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Food for mobilizing around a thought


Human Rights Reader 353


  1. In this Reader, let me add some key ideas about empowerment, i.e., about people gaining mastery over their lives, community members assuming greater power or expanding their existing power from within so as to forcefully demand and achieve the changes they desire.


  1. Empowerment entails enhancing the capacity and the ability of communities to identify, to mobilize-around and to address their burning problems; it aims at community members participating actively in their community life gaining leadership skills, setting up tight social networks and, as a result, amassing social and political power.


  1. We are talking here about engaging community members as equals, about developing their leadership skills, about increasing their knowledge of what empowerment strategies work and about how they actually can access the resources needed through their active involvement.


  1. To be relevant, community organizing and empowerment have to start from where the people are, with community members setting their own agenda based on their very felt needs. In such a process, as they move along, they are to achieve greater awareness and power, as well as gain control over the resources accessed.


  1. In their selection of the priority issues to address, they will first (not too ambitiously) identify the more immediate, specific and realizable targets for change that, after some small victories, will further unite them thus adding more and more community strength. All community members will be given the chance to participate in identifying issues and targets will be jointly selected as part of adopting a shared human rights-based strategy.


  1. Slowly, a shared critical consciousness will emerge, particularly an awareness of the social, political and economic forces responsible for the many accumulated social problems they face.* At this point, community members discuss what really are the root causes of their problems and plan commensurate actions to address them.

*: For example, quoting WHO: Advancing health as a human right (HR) means making people conscious of both their challenges and the concrete possibilities for change.


  1. These, then, are the guts of the process of empowerment –empowerment basically to build counter-power to face the powers that be. …And which are these?


Types of power  


Visible power: This level includes the visible and definable aspects of political power –the formal rules, structures, authorities, institutions and procedures of decision-making. (Strategies that target this level usually try to change the ‘who, how and what’ of policymaking so that the policy process is rendered more democratic and accountable so as to serve the needs and the HR of people, as well as the survival of the planet).

Hidden power: Certain powerful people and institutions maintain their influence by controlling who gets to the decision-making table and what gets on the agenda. These dynamics operate on many levels to exclude and devalue the concerns and representation of other less powerful groups. (Empowering strategies that focus on strengthening organizations and movements of those rendered poor can and do build the collective power in terms of numbers and of new leadership that will influence the way the political agenda is shaped, on top of increasing the visibility and legitimacy of their issues, their voice, their influence and their demands).

Invisible power: Probably the most insidious of the three dimensions of power, invisible power shapes the psychological and ideological boundaries of participation. Significant problems and issues are not only kept from the decision-making table, but also from the minds and consciousness of the different players involved, even those directly affected by the problem. By influencing how individuals think about their place in the world, this level of power shapes people’s beliefs and people’s sense of self and of acceptance of the status quo –even of their own sense of superiority or inferiority. Processes of socialization, culture and ideology perpetuate exclusion and inequality by defining what is normal, acceptable and safe. (Change strategies in this area must target the prevailing social and political culture or system, as well as address the individuals’ consciousness so as to transform the way people perceive themselves and those around them, and how they envisage their future possibilities and alternatives. (Veneklasen and Miller).


Empowered people need to progress from individual to collective and from local to global action. (K. Glanz)


It is power differentials between the actors in global governance that have invariably led (and lead) to the imposition of development agendas. I fear that post 2015 will be more of the same.


  1. If we want to unite a block of countries behind a global HR strategy, it is essential to mobilize social movements to build counter-power within each country first.** Therefore, consolidating a strong, independent social movement for HR must be the priority for all of us. Why? Because our objective has to firmly be to apply pressure from the base of each of these social movements. That is and will be decisive in our struggle for HR. For the time being, we cannot see any grouping of countries cohesively and collectively confronting the major HR issues of the reigning neoliberal ideology; we can only find a few countries that, mostly independently, support certain demands emanating from the HR framework. Much is to be done here still. (La Via Campesina)

**: Counter-power does not, by itself, automatically lead to the best solutions. Context and some technical knowhow do play a role. Undisputable progression towards the realization of HR is always to be the horizon to aim-for though.


  1. The accident of birth is the principal source of inequality for most people. While we celebrate equality of opportunity, we live in a society in which birth is most of the times fate. This powerful impact of birth on life chances is bad for individuals born into disadvantage. And it is bad for society. But it does not have to be this way. We cannot ignore failing social institutions that condone and take as a fait accompli poor children’s disadvantage and the violation of their HR. On these issues, outside interventions too often impose rich-country, middle-class norms. We have to denounce these. Ergo, we must empower people to be what they want to be. (J.J. Heckman)


Claudio Schuftan, Ho Chi Minh City



-When we see a giant, we have to look carefully at the position of the sun; it could well be that the giant is nothing more than the shadow of a dwarf. (Novalis)

– Slow progress is progress.


Most HR Readers can be found in under No. 69


Slide shows on Public Health and Social Justice Website Updated for 2015

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The major topical Powerpoint slide shows on the Public Health and Social Justice have all just been updated to include the most recently available research and policy information. They range in length from 50 slides to 700 slides (yes, seven hundred, for the Environmental Degradation and Social Injustice Powerpoint). All slide shows are open access, meaning that anyone can use all or part of one, with appropriate citation. See or .
Topic areas are listed below. Submissions are always welcome and can be sent to

You can also order a copy of the Public Health and Social Justice Reader (2013, Jossey Bass/Wiley) through the website at Click phsj book discount flyer pdf for table of contents, endorsements, and discount code to use to receive 20% off.

The website and I have no disclosures, I/it receive(s) no external funds, and I have not made any money off the book… goal is to just to get the word out and hopefully help motivate and train people.


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Happy New Year.

Martin Donohoe


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Food for a wrongly set up thought


Human Rights Reader 352


Health is a political challenge.


#: Adapted from the analytical section of the University of Oslo Commission on Global Governance for Health: The political origins of health inequity: prospects for change. The Lancet, Volume 383, Issue 9917, Pages 630 – 667, 15 February 2014.


It is the existing global set-up and norms that ultimately limit our range of choices and constrain our actions in health at the local level.


The present system of global governance fails to adequately protect and cater to the needs of public health the world over.


  1. Many institutions of global governance –set up in the immediate post-World War II era– have come under scrutiny as being outdated and anachronistic, having undergone almost no formal institutional reform to make them more relevant to the 21st century. As a result, rules that govern us are heavily biased in favor of the status-quo. The anachronistic structure of the international financial institutions (IFIs)*, the UN Security Council, as well as, the reluctance to open the governance of WHO to a wider range of claim holders are but three examples. Changes in the existing rules will be tough, but are a must –with those who de-facto control global governance simply having to cede power.

*: International decision-making processes often do not operate on the principle of ‘one nation state, one vote’. In the IMF and the World Bank, the wealthiest countries have far greater influence over policy making than do less wealthy countries –and in the Security Council, veto power is vested on just a couple states.


  1. Global governance processes outside the health sector are also not working and must be made to work better for health. Is this important? Indeed! It is global governance processes outside the health sector that must work more pointedly towards fairer and more just health systems that are in compliance with the fulfillment of the human right to health. For this to happen, it is primarily global health activists empowering claim holders that will have to more decisively push for the needed and unpostponable reforms.


  1. In the current set-up, the main missing factors for a fairer global health governance** are: (i) political empowerment, (ii) non-discriminatory inclusion in social and political interactions, and (iii) the conditions for legitimate claim holders to stake claims.

**: A point of clarification: Global health governance (GHG) refers to governance of the global health system –defined as “the actors and institutions with the primary purpose of health”. Global governance for health (GGH) refers to “all governance areas that can and do affect health”.


  1. The implications of applying fairer rules in global health governance can and will be controversial and unwelcome to some, simply because it requires a candid assessment and a rebalancing of power structures.


  1. Expressed as disfunctions, five systemic dysfunctions hinder the realization of a better global health governance:


  • First, democratic deficit: Participation and representation of claim holders in decision-making processes, is insufficient. (We are talking about claim holders in civil society, in social movements and in expert health bodies).
  • Second, weak accountability mechanisms: The means by which power can be constrained and made responsive to the people that it affects are weak or inexistent and are insufficiently supported by transparent governance processes.
  • Third, institutional stickiness: Norms, rules, and decision-making procedures are inflexible and difficult to reform (especially when they maintain entrenched interests); they therefore reinforce harmful health effects and inequalities.
  • Fourth, inadequate policy space across sectors: The means by which public health can be protected and promoted both nationally and globally are inadequate, meaning that in global policy-making arenas outside of the health sector (GGH), health can be and often is subordinated to other objectives, such as economic or security interests.
  • Fifth and finally, missing or only nascent and weak institutions: International institutions to protect and promote public health are either totally absent or still grossly ineffective (e.g., treaties, funds, courts, and softer forms of regulation such as norms and binding guidelines monitored by public interest civil society and human rights (HR) commissions).***

***: In apparent contradiction of this is the fact that the number of international bodies, conferences, and multilateral treaties grew from about 2900 in 1981 to 4900 in 2003. This trend has produced a system of overlapping, conflicting and nested sets of rules (sometimes called regime complexity) that blurs obligations and responsibilities and complicates accountability. (A hidden intention in this…?). [Note, however, that States can preserve their policy space for health by renegotiating, withdrawing from, or refusing to sign-up to international rules that will undermine the human right to health in their territory –but do they?].


  1. To the above five dysfunctions, we can add some more found in the overall global governance system, namely: (i) the paucity of rules and codes of conduct that go beyond the realm of voluntary guidelines that do not work; (ii) weak or inexistent mechanisms for accountability of transnational corporations particularly to the people whose lives and health are most directly affected by their actions; (iii) weak institutions for enforcing international norms, laws, and standards when they are violated by transnational corporations; and (iv) the absence of institutions to ensure that competition for foreign direct investment between states does not lead to outcomes contrary to public health interests.


  1. Bottom line here: It is the political determinants of health that basically ought to shape global health governance in order to frame the types of solutions that are proposed –solutions that more often than not currently exclude the consideration of alternative bottom-centered options. ****

****: One way to get at the political determinants is to mandate international organizations and donors to carry out health equity or right to health impact assessments –a measure that should also be included as an explicit goal in the post-2015 agenda. Why? Because inequalities in health are not, in any sense whatsoever, a ‘natural’ phenomenon, but the result of a toxic combination of poor social policies and programs, unfair economic arrangements, and bad politics all skewing the distribution of health benefits. Another way to get at them is to demand that trade and investment agreements never again be negotiated between governments behind closed doors. The same is true for the adjudication of investment disputes between states and corporations that are shrouded in secrecy, even when major questions of public interest (such as tobacco control legislation or drugs patents) are at stake.


In principle, states are political equals in the global system. In reality, power disparities remain vast.


It is the politics of it all that generates and distributes the power and resources at local, national and global levels and that ultimately shapes how people live, what they eat, and, ultimately, their health.


  1. Yes, power asymmetries and the norms and policies these bring about do limit the range of our choices and do constrain our actions in health. [But beware, this state of affairs also sometimes provides opportunities –if we succeed to mobilize the powerless to stake concrete claims against injustice]. The resulting disparities and discrimination pervade all aspects of life, e.g., relations between men and women, between old and young people, as well as relations between countries, corporations, and people’s organizations. But somehow the situation still remains hostage to the above norms and policies clearly maintained by those actors with the most power. (Do not forget that the media also exert power –only seldom though to outrage the public and to inspire political mobilization).


The power of the market consistently supersedes the power of human rights principles, including in the area of health.


The internalization stage of human rights principles and standards, including in the human right to health domain, remains weak and woefully incomplete.


  1. No single global political authority exists to hold states accountable when they violate the human right to health or fail to comply with internationally agreed-upon HR rules, principles, and standards. Nor do adequate accountability mechanisms exist for transnational corporations that move between jurisdictions with relative ease and are more powerful and better resourced than the governments that should regulate them. TNCs thus end up de-facto exerting what is an illegitimate and undemocratic influence in global and national policy processes.


  1. The problem called the ‘democratic deficit’ pertains to the lack of an equal right participate in decision-making, i.e., of fair representation with voice and influence, of transparency, and of accountability. As said, public interest civil society organizations, social movements, marginalized groups, and health experts are inadequately included in international decision-making processes. By comparison, corporations have more privileged access to national delegates to UN agencies, who can bring the TNCs’ self-interested proposals to the negotiating table. The democratic deficit thus remains a central feature of most global governance processes including health.


  1. Much of the pressures of the corporate sector pertain to them pushing for privatization and/or market access. They do so really lacking the evidence to show that the market logic improves access to health or cuts costs. The arguments the ‘privatizers’ use read like this: “Public services provide poor health care”, and “the state does not have the means to invest in public health services”. Both arguments are flawed, are relative and respond to a neoliberal ideological interpretation of what a health system ought to be.


  1. Moreover, as you may know, Intellectual Property Regimes are increasingly focused on protecting business and corporate interests and investments. (UN Committee on ESCR) These regimes have effectively demonstrated that they have the ability to block the optimal development of, and greater access to new appropriate technology solutions to essential human problems such as in primary health care, in the provision of adequate nutrition and of clean water, as well as in the attainment of higher levels of quality of health care, of drug effectiveness and safety, of chemical safety, and the achievement of climate change. (CETIM)


Private corporations have an unwarranted influential role in contemporary global and health governance.


When health is compromised by transnational corporations’ ulterior global pursuits, our response must simply be changing the inner workings of global governance.


  1. Let us not be fooled: Large TNCs wield tremendous economic power which they can and do deploy to further their interests in global governance processes and global markets. But they are not alone. Other ‘non-state actors’ such as foundations also wield substantial economic power. You know the philathrocapitalist Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has become the most influential players in global health.


  1. In the realm of nutrition, the speculative bubble, i.e., the increased trade in futures food commodity markets has been the main underlying cause of excessive food-price volatility. TNCs, mega family owned corporations and financial speculators are increasingly expanding their influence in these global decision-making processes, with no accountability whatsoever with respect to the international laws protecting the myriad populations being rendered vulnerable. Some firms exploit cross-country differences in regulations to maximize their profits. *****

*****: With their increasing power, a few powerful corporations dominate the ultraprocessed junk food sector. This results in a globalized food market in which consumer welfare is measured by price rather than by nutritional value or health effects.


  1. Deplorably, the existing multilateral global governance structures do not allow the Special UN Rapporteurs to impose the respect of HR beyond exerting a mere normative moral force. We must call for a strengthened use of HR instruments in health policy making, such as those the UN Special Rapporteur for Health has been calling for –among other, calling for stronger sanctions against a broader range of violations by corporate actors by more proactively using the national and international judicial systems.


How far are we from an era where health will be adopted as a universal value, as a human right and as a shared social and political objective for all?


