Public Services International intervention at plenary review of SDG 17 (Partnership)

Speaking on behalf of the Major Group of Workers and Trade Unions at the United Nations’ High Level Political Forum 2017, Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary of Public Services International (PSI), highlighted the need for policy coherence between the 2030 Agenda implementation and the Financing for Development processes. The full text of Ms. Pavanelli’s speach is available below.

GS Pavanelli’s intervention begins at 2:55:00

We see the paradox of a 2030 Agenda that pushes for national implementation of development objectives, while the FfD process does not enable the policy and fiscal space to advance the pursuit of the SDGs.

We need real alternatives – public finance and tax justice - to address the many challenges of today and tomorrow. Fighting corruption and illicit financial flows, eliminating debt cycles and trade that supports local development instead of prioritising the interests of multinationals through ISDS.

The FFD outcome document lacks proper contextualisation within the human rights framework and is over concerned with investors’ rights, exposing a covert attempt to establish a normative hierarchy that favours investors over people.

The conventional growth narrative and the overreliance on the private sector is at the core of current FFD model, despite the increasing evidence of its unsustainable social and environmental implications. It focuses on promoting an enabling environment for business without emphasising the need for strong policy measure to regulate private sector activities.

Moreover, the narrative on blended finance and PPPs is highly inconsistent with the Addis commitment to developing principles and standards to safeguard the public interest.

The provision of universally accessible quality public services contributes to the reduction of hunger, poverty and inequality, the expansion of decent work and enhances social integration and cohesion. Experience with public-private partnerships (PPPs) shows that privatisation is fundamentally flawed. PPPs in countries both rich and poor show that these are an expensive and inefficient way of financing infrastructure and services, since they conceal public borrowing, while providing long-term state guarantees for profits to private companies.

The world is watching – we are here to ensure that promises made are promises kept and that this agenda will not be a mere vehicle for privatisation.

Additional information:

  • This plenary session of the HLPF is available here.
  • Trade unions’ participation in HLPF 2017 is available here.
  • PSI’s work on the 2030 Agenda is available here.