, collaboration [...]

For the last few decades, increasing globalization of the world economy and waves of deregulation and privatization have facilitated the emergence and increased the power of private actors, particularly of large transnational corporations. However, it is not only “big business” but also “big philanthropy” that has an increasing influence in global (development) policy, particularly large philanthropic foundations. They have become influential actors in international policy debates, including, most importantly, how to address poverty eradication, sustainable development, climate change and the [...]

Over the past fifteen years, the international world has implemented the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). During that time it became evident that “localization” even at the sub-national level was required. Some efforts were made to prepare local authorities for adapting MDGs targets and indicators into their priorities. However, it emerged that municipalities had to be empowered and better equipped to do this more effectively. Even more as in September 2015, the Member States of the United Nations signed on to [...]

Corporate Accountability International has released a new report, “Fueling the Fire: The big polluters bankrolling COP21,” exposing the filthy track record of the corporations sponsoring the Paris climate talks. With less than one week before the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the climate treaty, the report pulls back the green veil of four of the meeting’s dirtiest sponsors.

“Fueling the Fire” focuses on the environmental destruction and public policy interference of the leading COP21 sponsors including fossil fuel [...]

The investor-state dispute settlement puts companies’ rights ahead of human rights. Its effects are devastating for developing nations – we must abolish it.

When the architects of the international order that took shape after the second world war created the United Nations, they gave the organisation a lofty goal: “Save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” Through the UN charter – akin to a world constitution – solemnly adopted in 1945 in San Francisco, they also said they [...]

By Shane Darcy

The potential binding business and human rights treaty was a recurring issue for debate at the United Nations Business and Human Rights Forum, held in Geneva from 16 – 18 November. This annual event saw 2,300 attendees, representing States, business, civil society, academia and various international organisations, participate in numerous discussion panels and side events over three days touching on almost every aspect of the field of business and human rights. The Forum provides an opportunity to [...]

This double issue of the South Bulletin focuses on an important issue – human rights, transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

More specifically, it publishes reports on the first meeting of the Human Rights Council’s Working Group on a legally binding instrument on TNCs and other business enterprises with respect to human rights.

This issue, and the working group, have attracted the attention of hundreds of civil society groups around the world, as getting redress for the adverse effects of [...]

Peeling back the PR reveals that the dish that's on offer is nothing short of a climate catastrophe. Big business is writing a recipe guaranteed to cook the planet:

  • We can’t choose the best ingredients—maximum economic growth and a ‘better’ fossil fuel (natural gas) must be included. Conflicting measures such as restrictions on dirty fuel imports must be left out
  • We can’t control the cooking process—market signals, not regulators, will guide the way
  • It’s the same old business-as-usual [...]

Die internationale Politik war und ist 2015 geprägt von einer Reihe globaler Konferenzen und Gipfeltreffen. Ende November beginnt in Paris die Vertragsstaatenkonferenz zur Verabschiedung eines neuen Klimaabkommens. Im September beschlossen die Staats- und Regierungschefs bei einem Gipfel in New York die 2030 Agenda für nachhaltige Entwicklung mit den darin enthaltenen globalen Nachhaltigkeitszielen und bereits im Juli fand in Addis Abeba, Äthiopien, die 3. Internationale Konferenz über Entwicklungsfinanzierung (Financing for Development, FfD) statt.

Die Ergebnisse dieses Gipfelmarathons werden die Umwelt- und [...]

Der Privatwirtschaft wird in der internationalen Umwelt- und Entwicklungspolitik zunehmende Bedeutung beigemessen. Immer mehr Unternehmen beteiligen sich an Initiativen zur Umsetzung internationaler Umwelt-, Sozial- und Menschenrechtsstandards und informieren in Nachhaltigkeitsberichten über die gesellschaftsbezogenen Auswirkungen ihrer Tätigkeit.

Zugleich sind es aber auch Wirtschaftsunternehmen und ihre Lobbygruppen, die gegenüber der Politik verbindliche Maßnahmen zur Durchsetzung der Menschenrechte, zur Regulierung der Finanzmärkte und zum ökologischen Strukturwandel der Wirtschaft ablehnen. Nicht selten verfolgen Unternehmen und ihre Interessenverbände eine Doppelstrategie: Auf der einen Seite demonstrieren [...]

For the past 4 years and as part of the WHO reform, WHO and its governing bodies are discussing new set of policies, currently called Framework of Engagement With Non State Actors (FENSA). This is a critically important document as its final shape will determine whether WHO will be an agency able to protect its independence, integrity and credibility. The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), Third World Network (TWN) and other Public-interest NGOs, professional bodies and networks have been [...]

As the death toll rises after the Philippines’ 12th typhoon this year, a new report questions the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies making billions in profits without paying for any of the climate damage their product is causing.

“Making a Killing: Who pays the real costs of big oil, coal and gas?” released today in Bonn by the Carbon Levy Project, outlines several cases where developing countries have suffered real loss and damage from climate change impacts. Loss and damage [...]

Step-change needed to get a Paris Agreement that’s ambitious and fair

A review of country climate targets reflecting the twin pillars of science and equity has been released by civil society ahead of the UN climate conference in Paris.

By early October, a total of 146 countries, representing almost 87 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, had submitted their climate targets to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

These country climate targets – called Intended Nationally Determined [...]

