SDGs Are Taking Root

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was the pivotal event of 2015, a year advertised for its transformational summits – on disaster relief in Sendai, on financing for development in Addis Ababa and on climate change in Paris. One might have assumed that the euphoria of the 2030 Agenda would translate directly into implementation strategies in 2016. While one could argue that it was premature to expect such an immediate shift to the new ways of thinking that the 2030 Agenda called for, 2016 also proved to be the year for catastrophic political events which effectively slowed down any hints of first steps. Continue reading “SDGs Are Taking Root”

Celebrating the GSO Mission

The Global Social Observatory (GSO) concluded its operations as a non-state actor based in Geneva, Switzerland with a “celebratory” interactive dialogue on Tuesday, 19 December 2017. The GSO mission has been to facilitate an inclusive dialogue in a neutral forum for people to listen to different points of view and to engage in a search for common solutions. Trade and labour standards, HIV/AIDS and social responsibility, gender and trade, collaborating on non-communicable diseases, preventing and managing conflicts of interest on nutrition, and breaking the silos for disruptive action against hunger are examples of the issues that the GSO has taken on since its founding in 2004. The Management Committee has decided that it is time to move on, with confidence that the friends and supporters of the GSO will take the lessons learned from this collaborative experience in the multiple new directions that are opening up for transformative change today.

 Thematic presentations by special guests David Nabarro, Francis Gurry and Johanna Ralston here with Katherine

Continue reading “Celebrating the GSO Mission”

Remedies and Other Initiatives at the UN Business and Human Rights Forum

We signed up for the 2017 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights with some trepidation because of its chosen theme of “Realizing Access to Effective Remedy”.  This is the third pillar in the UN Guiding Principles, supplementing the guidance on state duty to protect human rights (the first pillar) and on the business responsibility to respect human rights (the second pillar).   The third pillar, recognizing the importance of having effective remedies to human rights violations, has been deemed the weakest pillar but one that seemed to evoke the most complaints in past forums.  Much to our surprise, the 2017 Forum and its thematic focus went more smoothly- and more constructively – than we had expected.  Read more here. Continue reading “Remedies and Other Initiatives at the UN Business and Human Rights Forum”

The Future of Work

The theme of “the future of work”  has been catching our attention – and the attention of many deliberative bodies this year.  Both the G20 and G7 have launched initiatives related to this theme, and we certainly saw how it permeated special sessions at the International Labour Organization in April and June and at the WTO Public Forum in September.   Our intern Jacob Haddad had the opportunity last week to attend events featuring more updated insights into the murky world of fortune-telling about jobs and sustainable livelihoods.  One was a Trade Dialogue event at the WTO on 30 October, another was a stimulating panel at the Graduate Institute, and yet another was a more pragmatic review by the ILO Governing Body on how the ILO is preparing to deliver a definitive ILO perspective on the future of work at its Centenary celebrations in 2019.  Of course, we also appreciate the ongoing deliberations of the ILO’s Governing Body on so many related issues, as noted in our commentary below. Continue reading “The Future of Work”

Reflections on”Hydrodiplomacy”

Global water governance – or “hydrodiplomacy” as enthusiasts describe it – has suffered from a lack of a specific international agency or treaty to serve as an oversight body with any clout. Even though there is an inter-agency body, UN Water, that meets at least once a year, its function is primarily to coordinate and channel UN inputs into an annual report for World Water Day in March of each year. It does not have any governing role. However, much like its physical qualities – fluid and easily transformed (from ice, to steam, etc), water permeates almost everything we know and operates as an issue in almost every international setting. No wonder there are so many disparate initiatives associated with global water issues! On the occasion of the major annual event on water – not World Water Day in March but the World Water Week in August in Stockholm – we reflect on the state of play regarding these disparate initiatives. We do agree that water is looming as the greatest risk to sustainable development, and we do wonder if the haphazardness of uncoordinated streams might eventually converge or simply dry up.  Read more here.

From the CMMD Geneva Observer 14 August 2017

The G20 in Transition

As we followed the Bastille Day celebrations – and commemorations – in Paris and Nice this past week, we were quite struck by the spill-over implications for global policy of the return visit of the US President to Europe. He had already appeared at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, preceded by an interesting side visit to Warsaw, the G7 Summit in Taormina and the NATO gathering in Brussels. Media attention has been quite taken by the bilateral meetings that these various gatherings have facilitated. It is no wonder that the bilateral interplay between the US and French Presidents in Paris could be interpreted as a continuation of this phenomenon, even as the larger global political scene of multilateral prognostications is the essential backdrop for giving these bilateral encounters their substance. We are especially interested here in the outcome and immediate aftermath of the Hamburg G20 Summit.  Read more here.

From the CMMD Geneva Observer 17 July 2017