At the opening of the United Nations hearings with business and civil society, ITeM's Executive Director Roberto Bissio defends Sustainable Development Goals as expression of a new paradigm. For the SDGs to bare fruit, the power of the biggest 200 corporations, with combined sales that are bigger than the total economies of 180 countries, needs to be harnessed. The UN should not tarnish its image associating its programs with big tax evaders or endorsing private-public partnerships that are exclusive, untransparent and too frequently associated with corruption. A binding legal instrument for business and human rights, while disliked by business leaders, might introduce a predictable framework that ultimately benefits the small and medium entrepreneurs that create most of the jobs in times of crisis.
"The sovereign debt of today, particularly in developed countries that are highly indebted, is the results of the irresponsible indebtedness of the private sector that was bailed out with public monies" said Roberto Bissio, Third World Institute's Executive Director, at the first preparatory session of the Addis Ababa Conference on Financing for Development on January 28, 2015. Bissio therefore suggested that the conference should return to the analysis of EXTERNAL DEBT (including public and private debt) as more appropriate to identify vulnerabilities than the current reduction of the agenda to "sovereign debt".
Further, the ITeM's representative called for the conference to address the link of finances with inequalities and with the transformation of unsustainable consumption and production patterns.
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.
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.
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.