The report, TTIPing Away the Ladder, argues that any potential progress made by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) would be fatally undermined by the impacts of a proposed free trade deal between the EU and USA - the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). It shows that:

  • TTIP contradicts the central SDG aim of levelling the playing field for developing countries. The SDGs recognise that this can only be achieved if developing countries have an equal decision making role in [...]

Commonly referred to as ‘corporate capture’, the increasing control of businesses over food systems and resources, institutions, policy spaces and governance structures, is putting human rights at great risk. The world is witnessing this reality from the Americas to Asia, particularly since the 2008 world food crisis that shook societies across the globe. It is clear that the present economic model cannot guarantee the conditions for national governments to fulfill their human rights obligations, including the right to adequate food [...]

By Ziad Abdul Samad

The outcome reached by the international track of sustainable development objectives amounts to a dangerous twist in the concept of development, especially in terms of determining the roles of stakeholders in the development process. For example, it proposes giving the business sector the key role, being a contributor to job-generating growth. This comes before the adoption of “business-binding human rights standards.”It also reflects a new concept for “international partnership for development,” which has been based on [...]

The G20 mandate for the BEPS project was that international tax rules should be reformed to ensure that multinational enterprises (MNEs) could be taxed ‘where economic activities take place and value is created’. This implied a new approach, to treat the corporate group of a MNE as a single firm, and ensure that its tax base is attributed according to its real activities in each country. Unfortunately, the BEPS project has continued to emphasise the independent entity principle, which starts [...]

By Yilmaz Akyüz

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is one of the most ambiguous and the least understood concepts in international economics. Common debate on FDI is confounded by several myths regarding its nature and impact on capital accumulation, technological progress, industrialization and growth. It is often portrayed as a long term, stable, cross-border flow of capital that adds to productive capacity, helps meet balance-of-payments shortfalls, transfers technology and management skills, and links domestic firms with wider global markets. However, none [...]

by Marina Lostal*

A few days ago, on 26 September 2015, the first suspect in the Mali investigation, Ahmad Al Mahdi Al Faqi was surrendered to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the authorities of Niger. The charges against him centre on the destruction of cultural heritage.

The background of the conflict in Mali and the attacks against the World Heritage site of Timbuktu

The Tuareg, the ethnic group at the epicenter of the Malian conflict, live in the [...]

Am 25. September 2015 haben die Staatsund Regierungschefs auf dem UN-Gipfel in New York unter der Überschrift „Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development“ eine neue globale Agenda für Entwicklung und Nachhaltigkeit verabschiedet. Damit wollen sie bis zum Jahr 2030 globale Herausforderungen wie Hunger und Armut, soziale Ungleichheit, übermäßigen Ressourcenverbrauch und den fortschreitenden Klimawandel bewältigen. Kernelement der 2030-Agenda sind 17 Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung (Sustainable Development Goals, SDG), die den Staaten in den kommenden 15 Jahren als Handlungsrahmen [...]

Barbara Adams, with the Global Policy Forum, talked about the money the U.S. contributes to the United Nations and how that amount compares to contributions by other countries. She also discussed the efficiency of U.N. programs. This program was part of C-SPAN’s “Your Money” series. Each Monday morning the last hour of “Washington Journal” is devoted to a federal program, focusing on its mission, participants, and cost.

We, the undersigned civil society organisations, are writing to you to highlight the importance of the upcoming EU negotiations about public country by country reporting for multinational corporations.

We are strongly encouraged by the fact that the European Parliament, with a large majority, voted in favour of including public country by country reporting in the Accounting Directive, through their review of the Shareholders Rights Directive. The upcoming EU trialogue negotiations will be a key test of whether the European Union [...]

"Follow the money” is the recipe for good investigative journalism and Fit for Whose Purpose does precisely that for the institution created to defend global public goods. Digging into the numbers behind the funding of the United Nations, Adams and Martens uncover a trail that leads to corporate interests having a disproportionate say over the bodies that write global rules. This book shows how Big Tobacco, Big Soda, Big Pharma and Big Alcohol end up prevailing and how corporate philanthropy [...]

by Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association

A binding international treaty that imposes human rights obligations on businesses would be a monumental step towards protecting peaceful assembly and association rights.

In my report to the Human Rights Council in June 2015, I documented the myriad challenges to upholding the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the context of natural resource exploitation. The stories documented in the [...]

In its meeting yesterday, 10 September 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted principles for a fair resolution of debt crises. The majority of member states voted in favor of the principles, with only 41 countries abstaining and 6 voting against the proposal.

Although this outcome falls behind expectations for the creation of a global State insolvency regime, civil society organization like erlassjahr.de, the German counterpart of the international Jubilee Debt campaign, welcomed the adoption of the principles [...]

Dear Ambassador,

On September 10th the international community must take an important step towards better prevention and resolution of sovereign debt crises. Adoption of the UN General Assembly Resolution “Basic Principles on Sovereign Debt Restructuring Processes” would be a milestone towards ensuring that debt crises can be tackled in a timely, orderly, effective and fair manner. As a Europe-wide and international coalition of civil society organisations working on debt justice, we urge you to vote in favour of this Resolution [...]

