Rethinking Bretton Woods | Fri, Jul 31, 2015

Greek crisis brings to the fore human rights implications of macroeconomic policies

On a recent press release, the UN Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and Human Rights, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, urged the European institutions, the International Monetary Fund and the Greek Government to fully assess the impact on human rights of possible new austerity measures to ensure that they do not come as a cost to human rights. “[F]urther adjustment policies should respect the human rights obligations that are binding not only for the Government of Greece, but as well for the creditor countries and lending institutions,” he said, adding that some of the harsh austerity measures could be incompatible with European and international human rights law. (Photo credit: CC/Flickr/ Jonathan Stevenson/Jubilee Debt Campaign)

Read full press release

How much did the IMF and World Bank influence Financing for Development?

Rethinking Bretton Woods | Wed, Jul 22, 2015

How much did the IMF and World Bank influence Financing for Development?

In a recent briefing published by the UK-based Bretton Woods Project on its “At Issue” edition of its bulletin “The Observer,” Center of Concern team member Aldo Caliari reflected upon the often problematic role played by the IMF and World Bank in the negotiations leading up to the UN's Financing for Development (FFD) recently held  in Addis Ababa.

Center of Concern | Fri, Jul 17, 2015

“Inaction agenda” from Addis Ababa Conference, criticized by CSOs

CSOs from all over the world criticized the limited ambition of the “Addis Ababa Action Agenda” adopted by the Third Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), with some calling it an “agenda for inaction.”

The conference “lost the opportunity to tackle the structural injustices in the current global economic system and ensure that development finance is people-centered and protects the environment,” CSOs said in a sharp statement issued after the adoption.

Speaking at the CSO press conference on July 16th, Center of Concern team member Aldo Caliari said “We have identified more than 20 areas in which this outcome retrogresses over the previous Financing for Development Conference Outcomes from Doha and Monterrey --from inequality to universal services, including debt, taxation and many others.”

“For months we have been hearing hyped –up rhetoric about ambition and the importance of this conference for supporting the post-2015 development vision. We are disappointed that this outcome does not provide the strong means of implementation required for such a vision to become reality.”

“I think we can be proud, however, of the role that we played as CSOs. The fact that it was our priority issues that became the stickiest ones in the discussion demonstrates that we have had an impact on the agenda. If there had been a fair and good faith process of negotiations, I’m confident we would have also had much more impact on the outcome.” He was referring to the hardest issue in the negotiations, namely, the call for an intergovernmental body to ensure universal participation in tax cooperation standard-setting, as well as the push for a stronger institutional follow up and the application of the Rio Principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities in financing sustainable development.

“The methodology of negotiations used this time sets a very bad precedent we really hope will not be used in a UN negotiation ever again,” he said. Learning the lessons from the negotiations process that led to this outcome will have immediate relevance for ongoing negotiations in the lead up to the Post-2015 development agenda Summit, which will be held in New York in September of this year.

Rethinking Bretton Woods | Thu, Jul 9, 2015

RBW attends Addis Ababa Financing for Development Conference

On July 13-16, 2015, RBW Project Director Aldo Caliari will attend the Third Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). Also in Addis Ababa, the previous weekend, July 11-12, he will be part of the Civil Society Forum.

Center of Concern has substantively contributed on several aspects of the agenda of this important conference through side-events, policy briefs and public and private panel presentations. The Center has advocated on the structure, the follow –up process, the application of specific sustainable development and human rights principles. It is also proud to be part of a Rapid Response Group among civil society organizations following the conference which led drafting of analysis and alternative language proposals on previous versions of the document and is currently leading drafting of the CSO Forum declaration. (Photo credit: IISD/Earth Negotiations Bulletin)

Rethinking Bretton Woods | Wed, Jul 1, 2015

Infrastructure finance: Can democracy prevail in the global policy debate?

What is the influence the Group of 20 in the economic policy debate and how is it exerted? An article by RBW Project Director Aldo Caliari explains how this informal entity with restricted membership has been able to influence and pre-empt outcomes in a formal, universal membership institution such as the UN. The article, appeared in the G20 Update newsletter published by the Heinrich Boell Foundation, illustrates the argument by focusing on the debate on a proposed infrastructure initiative within the United Nations. (Photo credit: CC/Flickr/Rod with additional graphic work: Heinrich Boell Foundation)

Should pension funds jump into the infrastructure investment bandwagon?

Rethinking Bretton Woods | Mon, Jun 22, 2015

Should pension funds jump into the infrastructure investment bandwagon?

Within the new infrastructure finance agenda emerging in the Group of 20, World Bank and other fora, the USD 85 that institutional investors, and in particular pension funds, are estimated to hold in savings, are seen as playing a starring role. In a blog appeared on RightingFinance, RBW Project Director Aldo Caliari queries human rights risks of such investments and makes recommendations for addressing them.

Read full blog.

Center of Concern | Wed, Jun 10, 2015

What happens the day after?


Negotiations on the financing framework that will accompany the Sustainable Development Goals continue in full gear. But much more than the conference itself, what matters is the implementation that begins the day after: commitments undertaken at the conference will mean little without a strong framework for follow up, monitoring and review.

As part of its advocacy on the parallel processes towards a Third Financing for Development Conference (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) in July and Post-2015 Development Agenda (New York) in September, Center of Concern is promoting a strong accountability framework so the conference commitments make a difference in the years to follow.

CoC team member Aldo Caliari drafted the briefing paper published by CIDSE “Some reflections on the Third FFD Conference Follow-up – A Thinkpiece.” CoC is also cosponsoring side-events on this same topic during the Third Drafting Session of the Financing for Development Conference, June 18, and at the conference itself, in Addis Ababa.

“The Financing for Development Conference follow up process . . .  without major adjustments . ..  will . . . disappoint in a task to support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he warned in a statement delivered as speaker selected by the Major Group of Non-governmental Organization during the recent New York negotiations. (Photo credit: United Nations Photo Library)

Rethinking Bretton Woods | Tue, Jun 9, 2015

CoC-authored chapter featured in Fair Finance Guide


The international civil society network Fair Finance Guide International (FFG) recently launched its report on Transparency and Accountability in the Financial Sector. The report examines key aspects relating to transparency and accountability, and to reporting about tax related issues, as they apply to 47 banks in the seven countries where FFG is active. The report includes a contribution authored by CoC team member Aldo Caliari: “Transparency of banks’ environmental, social and human rights - the case of the United States."



Rethinking Bretton Woods | Sat, May 30, 2015

CoC joins call to cancel earthquake-struck Nepal's debt


Over the course of three weeks, two major earthquakes struck Nepal and took over 8,000 lives. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world and pays nearly $600,000 a day in debt. Join this petition by Jubilee USA calling on the IMF and the World Bank to immediately cancel Nepal's debt to support recovery and rebuilding efforts. (Photo credit: CC/Flickr/ Laxmi Prasad Ngakhusi / UNDP Nepal.)



Rethinking Bretton Woods | Thu, May 21, 2015

Human rights aspirations for financing conference set


The co-facilitators of the upcoming Third Conference on Financing for Development (to be held in July) released a new draft outcome. Center of Concern adds its voice to the organizations suggesting how to improve the text so outcomes of the conference are aligned with human rights.

Read suggestions by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  

Read suggestions jointly developed by civil society working on Financing for Development.

Read some recent RightingFinance blogs on these issues:

Finance and development summit should be opportunity for economic justice, not  corporate profits

Addis Ababa financing conference: Will the means undermine the goals?

Will the new development agenda strike the right public-private balance?