Global Policy Forum

Upcoming Events


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

Panel Discussion

April 25, 2018, 1-3pm | Consulate General of Ecuador, 800 2nd Ave, 2nd Floor | New York
The event is jointly organized by Corporate Accountability, ESCR-Net, FIAN International, Franciscans International, Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples Sovereignity, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity, Global Policy Forum, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung-New York Office, and Transnational Institute.
It is co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Ecuador to the United Nations New York.

To implement the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), many in the international community have addressed the financing gap, proclaiming the need to go from “billions to trillions” of dollars. This has pushed a turn towards the private sector and the promotion of ‘blended financing’ as a major way to ‘leverage’ corporate funds to meet any additional investments needed. In many cases there is no lack of additional investments, but more quality investments would appear to figure less frequently. The transformation of our world as proclaimed in the title of the 2030 Agenda requires fundamental changes in the way our societies produce and consume goods and services. Primarily both the state and the private sector have a particular role to play in this regard. However, far too often there is a considerable gap between the social and environmental commitments companies make and the actual effects of their activities on people and the environment. 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. In many cases victims are not able to hold these corporations accountable for their actions, neither in the country of jurisdiction, the home country, nor in the host country of the business enterprise. In contrast, new trade and investment agreements are able to ensure transnational corporations (TNCs) more far-reaching investor rights. They can use private tribunals to sue governments if they deem their profits or investment potentials are affected by new laws – including higher health and environmental standards. In reality there is a perceptible regulatory unbalance.

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. For the first time since the dissolution of the UN Commission on Transnational Corporations in 1992, an intergovernmental body of the UN was established to address the international regulation of corporations. Since 2014, the working group has convened three times with a growing number of participating states and civil society representatives discussing the scope and content of the prospective treaty.

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.

Inputs by

  • Luis Espinosa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility Ecuador
  • Ana Maria Suárez Franco, FIAN International
  • Harris Gleckman, former Chief of the New York Office of UN Conference on Trade and Development
  • Nathalie Rengifo, Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples Sovereignity, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity

Facilitator: Barbara Adams, Global Policy Forum

We kindly ask you to RSVP by April 24, 2018 to karolinseitz[at]

Please download the invitation here (pdf, 614KB).

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

Side-event during the 2018 ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development

April 26, 2018 – 1:15pm | Conference Room A | UNHQ, New York
Co-organized by the Civil Society FfD Group (including the Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Germany).
Facilitated by: Global Policy Forum, MISEREOR, Social Watch, Brot für die Welt and Society for International Development

The 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).

After three fora—from 2016 to 2018—it is time to assess if they have managed to live up to their full potential. Some of the challenges raised by observers have been:

  • Is the current FfD follow-up process providing an adequate framework not only to assess progress but also to identify and remove obstacles to implementation?
  • How can the normative tasks and challenges outlined in the AAAA be clearly spelled out, programmed and tackled? These include, inter alia, elaborating on the principles for blended finance and public-private partnerships included in the AAAA (para. 48); “work towards a global consensus on guidelines for debtor and creditor responsibilities in borrowing by and lending to sovereigns” (para. 97); and “strengthen international cooperation to support efforts for the mobilization of domestic resources” (paras. 20ff).
  • How can the FfD follow-up process be reinvigorated for it to provide a vibrant space to identify, assess and tackle cross-cutting, structural and systemic issues as well as emerging new risks that may hinder progress towards sustainable development?
  • Is the link between the FfD Forum and the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development close enough to deliver meaningful outcomes strengthening the Addis outcomes as well as the means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda? What could be done to improve this link and mutually reinforce both processes?

At the side-event, participants will be 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.

Participation is open to everybody attending the 2018 FfD Forum (for which registration/a UN grounds pass is required).

Please rsvp by sending a short e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Download the invitation here (pdf, 900 KB).

Illicit Financial Flows: Time to Drop False Solutions and Embrace Real Change

Side-event during the 2018 ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development

April 23, 2018 – 18:30pm | Conference Room 5 | UNHQ, New York
Co-organized by the Civil Society FfD Group (including the Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development)
Facilitated by: Global Policy Forum, Global Alliance for Tax Justice, Financial Transparency Coalition, TJN Africa, Eurodad, ActionAid, NGO Committee on Financing for Development, and Society for International Development

Illicit financial flows (IFFs), with legalized tax avoidance as its major component, is the fundamental constraint to be addressed to ensure the fiscal space that is necessary to advance the 2030 Agenda. Major public scandals brought to light by the many recent leaks, the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers, exposed how many wealthy individuals and multinational companies are involved in illicit flows, and how a number of countries, including some major economies, are providing systemically institutionalized facilitation of IFFs.

No adequate measures are being undertaken in practical ways to combat IFFs. On the contrary, whereas the global agreement reached in the SDG process clearly covers tax avoidance by multinational companies, efforts seem underway to redefine IFFs to exclude tax avoidance from issues and measures to address IFFs.

Also on the point of tax cooperation, international agreements have not been followed up on. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda is unequivocal in its "stress that efforts in international tax cooperation should be universal in approach and scope and should fully take into account the different needs and capacities of all countries". Despite this, there is still no consensus on establishing an intergovernmental tax commission under the auspices of the United Nations.

This side-event aims to

  • Explore policy measures which will narrow the implicit and explicit differences in definition and measurement of IFFs which undermine efforts to curtail IFFs 
  • Share experiences of how the national and continental level efforts in the Global South to enhance DRM are being impacted by IFFs and discuss the main obstacles to progress, with emphasis on the role of secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens 
  • Problematize recent international initiatives and the dominance of certain institutions, and map out concrete pathways for the establishment of an UN intergovernmental tax commission.

Speakers include: Mr. Jerry Matthews Matjila​, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of South Africa to the UN; Mr. Sameh Elkhishin​, First Secretary​, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the UN, Arvinn Gadgil, Senior advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway; Representative from the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) (TBC)

Respondent: Towfiqul Khan, Research fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh

Moderator: Hannah Brejnholt Tranberg, ActionAid Denmark

Download the invitation here .


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