Abstract: We analyze the top tail of the wealth distribution in Germany, France, Spain, and Greece based on the Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS). Since top wealth is likely to be underrepresented in household surveys we integrate the big fortunes from rich lists, estimate a Pareto distribution, and impute the missing rich. Instead of the Forbes list we mainly rely on national rich lists since they represent a broader base for the big fortunes. As a result, the top [...]

A new report released today reveals the dramatic extent of the pharmaceutical industry's lobbying efforts towards EU decision-makers, with the industry spending an estimated 15 times more than civil society actors working on public health or access to medicines.

'Policy prescriptions: the firepower of the EU pharmaceutical lobby and implications for public health' by Corporate Europe Observatory probes the privileged access to decision-making in Brussels enjoyed by the sector and facilitated by a lobby spend of around €40 million, extensive [...]

by Aldo Caliari, Project Director at the Washington DC-based Center of Concern

The role of foreign investment in financing development has been a matter of considerable debate in the negotiations leading up to all Financing for Development (FFD) conferences. But deliberations towards the one which took place in Addis Ababa in July 2015 have seen a definite tendency to propose a greater reliance on foreign investment in financing development. It will be important to watch how the Addis Ababa conference [...]

UNITED NATIONS—The Women’s Major Group, made up of more than 600 women’s organizations and networks from around the world, recognizes the historic agenda for global sustainable development that 193 governments agreed to on Sunday. At the center of this broad and ambitious plan are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be formally adopted by Heads of State in September at the UN General Assembly. The SDGs chart out global development across social, environmental and economic areas for the next [...]

by Bodo Ellmers, Eurodad

Just ten days after the UN’s International Conference on Financing for Development, and just in time for the endorsement of the new sustainable development agenda, a UN Committee has agreed on a set of principles to guide further sovereign debt restructuring processes. The new UN principles were inspired by the devastating bank bailouts in Greece, and by the vulture fund lawsuits that Argentina faced at US courts. They build on preparatory work done by an expert [...]

With a delay of ten days, the UN has finally published the final outcome document for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to be officially adopted at the UN Summit on September 25-27, 2015 in New York. The Agenda sets out the aims of the organization and all its members for the coming 15 years in the fields of social development, curbing equalities, economic progress and environmental sustainability. If taken seriously, the 2030 Agenda will require profound changes in [...]

By Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Coordinator for Economic and Social Development at the Food and Agriculture Organization and received the 2007 Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda is widely seen as a major disappointment for developing countries as well as others hoping for adequate means of implementation to realise national development ambitions and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It has become clear that the South, including the least developed countries, should not [...]

By Thalif Deen, IPS

After more than two years of intense negotiations, the U.N.’s 193 member states have unanimously agreed on a new Sustainable Development Agenda (SDA) with 17 goals — including the elimination of extreme poverty and hunger — to be reached by 2030.

At a press briefing Monday, Ambassador Macharia Kamau of Kenya, one of the co-facilitators of the intergovernmental consultative process, told reporters the implementation of the agenda could cost a staggering 3.5 trillion to 5.0 trillion [...]

By Barbara Adams and Gretchen Luchsinger

A critical issue repeatedly arising in the post-2015 negotiations relates to responsibility. There is shared responsibility, the preference of rich countries who would like to shift traditional official development assistance (ODA) and other “burdens” given the “rise” of some developing countries. There is common but differentiated responsibility, stressed by developing countries to link common commitment with the reality of varying capacities.

Debates also circle, directly or otherwise, around the role of the state, with [...]

Spinning revolving doors between the European public and private sectors risks creating conflicts of interest and exacerbating the corporate capture of the EU-US trade talks (TTIP) says a new report (link) from lobby watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO).

As the 10th round of TTIP talks continue this week, CEO documents a variety of revolving door cases including a commissioner, MEPs and officials with links or interests in TTIP at the European or national levels. Some of the biggest corporate lobby [...]

By Aldo Caliari

On July 16th, governments adopted the Outcome of the Third Conference on Financing for Development, held in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), called the “Action Ababa Action Agenda” (AAAA or the “Outcome”). In a collective and sharp statement in response, civil society said that the conference “lost the opportunity to tackle the structural injustices in the current global economic system and ensure that development finance is people-centered and protects the environment.”

The lack of ambition of the adopted text [...]

GENEVA – The United Nations Working Group on business and human rights this week urged Governments across the world to ensure that corporations do not undermine sustainable development, and called for greater transparency and accountability for how businesses address human rights risks and impacts.

“States must set a clear vision for connecting the increasing role of the private sector and businesses in development with accountability and agreed standards for business practices aligned with human rights,” the independent expert group said [...]

Just out from the Business Sector Steering Committee is the “Financing for Development Business Compendium.” It highlights 33 efforts aimed at mobilizing the private sector capital, claiming these provide “a strong indication of the broad scope of ongoing initiatives and the potential for scaling up to achieve the demands of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The initiatives will be listed on the UN Financing for Development website as examples of the commitments different stakeholders are making under the Third International Conference [...]

The Third International Conference on Financing for Development is coming to an end. Yesterday, the countries reached an agreement in Addis Ababa on the final outcome document. The Conference on Financing for Development has reportedly seen the presence of 27 heads of government and many more senior government representatives from the capitals. Representatives of UN Agencies, civil society, and the business community from across the globe were also taking part in the conference. While the UN reports that the “groundbreaking [...]