  1. Economic globalization has outpaced the political reaction to its negative effects, i.e., the development of institutions and the mobilization of forces that can more fairly govern the global market and protect societies against past market failures and those surely yet to come. Mechanisms to do exactly that remain pitifully isolated and thus weak. New and/or drastically retooled institutions and mechanisms, as well as strong regulations are needed when the operations and interests of some of the state and non-state actors seriously conflict with people’s health and wellbeing.


  1. Furthermore, the UN Human Rights Council should expand the mandates of the Special Rapporteurs to include HR audits of the decision-making processes of global governance organizations. Moreover, having the Special Rapporteur for health report directly to the World Health Assembly would help as would strengthening the mechanisms for imposing sanctions and arranging for reparations in cases of demonstrated violations of the human right to health.


  1. Getting there will require agents of change (us) and a determination for change, within social movements, inside the UN and among the political leaders of the world.


  1. The sad truth is that we still do not have adequate means to ensure the accountability of states and of the private sector for the health consequences of their actions. Only weak institutions exist in the health sector itself, as well as in other sectors to protect health as a HR –especially in the politically powerful sectors of finance, trade and security. Major hurdles remain for a fairer and better global governance of health regime. So the era we yearn-for is still in the distance. Each of us can play a role in bringing it closer.


Claudio Schuftan, Ho Chi Minh City


Support the Peoples Health Movement

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This November the People’s Health Movement published the fourth edition of Global Health Watch which has become a recognized “Alternative Health Report.”  I am reaching out to ask your support for the important work done by the People’s Health Movement.

The People’s Health Movement (PHM) is active in about 70 countries, primarily in the global South. PHM has led the global fight for health justice since 2000 when it drafted the widely endorsed People’s Charter for Health. Its large network of activists, academics, and organizations works on every level to realize the right to health for all through advocating for global social justice and the need to address the social determinants of health.

PHM works toward our goal for a healthier world through four core programs: 

A staff of only seven highly dedicated individuals in India, Egypt and South Africa coordinate the organization, but volunteers do the bulk of PHM’s work.  Historically, PHM has been able to obtain funding from international funding agencies, but this has been particularly difficult since the global financial crisis.  

There are many ways you can support PHM

If you haven’t already, please read and sign the People’s Charter for Health

Consider making a tax-deductible donation to support the core PHM programs. Globally, the average donation to PHM is $100. But donations in any amount are gratefully accepted through the Hesperian Foundation website.
Become a member of PHM’s Global Solidarity Network. Through the Global Solidarity Network, you can support PHM with monthly or annually reoccurring donations.
You can stay informed and involved via our PHM Exchange list serve and at the PHM website.

Consider buying a copy of Global Health Watch 4 through Hesperian’s website (outside of North America purchases at Zed Books).

​If you have any questions about any of this information or about PHM global, PHM-North America or PHM-USA, don’t hesitate to contact me. And if would like to learn more about, get involved in, or connect with PHM in another way, you can send a message to this list or to me personally.

 With gratitude and continued commitment,

Leigh Haynes
PHM Global Steering Council Co-Representative
North America Region


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Food for an out of context thought


Human Rights Reader 351


In the right context, human rights are relevant to all dimensions of sustainable development. They must shape the purpose and content of all its goals, its targets and the metrics used to measure progress, as well as the way duty bearer commitments are implemented and accounted for. (CESR) But is this the case in the post 2015 development agenda under discussion?


Development blues


Inequalities are pressing at the seams of our social fabric. (Christine Lagarde)


  1. At present, in the development arena, the so-called ‘international community’ has proclaimed itself as a replacement of the UN. Media of dominant powers keep repeating the phrases: “The International Community believes this or that, decides this or that”. Looking more closely, we discover that the ‘international community’ they refer to is made up of the United States, the European Union and two or three handpicked countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. (Or, as P. Craig Roberts says: What is the international community? Is it the assemblage of US and Europe’s plus its vassal states?) Actually what is required is the resurrection of human rights in the UN, the only acceptable frame for the expression of the international community. (Samir Amin)


  1. More and more today, in-the-distorted-way-things-are, higher growth rates correlate with increasing inequalities, increasing sections of the population being rendered vulnerable and no decreases in discrimination. International summits end up reiterating the same problems rather than identifying new solutions that break with the ruling paradigm. Governments and international NGOs seem to be celebrating not the achievement and follow through of any decisions, but the fact that a certain summit took place and the fact that ‘it provided opportunities for encounters and for networking’. The most central of issues are over-and-over systematically left to be addressed en passant, with no really relevant break-through resolutions and decisions made. Equity, equality, political issues, structural change, empowerment (especially of women and youth), the need for more policy space for developing countries, debt forgiveness*, issues of global economic governance, and the need for a new economic order and financial architecture are rarely touched upon. (SID) No surprise that only shy and woolly recommendations come out. In sum, we live in a stage of development where promises are deceivingly stimulating, but achievements in human rights (HR) are, at best, worrisome.**

*:   Debt is considered manageable for poor countries if it remains below 40% of GDP. (F+D 47:4, Dec. 2010)

**: Most people who work in development jobs do not have much commitment to HR and lack real de-facto political clarity about them; so the world keeps turning and only little, non-quantum changes are achieved. (Adapted from the poet Jerome Koenig)


Looking with hindsight should instill in us a greater sense of urgency


  1. The first generation of development economics (1950 onwards) stressed state-led development. The second generation (1970s onwards) stressed a greater market orientation. Now the focus (of the ‘international community’…???) is on communities. Or is it? But the problem is that when inequalities become too great, it is claimed the idea of community cohesion becomes more elusive. (R. Arons) So, just claiming the obvious, namely that greater equality is needed, simply does not fit the bill of what is really needed. The times call for less rhetoric and more action. (A. Arora)


  1. No more taking advice! Advice pitched mainly by technocrats in the capitals of the North to technocrats in the field in the South –with little or no concern for how such advice may be applied (and less so communicated) to citizen as claim holders.***

No more centralization of development functions! Functions that keep chaos and instability (decentralization at least offers the hope of greater incentives leading to more stability).

No more development merely as a relief effort! Development is a human right –one that is too often violated primarily by not engaging actively with communities.

***: Many community members, long away from the classroom, will lack the patience (rightly so) to digest a lecture from somebody who does not live the problems of underdevelopment first hand. They favor crafting the content of development messages themselves so as to ensure they spread and achieve real grassroots ownership. (F+D 50:4, December 2013)


Grandiose top-down policies mostly do ruin initiatives born at the local level


-Top-down mostly means normative, i.e., such policies seek to align value systems and standards of multiple technical actors and build consensus. But do they really align and build …or do they impose…?

-There is a danger in top-down policy making when ‘reason’ does not represent an intelligence that understands, but only an ignorance that refutes and argues baselessly. (Albino Gomez)


  1. Over the years, economic development policy making, because it has been imposed from the top, has mainly been an exercise in the-theory-of-second-best-social-policy-making. Policies might have had some kind of an internal rationale but, by different agencies not really communicating with each other, they were applied differently. As a result, not only delays have occurred, but work has been implemented at cross purposes –and still the urgent social improvements they were supposed to address are not being addressed, particularly because proper participation and representation was not considered. (F+D 50:4, December 2013)


  1. Because of this, we have been hearing more and more calls for policy coherence. The question is coherence for whom and for what? Often this has meant government/private sector coherence. And this is not what is needed! Actually, the lack of coherence is not the main problem. The main problem is that we, in public interest civil society, are not the owners of policy making –we are not even participants. More frequently than us, the private sector has been influencing policy, often contradicting policies put forward by us so we end up being the jedis fighting Dart Vader, i.e., Luke Skywalker fighting The Force. (Well, in the film, The Force is actually defeated…).


  1. We all know that moves to give the private sector an increased role in ‘delivering development’ are not being matched by efforts to, once and for all, holding businesses and corporations more accountable to their HR responsibilities. (CESR)


The lingering questions


  1. How then are the people to remain, or become, sovereign if they are in no position even to identify who, or what, is making the decisions that affect their lives? Democracy has in no way kept up with the pace of globalization. Whether nationally or internationally, authority is exercised without the consent of the governed. The people are given few tools and close to no information to understand who is actually running what. Corporations exercise power without taking up corresponding responsibility. Whereas voters can eventually sanction governments and throw them out of office, corporations are not only beyond popular reach through votes, but collect spurious privileges such as ‘personhood’ in the USA or full status in the United Nations. (Susan George)


  1. So, no more feeding into the governmental processes? In good part the answer here would be yes. Instead, feeding into the grassroots processes has the greater potential to bring us right where we want to be, i.e., to put HR at the center. As an un-postponable starting point, then, massive HR learning efforts are needed so as to build the capacities of claim holders and duty bearers for the path to be urgently pursued to use the appropriate process-centered metrics/measurements to assess progress towards the progressive realization of HR. The focus simply needs to shift to ‘where the rubber hits the road’. A change of paradigm is needed for this –a new paradigm that will be a true tectonic shift and that absolutely requires understanding HR beyond being only a new legal paradigm. It is much more than this!


A call to action


  1. The post 2015 development agenda preparation process shows us how little we, in public interest civil society, are able to influence the overall ‘international development community’ to embark in the so badly needed change of paradigm. Over and over, we face resistance from powerful nation states influenced by the interests of the corporate sector.


  1. This resistance is at work despite the development agendas at local, national and global levels having been increasingly marked by a series of failures attributable to decreasing social cohesion and processes of social disintegration. Religious, linguistic, historical and ethnic dimensions of identity are becoming not only a dividing element, but provide the motivation and justification for social segregation, discrimination and violence. Apart from the identification of these issues, there has been no discourse evolving on development strategies countering these challenges. This is one urgent reason why we need to work towards the affirmation and understanding of HR globally as the key element of urgently needed inclusion, as well as a means of everybody internalizing the impact and costs of non-action for the future of our grandchildren. I repeat: As an un-postponable starting point, massive HRL efforts are needed so as to build the capacities for the path to be urgently pursued at both national and global level. (W. Lichem)


  1. Making us aware and repeating over-and-over that the problems we face are complex and difficult to solve is not helpful. We have what we have and we are all expected to come up with solutions. Let the time not pass, for now is the time to act. The times definitely do not call for procrastination or despair, but call for action. I make an impassionate call for colleagues to become more literate in (and take up) the HR framework to development.


Claudio Schuftan, Ho Chi Minh City



-The concept of ‘paradigm’ involves the interrelated concepts of ontology, epistemology and methodology. [Ontology –What is out there to know?, Epistemology –What and how can we know about it?, Methodology –How can we go about acquiring knowledge? (What procedures should we use to acquire more of the needed HR knowledge…)].

-In line with the old adage, in HR work, you should never let a good crisis go to waste.

-There is light at the end of the tunnel: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”. (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr) or “Facing the old society, with its economic miseries and its delirious politics, a new society is on the rise”. (Karl Marx, 1870)

New issue of Social Medicine Journal Published

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We are pleased to announce that Social Medicine has just published its latest issue at We invite you to review the Table of Contents here and then visit our web site to review articles and items of interest.  A Spanish version of the journal is avaialable at

Social Medicine
Vol 8, No 3 (2014)
Table of Contents

Bolstering the Biomedical Paradigm (99-100)
Frank Thomas Houghton,  Sharon B Houghton

Original Research

The Chilean AUGE healthcare guarantees from a patient perspective: a survey of access to healthcare in rural central Chile (101-112)
Caitlin Schrepel, Eric Tanenbaum, Gerald Paccione, Roberto Belmar

Revisiting Bandoeng (113-128)
Socrates Litsios

Social Medicine in Practice
Shaking Off Our Lassitude: Creating a Global Health Service-Learning Program
Founded in Social Medicine (129-138)
Francis Xavier Coughlin

Themes and Debates
Mainstreaming social determinants of health (SDH) terms into the PubMed
database would facilitate effective scrutiny of SDH (139-142)
Sivan Y.S.

Exploring the Hidden Curriculum of Global Health (143-146)
Kelly Christine Anderson, Jane Philpott,  Danyaal Raza

Post 2015 development agenda latest

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The latest draft of the Secretary General’s Synthesis Report is just out.


Attempting a contribution, I have carefully read it.


With all due respect for the SG, and being an old development warrior, I chose to take a devil’s advocate view of it –-a sort of dispassionate reality check without any hype, primarily focusing on what I still see the Report’s serious shortcomings.


I went point by point and commented on the text itself using bold font for anybody’s quick review and easy reference.


I do recognize that my focus is biased in that I am primarily critical and do not give credit to the good aspects of the report. For that I apologize.


I do hope this is taken as a contribution to the still ongoing process of finalizing the post 2015 development agenda.


Here below the review for your perusal.


Claudio Schuftan, PHM, Ho Chi Minh City




United Nations

The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet

Synthesis Report of the Secretary-General On the Post-2015 Agenda

New York December 2014, Advance unedited 4 December 2014 10:00 a.m.


Table of Contents




Rio+20 Outcome Document, The Future We Want


  1. A Universal Call to Action to Transform our World beyond 2015


  1. The year 2015 offers a unique opportunity for global leaders and people to end

poverty, transform the world to better meet human needs and the necessities of economic

transformation, while protecting our environment, ensuring peace and realizing human

rights. Why now and not before?

  1. We are at a historic crossroads, and the directions we take will determine

whether we will succeed or fail on our promises. Were we not before? With our globalized economy and sophisticated technology, we can decide to end the age-old ills of extreme poverty and hunger. Could we not before? Or we can continue to degrade our planet and allow intolerable inequalities to sow bitterness and despair. Our ambition is to achieve sustainable development for all.

  1. Young people will be the torch bearers of the next sustainable development

agenda through 2030. We must ensure that this transition, while protecting the planet,

leaves no one behind. We have a shared responsibility to embark on a path to inclusive

and shared prosperity in a peaceful and resilient world where human rights and the rule of

law are upheld. Only from now on? Not before?

  1. Transformation is our watchword. At this moment in time, we are called to lead

and act with courage. We are called to embrace change. Change in our societies. Change

in the management of our economies. Change in our relationship with our one and only


  1. In doing so, we can more fully meaning what? respond to the needs of our time and deliver on the timeless promise made at the birth of the United Nations. Were we not able before?



  1. Seventy years ago, in adopting the Organization’s founding Charter, the nations

of the world made a solemn commitment: “to save succeeding generations from the

scourge of war, to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of

the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small,

to establish conditions under which justice and respect for international law can be

maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger


  1. Building on this core promise, the Declaration on the Right to Development

(1986) calls for an approach that will guarantee the meaningful participation of all in

development, and the fair distribution of its benefits.

