Farmer’s Major Group intervention at the HLPF post-2015 negotiations

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3RD HIGH LEVEL POLITICAL FORUM (HLPF) OF UN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUINCIL, 26 JUNE – 8 JULY, 2015, UN HQ

Intervention from the Farmer’s Major Group in the Session, “Role of Business in Implementation of Post 2015 Agenda”, 26 June, 2015

Dear Chair,

Greetings! I am Jiten Yumnam, presenting on behalf of the Farmers Major Group, Peoples Coalition on Food Sovereignty and CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) in response to the question outline how Private Sector can involve in the Implementation of the Post 2015 Agenda.

Let me first take this privilege to ponder/question if the Business and industry sector will consider the Post 2015 agenda as another area for maximizing their profits or to deliver the real Sustainable development agenda rooted in fostering equality, ending hunger, promote inclusivity, leaving no one behind and to foster a real transformative agenda.

If the latter is the case of a genuine pursuance of a sustainable development agenda, it is highly crucial for business and industry to consider and highlight the multiple challenges of business/private sector involvement – irreversible social, environmental, economic impacts among the rural communities, small scale farmers, the most marginalized communities. The privatization of essential social services, water, health, education etc, the corporatization of development processes, and commercialization of agriculture in the pretext of fostering economic growth has led to widespread land grabbing and multifaceted human rights violations. The pursuance of extractive industries, mega dams, plantation in rural communities, such as extensive mining in Mongolia and Indonesia, mega dams over Rivers of India’s North East region, impacts of privatization of social services in the Philippines are testimony of the harm and continued lack of accountability of business sector in development processes.

Such development processes with tacit emphasis on role of business has led to overconcentration of wealth in selected few and in widening the social, economic and political divide among the vast majority of people and only deepened inequality, human rights violations, multiple conflict and violence against women, children and youths. The fundamental challenge, yet again, is the accountability of business and private sector in such situation of adversity. The regulatory and accountability mechanism to deliver justice and to end all forms of development injustice is unclear and often weak at all contexts.

On the PPPs (public private partnership), which the session is seeking successful examples, it is key to seek clear examples of the ways and means to secure accountability for the business, with clear rule of law and redressal mechanism at all levels – local, national, regional and global. A reference to accountability mechanism simply at the global level is inadequate as the clear challenges of PPP is within communities, and often within the most marginalized and those excluded from development decision making and subjected to state repression for seeking democratic and just development.

A clear reference to the human rights based approach to development and respecting the rights of rural/marginalized communities etc in development decision making affecting them is utmost importance. International human rights standards that recognized rightful participation of most marginalized communities that insisted on accountability and corporate social responsibility of business and industry must be fully adhered to, such as the UN Guidelines on Transnational Corporations, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007 etc.

The multi stakeholder approach outlined in the Means of Implementation should fully adhere to the Development Effectiveness principles – human rights based approach to development, promoting CSO enabling environment for development, fostering transparency, inclusivity, accountability. Such steps will be a crucial steps towards securing a rights based and just development, that ensured accountability for all development stakeholders.

It is also extremely key to rethink the larger systemic issues and processes that promote business as the key agent for realizing sustainable development Goals. There are adequate alternatives to realizing Sustainable Development Goals, other than resorting primarily to business and private sector. Alternatives are very much feasible with rightful involvement and participation of communities at all decision making levels. Domestic resource mobilization, promoting ingenious solutions to unsustainable development, fostering a low consumption oriented way of life in harmony with nature and environment are some of the practical alternatives.

The role of international financial institutional in fostering the current unequal development model and overwhelming focus on privatization of all development processes need be brought to fore and there is a clear need for ensuring their accountability as well. The HLPF should include both Business and Private Sector and the International Financial Institutions for review for their adherence to sustainable development agenda. The existing trade and financial governance models, such as the Intellectual Property Regime, which overtly provides the means for business to consolidate wealth and in fostering inequality need be reconsidered and if necessary, revamped.

Finally, Co-Chair, the Farmers Major Group, PCFS and the CPDE would like to insist that the business and private sector should desist from considering the sustainable Development Goals agenda as another arena for maximizing their insatiable profits, at the expense of people and sustainability of our Earth.

Thagatchari, thank you very much.

Download PDF copy here: Jiten Yumnam – Intervention at the HLPF Post-2015 Negotiations.

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