Least Developed Countries and Their Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals
By Peter Lunenborg
This Research Paper reviews Least Developed Countries’ (LDCs) collective progress on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), based on the available data on the indicators for the 169 SDG targets. It makes recommendations for LDCs and other States to consider advancing in relevant UN processes as well as the WTO’s.
LDCs made progress on 28% of the SDGs. This collective progress shows that these countries are far from achieving what were deemed achievable goals in 2015. With respect to trade-related SDGs, LDCs have not made progress on any of the five trade-related SDGs that mention LDCs specifically.
This paper does not delve into the causes of this gap, but it suggests that international cooperation and, particularly, the developed countries’ assistance, has been insufficient to address the needs of a large part of the world population that still lives in poverty and without hope of a better future. However, the Doha Programme of Action (DPoA), a development framework with targets specifically for LDCs -which overlap with SDG targets- appears to dilute several original SDG targets, in particular those in SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).
Response to the Call for Inputs by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment
“Should the interests of foreign investors trump the human right to a clean,
healthy and sustainable environment?”
14 June 2023
To realize the right to clean, healthy & sustainable environment and reduce ISDS risks, States need to align their FDI policies with human rights, climate action and SDGs, including via reform of the international investment regime.
The South Centre’s Board approved in September 2022 its Programme of Work 2023-2025 where the policy dimensions of digital transformation are highlighted as one of the priority areas for developing countries, including the need to harness digital technologies in education, health and the production of goods and services, support the development of a domestic digital industry, improve their digital infrastructure, advance digital equity and inclusion, effectively tax the digital companies and contribute to shaping the digital governance architecture to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Following the call made in the Declaration on the Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the United Nations (A/RES/75/1) for improved digital cooperation, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation and his report ‘Our Common Future’, the South Centre submits the following written contribution to the UN Secretary General ahead to the Summit of the Future with the objective of providing support to developing countries in the intergovernmental process concerning the digital transformation.
Preserving Regulatory Space for Sustainable Development in Africa
By Roslyn Ng’eno
Investment has an important role for achieving sustainable development in developing countries. Although international investment agreements (IIAs) can serve as instruments to promote such objective, protection oriented IIAs have undermined the ability of States to regulate in the benefit of the community. Likewise large financial reparations imposed by arbitral tribunals have increased the threat of regulatory chill in the face of major global challenges. Strengthening the right to regulate of States and addressing regulatory chill are key matters to consider in the reform of IIAs and the international investment regime.
The Midterm Comprehensive Review of the International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development amid growing tension between a human rights perspective and the commodification and privatization of water
By Luis Fernando Rosales Lozada
Climate change is affecting the availability of water resources in different regions around the world. In addition, some growing trends towards water commodification and privatization could exacerbate the problem since they are guided by profit maximization strategies. The United Nations (UN) will hold the Midterm Comprehensive Review (MCR) of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018–2028, from 22 to 24 March 2023. This is an important opportunity for the international community to assess the challenges on access to clean drinking water and sanitation. The MCR debates and outcomes should be guided by a human rights approach towards promoting access to water for all in 2030 in alignment with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.
Graduating from the LDC Group: Challenges Facing Bangladesh
by Mustafizur Rahman
A significant number of LDCs will be graduating in the near term future. On graduation these countries will face formidable challenges as they will lose the benefits accruing from LDC-specific international support measures. Bangladesh is the first major LDC which is slated for graduation, to take place in November 2026. This article examines the various graduation challenges facing Bangladesh, and articulates some of the strategies that the country needs to pursue in order to graduate with momentum and make graduation sustainable.
Climate change and trade: what policies for environmental goods and services?
Carlos Correa, Executive Director, South Centre
International conference on “Climate Change and Sustainable Development”
26-27 March 2022, Cairo, Egypt
While the importance of protecting the environment in the context of trade policies is firmly recognized, a key question is the extent to which trade disciplines aimed at protecting the environment can reach their intended or declared objectives and affect the trade interests and economic growth prospects of developing countries. Developing countries are also among the most affected by climate change and, hence, they have a major interest in international action to address it. However, the intensification of environmental threats faced by developing countries is not of their making, and advancing an agenda -with no evidence that it would lead to reduced emissions- is likely to just disadvantage the developing world which has the least responsibility historically for today’s climate-related damages. Given this history, as well as the tight external constraints imposed on their efforts to mobilize resources, developing countries cannot be expected to either successfully mitigate climate change or adapt to climate change, without significant financial and technological support. The South Centre has been assessing the policy implications that the initiatives on trade and environmental sustainability will have for the Global South.
Oral Statement of the South Centre for the Regional Consultation on Sustainable Development and the ICESCR
Geneva, 8 February 2022
The following statement is delivered by the South Centre during the consultation convened by the Drafting Group of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for the development of a General Comment on Sustainable Development and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Call for Papers for LEAD Journal Special Issue 2022
PLANETARY HEALTH IN TIMES OF CONVERGING CRISES – CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
The Law, Environment and Development Journal (LEAD) Journal Special Issue 2022 will reflect on environmental issues in the context of the Stockholm Conference’s 50th anniversary and the COVID-19 crisis.
Investment facilitation policies can support States’ efforts to achieve sustainable development, but they cannot be considered in isolation. This session will raise some considerations on the Structured Discussion on Investment Facilitation discussion in the WTO and bring additional perspectives on the need to safeguard the right of countries to adopt the necessary measures to articulate and apply policies designed to achieve inclusive, equitable, fair and sustainable development and enabling and advancing sustainable investments that add value to the developmental process of host States.
Exploring synergies in multilateralism and human rights for a just, fair & equitable recovery from COVID-19
18 October 2021
Facilitated by the South Centre, this webinar is an opportunity for participants to exchange views and discuss how the Legally Binding Instrument on Transitional Corporations and Other Business Enterprises can support States’ efforts in other areas of the multilateral system towards enabling a just, fair, and equitable recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.