  1. Humankind has achieved impressive progress in the past seven decades. We

have reduced violence have we? and established global institutions, a code of agreed universal principles, and a rich tapestry? of international law. We have witnessed stunning technological progress, millions (upon millions) lifted from poverty, millions more empowered, diseases defeated, life expectancies on the rise, colonialism dismantled true?, new nations born, apartheid conquered in South Africa, democratic practices take deeper roots, and vibrant, economies built in all regions although at very different paces.

  1. Since the 1992 “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro, we have identified a new

pathway to human wellbeing – the path of sustainable development and done enough about it?. The Millennium Declaration yes and the Millennium Development Goals not really… articulated in the year 2000 placed people at the center, generating unprecedented improvements in the lives of many around the world, but still leaving too many behind. The global mobilization behind the MDGs showed that multilateral action can make a tangible difference In many, but not all nations of the world.

  1. Yet conditions in today’s world are a far cry from the vision of the Charter.

Amid great plenty for some, we witness pervasive poverty, gross inequalities, joblessness, disease and deprivation for billions. Displacement is at its highest level since the Second World War. Armed conflict, crime, terrorism, persecution, corruption, impunity and the erosion of the rule of law are daily realities. The impacts of the global economic, food and energy crises created by? are still being felt. The consequences of climate change created by? have only just begun. These failings and shortcomings have done as much to define the modern era as has our progress in science, technology and the mobilization of global social movements. Yes!


  1. Our globalized world is marked by extraordinary progress alongside

unacceptable – and unsustainable – levels of want, fear, discrimination, exploitation,

injustice and environmental folly at all levels.

  1. However, we also know that these problems are not accidents of nature or the

results of man-made phenomena beyond our control. They result from actions and omissions of people – public institutions, the private sector, donors and others purportedly charged with protecting human rights and upholding human dignity.

  1. We have had the know-how and the means to address these challenges for decades now. But we need belated urgent leadership and joint action now.
  2. These are universal challenges. They demand new heights of multilateral action

based on evidence and built on shared values, principles, and priorities for a common

destiny. Which we do not have yet for ingrained ideological reasons.

  1. Our global commitments under the Charter should/must compel us to act. Our sense

of outrage, empathy and enlightened self-interest should compel us to act. Our responsibilities as stewards of the planet should equally compel us to act as de-facto duty bearers. None of today’s threats respect boundaries drawn by human beings – whether those boundaries are national borders, or boundaries of class, ability, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, or religion.

  1. In an irreversibly interconnected world, the challenges faced by any become the

challenges faced by each of us – sometimes gradually but often suddenly. However,

facing these vexed? challenges is not only a burden; it is far more an opportunity to forge

new partnerships and alliances that can work together to advance the human condition. Yes, but partnerships as equals –not as one partner always being a yes-man…

  1. The MDGs experience provides compelling evidence that the international

community can be mobilized to confront such complex challenges as long as actions do not change the balance of power among nations and among social classes. Governments, public interest civil society and a wide range of international actors coalesced behind the MDGs in a multifront battle against poverty and disease. They generated innovative approaches, vital new data, new resources, and new tools and technology for this struggle but failed to live up to the commitment of the MDDeclaration to make all processes human rights based. Transparency was often enhanced, multilateral approaches were strengthened maybe, but of what kind?, and a results-based approach to public policy was fostered to what avail, really?. Sound meaning what? public policies inspired by the MDGs, enhanced by collective action and international cooperation rarely human rights-based, lead to remarkable successes although not universally. In two decades since 1990, the world has halved extreme poverty, lifting 700 million out of


extreme poverty but leaving many millions behind. Between 2000 and 2010, an estimated 3.3 million deaths from malaria were averted, and 22 million lives were saved from fighting tuberculosis. Access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV-infected people has saved 6.6 million lives since 1995 Q is: Could we have achieved more?. At the same time, gender parity in primary school enrolment, access to child and maternal health care, and in women’s political participation improved steadily.ii yes, but fast enough?

  1. We must invest in the unfinished/unaddressed work of the MDGs, and use them as a

springboard into the future we want – a future free from poverty (and) built on human

rights, equality and sustainability. This is our duty and it must be the legacy we strive to

leave for our children. …yes, better late than never.

  1. In our quest to shape a global sustainable development agenda for the years

beyond 2015, I have always asked why we have to wait till after 2015… the international community has embarked upon an unprecedented process that we (cautiously) hope will yield real results.

Never before has so broad and inclusive a consultation been undertaken on so many

matters of global concern. Have key inputs from the consultations been incorporated into this report? What kind of filters were applied? In two short years since the Rio + 20 Conference laid the

cornerstone for the Post-2015 process, all Member States, the entire UN system, experts,

and a cross-section of public interest civil society, social movements, business and—most importantly– millions of people from all corners of the globe, have travelled this crucially important journey. This, in itself, is reason for great hope. Why? Will they be given an active role as watchdogs of the commitments by member states being held up? The creativity and shared sense of purpose that has emerged from across the human family is proof that we can come together to innovate and collaborate in search of solutions and the common good. Careful that we do not get carried away by our wishes. The vested interests of nations and corporations may/will still stand in our way.

  1. Having now opened the tent? wide to a broad constituency, we must recognize

that the legitimacy of this process will rest in significant measure on the degree to which

the core messages that we have heard are reflected in the final outcome. Exactly what I mean. This is no time to succumb to political expediency, or to tolerate the lowest common denominators. The new threats that face us, and the new opportunities that present themselves, demand a high level of ambition and a truly participatory, responsive and transformational course of action. The vested interests of nations and corporations may/will still stand in our way.

  1. This includes tackling climate change. As underscored by the Intergovernmental

Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change exacerbates threats. It makes delivering

on the sustainable development agenda more difficult because of reversing positive

trends, new uncertainties, or mounting costs of resilience. Look at COP20 in Lima. Does what happened there bode well for the post 2015 development agenda? This is what I mean.


  1. This enterprise can therefore not be business as usual. How true. But what are the prospects? ‘Paper commitments’ and then little to show for? We cannot leave out of the equation the fact that this synthesis report still primarily is a top-down exercise. Business will only change when forceful demands come from an empowered and organized grassroots movement demanding the needed changes.
  2. People across the world are looking to the United Nations to rise to the

challenge with a truly transformative agenda and actions that isare both universal and adapted to the conditions of each country, and that places people and planet at the center. Their voices have underscored the need for democracy, rule of law, civic space and more effective governance and capable institutions; Voice is not enough; it is now time for voice to move into real influence! for new and innovative partnerships of equals, including with

responsible needs qualification!!! business and effective they often are not thus the need for claim holders to demand local authorities; and for a data revolution meaning disaggregation by vulnerable groups?, rigorous accountability mechanisms by whom?, and renewed global partnerships Not PPPs as we are having them now with their flagrant conflicts of interest!. People are also stressing that the credibility of the new agenda rests on the means that are available to really implement it.

  1. Three high-level international meetings in the year ahead give us the opportunity

to chart a new era of sustainable development. (How) Will claim holder groups be represented in the same and actually in all these?? The first will be the International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in July, where a compact for a global partnership can be realized among whom? Will TNCs be part of it? Would that be acceptable?. The second will be the special Summit on sustainable development at the United Nations in September, where the world who exactly is that? will embrace the new agenda and a set of Sustainable Development Goals, which we hope true will mark a paradigm shift for people and planet. The third will be the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December hope for better than Lima?, where Member States have pledged to adopt a new agreement to tackle a threat that could

make it more difficult to deliver on the new development agenda.

  1. The stars are aligned for the world to take historic action to transform lives and

protect the planet how I hope this were true. We need much more than stars aligning... I urge Governments and people everywhere to fulfill their political and moral responsibilities. This is my call to dignity, and we must respond with all our vision and strength naming and shaming the powers that be that stand in the way of our noble cause.


  1. A Synthesis

“All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.” Albert Einstein


2.1 What we have learned from two decades of development experience

  1. There is much that is new, and, indeed, transformational in the global

conversation on the Post-2015 Agenda. Is there really? Has much not been known for long? But the roots of this conversation are deep, and extend to the experience of the development community in the last twenty years, and the visionary outcomes of the global conferences of the 1990s, the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the Millennium Summit and the MDGs of 2000, the 2005 World Summit, the 2010 MDG Summit, and the lead up to the Rio+20 Conference in 2012. Did all these deliver on the commitments made? If they had, wouldn’t the post 2015 agenda be lighter and easier?

  1. The cornerstone for the current global process of renewal was established in Rio

de Janeiro in June of 2012, with the adoption of the outcome document of the United

Nations Conference on Sustainable Development “The Future We Want.” The

document described the lessons learned from two decades of development experience,

and provided an extensive assessment of the progress and gaps in the implementation of

the sustainable development agenda.

  1. While very insufficient, partial and uneven, progress has been (remarkable) made. Only two short decades ago, close to 40 per cent of the developing world lived in extreme poverty, (although this has dropped, what about poverty in absolute numbers now?) and the notion of poverty eradication seemed inconceivable (How wrong it has been, all along, to focus on poverty eradication instead of on disparity reduction! This has been the missed challenge all along. The cake is only so big and it has to be re-sliced). Following profound? and consistent gains, we now know that extreme poverty can be eradicated within one more generation. This was true long ago. The MDGs have greatly contributed to this progress, and have taught us how governments, business, and public interest civil society can but do not work together to achieve transformational breakthroughs.
  2. We have witnessed significant progress in several Least Developed Countries

(LDCs) in the past two decades. In the same period, some middle-income countries have

become new engines of global growth, lifting many of their own citizens out of poverty

and creating a sizeable consumerist… middle class. Some countries have shown real progress in reducing inequalities. Others have attained universal health coverage depending how we define it: NOT with minimum care packages for people rendered poor by an unfair system. Still others have evolved into some of the world’s most advanced and digitally connected societies. Wages have in some cases increased, social protection has in some cases been expanded, green technologies have in some cases taken root,


and education standards have in some cases advanced. Several countries have emerged from conflict and made steady gains on the road to reconstruction, peace and development other have fallen into protracted conflict. These wide ranging experiences demonstrate that vulnerability and exclusion can be overcome, and what is possible in the years ahead provided claim holders are empowered and mobilized the world over. This will require massive campaigns of human rights learning.

  1. New demographic trends are changing our world. We are already a global

family with many orphans of seven billion people and are likely to reach nine billion by 2050. We are an ageing world, as people live longer and healthier lives. We are increasingly an urban world, with more than half the world’s population living in towns and cities. And we are a mobile world, with more than 232 million willing or unwilling international persecution of economic migrants – and almost one billion when internal migrants are counted. These trends will have direct impacts on our goals and present both challenges and opportunities.

  1. We see how new technologies can open up more sustainable approaches and

more efficient practices. But technology is not a solution to this planet’s development problems. We know that the public sector can raise significantly more revenues by reforming tax systems, fighting tax evasion, correcting inequities, and combatting corruption. But the will of the haves who wield the power is simply not there. Look at the fate, so far, of passing a universal Tobin tax or of curbing capital flight by ending secret bank accounts. We know that there is an enormous amount of untapped and wasted resources that can be directed to sustainable development. We know that forward looking companies alas too few of them are taking the lead by transforming their business models for sustainable development, and that we have only scratched the surface of the potential for ethics-driven investment beyond lip service and glossy brochures by the private sector. With the right incentives, policies,

regulations and monitoring, great opportunities could abound. Opportunities for what? We know that a data revolution is unfolding, allowing us to see more clearly than ever where we are and where we need to go, and to ensure that everyone is counted. Not forgetting that we need such data revolution and transparency for TNCs activities. We know that although nascent creative initiatives across the world are pioneering new models of sustainable production and consumption that can potentially be replicated. We know that governance at both the national and international levels can be reformed to more efficiently and particularly more democratically!! serve 21st century realities. And we know that our world today is host to the first truly globalized, interconnected, and highly mobilized public interest civil society, ready and (able) committed to serve as an equal participant, joint steward, and powerful engine of change and transformation. Still missing though is their being invited/allowed to interact with UN agencies and member states on an equal footing in the pertinent decision-making processes.

  1. We have already begun to correct our course towards transformation. Have we, beyond plenty words?
  2. The discussion on the Post-2015 Agenda has stressed the importance of the

specific conditions of each country, an advance why? in perspective from the MDG framework.


Following sanctioned human rights principles, special attention was/is!! required for the most vulnerable, in particular African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and the small island developing States. Particular attention should/must also be given to the challenges faced by the middle-income countries and countries in situations of fragility and conflict where most of the worlds poor people live.

  1. Member States have emphasized that sustainable development must be inclusive

and people-centred. They have underscored the importance of ecosystems to people’s

livelihoods, their economic, social, physical and mental well-being, as well as their

cultural heritage – “Mother Earth” as it is known in many traditions. How much of this is genuine or just ‘to keep up with the Jonses’?

  1. Member States have also underscored the need to improve measures of progress,

such as a better distribution of (have they?) gross domestic product , in order to better inform policy decisions. …as written, this does not follow; not logic. While acknowledging the natural and cultural diversity of the world, they have also recognized that all cultures and civilizations can contribute to sustainable development. I do not see many of them doing this. Finally, they have called for holistic and integrated approaches to sustainable development that will guide humanity to live in harmony with the planet’s fragile ecosystems. Sorry, I do not see this. Does anybody?

2.2 What we have learned from the post-2015 process

  1. The international community has come a long way in its deliberation on the new

development agenda. In July 2013, further to a request by the General Assembly, I

submitted to the membership my report A Life of Dignity for All. In it, I recommended

the development of a universal, integrated and human rights-based agenda for sustainable

development, addressing economic growth, social justice and environmental stewardship

and highlighting the link between peace, development and human rights – an agenda that

leaves no one behind. I called as well for rigorous review and monitoring, better and

more disaggregated data, and goals and targets that are measurable and adaptable. I

outlined a number of transformative actions that would apply to all countriesiii.

  1. Many voices have informed this debate, and there have been valuable inputs

from a wide range of stakeholders. But have we really ended up with a human rights-based agenda demanding greater equality? Together with many, I think no.

(a) People around the world aired their views through the unprecedented consultations

and outreach efforts of organized civil society groups as well as the global

conversation led by the United Nations Development Group on A Million Voices:

The World We Want, Delivering on the Post-2015 Agenda: Opportunities at the


National and Local Level, and MY World Survey. Millions of people especially

young persons, took part in these processes, through national, thematic, and on-line

consultations and surveys, as mirrored in the Global Youth Call and the outcome of

the 65th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference. The direct and active engagement of

parliamentarians, business and civil society has also been critical. True. But have we really ended up with a human rights-based agenda demanding greater equality? Together with many, I think no.