Manila, Philippines–This week, we witness state leaders, high-level officials, civil society groups, and business representatives convene for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss and agree on an action plan for financing development, including the Sustainable Development Goals to be adopted by UN member states in the September 2015 Summit.

“We started from an optimistic viewpoint on FfD3 and now ending with so much disappointment over what seems like retrogression from old [...]

To avoid the failure of Addis Ababa the global North has to make concessions

The debt crisis in Greece dominates the news in Europe but a significant related event lacks public attention – the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development (FFD3). This is being held in Ethiopia from 13 to 16 July and is designed to come up with proposals on how to shape international financial relations more equally and to finance efforts to advance sustainable development. FFD3 deals [...]

One of the more contested issues at the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development, currently underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is how to improve/ensure global cooperation in tax matters. During preparatory negotiations in New York, a proposal surfaced that would upgrade a UN expert committee on the issue into a full-fledged political, and more importantly universal, commission. The commission could deal with issues like fighting tax evasion and avoidance, could set standards for double taxation agreements and for how [...]

We, members of more than 600 civil society organizations and networks from around the world that have been engaged in the process leading up to and including the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (Addis Ababa, July 13-16 2015), convened a CSO Forum in advance of the conference. We have the following reflections and recommendations to convey to the Member States of the United Nations and the international community.

Representatives of the CSO FfD Group delivered an abridged version [...]

Public-private partnerships (often referred to as PPPs) are increasingly promoted as a way to finance development projects. Donor governments and financial institutions, such as the World Bank, have set up multiple donor initiatives to promote changes in national regulatory frameworks to allow for PPPs, as well as provide advice and finance to PPP projects.

PPPs also feature prominently in the discussions around the post-2015 and the financing for development agendas. Currently, there is a strong push to increase the involvement [...]

By Barbara Adams and Gretchen Luchsinger

With pens still hovering over the Addis Ababa Action Plan, the outcome agreement for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3), there is already a sense that for all the recent talk at the UN about ambition and transformation, it is falling short. For a financing document, the Action Plan includes an impressive number of references to issues at the core of sustainable and inclusive development, like social protection, essential services, decent [...]

By Barbara Adams and Gretchen Luchsinger

With pens still hovering over the Addis Ababa Action Plan, the outcome agreement for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3), there is already a sense that for all the recent talk at the UN about ambition and transformation, it is falling short. For a financing document, the Action Plan includes an impressive number of references to issues at the core of sustainable and inclusive development, like social protection, essential services, decent [...]

417 NGOs from 105 countries, including GPF, signed the Joint Statement on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Expression and Intersex Status which was delivered on Monday 29 June 2015 at the 29th UN Human Rights Council. The statement urges the Council to act now and end the violence and discrimination suffered by LGBTI people around the world. It welcomes the resolution passed by the Council in September 2014 but expresses concern about severe human rights violations from State and non-State [...]

The open-ended intergovernmental working group (IGWG), established under the Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution 26/9, is mandated “to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises”. The first two sessions of the IGWG “shall be dedicated to conducting constructive deliberations on the content, scope, nature and form of the future international instrument”. The IGWG will have its first session during 6-10 July 2015 in Geneva.

In [...]

Das Jahr 2015 ist zweifellos bedeutend für die internationale Nachhaltigkeitspolitik. Gleich drei Weltkonferenzen finden innerhalb von nur fünf Monaten statt. Im November soll in Paris ein Nachfolger für das Kyoto-Protokoll auf den Weg gebracht werden. Im September tagen bei den Vereinten Nationen in New York die Staats- und Regierungschefs, um eine Agenda nachhaltiger Entwicklung für die Zeit nach 2015 (Post-2015-Agenda) zu verabschieden. Den Anfang aber macht vom 13. bis 16. Juli die 3. Internationale Konferenz über Entwicklungsfinanzierung (FfD3) in Addis [...]

Article by Bhumika Muchhala, Third World Network

A new Global Policy Watch brief from Global Policy Watch (an initiative of Social Watch and  Global Policy Forum) highlights the key role that the Global Financing Facility (GFF) is to expected to play as a financing vehicle for Goal #3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), that of: “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” Similar to the Global Fund or GAVI (the Vaccine Alliance), the GFF will [...]

By Jens Martens

While negotiations on Financing for Development and the means of implementation of the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) within the UN are deadlocked, a new Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Woman Every Child is going to be established outside of the UN. The creation of the GFF was initiated by the World Bank and the governments of Canada, Norway, and the United States, and announced at the UN General Assembly in September 2014. It will [...]

Global Trends analyzes current developments and longer-term trends in the fields of peace and security, world economy and society, and sustainable development.The standard work has been first launched in 1991 and it is based on a wealth of statistical data and information from a variety of international sources and presents its findings in a clear and accessible format. Applying a multidisciplinary approach, it aims to explain patterns and linkages in complex global processes and identify the potential for more responsible [...]

Seit Januar 2015 verhandeln in New York die Mitgliedstaaten der Vereinten Nationen (VN) die Post-2015-Agenda nachhaltiger Entwicklung. Diese soll aus vier Teilen bestehen: der politischen Erklärung (Declaration), den Zielen nachhaltiger Entwicklung (Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs), den Mitteln zur Umsetzung derselben (Means of Implementation, MoI) und dem Verfahren, wie eben diese Umsetzung nachvollzogen und überprüft werden soll (Follow-up and Review). Im Mai 2015 wurde der vierte Teil der Agenda diskutiert, der hier im Mittelpunkt steht und für den seit kurzem der [...]

