Skip to main content

Landgrabbing by private sector: A possible outcome of UN's "finance for development agenda" at Addis Ababa meet

By Our Representative
World’s top civil society organizations (CSOs), in a joint submission to the UN-sponsored International Conference on Financing for Development, taking place at Addis Ababa from July 13 to 16, has taken strong exception to the effort of governments to provide “central role” to private finance in achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs). They drafted their submission at Addis Ababa on July 11-12.
Pointing out that in some sectors – for instance, the privatization and commercialization of education, health and other essential services – “substantial evidence” shows the negative impact of private finance on “inequality and marginalization”, the CSOs favoured “inclusive and sustainable industrial development” as critical for developing countries in order to support economic diversification.”
From India, Paul Divakar, general secretary of the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights, is said to have played substantial role in drafting the CSO document, ensuring insertion of the need for “special measures” to “address caste and analogous systems of inherited status that perpetuate exclusion and inequalities in the access to economic resources and the benefits of growth."
Particularly objecting to “unquestioned confidence” on the private sector, the draft says, “Evidence shows that deregulation and privatization agenda contradicts and undermines the possibility to respect, protect and fulfill human rights.” Insisting on the need for “periodic human rights impact assessments of private sector investments and activities”, it says, “Only this will safeguard public interest.”
“While private finance and business activities have increased in scope and volume, foreign investments often leave behind the poorest people and poorest countries”, the draft says, adding, “The few investments that do reach low-income countries tend to be concentrated in extractive industries or are agricultural investments that lead to adverse activities such as landgrabbing.”
Referring to public private partnership projects, CSOs say, “There is a lack of proof that PPPs are actually delivering positive economic, social and environmental outcomes.” They add, there is a need to hold “inclusive, open and transparent discussion” on PPPs, so that they are “based on internationally agreed commitments and principles, such as the labor standards enshrined in ILO Conventions and the ILO Declaration on Multinational Enterprises.”
Insisting that “essential public services that implicate states’ duties to guarantee the human rights to water and sanitation, education, and health should be excluded from private sector partnerships”, CSOs say, “Where promoted, PPPs should be conditional on feasibility and auditing criteria and should include safeguards to ensure transparency.”
Taking objection to the inter-governmental Addis Agenda effort to insist on the importance of private sector for gender equity, CSOs objects to the “strong tendency towards the instrumentalization of women” by stating that “women’s empowerment, and women and girls’ full and equal participation and leadership in the economy are vital to significantly enhance economic growth and productivity.”
They emphasize, “Financial inclusion or women’s entrepreneurship should not displace attention from structural barriers for women´s economic rights and full and equal access to and control over economic resources that are not present in the Addis Agenda, i.e. the unequal distribution of unpaid care work, the lack of access to care services, the persistent gender discrimination in the labor market”, and so on.
As for business enterprises, CSOs want, they should “align their business models with the aim of achieving progressive economic, social, environmental impacts to ensure sustainable development”, adding, “In this context, we stress that corporate accountability begins with private companies contributing their fair share in taxes to public resource mobilization, providing decent work and living wages.”

Comments

TRENDING

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

One lakh schools closed down, draft policy 'seeks' commercialisation: Whither RTE?

By Our Representative
A national consultation on the new draft National Education Policy (NEP) with senior experts, teachers’ association representatives and other stakeholders at the India International Centre in New Delhi on July 11, organised by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, has expressed serious concern over curtailment in the budgeted expenditure on education year after year, even as closure of more than one lakh schools over the "last few years."

Lynching as state terror? Complete dearth of 'political will' to deal with mob violence

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
On Friday July 5, thousands of people had gathered at a rally in Surat to protest against the growing mob lynching incidents in different parts of the country. There are different interpretations at what happened during the rally: with police blaming the rallyists and those in the rally blaming the police for using teargas shells upon them without any reason.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

UN report notes 'suppression' of Kashmiri independence groups in Pakistan

By Our Representative
A top United Nations (UN) body has suggested that the intense fervour of Kashmiri nationalism isn’t just sweeping the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) state but is equally strong in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), pointing towards how the Pak authorities have been seeking to suppress it by placing restrictions on rights to freedoms of expression and opinion, assembly and association on every section of PoK’s population.