(b) The leaders of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015

Development Agenda called for five “transformative shifts” that leave no one behind

by 1) ending extreme poverty wrong focus: needed is disparity reduction, 2) placing sustainable development at the core, 3) transforming economies for decent jobs and inclusive truly redistributive growth, 4) building peaceful societies as well as open, transparent, accountable governance, and 5) forging a new global partnership for sustainable development. Unfortunately not being clear about the risks of partnerships with the private sector allows in players with grave conflicts of interest.

UNACCEPTABLE TO SO MANY OF US IS HOW THE HLPEP LEFT OUT THE SHIFT TO A HUMAN RIGHTS-BASED AGENDA. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN #1. Note that this is a clear demonstration that the many consultations which insisted on this were simply disregarded. How are we expected to trust?

(c) The academics and scientists convened through the Sustainable Development

Solutions Network recommended the adoption of a science-based and not human rights-based: perhaps because scientists are a bit ignorant about HR…? and action orientedagenda, integrating four interdependent dimensions of sustainabledevelopment (economic, social, environmental, and governance).

(d) The key role of business in the post-2015 agenda was distilled in the report of the UN

Global Compact. Companies are ready to change how they do business and

contribute by transforming markets from within and making production, consumption

and the allocation of capital more inclusive and sustainable. Is it only me that thinks this is mumble jumble? What are they really committing to? Isn’t this typical double talk? Keep in mind that the Global Compact does have conflicted partners.

(e) The report of the Regional Commissions highlighted the importance of regional

efforts in adapting globally agreed goals and policy priorities to nationally specific

realities. Did they recommend a HR focus demanding greater equality?

(f) The experiences and expertise of the UN system were put forward in the report of the

UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 Agenda and the work of the Technical

Support Team (TST). Did they recommend a HR focus demanding greater equality?

(g) At the Principal? level, leadership and guidance was received through the UN System

Chief Executives Board for Coordination. Did they recommend a HR focus demanding greater equality?

(h) The members of the High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability recommended a

sustainable path to enhance human well-being, further global justice, strengthen

gender equity and preserve the Earth’s life-support systems for future generations. If I am not wrong, they did recommend a HR focus demanding greater equality, no? Was their recommendation heeded by the HLPEP?

  1. Throughout 2014, Member States exchanged views and consolidated their ideas

through the work of existing UN development entities. ECOSOC and its functional and

regional commissions, committees and expert bodies have identified the potential


elements of the post-2015 review and monitoring framework, and explored how to adapt

the UN development system and its operational activities to respond to changes in the

development landscape. I am sure they did recommend a HR focus demanding greater equality? Was their recommendation heeded by the HLPEP? The Development Cooperation Forum sorry, who are these? provided useful policy space for stakeholders to discuss the implications of a unified and universal agenda, the global partnership, modalities for more effective review and monitoring, and concrete actions by Southern development cooperation partners on common challenges. did they recommend a HR focus demanding greater equality? Was their recommendation heeded by the HLPEP? The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) has, from its inaugural session in 2013, turned its attention to the post-2015 agenda, with leaders calling for a coherent approach and noting the important role the Forum can play in reviewing and monitoring. did they recommend a HR focus demanding greater equality? Was their recommendation heeded by the HLPEP?

  1. Now, at the end of 2014, we positively note the completion of the

intergovernmental processes established by the Rio + 20 Conference.

  1. In a series of structured dialogues on technology in the General Assemblyiv,

possible arrangements were considered for a facilitation mechanism to promote the

development, transfer, and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound

technologies. As said, this is only part of the solution.

  1. The Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development

Financing delivered its report on options for an effective sustainable development

financing strategy in August 2014.v The Committee proposed a basket of more than 100

options for policy makers, together with recommendations for a global partnership that

encompasses key aspects of aid, trade, debt, taxation, and financial market stability. It

recommended individual, country-owned financing strategies, rooted in enabling national

policy environments, and complemented by a reformed international enabling

environment enabling meaning exactly what?. It recognized that all sources of financing would need to be employed, public and private, national and international. did they recommend a HR focus demanding greater equality? Was their recommendation heeded by the HLPEP?

  1. Throughout 2014, the President of the General Assembly convened a series of

valuable gatherings. These included three high-level events on the contributions of

women, youth, and civil society, on human rights and the rule of law, and on the

contributions of North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation, and Information

and Communications Technology (ICT) for development. Finally, HR are explicitly mentioned… did these gatherings recommend a HR focus demanding greater equality? Was their recommendation heeded by the HLPEP? Three thematic debates were held on the role of partnerships, on ensuring stable and peaceful societies, and on water,


sanitation and sustainable energy. These were followed by a Dialogue on Accountability

in the General Assembly and in each region under the auspices of the respective UN

Regional Commission. In September of 2014, the President convened a High-Level

Stocktaking Event on the Post-2015 Development did it recommend a HR focus demanding greater equality? Was their recommendation heeded by the HLPEP?

  1. Importantly, the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals

delivered the results of its historic deliberations in July 2014, providing a narrative

grounded in the Rio+20 outcome document and emphasizing poverty eradication not disparity reduction?, environmental sustainability, inclusive growth, equality and a people-centred agenda for sustainable development. Not mentioning HR?

  1. Following more than a year of inclusive and intensive consultative deliberations,

the Open Working Group proposed 17 specific goals with 169 associated targetsvii, which it described as “action-oriented, global in nature, and universally applicable”, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development. It sought to combine aspirational global targets with country-specific targets to be set nationally. None of the 17 specific goals even mentions fulfilling human rights!

  1. In addition to reinforcing the commitment to the unfinished MDGs, the SDGs

break new ground with goals on inequalities, economic growth, decent jobs, cities and

human settlements, industrialization, energy, climate change, sustainable consumption

and production, peace, justice and institutions. The environmental dimension of the

agenda is articulated across the whole agenda. The SDGs are underpinned with a goal on

global partnerships for the means of implementation. Partnerships among who? On equal footing with public interest civil society and social movements? With conflicted TNCs?

  1. Mechanisms to review the implementation of goals will be needed, and the

availability of and access to data would/will need to be improved, including the disaggregation of information by gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location, and other characteristics relevant to national contexts. With a special role for public interest civil society to play the role of watchdogs.

  1. Finally, the recent report of my Independent Expert Advisory Group on the

Data Revolution for Sustainable Development called for the closing of key data gaps,

between developed and developing countries, gaps between information-rich and information poor people, and between the private and public sectors. It underscored the importance of increasing access to quality data, remedying inequalities in the areas of access to information, data literacy, promoting civic space and enhancing the sharing of data and


information. It also called for the strengthening of national institutions to provide

capacities for statistics and the interface with new technologies. Do not get carried away by thinking that better data will twist the will of decision-makers. They have their agenda and it is political. We have tons of data to do justice and demand equality that go unused.

2.1 3? Shared ambitions for a shared future

  1. Across all of these contributions and milestones, a common understanding has

emerged that there must be a universal agenda. Also human rights-based? Humankind faces the same global challenges; today’s problems transcend borders; even in the richest countries, there (can be) is destitution and exclusion. Universality implies that all countries will need to change, each with its own approach, but each with a sense of the global common good. Universality is the core attribute of human rights and intergenerational justice if so, why are HR not at the center of the agenda?? This report cannot be ambiguous about this; and many of us in civil society contend it is. It compels us to think in terms of shared responsibilities for a shared future. It demands policy coherence. Not a goal in itself unless we specify coherence for/about what. For top-down interventions? No.

Universality embodies a new global partnership for sustainable development in the spirit


  1. All voices have called for a people-centred and planet-sensitive agenda to

ensure human dignity as the core of human rights (why not calling a spade a spade? Are we afraid of risking no consensus from the rich countries if we do?, equality, environmental stewardship, healthy economies meaning what?, freedom from want and fear …HR concepts, and a renewed global partnership among whom? for sustainable development. Tackling climate change and fostering sustainable, HR-based development agendas are two mutually

reinforcing sides of the same coin. To achieve these ends, all have called for a

transformational and universal post-2015 agenda, buttressed by science and evidence,

and built on the principles of human rights and the rule of law, equality and sustainability. Here it is…

  1. All contributions underlined that we should continue the march of the MDGs. But they have also stressed that Member States will need to fill key sustainable

development gaps left by the MDGs, such as the multi-dimensional aspects of poverty,

decent work for young people, social protection and labour rights for all. And development as a human right! They have asked for inclusive, sustainable cities, infrastructure and industrialization. They have called for strengthening effective, accountable, participatory and inclusive governance; for free expression, information, and association; for fair justice systems; and for peaceful societies and personal security for all. Some did ask for using the HR framework as a basis, no?

  1. All voices voices of whom exactly? have demanded that we leave no one behind, ensuring equality, nondiscrimination, equity and inclusion at all levels. We must pay special attention to the

people, groups and countries most in need. This is the century of women: we will not


realize our full potential if half of humanity continues to be held back. We also need to

include (the) people rendered poor by an unfair system, children, adolescents, youth, and the aged, as well as those rendered unemployed, rural populations, those made slum dwellers, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, migrants, those made refugees and displaced persons, (vulnerable) groups rendered vulnerable and minorities. These also include

those affected by climate change, those living in LDCs, landlocked countries, small island developing states, middle-income countries, conflict countries or in areas under

occupation, in places struck by complex medical and humanitarian emergencies or in

situations affected by terrorism. And they have called for an end to all forms of gender

inequality, gender-based discrimination, and violence against women, children and young

boys and girls.

  1. The public discourse has underscored the call for the urgent need to recognize

and address the understandable trust deficit between governments, institutions and the people. Providing an enabling environment meaning what? to build inclusive and peaceful societies, ensure social cohesion understood as… and respect for human rights and the rule of law will require rebuilding institutions at the country level to ensure that the gains from peace are not reversed.

  1. All want action to address climate change, to accelerate the reduction of

greenhouse gas emissions, and to keep the rise in global average temperature below 2

degrees Celsius on the basis of equity for present and future generations and in

accordance with common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

All also want to preserve our oceans, marine resources, terrestrial ecosystems and


  1. All call for meaningful transformations of our economies. They call for

making our patterns of growth more inclusive, redistributive, sustained and sustainable. People want decent jobs, social protection, robust small farmers’ agricultural systems and rural prosperity, sustainable human rights cities, inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and resilient infrastructure and sustainable energy for all. These transformations will also help tackle climate change. We have also (heard) received strong calls to reform international trade making it fair, ensure effective regulation of markets, TNCs and financial actors, and to take vigorous action to fight corruption, curb illicit

financial flows, combat money laundering and tax evasion, and recover stolen and hidden



  1. All inputs have underscored the need to integrate economic, social and

environmental dimensions across the new agenda. All meaning what they underscore? To make this happen, they want norm-based policy coherence at all levels exactly meaning what?, corresponding reform of global governance mechanisms I am sure not all agreeing on what reform…and that is the key, and a renewed effective global partnership among whom? And who left out? for sustainable development. These, they tell us and mean it?, should be based on solidarity, cooperation, mutual accountability, and the participation of governments as duty bearers and (all stakeholders…arrrg!) the respective claim holders. (The document has to consistently use HR terminology!)

  1. All have asked for a rigorous and participatory review and monitoring

framework to hold governments, businesses, and international organizations accountable

to the people for results, and to ensure that no harm is done to the planet. Really? all? Accountability? And they have called for a data revolution? to make information and data more available, more accessible, and more broadly disaggregated, as well as for measurable goals and targets, and a participatory mechanism …also to be made measurable for accountability purposes to review implementation at the national, regional, and global levels.


  1. Framing the New Agenda


3.1 Setting the stage

  1. At this moment, a truly universal and transformational course is being set. From

the 2010 Summit on the MDGs, to Rio+20, and the outcome of the Open Working

Group,viii a remarkably consistent vision has emerged. But still short on a HR vision.

  1. Because human dignity why not saying HR directly? and planetary sustainability cannot be reduced to a simple formula, because their constituent elements are so interdependent, and because sustainable development is a complex phenomenon, the proposal by the Open Working Group of such a far-reaching set of goals and targets is to be welcomed as a remarkable step forward in the international community’s quest for effective solutions to an increasingly complex global agenda. Is the ‘international community’ heavily skewed towards ‘development experts’? What about claim holders worldwide, were they sufficiently incorporated in the quest?
  2. As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I therefore welcome the outcome

produced by the Open Working Group (Table 1). I congratulate the leadership and all

who participated in its ground-breaking work. I take positive note of the decision of the

General Assembly that the proposal of the Group be the main basis for the post-2015

intergovernmental process. Sir, are you not a bit disappointed that the agenda is not sufficiently HR—centered?

  1. In the coming months, the Member States of the United Nations will negotiate

the final parameters of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda. That Agenda

should include a compelling and principled narrative including HR principles?, building on the outcomes of the major global conferences , including the Millennium Summit, the 2005 Summit Outcome, the 2010 Summit on the MDGs, the outcome of Rio+20, and the voices of the people as conveyed in the post-2015 process. ‘the voices of the people’ demanding a HR focus do not seem to have been heeded… The Agenda should also call for full consistency with current political commitments and existing obligations under international law specifically including HR law. It should include concrete goals together with measurable and achievable targets. Do the former and the latter really guarantee sustainable development? Should we not be asking member states to prepare progressive long term realization of HR plans with annual benchmarks for processes that simply have to be set in motion to achieve the long term realization? This this being what? should demonstrate the important interrelationship between the goals and targets. Importantly, it must respond to the capacity challenges of countries with varying capabilities and weaker


institutions to do what?. Countries must not be overly burdened by an agenda that creates additional challenges rather than alleviate burdens. The Agenda will require serious commitments for financing and other means of implementation, including those to be agreed in Addis Ababa in July 2015 and Paris in December 2015 how much will be for the fulfillment of HR if this synthesis report is weak on this?. And it should include strong, inclusive

public mechanisms at all levels for reporting, monitoring progress, learning lessons, and

ensuring mutual accountability.

Table 1. Sustainable development goals omitted (Note that NONE of the 17 goals mentions human rights!).

  1. Success will equally depend on the power of the new agenda to inspire and

mobilize claim holders and duty bearers as essential actors, new partnerships, key constituencies, and the broader global citizenry to be empowered and mobilized to demand changes. For this, we will need an agenda that resonates? with the experiences and (needs) rights!! of people as claim holders, that can be understood, (and) embraced and applied. The agenda and goals (should) must also be received at the country level in a way that (would) ensures a (transition of) quantum leap from the MDGs to the broader and more transformative HR-based and sustainable development agenda and effectively become

an integral part of national and regional visions and progressive realization plans.

  1. In this regard, we must recall and take note of the mandate given to the General

Assembly by the member states at the Rio+20 Conference, where they declared that the

“SDGs should be action-oriented, concise and easy to communicate, limited in number,


aspirational, global in nature and universally applicable to all countries while taking into

account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting

national policies and priorities” (Paragraph 247).

