Global Civil Society Report on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs

A world in turmoil needs fundamental change

Compiled by Jens Martens, Global Policy Forum

The COVID-19 pandemic and the national responses to it brought the world almost to a complete lockdown. Economic, social and cultural life came to a virtual standstill in many places, borders were closed and trade flows interrupted. All over the world, States have intervened, to various degrees, to restrict the freedoms of their citizens in order to slow down the spread of the pandemic and prevent healthcare systems from collapsing.

The [...]


By Jens Martens, Global Policy Forum


Governments and international organizations have responded to the economic and health crises resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown on an unprecedented scale. The announced liquidity measures, rescue packages and recovery programmes total US$ 11 trillion worldwide. A total of 196 countries and territories have taken political measures, albeit of very different scale and scope, depending on their fiscal capacity and policy space.

If used in the right way, these programmes could offer the chance to become engines of the urgently [...]


By Roberto Bissio, Social Watch


COVID-19 is a global catastrophe, but every one of the millions of infections has happened in the context of close local contact. While global mobility has spread the new coronavirus at fast speed all over the world, national capacities and policies to confront it are very different. Injustices and inequalities aggravate the impact of COVID-19 and without strong intervention from the State, the existing imbalances are reinforced. A few billionaires are getting richer while the slow-paced progress over decades to reduce global hunger and poverty is being [...]


By Cecilia Alemany, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) and Anita Gurumurthy, IT for Change (ITfC).

"People worry that computers will get too smart and take over the world, but the real problem is that they are too stupid and they’ve already taken the world." 1

“The Data Revolution” has been promoted as a vital tool to help to achieve the SDGs or, at least, to better measure progress. Having access to massive amounts of data is seen as helpful for countries to plan, design and implement development and public policies in general. This chapter highlights concerns about [...]


By Marina Lent, Global Policy Forum

Fulfillment of the vision laid out in the 2030 Agenda means creating conditions in the inextricably related economic, environmental and social dimensions of life that enable people to individually and collectively create and enjoy their vision of a good life in a manner that also permits the flourishing of the planet.

Individual and collective visions of a good life will occasionally conflict or even preclude the realization of one over another. But the essence of good governance is to collectively prioritize difficult decisions. Based upon consensual [...]


By Kavaljit Singh, Madhyam, with the support of Stefano Prato, Society for International Development (SID) 1

The global financial crisis has critically exposed the vulnerabilities of a liberalized, privately focused financial system. Governments worldwide intervened in such a system, providing support with an unprecedented range of measures including bailouts, nationalization of distressed financial institutions, mergers and recapitalization. However, many underlying structural conditions that led to the crisis were only partially addressed, if at all. As the past months exposed the [...]


By Corina Rodríguez Enríquez, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)

Women's and feminist organizations are increasingly involved in economic issues and are actively participating in global resistances that challenge the implications of financialization, the concentration of wealth, the rise of inequality and the increasing power of corporations.

The advance of the women's agenda, as well as many years of advocacy work, has also permeated the agendas of multilateral institutions and the spaces of the multi-stakeholder global governance. However, both the approach that these [...]


By Roberto Bissio, Social Watch

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development clearly identifies several issues, ranging from finances, to climate to trade, where global governance agreement is required. But actual decisions on these issues often run in the opposite direction. Non-accountable ‘clubs’ exercise de facto authority and raise obstacles to implementing the SDGs.

The 2030 Agenda claims to be “transformative” because it demands changes at national, regional and global levels. At the global level, some changes cannot be achieved by governments acting alone and imply the need for some [...]


By Ignacio Saiz, Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR)

Over the seven decades since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), human rights have become deeply embedded in the discourse, norms and structures of global governance. Promoting human rights is one of the foundational purposes of the United Nations. 1 Human rights agreements - and disagreements - have profoundly shaped the dynamic of relations between States, as well as between governments and their people. The principles affirmed in the UDHR represent the closest humanity has come to an agreed [...]


By Barbara Adams, Global Policy Forum

In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UN Member States pronounced their commitment to “reaching the furthest behind first”. What does it mean to apply this commitment to governance and related policies, budgets and institutions?

This chapter explores the implications for global governance of the promises of the 2030 Agenda, the practice of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) and the many and sometimes contradictory approaches and initiatives of the UN system and its ‘governors’.

It highlights the need to move from the current pay-to-play [...]