Millennium Development Goals / Goals for a sustainable development

Social Watch: The High Level Group proposes the UN to place issues and not people in the core of development

Friday 7 June 2013

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Source: Social Watch.

Subject: Millennium Development Goals / Goals for Sustainable Development.

Type of document: Communiqué.

Keywords: Millennium Development Goals, Goals for sustainable development, Social Watch, High Level Group, the UN.

A network of civil society organizations from over 80 countries that monitor the fulfillment by governments of their international commitments, expressed its deep deception when hearing about the suggestions for the new development goals to replace he MDG proposed today at the United Nations by the High Level Group.

The document under the title “A new world collaboration association” and the Group express that during its drafting “we listen to the opinions (…) of over 5 000 civil society organizations working in around 130 countries” and “we consulted directives from 250 companies from 30 countries, with a total annual income of over US $ 8 000 000 000 000 dollars ¨.

According to the comments by Roberto Bissio, head of the Secretariat of Social Watch “without any doubt whatsoever, Money was the prevailing aspect”. He was able to count 30 times the combination “civil society” in comparison to the 120 times terms such as “business”\, “ partnership” or “companies”. Trade unions and workers are only mentioned three times each and even the term “governments” is less cited than the term “business” which appears 80 times.

The Group recommends that “the eradication of extreme poverty from the face of the Earth by the year 2030” should be the center of a new development program. This group is co-presided by the British Prime Minister David Cameron and Presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from Liberia and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono from Indonesia.

The commitment with the eradication of poverty registers the very low reference point of $1,25/day and reflects a similar commitment by the World Bank during its spring meeting, held last April. The Group acknowledges on its technical notes that “if the present growth trends will continue, around a 5% of people will be in extreme poverty by the end of 2030 ¨. Given that the error margin of this estimates is much higher that a 5%, the promise of “zero poverty in our generation” does not represent a real commitment, but rather a prediction of what might happens, in any case, it does not require a given action from the governments or from the international community.

Already in 1973, the then president of the World Bank, Robert MacNamara, has promised to eradicate absolute poverty by the end of the century and claimed for a bigger aid and better exchange conditions to make this possible. Now, the Group reiterates the promises of 0,7% from the ODA for developing countries and the creation of an “open, equitable and favorable for development system,” without explaining why this was not attained 4o years ago or why it should be different at present, since these commitments for developed countries are not binding either.

“Listening to citizens and paying attention to the voices of the civil society is not the same as taking them into consideration. For example, in the goal 1b under the title “ending poverty”, the Group proposes ‘to increase the proportion of women and men, of collectives and companies to guarantee the rights to the land”. “Assimilating the access to the land and the rights of women, of men and of the communities to the “rights” of the companies to the land is only good to legitimize the mass appropriation of land by the companies, what is happening all over the world” stated Tanya Dawkins, co-chair of the Coordination Committee of Social Watch and Director of Global-Local Link Project. Citizens in its full access to civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are in a better condition to generate sustainable business and creating companies. The civil society and the citizens of the world demands the guarantee of their human rights, as well as to receive with the same urgency, ambition and mobilization the resources gathered by thousand of millions of dollars used to bring afloat the Banks in record times” she ended saying.

Regarding the goal related to gender equality, the only rights of women explicitly mentioned are the rights of good inheritance, that of signing a contract, of registering a company or opening a bank account. Sexual and reproductive rights appear but in the goal of health, and it is the only mention to the “rights” on issues of health or education.

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