  1. Member States have agreed that the agenda laid out by the Open Working

Group is the main basis for the Post-2015 intergovernmental process. Have they already? We now have the opportunity to frame the goals and targets in a way that reflects the ambition of a universal and transformative agenda. I note, in particular, the possibility to maintain the 17 goals and rearrange them in a focused and concise manner that enables the necessary global awareness and implementation at the country level. But the human rights focus is missing in 17 the 1goals…

3.2 A transformational approach

  1. I wish to propose an integrated set of six essential elements, that taken together,

will aim to facilitate the deliberations of Member States ahead of the special Summit on

sustainable development in September 2015, and enable them to arrive at the concise and

aspirational agenda mandated by the Rio + 20 Conference.

  1. The essential elements underscore the urgency of a universal call to commit to a

set of principles that include human rights’ and that, applied together, can bring about a truly universal transformation of sustainable development. Thus, as we implement the new agenda, we must:

  • commit to a universal human rights-based! approach, and with solutions that address all countries and all groups;
  • integrate HR and sustainability in all activities, mindful of economic, environmental and

social impacts;

  • address and resolve inequalities in all areas, agreeing that no goal or target be considered met unless met for all social, economic and otherwise marginalized groups;
  • ensure that all actions respect, protect, fulfill and advance human rights, in full coherence with international (standards) HR law;
  • address the natural and penalize the man-made drivers of climate change and its consequences;
  • base our analysis in credible data and evidence, enhancing data capacity, availability,

disaggregation, literacy and sharing;

  • expand our global partnership among whom? TNCs included? for means of implementation to maximum effect, and full participation of who? Claim holders?, including multi-stakeholder, issue-based coalitions most in civil society object these coalitions since they more often than not have TNCs involved.; and


  • anchor the new compact a compact has not been defined yet in this report in a renewed commitment to international solidarity, commensurate with the ability of each country to contribute.

3.3. Six essential elements for delivering on the SDGs

  1. The following six essential elements should help frame and reinforce the HR-based, universal, integrated and transformative nature of a sustainable development agenda and ensure that the ambition or commitment? expressed by Member States in the outcome of the Open Working Group translates, communicates and is delivered at the country level (Figure 1). omitted

Figure 1. Six essential elements for delivering the SDGs

  1. Eradicating poverty through deliberate actions towards disparity reduction by 2030 is the overarching objective of the HR-based, sustainable development agenda. We live in a world of plenty, and in a moment of enormous scientific promise and social activism resurgence. And yet, for hundreds and hundreds of millions across the globe, this

is also an age of gnawing? deprivation. The defining challenge of our time is to close the

gap between our determination to ensure a life of dignity for all with full respect of HR on the one hand, and the reality of persisting processes that perpetuate poverty and deepen inequality on the other.

  1. While we have made important progress in recent years, addressing gender

inequality and realizing women’s rights remains a key challenge in all regions of the


world. It should by now be recognized that no society can reach its full potential if whole

segments of that society, especially young people, are excluded from participating in,

contributing to, and benefiting from development. Other dimensions of inequality such as? Neoliberal policies of globalization?… continue to persist, and in some many? cases have worsened. Income inequality specifically is one of the most visible aspects of the broader and more complex issue of neoliberalism, one that among other, entails inequality of opportunity. This is a universal challenge that the whole world must address.

The agenda must accommodate not only the voices of women, youth and minorities, but also their influence and seek the prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples, remove obstacles to and promote full participation by persons with disabilities, older persons, adolescents and youth, and empower people rendered poor by an unfair system. It

must not exclude migrants, refugees, displaced persons, (or) and persons affected by conflict and occupation.

  1. For reasons now well known, millions of people, especially women and children, have been left behind in the unfinished work of the MDGs. We must ensure women, youth and children have access to the full range of quality health services. We must ensure zero tolerance of violence against or exploitation of women and girls. Women and girls must have equal access to financial services, and the right to own land and other assets. All children and adolescents have a right to education and must have a safe environment in which to learn. Human development is (also) has the respect of human rights at its very core.
  2. The agenda must address universal health-care coverage publicly financed by taxes assuring affordable access to all without discrimination (affordability); end preventable maternal, new-born and child deaths and malnutrition, as well as preventable ill-health in all ages; ensure the availability of essential medicines to all; fully realize women’s reproductive health and

rights; ensure fully protective immunization coverage; (eradicate) bring malaria under control and realize the vision of a future (free of) where AIDS and tuberculosis cease to be public health problems; reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases including its nutrition- determined causes and including mental illness, nervous system injuries, road accidents, as well as promote healthy behaviours, including those related to water, sanitation and hygiene.

  1. Today, more than ever, the realities of 1.8 billion youth and adolescents represent a dynamic, informed, and globally connected engine for change. Integrating their needs, rights (to choice) and their voices and influence in the new agenda, (will be) is a key factor for success. How much have they already been included in the preparation of the post 2015 agenda? It is essential that young people receive relevant skills and high-quality education


and life-long learning, from early childhood development to post-primary schooling,

including life skills and vocational education and training, as well as science, sports and

culture. Teachers must be given the means and salaries to deliver learning and knowledge in response to a safe global workplace, driven by technology. ??

  1. Economic growth (should) must lead to shared prosperity. As such, the strength of an

economy must be measured by the degree to which it meets the needs of people in the lower quintiles of income, and on how sustainably and equitably it does so. We need inclusive growth with proven redistribution of wealth, built on decent, fairly paid jobs,

livelihoods and rising real incomes for those in the lower income strata (all and) measured in ways that go beyond GDP and account for human well-being, sustainability and marked greater equity. Ensuring that all people, including women, persons with disabilities, youth, aged, minorities and migrants have decent fairly paid employment, social protection, and access to financial services, will be a hallmark of (our) any economic success.

  1. Innovation and investments in sustainable and resilient infrastructure,

settlements, industrialization, small and medium enterprises, energy and technology can

both generate fairly paid employment, and remedy and prevent negative environmental trends. An enabled?, properly regulated, responsible and still reasonable profitable private sector is critical for employment, fair living wages, growth, and revenues for public programmes. Transforming business models is indispensable for creating shared value that is vital for growing inclusive, redistributive and sustainable economies.

  1. The world’s richness of natural resources also provides a formidable economic

opportunity, if it is translated not only into GDP growth but into shared, redistributed prosperity. Sustainable approaches to landscape management (including agriculture and forests), industrialization (including small manufacturing and productive capacities), access to renewable energy and water and sanitation, are key drivers of sustainable production and consumption, job creation, as well as sustainable, redistributive and equitable growth. They who? can indeed drive sustainable management of natural resources and tackle climate change.

  1. To respect and protect our planetary boundaries we need to equitably address climate

change, halt worrisome biodiversity loss, and address desertification and unsustainable land use. We


must protect wildlife, safeguard forests and mountains, as well as our water sources and reduce disaster risk and build resiliencies. We must protect our oceans, seas, rivers and atmosphere as our global (heritage) common goods, and achieve climate justice defined how?. We must promote sustainable small-scale agro-ecological agriculture, artisanal fisheries

and local food systems; foster sustainable management of water resources, and of waste and chemicals; foster renewable and more efficient energy; decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, advance sustainable industrialisation and resilient

infrastructures; ensure sustainable production and responsible consumption in rich countries; and achieve sustainable management of marine and terrestrial ecosystems and land use with an emphasis of stopping the practice of land grabbing.

  1. Sustainable development is at risk as evidence proves that warming of the

climate system is now undeniable and human activities are its primary cause. We must

limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius if we are to avoid the worst

effects of climate change. Carbon dioxide is the largest contributor to human-induced

climate change. Fossil fuels usage and deforestation are its two main sources. Increasing

warming will make severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts more likely. The longer

we wait to take action towards sustainable production and responsible consumption, the more it will cost to solve the problem and the greater the technological challenges will be. Adaptation can reduce some risks and impact of climate change. Most urgently, we simply must adopt a meaningful, severe enough universal climate agreement by the end of 2015.

  1. Effective, truly democratic governance for sustainable development demands that public

institutions in all countries and at all levels be inclusive, participatory, and accountable to

the people as monitored by their living organizations. Laws and institutions must protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and there is a long way ahead to achieve this. All people must be free from fear and violence, without discrimination. We also (know that) must strive for participatory democracy since free, safe, and peaceful societies are both enablers and outcomes of development.

  1. Access to truly fair justice systems, accountable institutions of democratic

governance, measures to combat corruption and curb illicit financial flows, and

safeguards to protect personal security are integral to sustainable, redistributive development. (An enabling environment under) The rule of law must be secured for the free, active and meaningful engagement of civil society and advocates reflecting the voices and influence of women,


minorities, LGBT groups, indigenous peoples, youth, adolescents and older persons.

Press freedom and access to information, freedom of expression, assembly and

association are (enablers) part and parcel of sustainable development. The practice of child labor, early and forced marriage must be ended everywhere. The rule of law must (be strengthened) prevail at the national and international level, so as to secure justice for all.

  1. We need to rebuild and reintegrate societies (better) after crises and conflicts. We

must address state fragility, support internally displaced persons and contribute to

resilience of such people and communities. Reconciliation, peace building and state-building are (critical for) to be fostered in countries to overcome fragility and develop cohesive societies, and strong democratic institutions. These (investments) interventions are essential to retaining the gains of development and avoiding reversals in the future.

  1. A revitalized global partnership among whom? TNCs included? for sustainable development must be built on the foundations agreed in the Millennium Declaration and in Monterrey and Johannesburg. It must be effective in mobilizing the means and in creating the (environment) conditions to implement our agenda. Mobilizing the support of whom? to implement the ambitious new agenda will require political will and action on all fronts: domestic and international, public and private (free of conflicts of interest), through aid and trade respectful of human rights, private sector regulation, taxation and greater public investment.
  2. Implementation is not just about quantity. It is also about doing things together with whom?, uniting around the problem. Inclusive partnerships among who? must be a key feature of implementation, at all levels: global, regional, national and local. We know the extent to which this may be transformative, but also know some of the shortcomings. The sustainable development goals provide a platform for aligning the action of private actors and public policies. Transformative partnerships are built upon principles and values including no conflicts of interest, a shared vision, and shared goals arrived at by only placing people and planet at the center. They include the participation of all relevant claim holders and duty bearers including those duty bearers bound by extraterritorial obligations (stakeholders arrgg!). Mutual accountability is at the center, but must be monitored particularly by public interest civil society acting as watchdogs. This means principled and responsible public-private-people partnerships. Absolutely NOT! Very few are principled and responsible. Look at the reality.

3.4. Integrating the six essential elements

  1. Sustainable development must be an integrated agenda for economic,

environmental, political and social solutions. Its strength lies in the interweaving of (its) these


dimensions. Although certainly not automatically, this integration provides the basis for reinforcing human rights, equality and sustainability and for economic models that eventually benefit people and the environment; for environmental solutions that eventually contribute to progress, as well as for social and political approaches that add to (economic dynamism) wealth redistribution and allow for the preservation and sustainable use of the environmental common;

. Responding to all goals as a cohesive and integrated whole (all necessary, but not sufficient) will be critical to ensuring the transformations needed at scale.

  1. The agenda itself mirrors the broader international human rights framework No, so far it does NOT, including elements of economic, social, cultural, civil, and political rights, as well as the right to development. I cannot see this clearly spelled out. I see it more as a window dressing. My comments highlight this. Specific targets are set for disadvantaged groups. But this is not all. Indicators will need to be broadly disaggregated across all goals and targets. …only a start. What do you do with them then?
  2. The essential elements of what? are further integrated by the application of the principle of universality. In addressing them which? to all countries and all people we take account of environmental, economic, and social political? interdependence, while also recognizing the realities of differentiated national needs, capacities, restrictions and constraints.
  3. Finally, the new framework provides a much-needed opportunity to integrate the

broader United Nations agenda, with its inextricably linked and mutually interdependent

peace and security, development, and human rights objectives. The latter not fully, I contend.

  1. All of this will have important implications for the way that all partners and opponents pursue sustainable development, requiring transformations in approaches to leadership, key policies and policy coherence, strategies, and terms of possible collaboration. It will also have a beneficial unifying effect on the organization of work within the UN system at the global, regional and country levels.


  1. Mobilizing the Means to Implement Our Agenda


4.1 Financing our future

  1. Sustainable development is a complex challenge, with urgent requirements

which have resulted in enormous financing needs. The means to finance the goals agreed

will not be found in one solution, nor borne by one set of actors. All financing streams

need to be optimized? towards sustainable development, and coordinated for the greatest

impact on people’s rights. An integrated development agenda demands an equally synergistic financial framework. Governments (should) must work to better align the financing frameworks that developed out of two major strands of development debates – the Monterrey and the Rio processes. In addition, Government (should) must also be mindful of the need for coherence and alignment with climate finance?.

  1. The global conversation/negotiations on sustainable development finance is progressing. The Open Working Group has proposed a number of targets on means of implementation. The Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing presented policy options, organized around different financing streams: domestic public, domestic private, international public, international private and blended finance. These streams address the public, private, national and international facets of the financing challenge to raise new and additional resources, reallocate existing ones and create a supportive enabling environment always weeding out partners with conflicts of interest. The establishment of new institutions of South-South Cooperation, such as the BRICS Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, present new opportunities to finance sustainable development investments. ix
  2. I welcome the policy options presented by the Committee and encourage

countries to (scale up ambition) de-facto commit and enhance specificity to meet the demands of the new agenda. To these ends, as Member States prepare for Addis Ababa, it will fall to them to set an agreed and ambitious course for sustainable development financing beyond 2015.


Figure 1. omitted

Flows of funds from international and national financing sources to sustainable development.

  1. All public funds must positively impact those made poorest and most vulnerable in all societies. Official Development Assistance (ODA) and other international public funds

will continue to play a central and catalytic role, particularly in vulnerable countries, as

will a strategic much more HR-based approach and systematic progress in funds utilization. Member States of the United Nations (should) must honour their commitments in full and in a timely manner. ODA must both respond to the unfinished business of the MDGs and address human rights in the transition to the new sustainable, redistributive development agenda. In the current debate on (modernizing?) reforming ODA, it is necessary to underscore the importance of more effective and better targeted ODA funding that leverages other resources and becomes HR-based. This must include more focus on Least Developed


Countries, Land-locked Developing Countries, Small Islands Developing States, and

countries in vulnerable situations.