The European Commission has issued its new action plan entitled A fairer corporate tax system in the EU on June 17. Europe’s trade unions support a fairer and more efficient corporate tax regime addressing tax avoidance which is robbing society of billions of Euros to finance public services and social protection and to redistribute wealth and income. But the Commission’s plans lack clear actions.

The Commission states that companies must pay tax where they make profits and stop shifting profits [...]

Malawi, the poorest country in the world, has lost out on US$43 million in revenue over the last six years, from a single company – the Australian mining company Paladin. The money has been lost through a combination of harmful tax incentives from the Malawian government and tax planning using treaty shopping by Paladin.

This money could have paid for

  • 431,000 annual HIV/AIDS treatments; or
  • 17,000 annual nurses salaries; or
  • 8,500 annual doctors’ salaries; or
  • 39,000 annual teachers salaries.

What [...]

by Ulrich Hoffmann

Many economists and policy makers advocate a fundamental shift towards "green growth" as the new, qualitatively-different growth paradigm, largely based on enhanced material/resource/energy efficiency, structural changes towards a service-dominated economy and a switch in the energy mix favouring renewable forms of energy.

"Green growth" may work well in creating new growth impulses with reduced environmental load and facilitating related technological and structural change. But can it also mitigate climate change at the required scale (i.e. significant, absolute [...]

1)    A key step towards a coherent global system. Currently, the international tax system consists of a complicated web of thousands of bilateral tax treaties and different parallel international systems to regulate, for example, information exchange and corporate reporting. Negotiation of a globally agreed system is the only way to remove the complexity, confusion, inconsistency and mismatches that exist today. A truly global tax body is a crucial first step towards this goal.

2)    Stronger cooperation between tax administrations [...]

By Aldo Caliari

Negotiations towards the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) on July 13-16, are in full gear. In line with ongoing trends in the landscape of development assistance, deliberations thus far have shown a strong promotion, especially by Northern countries, of increased reliance on private sector sources for development funding. Two new studies set out to interrogate what does this mean for the language on human rights accountability of the [...]

The outcome document for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) is being finalized at the United Nations in New York. This is a key moment to make an assessment and influence the issues under negotiation to ensure progress is not lost in the interests of fact-tracking consensus. The outcome document must establish new ground on a range of issues such as combatting illicit financial flows and global tax cooperation.

Key to this is action on proposals of [...]

The recently published declaration by ICRICT (Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation) argues that the current tax system has become obsolete as a result of globalization and the changing world economy. ICRICT states that an adjustment of the tax system is indispensable and that the efforts made by the OECD are not sufficient. The commission therefore aims to push governments around the world to take action. The declaration presents a set of principles and recommendations for reform [...]

Politicians and executives from some of the world’s biggest agribusiness companies are today meeting in Cape Town, South Africa for the leadership council of the controversial New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. On the same day, a coalition of a hundred farmers’ organisations, social movements, unions and civil society groups around the world have released a statement calling on the G7 and African governments to stop supporting the New Alliance.

The policies of the New Alliance have been criticised [...]

At their forthcoming summit in Germany, G7 leaders will meet some of their African counterparts to discuss how they can support economic growth and sustainable development in Africa. The continent has enjoyed a recent economic boom, but countries across the continent remain blighted by poverty and inequality.

Africa is among the world’s fastest-growing continents, but the rich world is reaping the rewards of this growth, as billions of dollars a year flow out of Africa. This is depriving it of [...]

We, the signatories to this joint statement,

Welcome the establishment at the 26th Session of the UN Human Rights Council of the “open-ended intergovernmental working group on a legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, the mandate of which shall be to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises” (res 26/9). We call on all civil society [...]

As governments negotiate the Third Financing for Development Conference (FFD 3) to be held in Addis Ababa (13-16 July 2015), an important decision that they will have to make refers to the follow-up process. This brief piece offers some thoughts on the international dimensions of such follow-up, without denying the importance of the need to plan for national and regional follow-up dimensions too.

It is no secret that Financing for Development commitments have been poorly implemented, and while the Third [...]

As the UN holds two seminal, simultaneous meetings this week to determine the future of the post-2015 and the financing for development (FfD) agendas, the Center for Economic and Social Rights and the Third World Network are launching a new briefing which argues that human rights obligations can provide a fresh lens on one of the most entrenched stalemates in the negotiations: the respective responsibilities of governments North and South to achieve and to finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) [...]

EU Ministers met on May 26 to finalise the EU’s position ahead of the crucial UN Financing for Development (FFD) summit in Addis Ababa. The EU position reveals that the Ministers prefer to promote a controversial and problematic reliance on private finance rather than tackling crucial systemic issues such as the need for global tax reform. The council conclusions can be found here.

The FfD summit, which will take place in July, will decide how to finance international development [...]

Co-authored by KM Gopa Kumar (Third World Network), Sandeep Kishore (Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network), Tim Reed (Health Action International), and Rachel Kiddell-Monroe (Universities Allied for Essential Medicines)


We are writing from the 68th World Health Assembly, where a drafting group of Member States are discussing the Framework of Engagement With Non-State Actors (FENSA). This process aims to determine the rules of engagement between WHO and non-State actors (NSAs), a moniker encompassing academia, nongovernmental organizations, philanthropic foundations, and the [...]

