ITeM's director challenges PPPs at the UN

Corporations should be carefully vetted for their fiscal responsibility and human rights record before being allowed to use the UN name and logo or join any partnership with the international organizations, argued Roberto Bissio, from the Social Watch secretariat during a panel on global economic governance on December 11 in New York.

Former US congressman Barney Frank, co-author of the Frank-Dodd Act to regulate financial corporations, passed after the 2008 global crisis, was a panel member and agreed with many of the points raised by civil society organizations.

The panel also included Chilean Ambassador Eduardo Gálvez, who defended a central role for the UN in global economic governance, an IMF executive director, and representatives of the US Treasury and of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

“What's good for social justice is also good for the economy”

Roberto Bissio is the coordinator of Social Watch, an international network of citizens’ organisations reporting on how governments and international organisations implement their commitments on poverty eradication and gender equality. Here, he talks to Equal Times about this crucial moment in the development world.

UN General Assembly discusses monitoring and accountability in the new development agenda

The President of the UN General Assembly’s convened the Interactive Dialogue “Elements for a Monitoring and Accountability Framework for the Post-2015 Development Agenda” that was held on May 1, 2014 in the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The outcome of the event will provide an additional input into the report mandated to the Secretary-General to synthesize all inputs available by the end of 2014.

Roberto Bissio, Third World Institute's Executive Director, who participated in the panel highlighted that accountability is only meaningful if the powerful can be brought into account. We firmly believe that it is up to citizens to hold their own governments accountable. Corporations have to be made accountable not only to their owners and consumers but to their workers and to the people that are affected by their operations. Corporate accountability requires rules set by governments, respect for human rights and environmental due diligence as well as reporting, ensuring access by those negatively affected to an effective remedy, tax transparency; proper land appropriation rules, etc.

Read his complete intervention here or see the video here or download here the pdf version.

The Privatization of the Post-2015 Development Agenda

The increased influence of corporations over the UN development agenda was highlighted by several civil society organizations last April 8 in New York. During a side-event at the Church Center, (see the video here) different worrying trends were highlighted: the redefinition of ODA that will put more public funds in the hands of corporations, the lack of accountability of the different associations between corporations and UN agencies and the privileged access that big corporate players may be getting over international norm-setting. At the General Assembly hearing on partnerships, Roberto Bissio denounced how information access is being made more restrictive under corporate pressure. Brazilian Ambassador Guilherme Patriota condemned the "outsourcing of development responsibilities" and announced his country opposition to the UN Partnership Facility proposed by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. (see the video here).

Uruguay shows it is possible to fight poverty, reduce inequalities and grow at the same time

Uruguayan ministers at the
Social Watch meeting.
Photo: Wolfgang Obenland.

Alternatives to austerity programs do exist, conclude civil society organizations and networks from around the world that met in Montevideo, convened by Social Watch to discuss strategies to face the multiple global crises. In the opening of our debates, the Uruguayan ministers of Interior, Eduardo Bonomi, of Labour, José Bayardi, and of Social Development, Daniel Olesker explained the way in which they managed to eradicate extreme poverty, reduce inequalities and grow at the same time. See the video here. (To see the English subtitles, press on the CC at the bottom right of the video).

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