  1. The political responsibility for raising the domestic public revenues necessary for the core economic and social functions – for example to ensure a social protection floor and to remedy ongoing human rights violations and exclusion – rests primarily with each national government. National laws and policies are to dedicate adequate and timely resources to these purposes, while public institutions are to act strictly in the public interest. This includes environmentally and socially sound policies, the promotion, protection and fulfillment of human rights, strong democratic institutions and the rule of law.

However, domestic efforts need to be complemented by a human rights supportive international environment.

  1. Urgent action is needed to mobilize, redirect, and unlock the transformative

power of trillions of dollars of untaxed private resources to deliver on sustainable development objectives. The enforcement of a Tobin tax, as well as long-term investments, including fairly negotiated foreign direct investment (FDI), are needed in critical sectors, especially in developing countries. These include sustainable energy, infrastructure and transport, as well as information and communications technologies.

The public sector will need to set a clear direction. Review and monitoring frameworks,

regulations and incentive structures that enable such investments must be retooled to

attract responsible, accountable investments that reinforce sustainable development. National oversight mechanisms such as supreme and public interest civil society audit institutions and oversight functions by legislatures (should) must be strengthened for this.

  1. Efforts to increase the HR focus and the effectiveness of development cooperation need to be enhanced based on human rights principles and country ownership, with a results focus, inclusive partnerships on an equal footing, transparency and accountability.
  2. Long-term decarbonization of our economies; access to energy, water and food;

and a sustainable agriculture based of food sovereignty, sustainable industrial models, rational infrastructure and transport will ultimately have to be achieved through the same investments. (at the project level). In addition, it will be important to consider that many of the investments to achieve the SDGs will take place at the sub-national level and led by local authorities.


  1. In addition, we must move, seriously and expeditiously, to correct the inequities

that have long plagued the international system, to the disadvantage of developing

countries. We need a more equitable and fair multilateral trading system that is critical of existing and upcoming free trade agreements, move towards the conclusion of a more equitable Doha round, and better access to appropriate technology, to essential medicines, and to long-term investments for developing countries. We need a much fairer representation of emerging and developing countries in international financial and economic decision-making institutions, as well as in the Security Council, better regulation and more stability in the international financial and monetary systems, and sustainable debt forgiveness solutions. We must continue to remedy the policy incoherence between current modes of

international governance in matters of human rights, equality, trade, finance, and investment on the one hand, and our norms and standards for labour, the environment, and sustainability on the other.

  1. As preparations for the Third International Conference on Financing for

Development in Addis Ababa get underway, there are high expectations for concrete

outcomes that (would) will finance sustainable development and set the stage for what is hoped a successful outcome of the COP21 in Paris.

  1. I urge Member States to (consider) commit and agree in particular to the following:
  2. All developed countries (should) to meet the 0.7% target and (agree) commit to concrete timetables to meet ODA commitments, including the Istanbul commitments to LDCs of 0.15% of GNI by 2015. It is important to ensure that the proportion of ODA going to LDCs does not decline in real terms, but continues to increase, be human rights-based, be better targeted, more efficient, more transparent, and that leverages additional resources. (Smooth) Transition of countries graduating from least developed country status is vital to ensure that these countries are eased onto a sustainable development path without any disruption to their development plans, programmes and projects. Provisions are to (should) be made to increase funding to facilitate capacities to implement progressive tax reforms and repealing regressive taxes, thus improving domestic resource mobilization. All other international commitments also (need to) must be met.
  3. Any effort to (modernize) reform ODA and measures of development finance (should) must now be considered in an open, equal and transparent forum with (the widest possible) participation of donor and recipient countries and other relevant (stakeholders arrgg!) claim holders and duty bearers.


  1. Levels of concessionality?? should take into account different development

stages, circumstances and multiple dimensions of poverty, wealth maldistribution and the particular type of investment to be made.

  1. All countries are (encouraged) to adopt their own national sustainable

development financing strategies that take account of all financing flows, based on

continuing dialogue among relevant government entities and (other stakeholders) genuine representatives of claim holders in different areas. Such strategies (should) must review and strengthen the domestic policy, the legal and institutional environment and the policy coherence for a sustainable, redistributive development focused on HR. All financing flows,

including climate finance, (should) must build stronger country ownership and lead to greater use of country strategies and systems geared to the fulfillment of HR. In order to be HR-based and effective, the component parts of sustainable development financing strategies must have associated investible pipelines??. National visions and plans and annual budgets and medium-term expenditure frameworks (should) are to be aligned with national sustainable, redistributive development strategies.

  1. Fiscal and macro-economic policies must include low carbon solutions for

sustainable development and the need to invest in adaptation and resilience. Carbon

pricing, through different approaches, (should) must be a key consideration. Harmful fossil fuel subsidies, both direct and indirect, (should) must be phased out. Agricultural export subsidies (should) must be removed.

  1. Stern regulatory frameworks, incentives and risk-return profiles that enable

private investments and business models, as well as public procurement policies, must be

aligned with the SDGs.

  1. All countries (should) must consider adopting policies to encourage responsible, conflict of interest-free and accountable investment of private finance in sustainable development, and requiring companies to undertake mandatory Economic Environment Social and Governance (EESG)? reporting, always accompanied with regulatory changes that ensure that investor incentives are aligned with sustainable development goals. Short transition periods and longer term technical support (would) will be needed to this effect, especially for small and medium enterprises.


  1. We (should) must work to ensure investment policies that are in line with the UN’s

Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, core labour standards of the ILO,

and United Nations environmental standards. It (should) must also adequately balance investor preferences with the needs of (the people) claim holders in countries in which they operate.

  1. Policies are needed to stimulate and support responsible entrepreneurship and to increase access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises, including through the use of development banks and other financial intermediaries.
  2. Countries (should) must strive to provide universal access to financial services,

emphasizing inclusive access across income, gender, geography, age, and other groups.

Specific barriers to women’s access to finance (should) must be eliminated. They should expand financial literacy and establish strong consumer protection agencies.

  1. Blended financing platforms? (could) have a great potential, particularly where

there is a benefit to the public sector. Where they are considered, however, it is important

to ensure that these arrangements are subject to safeguards to verify that they contribute

to sustainable, redistributive development. They must not replace or compromise state responsibilities for delivering on social and human rights needs. Such policies also need to ensure fair returns to the public, while incorporating human rights, social, environmental, labour, and gender equality considerations. In addition, risk (should) has to be managed through diversification and the use of multiple simultaneous projects, allowing for gains in some projects to offset losses in others.??

  1. Member States may wish or not to call on the International Financial Institutions to

consider establishing a process to examine the role, scale and functioning of multilateral

and regional development finance institutions. This, with the explicit purpose to make them more responsive to a sustainable, redistributive development agenda.

  1. While the additional commitments which have been made for climate finance

(should) must be honoured, the use of these and other financing flows (should) must not lead to fragmentation, but rather to coherence and strengthened cross-linkages within the pillars of sustainable development. An expert technical group (should) can be tasked with developing


and presenting to Member States a coherent framework that accounts for climate

finance and a HR-based ODA.

  1. South-South cooperation and the significant efforts of solidarity by emerging

economies is encouraging. More countries will need to commit to increasing their

contribution to international public financing and set targets and timelines to do so.

In turn, South-South technical assistance and the sharing of experiences through

regional fora should be promoted.

  1. I also strongly encourage countries to consider using innovative ways to raise

additional resources to fund sustainable development at scale, drawing from a number

of options, including, inter alia, various tax (e.g., financial transaction taxes, carbon tax,

airline ticket levies) and non-tax (e.g., emission allowances) mechanisms.

  1. We must strengthen international coordination and regulation of macroeconomic policies of major economies and the management of global liquidity, and consider more

systematic issuance of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) for continued assistance, and

countercyclical macroeconomic management without unreasonable conditionalities.

  1. We must vigorously implement comprehensive and adequate financial

regulations in all countries, as the risk of another global financial crisis has not been

sufficiently reduced. However, the design of regulations needs to take into account their

impact on financial inclusion of whom? and incentives for investment in sustainable development.

  1. Effectively addressing illicit financial flows is urgent. We need more vigorous

implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption, as well as measures to

overcome impediments to the return of stolen assets. Member States (should) are to consider measures to ensure information exchange, judicial cooperation and the establishment of an intergovernmental committee on tax cooperation, under the auspices of the United Nations.

  1. Let us also enhance international efforts to strengthen arrangements for

transparent, orderly and participatory sovereign debt forgiveness and restructuring. As an


immediate step, let us bring together relevant authorities and other stakeholders (here YES; lenders do hold a stake…) to develop an informal forum on sovereign debt, while continuing ongoing discussions.

  1. Efforts (should) must be intensified to reduce costs on the transfer of remittances, in

a manner fully respecting the rights of migrants. I welcome the commitment of G20

countries to reduce the global average cost of transferring remittances to five per cent. But more can certainly be done.

4.2 Technology, Science and Innovation for a Sustainable Future

  1. We live in a period of unprecedented technological innovation and change.

New technologies are unlocking possibilities for sustainable development. The solutions

that they can generate, and the levels of access that they can enable, will be crucial to our

vision for the world beyond 2015, noting that technology will not fix all the development problems at hand.

  1. However, access to vital and environmentally sound technologies is today

unevenly spread, both within and between countries, with the poor and many developing

countries essentially locked out. Large amounts of public resources are allocated to

military budgets, while comparatively infinitely less is spent on research and development for public goods. Public funding too often subsidizes private sector research, at times leading to the public being priced out of the benefits through disadvantageous licensing and patents.

This also leads to frequent subsidies of innovations that are not aligned with promoting

sustainable consumption and production patterns. Furthermore, we have a long way to go

to reach the necessary level of participation of women and girls in science, technology

(including ICTs), engineering, and mathematics for the world in the 21st century.

  1. A sustainable future will require that we act now to phase out unsustainable

technologies, to invest in innovation and the development of clean and sound

technologies for sustainable development. We must ensure that they are fairly priced, and

broadly disseminated and fairly (absorbed) adopted, including to and by developing countries.

  1. Developing countries, and LDCs in particular, will need the support that will

allow them to benefit from enhanced access to these technologies, and, ultimately, to

expand domestic innovation and the development of their own technological solutions.


  1. Historically, significant technological advances have often resulted from multistakeholder, solution-driven initiatives meaning exactly what?. Achieving our sustainable, redistributive development goals will similarly require solution-driven technology partnerships among a variety of actors.
  2. We must establish effective modalities for multi-stakeholder cooperation among who? and sharing the costs for the Research, Development, Demonstration, and Diffusion

(RDD&D) for new technologies across all (stakeholders) countries including the public and non-conflicted private sector, public interest civil society, non-conflicted philanthropic, and other sectors, and inclusive of indigenous knowledge. We must move to prepare concrete initiatives, including those leveraging? technology, ready to launch at the commencement of the new agenda and set bold technological goals and resource mobilization targets. And we must facilitate access to the benefits of technology for all, including those in the poorest quintiles, while ensuring that the intellectual property regime (creates the right) does not dis-incentivate the technological innovation needed for sustainable, redistributive development. The urgency is particularly great in the case of low-carbon technologies as part of our efforts to mitigate human-induced climate change.

  1. There are a number of ongoing international initiatives aimed at accelerating the

development, diffusion and transfer of appropriate, especially environmentally sound,

technologies. Thus far, however, ambition has not matched the challenges at hand.

  1. Having taken into account the recommendations of the structured? dialogues of

the General Assembly, I propose to establish an online, global platform building on and

complementing existing initiatives, and with the participation of all relevant

(stakeholders) researchers, practitioners and users, in order to: (a) map existing technology transfer facilitation initiatives, needs and gaps, including in areas vital for sustainable redistributive development, including agriculture, cities and health; (b) enhance international cooperation and coordination in this field, addressing fragmentation and facilitating synergies, including within the UN system; and (c) promote networking, information sharing, knowledge transfer, and technical assistance, to advance the scaling up of clean technology initiatives.

  1. At the same time, I call upon all Member States to (a) urgently finalize

arrangements for the establishment of the proposed Technology Bank and the

Science, Technology, and Innovation Capacity Building Mechanism for LDCs, (b)

significantly scale up cooperation for the sharing of technologies, strengthening


knowledge and capacity building for usage, innovation capacities, including ICTs,

(c) make the adjustments necessary in the national and international policy

frameworks to facilitate these actions, (d) substantially progress in the development,

transfer, and dissemination of such technologies and knowledge to developing

countries on favorable, concessional, and preferential terms; (e) ensure that our

global intellectual property regimes and the application of TRIPS flexibilities are

fully consistent with and contribute to the goals of sustainable, redistributive development (which it is not now); (f) make specific commitments to shifting public resources out of harmful technologies, and into our sustainable development goals; and (g) promote the acceleration of the innovation-to-market-to-public good cycle of clean and environmentally sound technologies.

4.3 Investing in capacities for sustainable development

  1. To achieve our goals, countries need to integrate them in national progressive realization of human rights planning, in policy, budgets, law, and institutions. They will require integrated institutions that are effective and human resources equipped with the skills and capacities to deliver a sustainable, redistributive development. Governments, in consultation with all (stakeholders) claim holders in different sectors, will need to review national progressive realization strategies and policies to support progress towards the goals, consistent with national human rights priorities.
  2. These strategies will also have to be reviewed, and implemented at the local

level, with the full engagement of local authorities and local claim holder groups. In many instances, subnational and local authorities, including mayors, are already leading the charge for sustainable but not necessarily redistributive development. Institutional and human capacities will, in many cases, need to be strengthened for effective implementation and monitoring. This includes bolstering capacities to assess (needs) ongoing human rights violations, collect data and formulate responses across sectors and


  1. Executive institutions, parliaments and the judiciary will need the capacity to

perform their functions in this endeavour. Also institutions of public interest civil society must have the capacity and be given the space to perform their critical, independent role.

  1. Many developing countries will need support for capacity building. LDCs and post-conflict countries will have particularly urgent needs. For this, the United Nations is


working to revitalize and improve its role in capacity development.x Here too, (ambition) commitment will need to be scaled up, especially in the immediate term, not only by the United Nations, but by all partners in the process.

  1. As we seek to build capacities and to help the new agenda to take root,

volunteerism can be another powerful and cross-cutting means of implementation.

Volunteerism can help to expand and mobilize constituencies, and to engage people in

national planning and implementation for sustainable, redistributive development goals. And volunteer groups can help to localize the new agenda by providing new spaces of interaction between governments and (people) claim holders for concrete and scalable actions.

  1. Finally, we must also mobilize the power of culture in the transformative change

we seek. Our world is a remarkable mosaic of diverse cultures, informing our evolving

understanding of sustainable, redistributive development. We still have much to learn from cultures as we build the world we want. If we are to succeed, the new agenda cannot remain the exclusive domain of institutions and governments. It must be embraced by people acting as de-facto claim holders claiming their rights. Culture, in different aspects, will thus be an important force in supporting the new agenda.


