South South Cooperation for combating illicit financial flows

Developing countries bear the brunt of costs from illicit financial flows (IFFs). These losses are the result of the facilities that the global system provides transnational companies, operating in multiple tax jurisdictions, to move their profits to favorable locations. International cooperation has been seen to be a key ingredient in restricting IFFs. However, a difference in interests in the treatment of many types of transactions between developed and developing countries is an obstacle to a fast solution of the problem. Developing countries must seek to seize the initiative to restrict their losses from IFFs. They can deploy various joint and concerted actions, within the umbrella of the principles of South-South cooperation for this purpose.

Read the interesting report of the South South Center

Taxes…

Taxes …

It all started in 1990 when the World Bank proposed to make poverty reduction the main priority for development cooperation, after ten years of disastrous ‘structural adjustment’. Most UN organisations followed.

There was some criticism, surely. And even if the World Bank and the UN Development Programme radically and explicitly rejected any social protection organised by public authorities, they did change their mind some ten years later. They now promote social protection though they also have hollowed out its meaning and its scope. In fact, what they propose is a limited social protection for the poor and limited labour rights in cooperation with the State and employers.

From this point of view, the ILO’s Social Protection Floors are much more interesting, though here again, there are severe limits. Lees verder

Debt: how human rights and public services are being threatened

A new report from Eurodad’s team working on ending debt crises warns that rapidly rising public debt is pitting the rights of creditors against those of the world’s poorest people – in particular women and girls. As the cost of debt rises and countries devote up to 40% of revenue to paying off external debt, public services are feeling the effect of austerity-driven cuts. Under international human rights law, states have a duty to promote social progress and better standards of living, including by allocating sufficient resources to public service provision. Yet people living in some of the world’s most impoverished countries are seeing their rights eroded on a daily basis because there is no fair international system addressing the growing debt crisis.

Private sector involvement in Health Care

This report unpacks States’ human rights obligations in the context of the increasing private sector involvement in healthcare, particularly health financing and provision. It presents a preliminary human rights impact assessment framework for evaluating the consequences of private actor activity on the right to health.

The report defines and explains the different forms of private involvement in the provision of health goods and services and financing. It analyses the different State obligations under the right to health, setting out general standards and applying them to situations of private involvement.  The report also establishes the aspects of accountability that States need to put in place for the enjoyment of the right to health, including regulation, transparency, participation, monitoring, review and remedies.

The report was co-published by the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR), the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER) and the University of Essex Human Rights Centre Clinic. It forms part of the critical scrutiny of the increasing privatisation of services, including education, health and water. Various organisations, including GI-ESCR and ISER, have been part of this work over the last years, which led the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to issue a resolution on privatisation in education and health in May 2019.

World Social Report 2020

New and interesting UN report:

The challenge of inequality in a rapidly changing world 

The World Social Report 2020 examines the impact of four such megatrends on inequality: technological innovation, climate change, urbanization and international migration. Technological change can be an engine of economic growth, offering new possibilities in health care, education, communication and productivity. But it can also exacerbate wage inequality and displace workers. The accelerating winds of climate change are being unleashed around the world, but the poorest countries and groups are suffering most, especially those trying to eke out a living in rural areas. Urbanization offers unmatched opportunities, yet cities find abject poverty and opulent wealth in close proximity, making gaping and increasing levels of inequality all the more glaring. International migration allows millions of people to seek new opportunities and can help reduce global disparities, but only if it occurs under orderly and safe conditions.

Labour Rights at Multilaterial Development Banks

Trade union action has led to binding labour safeguards at multilateral development banks. A new ITUC manual shows how to use these safeguards to fight for labour rights and a development model with decent work for all.

 

 

 

Benign Billionaires?

The latest November 2019 UBS/PwC Billionaires Report counted 2,101 billionaires globally, or 589 more than five years before. Earlier, Farhad Manjoo had seriously recommended, ‘Abolish Billionaires’, presenting a moral case against the super-rich as they have and get far, far more than what they might reasonably claim to deserve.

Manjoo also argues that unless billionaires’ economic and political power is cut, and their legitimacy cast in doubt, they will continue to abuse power to further augment their fortunes and influence, in ways detrimental to the economic, social and public good.

Read more

The World Bank and its New Social Contract

What social model are we heading for?

Analysis of the World Bank’s ‘new social contract’

 It has been said and it has been repeated: social policies have been the major victims of neoliberal globalisation. During the past forty years, attention for social protection and social development, everywhere, shifted towards ‘poverty reduction’, the IMF’s (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank’s prescriptions continuously implied cuts in social spending and targeted policies in the South, while ‘austerity’ was introduced in the North with negative consequences on welfare states and labour law.

The changing world of work and the fundamental societal changes – migration, ageing, women on the labour market – recently gave rise to some timid discussions on social protection. The only real debate that took place in the North concerned the possible introduction of a ‘Universal Basic Income’, a basically liberal idea that almost inevitably would make an end to welfare states.[1]

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Democracies can die democratically

Democracy is a constant struggle for compromise —forever a construction site. An end is never in sight as people will always have to renegotiate how they live together. This highlights the necessity of seeking compromise that always takes some back and forth, some give and take. The process is exhausting, sometimes even painful, but requires a forceful people’s stand from a position of power –just keep in mind the early 20th century introduction of the women’s right to vote or the civil rights and anti apartheid movements –they sure were more than worth fighting for. (Deutsche Welle)

The danger (problem?) is that democracies die democratically (Boaventura de Souza Santos)

Read the article by Claudio Schuftan

Social Protection and its enemies

I have been noting this for several years now. It is sometimes very difficult to talk about social protection with progressive forces.

Sure, they all support actions and policies ‘in favour of the poor’, they all support ‘social justice’. But once you start to talk about details and how to achieve all this, there is mostly total silence. And little support.

There are several reasons for this, and some are easy to understand though not necessarily to be accepted. Lees verder

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