For decades, development policy was shaped by the notion that the poor countries of the Global South needed money from the wealthy North in order to advance in their development. At the latest since the 2008/09 financial crisis this view of things has, it seems, begun to change. In the current Global Governance Spotlight, Wolfgang Obenland, Program Coordinator of the Global Policy Forum, analyses the negotiations on the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, scheduled [...]

Geneva, 20 May (Kanaga Raja) -- The Framework for Engagement with Non-State Actors, initiated to safeguard the independence, integrity and credibility of the World Health Organisation (WHO), now seems to bear the threat of facilitating and legitimising the corporate capture of the organisation, civil society groups have charged.

Ahead of the first meeting of the drafting group that will consider the latest draft of the framework at the current sixty-eighth World Health Assembly, some 33 civil society organisations (CSOs) and [...]

The European Union is the world’s largest economy, the world’s largest trading block, and home to 500 million consumers. Every year, millions of euro worth of minerals flow into the EU from some of the poorest places on earth. No questions are asked about how they are extracted, or whether their trade fuels conflict in local communities. The EU has no legislation in place to ensure companies source their minerals responsibly. Now is the time for change.

The trade in [...]

How can we ensure that business – in particular multinational enterprises (MNEs) – really contribute to development in the countries where they operate? How can responsibility of their actions be granted against development impacts? How to keep them accountable for spending public money? These seem quite immediate questions. However, they still need to be answered.

The study “Business Accountability FOR Development”, launched in April 2015, was supported by the CPDE, in cooperation with ITUC-TUDCN and EURODAD. It highlights [...]

By Barbara Adams, Gretchen Luchsinger

It is not surprising that the political battles have already become fierce in the concurrent negotiations for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) and the post-2015 development agenda with its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At stake is who will shape the agenda—and how much real impact it will have.

What is the direction of the “transformation” that is now so frequently discussed in both talks? Are we headed towards a world of [...]

This report examines the practice of lobbying and the attempts to regulate it in 19 European countries and within the three core EU institutions. It comes at a time when public trust in government is at an all-time low and the practice of lobbying is widely associated with secrecy and unfair advantage. It also comes at a moment when an increasing number of governments in Europe are promising to tackle the problem of undue influence in politics, and the need [...]


Developing countries—emerging, middle-income, and least developed—will be going to the Third Financing for Development (FfD) Conference in Addis Ababa in July 2015 with a set of demands to reform and rebalance the international financial system in order to facilitate the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On 19 July 2014 the Open Working Group of the United Nations agreed on a draft set of 17 SDGs, taking the first steps toward a renewed development agenda for after 2015 [...]

By Barbara Adams and Gretchen Luchsinger

Getting the right balance between public and private sector roles and responsibilities in the Financing for Development and Post-2015 process will be fundamental to prospects for sustainable, inclusive development. Yet early evidence suggests this balance is already awry, skewed far in favour of private interests. Are we seeing a process of outsourcing the international agenda?

There’s no question that businesses around the world are sources of growth and employment. But they are also the [...]

by Wolfgang Obenland, Global Policy Forum

For the first time, the international development agenda, through the FfD3 and post-2015 processes, is considered universal, applying to every country. Current deliberations, however, reveal different understandings of what universality means.

To some, the concept overshadows the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ (CBDR), agreed in the Rio Declaration and reaffirmed by subsequent global and international documents—a concern voiced by the Indian delegate among others. CBDR roots governments’ obligations in their capacities to solve [...]

By Barbara Adams, Gretchen Luchsinger

The post-2015 development agenda aspires to global transformation. Its content so far, including the set of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) agreed in last year’s Open Working Group, affirms that aim through an unprecedented commitment to inclusion, sustainability and universality. This suggests that the world might finally move beyond current imbalanced patterns of consumption and production that have left wide swathes of human deprivation and pushed the limits of planetary boundaries.

Yet the main question [...]

Civil society has put forward and worked hard to defend a vision of a new Post-2015 Agenda that will approach human rights, environmental integrity and the urgency of dealing with climate change in a way that addresses the injustice and inequity inherent in gender, social, political and economic relations at all levels.

As we approach the final phase of agreeing on the framework, there are clear indications that we are further from reaching this vision in the post-2015 agreement than [...]

Civil society organizations and social movements around the world struggling against corporate abuse achieved a first victory in June last year when the UN Human Rights Council adopted Resolution 26/9, establishing an Intergovernmental Working Group whose the mandate shall be to elaborate an international legally-binding instrument to regulate the activities of business enterprises. However, there remain important challenges to ensure that a robust treaty ensuring genuine corporate accountability and access to justice will be drafted in a participatory and transparent [...]

New Discussion paper for the Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development Perspectives I March 2015

The Post-2015 Agenda with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as one of its key components is intended to be truly universal and global. This requires a fair sharing of costs, responsibilities and opportunities among and within countries. The principle of »common but differentiated responsibilities« (CBDR) must be applied. Coupled with the human rights principle of equal rights for all and the need to respect [...]

States, UN agencies, and civil society organizations are channelling unprecedented resources and energy towards the new post-2015 sustainable development agenda, which aims to lift billions out of poverty and deprivation while realizing human rights, protecting the environment and creating a more just and equitable world. CESR has long argued that embedding meaningful accountability into the post-2015 agenda will be critical to ensure it stands any chance of achieving its goals and creating real, empowering change on the ground. As the [...]