  1. Delivering Our Agenda: a Shared Responsibility


5.1 Measuring the new dynamics

  1. Progress in sustainable, redistributive development will depend on (vibrant?) fair economies and inclusive, redistributive growth to keep pace with growing populations and longer life expectancies, and to generate employment with fair wages, and revenues for universal social programmes. But for making our economies inclusive, redistributive and sustainable, our understanding of economic performance, and our metrics for gauging it, must be broader, deeper and more precise.
  2. We need to reconsider how to account for sustainable production and responsible

consumption patterns in national accounting. Measures that do not distinguish between

socially and environmentally harmful activities and violated HR on the one hand, and social goods and fulfilled HR on the other, that do not account for equity and the distribution of costs and benefits, and do not include impacts on future generations, will not help us to navigate to a sustainable future.

  1. Member States have recognized the importance of building on existing

initiatives to develop measurements of progress on sustainable development that go

beyond gross domestic product but do not consider needed disparity reduction. Thus, work on developing alternative measures or progress, beyond GDP and towards fulfilling HR, must receive the dedicated attention of the United Nations, international financial institutions(!), the scientific community, and public institutions.

These metrics must be squarely focused on measuring social and HR progress, human wellbeing, justice, security, equality, wealth redistribution and sustainability. (Poverty) Disparity reduction measures (should) must reflect the multi-dimensional nature of poverty and the ongoing violation of HR. New measures of subjective wellbeing are

potentially important new tools for policy-making.

  1. To realize a sustainable, redistributive development agenda, we also need measurable targets and technically rigorous indicators. Plus the political determination to act on those indicators. Here too, Member States have advanced the process significantly, by proposing an array of targets, which bring a strong integrating effect, and

go a long way in defining the substance of what we need to achieve. How many on HR? However while many remain robust and responsive to the goals, others serve better the ongoing work of


developing indicators for the agenda meaning what?. A few of the targets are less ambitious than already agreed meaning what? and some better placed where commitments to policy change can be ensured.

  1. What is needed now is a technical and political review to ensure that each is framed in

language that is specific, measurable, achievable, and consistent with existing United

Nations human rights and other standards, covenants and agreements, while preserving the important political balance that they represent. To these ends, the (technical) experts of the United Nations System are available to review the targets, including on the means of implementation, and to compare and align the level of ambition and potential commitment represented by each to that of existing international targets, (commitments,) standards, and agreements thus strengthening the overall framework of the goals and making sure they advance HR. This will also contribute to coherence in the discussion on financing for development.

  1. In addition, where a proposed target is stated in measurable terms, but no

quantitative target has been specified, Member States may wish to seek the input of the

United Nations System, in consultation with its partners in academia and the

scientific community, on evidence for attaching specific global target levels.

  1. A set of applicable indicators will also need to be identified to allow us to

collect, compare, and analyse reliable data, to do so at the adequate level of

disaggregation, as of 2016. For this purpose, Member States may decide to task the

United Nations System, in consultation with other relevant experts and through a

multi-stakeholder? dialogue, to develop a draft set of indicators.

5.2. Lighting the way: the role of data in the new agenda

  1. We seek an evidence-based course for realizing a sustainable and redistributive development. For this, we must face the complex challenges this presents, and as a response to the varying country realities, capabilities and resistance attitudes.
  2. As indicated by my Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution

for Sustainable Development, the world must acquire a new ‘data literacy’ in order to be

equipped with the tools, methodologies, capacities, and information necessary to shine a

light on the challenges of responding to the new agenda. Enhanced national and

international statistical capacities, rigorous indicators, reliable and timely data sets, new


and non-traditional data sources, and broader and systematic disaggregation to reveal

inequities and especially HR inequalities will all be fundamental to implementing it.

  1. In all of this, we must maximize our commitment to public transparency,

information sharing, participatory monitoring and open data, while never compromising

on the obligation to protect the right to privacy. And we must significantly scale up

support to countries and national statistical offices with critical needs for capacities to

produce, collect, disaggregate, analyse, share AND use data crucial to the new agenda.

  1. To these ends, I recommend that, under the auspices of the UN Statistical

Commission, a comprehensive programme of action on data be established. This

includes the building of a global consensus, applicable principles and standards for

data, a web of data innovation networks to advance innovation and analysis, a new

innovative financing stream to support national data capacities, and a global data

partnership to promote leadership and governance.

  1. Specifically, we will carry out in close cooperation with country experts an in depth

analysis of the existing data and information gaps and, thus, determine the scale

of the investments needed to establish a modern SDG monitoring system. We will

catalyze a multi-stakeholder Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, to

mobilize and coordinate the actions required to make the data revolution serve sustainable, redistributive development, promoting initiatives such as the holding of inclusive ‘World Fora on Sustainable Development Data’. As said, collection of reliable data is, per-se, not a solution. We may end up chronicling the evolution of developments without changing them…

5.3. Gauging our progress: Monitoring, evaluation and reporting

  1. If we are to succeed, the new agenda must become part of the contract between

(people) claim holders, including the guarantee of public interest civil society, and responsible conflict-free business, donors and governments as responsible duty bearers nationally

and locally. Parliaments must be strengthened to deepen democracy and carry out their

constitutional mandates of oversight of the implementation of the agenda with a HR focus. All companies must pay their taxes, respect labour standards, human rights and workers rights in particular, and the be protective of the environment. Empowered public interest civil society actors, through action and advocacy, must rally to the cause, and contribute to a sustainable, redistributive, equitable and prosperous future.


  1. We must now embrace a culture of shared responsibility, one based on agreed

universal human rights norms, global commitments, shared rules and evidence, collective action, and benchmarking for the progressive realization of progress. The new paradigm of accountability that we seek is not one neither of North to South, nor South to North conditionalities, but rather one of all actors —governments, international institutions, private sector actors as duty bearers, and organizations of civil societies in all countries as claim holders. (to the people themselves). This is the real test of a people-centred,

planet-sensitive development.

  1. Such a model can only be built on national ownership, broad claim holder participation, and full transparency. To be effective, it must be aligned with the post-2015 agenda and its new goals centered on HR. To be efficient, it must be streamlined and employ existing mechanisms and processes. To be evidence-based, it must be grounded in the data revolution, and the indicators and data that emerge therefrom. To be truly universal, it must apply to all actors—in both the public and the private sectorsxi, at both the national and international levels. It must include opportunities for mutual review??, and mutual support at the regional and global levels.
  2. In recent months, United Nations consultations have emphasized the need for a

voluntary, state-led, participatory, evidence-based, and multi-tiered process to monitor


  1. Thus, a universal review process constructed on these principles should be

initiated at the national level, and should inform the national, regional, and global level

reviews. At all levels, review discussions should be public, participatory, broadly

accessible, and based on facts, data, scientific findings, and evidence-based evaluations.

The principal components (might) should include:

  1. A country-led, national component for accountability. In the overall

review process, this national segment, as that closest to the people as claim holders, (should) must be the most significant. It should be built on existing national and local

mechanisms and processes, with broad, (multi-stakeholder) claim holders/duty bearers participation, including national and local government, parliaments, public interest civil society, science, academia and conflict free business. It would establish progressive realization benchmarks, review the national policy framework with a HR lens, chart progress, learn lessons, consider solutions, follow-up,


and report AND act thereon. For this, a government report, a national (stakeholder) a civil society shadow report with contributions from national non-governmental actors, as well as a report compiling existing information and data from United Nations agencies and

international financial institutions, all based upon globally-harmonized formats, (would) will constitute the main written inputs on individual country progress or stagnation.

  1. A regional component for peer reviewing, tailored to regional and

sub-regional needs, and undertaken by existing mechanisms in a participatory,

(multi-stakeholder) process that includes claim holders representatives, to consider national reports, identify regional trends, obstacles, commonalities, best practices and lessons learned, and to generate solutions and mutual. (support and solutions). Regional reviews should incorporate and build on the experiences and successes of mechanisms such as

the Regional Economic Commissions, the Africa Peer Review Mechanism, the

Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, the ECE Environmental

Performance Reviews, and the OECD/DAC Peer Reviews.

iii. A global component for knowledge sharing, as a forum for

participatory (multi-stakeholder) and, importantly, universal review, will start at

the launch of the new agenda. This (would) will be convened annually under the

auspices of the high level political forum (HLPF). It would provide a periodic

occasion for individual countries to (voluntarily) present national reviews of

progress, to discuss lessons learned in each country’s implementation of the

agenda, and the opportunity to review both short-term outputs and long-term

outcomes of the impact on progressively attaining the goals. Member States should consider multi-annual reviews under HLPF in a five-year cycle.

  1. A thematic component is needed to chart global progress at regular intervals on

the sustainable development framework, to help to identify challenges and

bottlenecks, and to mobilize action to address them. While such thematic

reviews could be carried out under the auspices of the HLPF, they would rely

on relevant coordination and review “platforms.” These could include

existing specialized or functional commissions, councils, or committees that

convene United Nations and other multilateral entities, relevant treaty body


reviews and outcomes, as well as Member States, partners from public interest civil society, science, academia and no- conflict private sector, and would monitor and advance each respective thematic area. Existing partnerships should also be linked to such platforms, in order to ensure (efficient) prompt and effective action and accountability.

To support and complement the process, and to ensure continuous gauging of

progress, the United Nations would provide annual global thematic reports

aggregating available data, together with the Global sustainable Development

Report, mandated by Rio+20.

  1. A component to review the global partnership for sustainable redistributive, development. The essential element of an equal partnership and its mobilization of the

means necessary for implementation must also be kept under active review.

As they prepare for the Third Conference on Financing for Development in

Addis Ababa, Member States (should) must seize the opportunity to consider how

existing structures and processes can help review and strengthen the global

partnership for sustainable development, including the Global Partnership for

Effective Development Cooperation. An important additional role for the

review process under this component will be to address the respective

conference tracks targeting the special conditions and needs of LDCs, LLDCs,

and SIDS.

  1. The current structure of our intergovernmental bodies can accommodate the

universal review process described above. The establishment of the HLPF, which meets

under the auspices of ECOSOC and the General Assembly, as well as the United Nations

Environment Assembly, were important institutional innovations emerging from

Rio+20. And the reform of ECOSOC has been another important step forward.

5.4 Making the UN fit for transformation

  1. This new, universal, sustainable development agenda requires an international

community that is “fit for purpose” in order to support countries to implement a new

generation of sustainable redistributive development goals. All who would be engaged in its

implementation will need to embrace its new parameters and its transformative elements.

The United Nations is no exception given its role in leading and shaping the sustainable

development agenda to 2030


  1. A UN system that is “fit for purpose” to deliver on the post-2015 agenda is one

that is relevant, innovative, agile, inclusive, coordinated and results-oriented. It is guided

by universal human rights and other international norms, integrates the UN’s normative

frameworks with its operational activities, and is responsive to the differentiated needs of

countries. It provides specialized advice when requested, and is equally adept at ensuring

an integrated approach, working across disciplines with relevant skill sets to better

support Member States in addressing complex multisectoral challenges. It forges effective partnerships to leverage external partners’ expertise, capacities and resources. Such a system requires shared goals, visionary and committed leadership, and a global, highly skilled and adaptable international civil service. And it must reach the highest standards of accountability, transparency and impact.

  1. In doing so, the UN system is committed to working more collaboratively to

leverage the expertise and capacities of all its organizations in support of sustainable

development. At the country level, UN Country Teams will provide coherent support to

national (stakeholders) actors to implement their new post-2015 development strategies while accelerating implementation of the standard operating procedures for “delivering as one” in order to achieve greater results for a sustainable and redistributive development. Emphasis will also be placed on using data and evidence more effectively and transparently and developing greater analytical capacity for really addressing inequalities, risk and vulnerability. The UN system will continue to pursue the development of more innovative and integrated (business) management models and the implementation of modern operational practices to gain efficiencies and enhanced impact.

  1. Ongoing efforts will also be deepened to ensure that a high-performing, mobile

and diverse workforce is in place to support the new post-2015 sustainable development

agenda. It must be able to leverage the respective expertise and specializations of UN

agencies to work across disciplines and functions to better address complex multi-sectoral challenges. An independent, highly skilled, engaged international civil service that can meet the ever-changing needs of the international community is our major comparative advantage. We will invest in attracting, retaining and deploying high-performing staff across locations, mandates and (business) management models.


  1. Critically, for the UN to be more “fit for purpose”, Member States must also be

more coherent in their support, in particular as it relates to governance and funding of the

UN system. Sustained development financing for longer-term support and that enables

pooling of resources and brings together development and humanitarian financing will be

critical as will more coherent UN funding mechanisms that unite rather than fragment the

development policy framework. Increased country cotizations to UN agencies is the key to independence from current non-transparent, conflict ridden PPPs.

  1. In this context, Members States (may wish) are to reinforce current actions being

taken as well as take initiatives to ensure that the UN system is “fit for purpose” to

support this new transformative agenda and achieve coordination and coherence of

development actors at country level.


  1. Conclusion: Together in a Universal Compact
  2. Today’s world is a troubled world; one in turmoil and turbulence, with no

shortage of painful political and human rights upheavals. Societies are under serious strain, stemming from the erosion of our common values, climate change and growing inequalities, to migration pressures and borderless pandemics. It is also a time in which the strength of national and international institutions is being seriously tested. The nature and scope of this daunting array of enormous challenges necessitate that both inaction and business-as-usual must be dismissed as options. If the global community does not exercise national and international leadership in the service of the inalienable rights of our peoples, we risk further fragmentation, impunity and strife, endangering both the planet itself as well as a future of peace, sustainable and redistributive development and, foremost, the respect of human rights. Simply put, this generation is charged with a duty to transform our societies.

  1. 2015 is hence the belated time for global action. During this single year we, once again, have the unequivocal opportunity and responsibility to adopt sustainable development, to clean up and restructure the global financial system in line with our needs, and to respond finally and urgently to the challenge of human-induced climate change. Although some problems have been with us for long, never before has the world had to face such a complex agenda in a single year. And this unique opportunity will not

come again in our generation.

  1. We must take the first, determined steps toward a sustainable and dignified

future. Transformation and a change of the development paradigm are our aims. We must transform our economies, our environment, and our societies. We must change old mindsets, behaviours, and exploitative and destructive patterns. We must embrace the integrated essential elements of Dignity, People, Prosperity, Planet, Justice and Partnership. We must build cohesive societies, in pursuit of international peace and stability, as well as the respect of HR. And, we must prioritise (good) fair international solutions through the prism of being in the national interest of every Member State.