(New York) Responding to widespread anger about corporate tax avoidance, the impacts of such avoidance on inequality and poverty, and concerns that current tax reform processes are inadequate, a new nonpartisan body— the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT)—has been established to propose reforms from the perspective of the public interest.

The inaugural meeting of the Commission will take place in New York on March 18-19, 2015. The Commission’s Chair, former UN Under-Secretary-General José Antonio Ocampo [...]

by Marina Lostal

Iraqi officials have reported that, last Saturday 7 of March, the Islamic State destroyed Hatra, a 2,000-year-old fortified city around 100 km south-west of Mosul. The Islamic State is believed to have bulldozed the site and looted the cultural artifacts housed inside, including gold and silver objects. The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has declared that “[t]he destruction of Hatra marks a turning point in the appalling strategy of cultural cleansing underway in Iraq” (here) [...]

Dear Mr Juncker, President of the European Commission,

As European civil society organisations, we are writing to call on the European Commission to propose ambitious and broad-ranging action, starting with the forthcoming Tax Transparency Package, to ensure that large companies pay their fair share of tax where their real economic activity takes place, both in Europe and in developing countries.

LuxLeaks is only one of a string of scandals which make clear that large companies are able to legally avoid [...]

With the post-2015 debate now moving swiftly into the issue of how to measure the achievement of sustainable development goals and targets, the United Nations Statistical Commission – an intergovernmental body made up of chief statisticians from countries around the world – is meeting in New York this week. 

In response to the list of preliminary indicators that the Commission is considering – and mindful that the indicators chosen have the potential to uplift or undermine the whole post-2015 agenda [...]

On January 28-30, 2015, members of DAWN attended the First Drafting Session of the document for the third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) in the United Nations Headquarters. The importance of gender equality and women's empowerment was repeatedly mentioned by different governments and members of the civil society organizations. Our direct participation in the session allowed us to identify new and old conflict areas between different blocks of countries, and to assess the level of ambition of the [...]

The event aims at exploring the question of how women’s organizations and feminist movements can influence governmental decision-making. What strategies have proven to be effective to ensure policy agendas and laws reflect women’s interests? What are the factors and conditions under which non-state actors can effectively trigger and influence policy change?


Elisa Vega Sillo, Office for Depatriarchalization of the Vice-Ministry of Decolonization, Bolivia
Nitya Rao, University of East Anglia, Great Britain
Anne-Marie Goetz, New York University, United States
Rob [...]

At this event, we will discuss whether the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be able to avoid the shortcomings of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), on which the UN development agenda was based so far. This question was also the subject of a study we recently published.


Dagmar Enkelmann, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Germany
Gathoni Blessol, The Rules und Bunge La Wamama Mashinani, Kenya
Barbara Adams, Global Policy Forum, United States
Yiping Cai, Development Alternatives with Women for a New [...]

by Marina Lostal

Since the beginning of the armed conflict in Syria, experts had long suspected that the country’s archaeological sites and museums were being looted. The reports based on satellite images of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (available here and here) confirmed the fears that the scale of plunder was unprecedented since the Second World War. At the same time, it was discovered that the illicit trade with antiquities was a major source of income of [...]

On February 25, 2015, in Brussels, a coalition of European and American trade unions, joined by anti-poverty campaign group War on Want, unveiled a report about what they say is McDonald’s deliberate avoidance of over €1 billion in corporate taxes in Europe over the five year period, 2009-2013.

The report outlines in detail an alleged tax avoidance strategy adopted by McDonald’s and its tax impact both throughout Europe and in major markets like France, Italy, Spain and the U.K. The [...]

Im September 2015 wollen die Vereinten Nationen die Post-2015-Agenda für nachhaltige Entwicklung beschließen. Einen zentralen Baustein dieser Agenda bilden zukünftige Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung, die SDGs. Sie sollen universelle Gültigkeit besitzen und sind damit auch für Deutschland relevant.

Eine wesentliche Frage lautet in diesem Zusammenhang, mit welchen Indikatoren Armut, Wohlstand und Entwicklung – und damit auch die Umsetzung der SDGs – gemessen werden sollen. Die Auseinandersetzung über alternative Wohlstandsmaße hat gerade in den letzten Jahren einen wahren Boom erlebt, auch [...]

by Marina Lostal


In a recent speech, US Secretary of State John Kerry labeled the destruction of heritage in Syria „a purposeful final insult” which is “stealing the soul of millions.” He referred to the devastation in the Ancient City of Aleppo (a declared world heritage site), and tithe extensive looting of Apamea and Dura Europos (on the Syrian Tentative List of world heritage) as a tragedy for the Syrian people and the rest of the world, and remarked [...]

By Roberto Bissio

Twenty-two UN independent human rights rapporteurs wrote to the Rio+20 Summit that “real risk exists that commitments made in Rio will remain empty promises without effective monitoring and accountability.” * This danger also exists for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Could Universal Periodic Reviews (UPRs) of SDG progress be the answer?

Going for the Other Half
The first goal of the earlier MDGs promised by 2015 to reduce by half the proportion of people living with under [...]