  1. Such a future is possible if we collectively mobilise political will and the

necessary resources to strengthen our nations and the multilateral system. We have the

means and methods to meet these challenges if we decide to employ them and work

together. If the Member States now mobilise the world around action for a sustainable


and redistributive development – nationally and internationally – the United Nations will have proved its value as the primary universal body living up to the principles and purposes of the UN Charter with its three pillars.

  1. Overall, our work now is a sobering and inspiring challenge. We are on the

threshold of the most important year of development since the founding of the United

Nations itself. We must give meaning to this Organization’s promise “to reaffirm faith in

the dignity and worth of the human person” and to take the world forward to a sustainable

future. With this extraordinary process and the unprecedented leadership that it has

witnessed, we have a historic opportunity and duty to act, boldly, vigorously and

expeditiously, to turn reality into a life of dignity for all, leaving no one behind.


Endnotes omitted




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Food for a confessional thought (2) [f/u of HR Reader 325]


Human Rights Reader 350


The Readers are proof that by ventilating new ideas, all is open, all is possible; that is their true capital. They are not for wo/men with no social ideals and just personal ambitions, e.g., for intellectuals mainly dedicated to the pleasures of intelligence. (As the scientist Ernst Mayr said: Higher intelligence may be a lethal mutation. But the grim prognosis is not inevitable). And remember: Only those who have known excellence and glory in their work have the right to decadence. (J.R. Ribeyro)


  1. Some may say the Readers present a depressing outlook. But pessimism is not my personal inclination;* it rather is my measured reaction when faced with the stern reality.

*: Do not interpret my words as coming from a pessimist temper, because that is not my temper. Instead interpret them as a true confrontation with the facts that I would like to see handled in a totally different way. (R. Prebisch) For better or for worse, it is my conscience, my alter-ego, that is appealing to you my learned readership, I am aware.


  1. Actually, not pessimism, but skepticism is the healthier attitude that the Readers present; skepticism keeps up the hope that things will get better and a more just society can be constructed.**

**: On the other hand, naively longing for ‘a more optimistic future’ is really no more than a defensive mechanism when approaching it from an apolitical, technocratic perspective. Faced with what seems an ever-deteriorating reality (a race to the bottom in slow motion?), the political force of the human rights framework is what the Readers fall back-on over and over.


  1. All Readers have a similar structure and style –perhaps even being variations on the same theme. Is that their defect? I do not think so. It is perhaps useless to think about a more enterprising ambition when human rights (HR) are still so far away a dream: “marathon runner, do not sign up for the next 100 meters dash race”. (J.R. Ribeyro)


  1. As everybody does, I see and feel a certain reality which is the one I present in the Readers; it is the point of departure to express my apprehensions and my views for ways out.*** The information I gather for the Readers I catalogue according to a certain interior frame or pattern that is now familiar to many of you…That is probably why I cannot write fiction.

***: It is more, through writing the Readers, I myself try to understand the world better.


  1. By showcasing the world the way I see it through the Readers, I peak into history through a small window seeing just a part of reality. The reality I depict presents, but does not always explain, what motivation was behind the facts I cover. So, in the Readers, I am like a mirror reflecting the reality as I see it. On top of it, I do try to incorporate a certain transcendence or universality into the facts covered.


  1. As the author of the Readers, I am really a social insider, yes, but one that does not really have to personally live with HR violations day-in-day-out. So one can say I look at these violations with an outsider’s moralist eye. True. Nevertheless, I do present to you the vision of the downtrodden, of the humiliated whose rights are being violated and who are perennially facing a hostile world. I reflect every sort of denigration imposed on them as they defend themselves the best they can, sometimes to no avail, in a game they have lost in advance. But fate is not tragic per-se.**** I never fail to point this out. Claim holders often have a hidden determination (even if sometimes frustrated) of overcoming adversity with blind determination.

****: By the way, humor does not release us from tragedy, it just makes it more livable. (J.R. Ribeyro)


  1. I reckon the Readers must be entertaining, moving, intriguing, surprising; and, if all of these, even better. If they fail to elicit any of these effects they are not worthwhile. The style must be (and is) direct and has to show and educate even if, often, they are not more than a collage of unrelated texts I weave in my loom. The Readers push you, their readers, to take a position that brings you into a determination to act. If the Readers are not taken as such I consider them a failure.*****

*****: Language in the Readers is important. To know a language is to know a destination, the famed Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges said. And Marcel Proust was of the opinion that a writing style is not about technique, but about one’s vision.


  1. The Readers actually recompose reality; they are like come-alive-again notions lost in obscure footnotes at the foot of the page of world history. Sometimes their text addresses the social context of HR as a testimony, criticizing and making explicit specific denunciations. Why? Because ‘evil once perceived is half-the-way to its solution’. Such a choice already implies an intentionality, one that points to a particular view of the world.****** The Readers thus do not offer you a new shelf in an old shop; they offer you a whole new shop. (G. Cannon)

******: Ernesto Sabato, another Argentinian writer, used to say that it is the subjects that choose the writer. As for me, I choose to provide more than a social Xray; I try to convey a moral message –repeatedly. I use a certain tone and style that, repeated from multiple angles, points to my personal way of looking at reality. [Time and time again, over and over once more, until we right the wrong. (J. Koenig)] This is the reason why I pay special attention to using the right adjectivation in the written texts. What I do not know is if I succeed in saying just enough when I mean to signify as much as possible.


  1. Given the prevailing climate of political complacency I feel is out there, the message in the Readers is against despair, but for liberation and for rebellion. The intent is to help move claim holders out of the state of complacency they too often find themselves in. The intent is certainly not to promote their climbing the social ladder (that is the aspiration of so many of the ‘disinherited’). The world of officialdom always alienates the individual with such an aspiration that ends up with people building a defensive mechanism, an alternative universe where they can find abode for their battered dignity. Claim holders are continually confronted with a reality that does not agree with their wishes and dreams. As a defense against their despair, they thus invent themselves a more livable reality. Nevertheless, the harsh reality finally catches up with them. But the illusory self-awareness is stronger and individuals refuse to lose their last bit of self-esteem and of unrealistic hope. This just shows the fragility of that illusory world they build themselves. The harsh reality comes back and shakes them up. Sooner or later, the illusion is thus bound to be shattered. (It is true that the imagination has the power to transform reality, cancelling out its ugly and sad sides). Individuals are then left without authentic convictions, maybe because they realize they do not have the power to change the social reality. But directly acting to change the adverse reality does not cross their mind!******* They prefer to deny such a thought. This is a big part of our problem. Excuses are for losers, those that neither hate nor feel pain, but feel something vaguely related to an injustice and certainly to a sense of nihilism and of faith lost; excuses are also for those with few and poorly held hopes, hopes they feel way beyond their reach leaving them embittered, but not defeated, still faintly desiring to fight back or avenge, but somehow preferring to ignore that desire: indefinitely?. (J.C. Onetti)

*******: When individuals are incapable or uninterested to modify their situation, they remain in a detained suspense; in a limbo that is ahistoric, because there are indeed chances that provide for their integration. “Why act?”, they say, convinced that the world cannot be changed. “Rebelling for what…?” HR work is precisely aimed at overcoming such an attitude by choosing the path of pointing out and reversing such paralyzing pessimism.


  1. What is meant here above is that marginalization often is a cause of defeatism. From this repeated experience, one could deduce a tragic conception of our existence. But, of course, it is not about that… Therefore, confronting reality –without falling into nihilism– is key to my Readers. They provide information and analysis, yes, but they also take sides. The analysis and alternatives that I present are embodied in a vision of a society that is more just, more equal and more HR conscious. Ultimately, my hope is that the contents of the Readers will stimulate you to reflect more concretely about what needs to change, how things can be done differently, and how people can be at the center of bringing about desired change. (Global Health Watch 4, PHM)


  1. On the more formal side, I see the Readers as a contribution to the information and training of all those engaged in the struggle for the respect and advancement of HR. Readers are firmly committed to support HR, in particular economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development. They are conceived as learning guides that analyze contents and the scope of international HR covenants and the practice and obligations of states; they also present existing complaints avenues and can provide examples of jurisprudence. (CETIM) As regards the titles of the Readers, they allude to some of the purported truth presented in each of them******** or to some experience I had in the course of writing them.

********: Facetiously, absolute truth does not exist, and this is absolutely true…


  1. I would say that, over the years, since the Readers had their debut, my passion has reached a more moderate quiet state a bit over halfway between being duty-bound and being somewhat apathetic. (What about your passion?) That is probably the fate of all passions; they slowly fade. But I keep propping myself up.


  1. Finally, do not blame me for my testimony in the Readers so often being sour. It is not up to me to alter reality, no matter how intolerable. But I need to reflect it with lucidity. It is for claim holders to take it from there. However, a lone struggle is useless as is self-commiseration. Claim holders have to coalesce in their demanding sweeping changes and thus exercising their inalienable rights –and you who reads this can be a catalyst.


Claudio Schuftan, Ho Chi Minh City


#: Adapted from Julio Ramon Ribeyro, Cuentos, M.T. Perez editor, Ediciones Catedra, Letras Hispanas, Madrid, 2013.



-I do not have many good ideas; but when someone else has one, I easily have a better idea. (Leibnitz)

-Inspiration exists, but it has to find you while working. (Pablo Picasso)

– Make up a concept and you will dominate the way reality is perceived. (R. Ampuero)

– I am so demanding with myself that I cannot write five words without changing seven. (Dorothy Parker)

-As Woody Allen would have said: I have not changed much: Before, I was indecisive and now I am not sure.

-One is always discovering new things one did not know before. The act of writing has the advantage and the almost magic power that, as one tries to understand what is happening so as to explain it to others, one comes up with yet new ideas one had never thought about. Those who do not interact through writing, it is said, simply stop thinking –and s/he who does not say it in writing, does not think. (C. Rangel)

– I contend that political, social, HR and other movements can be catalyzed and amplified by editors of periodicals –and these days by bloggers– especially those who do not have fixed agendas and show a strong egalitarian streak. I particularly enjoy good editors and bloggers who pause over a choice of words. This can and does open up a discussion about ideas, history, social justice, etc. All is in the language. It can or cannot take us into a world of light. Anything other is not editing; it is tidying. (G. Cannon)

-We actually do not need to give so many explanations; our friends do not need them and our enemies do not deserve them. You know? The advantage of music over the written word is that music does not lie… (A. Gomez)

-Much must be challenged
Many things can still be changed
It’s not too late in the day. (J. Koenig)

-To me, writing is a concentrated form of thinking. S/he who writes the way s/he talks, even if s/he talks well, writes poorly. (A. Gomez)

-What can we learn from the telegraph? That every word counts and is charged for. (Rabbi of Sadagora)



SocMed: Fellowship in Social Medicine

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We are now recruiting for our SocMed Oryema Fellowship in Social Medicine as part of the annual course Beyond the Biological Basis of Disease course in Uganda and invite interested individuals to now apply.

Fellowship Description:

Named in honor of Oryema Patrick, a nurse dedicated to equitable health care delivery in Northern Uganda who died in 2011, the fellowship aims to mentor, inspire, and challenge practitioners of social medicine through a year-long endeavor in the coordination and implementation of social medicine education course in Uganda.


  • Fellowship runs from July 1st, 2015 to June 30th, 2016
  • Minimum in-country time in Uganda from approximately November 1st, 2015 to March 1st, 2016
  • Minimum commitment of 20 hours per week (for time in Uganda, we will help facilitate placement in other health-related organization for the remainder of his/her time, if necessary)


  • Minimum BA/BS degree
  • Overseas experience, particularly in resource-poor settings
  • Leadership, communication, problem-solving skills
  • Flexible and open-minded in new and sometimes challenging environments

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Participate in research related to teaching/learning of the course including proposal development, data collection, analysis, and write-up
  • Serve as SocMed ambassador in Uganda and US through outreach, meetings, casual encounters, etc.
  • Serve as liaison with Ugandan university students in Gulu, Mbarara, and Kampala
  • Document delivery of course for potential publishable curriculum guide
  • Support lecture development and manage field visits
  • Participate in outreach and recruitment for student participants globally
  • Organize fundraising initiatives for SocMed
  • Arrange course speakers and develop relationships with potential new course speakers and Lacor clinicians
  • Regularly update SocMed website
  • Logistical support (regular communication with admitted students; coordinate travel plans of international students, work with caterer, organize in-country transport, organize printing of course reader, student housing)
  • Work alongside Ugandan colleagues, including a counterpart in similar position
  • Regular communication with course directors

Specific responsibilities for this fellowship would vary with the level of training of the fellow. We are committed to ensuring the fellow receives quality mentorship throughout the year in order that her/his personal and professional goals are included.  He/she would not only serve a critical role in ensuring the smooth implementation of social medicine education but our goal is that he/she would also gain valuable experience in global health.

Since SocMed is a grassroots organization operating with very limited funds, the Oryema Fellowship is, unfortunately, not currently a funded position.  The fellow is responsible for his/her own airfare to Uganda, insurance, and living expenses as well as expenses associated with travel documents, medical services, or recommended immunizations.  SocMed does offer a modest stipend for living expenses incurred while in Uganda, full room/board for the month of the course, and reimbursement for in-country travel and other expenses incurred while attending to the responsibilities of the fellowship.

Information on Application Process:

If you are interested in the Oryema Fellowship, please send a detailed letter of interest, a copy of your CV, and a letter of recommendation to by Friday January 16, 2015. The letter of recommendation should be sent directly from the recommender and should assess the candidate’s leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills as well as his/her capacity to adapt to new environments.

Further information can be found on the SocMed website:

Please view our past and current fellows by visiting:

All queries related to the fellowship and/or application process may also be directed to that same email address.


Dr. Dawn Belkin Martinez & Social Justice in Clinical Practice

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On Tuesday, November 11th, Dr. Dawn Belkin Martinez will be presenting at Social Medicine Rounds on: Social Justice in Clinical Practice.  The venue will be 3544 Jerome Avenue and the session will run from 4:30 to 6PM.

Dr. Belkin Martinez has adopted a “liberation health” model for her clinical practice in social work and family therapy.  She and Ann Fleck-Henderson have co-edited a book describing this model: Social Justice in Clinical Practice: A Liberation Health Framework for Social Work.

What follows is a brief biosketch of Dr. Belkin Martinez:


belkinpixDawn Belkin Martinez, PhD, LICSW is a Lecturer in Clinical Practice at the Boston University School of Social Work and was formerly an instructor in psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School.  Trained as a family therapist, Dawn worked as the senior social worker on the Inpatient Psychiatry Service at Children’s Hospital Boston for thirteen years and is the co-author of the book Social Justice in Clinical Practice: A Liberation Health Framework for Social Work.   Dawn is one of the founding members of the Boston Liberation Health Group and gives presentations locally, nationally, and internationally about her work with immigrant families, liberation health theory and practice,

posted by Matt Anderson, MD