This is an excerpt from summary of "Fool's Gold"

The Canadian Company Eldorado has recently bought up every advanced-stage gold project in Greece. It has started building a large, open-pit gold and copper mine at Skourries, in the north-eastern region of  Haldiki. These mining operations require the cleaning of a large swath of ancient forest and extensive groundwater pumping. The developments are also threatening to pollute air, water and soil with a poisonous mixture of heavy metals and other pollutants. Unsurprisingly [...]

Nora McKeon, January 2015. 248 pages

Review by Ingeborg Gaarde

The book “Food Security Governance; Empowering Communities, Regulating Corporations” by Nora McKeon explores the global food governance at a crossroads. The global food crisis from 2008 affirmed that the struggle over the global food system is not between farmers in the ‘Global North’ and the ‘Global South’, but an intensified struggle between two opposing pathways for food and agriculture:  those upholding the dominant status quo model of industrial agriculture [...]

by Tove Maria Ryding

Despite snowstorm warnings and ice-cold temperatures in New York, the Financing for Development (FfD) negotiations managed to pick up speed when governments convened for the first drafting session at the end of January. They are currently negotiating the outcome of the upcoming Addis Ababa Conference on Financing for Development, which will take place on July 13-16 this year, and is planned as a key milestone ahead of the Post-2015 Summit and the UNFCCC Climate Conference [...]

Era of bank secrecy still far from over for developing countries


G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Istanbul this weekend still have much to do if the claim ‘the era of bank secrecy is over’ is to mean anything in developing counties.

In a new report from Christian Aid, endorsed by 18 other civil society organisations, the flaws in the current approach of the G20 towards automatic exchange of tax information are laid bare. 

Joseph Stead, Christian Aid’s senior economic [...]

By Barbara Adams and Gretchen Luchsinger

2015 is a pivotal year. The post–2015 sustainable development agenda currently being drafted is premised on the reality that the present model of development is not working, given worsening inequalities and straining planetary boundaries. All countries and peoples—and the planet on which we depend–have the right to live with a better model, one that is inclusive and sustainable.
An increasingly urgent imperative for change informs the two–track negotiations unfolding at the United Nations from [...]

By Barbara Adams, Gretchen Luchsinger

2015 is a pivotal year. The post–2015 sustainable development agenda currently being drafted is premised on the reality that the present model of development is not working, given worsening inequalities and straining planetary boundaries. All countries and peoples—and the planet on which we depend–have the right to live with a better model, one that is inclusive and sustainable.
An increasingly urgent imperative for change informs the two–track negotiations unfolding at the United Nations from [...]

Spain’s failure to protect economic and social rights in times of economic crisis has come under stern criticism from other states at the country’s recent Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the UN Human Rights Council. One after another, Spain’s peers in the community of nations voiced their concern over the erosion of economic and social rights after four years of ill-conceived austerity measures. 

The gravity of the deprivations evidenced in information provided by CESR and its national allies resulted in [...]

From the CSO Response


This document has been developed by the very broad international group of Civil Society Organizations following the Financing for Development (FfD) process. While the group is diverse and positions might differ on specific issues, this document expresses the elements of common concern.

We welcome the opportunity to provide our comments on the FfD Elements Paper. Overall, we find that the document provides a good starting point for the first drafting session (with the caveat on [...]

The post-2015 sustainable development goals currently being debated by the international community must be anchored firmly in international human rights standards and backed by strong means of ensuring accountability for meeting them, leading UN human rights experts have stressed.

“We welcome the emphasis placed on accountability and call for this to be strengthened,” the Chairpersons of the 10 Treaty Bodies, the expert committees that oversee implementation by States of the core international human rights treaties, said in a statement.

Their [...]


H.E. Ambassador Guilherme Patriota, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Brazil to the UN
Stephan Ohme, Head of Division on Financing for Development / (New) Donor-relations, Federal Ministry for
Economic Cooperation & Development, Germany
Shari Spiegel, Director, UN Financing for Development Office
Manuel Montes, Senior Advisor, Finance and Development, South Centre
Jean Saldanha, Senior Policy Advisor, CIDSE
Roberto Bissio, Executive Director, Social Watch

Moderator: Lenni Montiel [...]

Extreme inequality isn't just a moral wrong. We know that it hampers economic growth and it threatens the private sector's bottom line.

Winnie Byanyima

Executive Director, Oxfam International

The combined wealth of the richest 1 percent will overtake that of the other 99 percent of people next year unless the current trend of rising inequality is checked, Oxfam warned today ahead of the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.

The international agency, whose executive director Winnie Byanyima will co-chair [...]

By Marianne Beisheim

In September 2015, the heads of state and government of the United Nations Member States are scheduled to decide on the Post-2015 agenda. This is to include not only a list of universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but also a mechanism for monitoring and review. The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) was launched in July 2013 to provide political leadership and guidance, and to work towards a global transformation to sustainable development. An important element [...]

In the year 2000, the world’s leaders assembled at the Millennium Summit to affirm their commitment to an ambitious development agenda, later distilled into eight “Millennium Development Goals” (MDGs). The summit famously called, among other demands, for concrete and time-bound action to eradicate extreme poverty. Criticized from the outset for being crafted without broad consultation, for an excessive focus on “measurable,” quantitative goals, and for lack of accountability—especially for rich countries—the MDGs’ accomplishments have been dubious and uneven. As the [...]