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SDGs must be rooted much more in the goal of the sustainability of life, rather than on the sustainability of growth, however inclusive it might be. Growth should be a mean towards the primary goal of the sustainability of life and the planet.
SDGs must also promote development-oriented fiscal and monetary policies that help facilitate public expenditure in social sectors, create urgently needed decent work, re-orient tax policies toward wealth redistribution for greater socioeconomic equality and manage monetary policy to serve the needs of the real economy oriented toward sustainability of life and the planet.
ON DEVELOPMENT, GROWTH AND FINANCIALISATION OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY
• A louder demand for the reorientation of economic dynamics from markets and financialisation to development and equality oriented production, consumption and reproduction patterns is needed. There must be explicit attention to transformative redistribution of resources, to overall systems of production and consumption in a manner that builds linkages such as real production and finance, and ensuring fair and equitable global, regional, sub-regional trade. For this, much regulation is needed: on financial markets, on markets structure and competition, on redistributing mechanisms, on labour markets.
• SDGs should address financialisation by reviving a focus and placing value on heterodox and innovative policies, tailored to local conditions, that allow for a shift of resources (via strategic government policies) from the financial economy to the real economy. Such a shift is necessary to facilitate capital formation, strengthen productive capacities and diversify the economy, while also creating employment and building resilience to external shocks.
Such strategic policies may involve, for example:
• Publicly-owned development banks that can implement financial inclusion policies such as credit directed to the agricultural and low-income populations;
• High (but temporary) tariff and non-tariff barriers;
• Domestic-content requirements to support domestic industries in exports manufacturing by foreign companies;
• Capital controls to prevent sudden panic exits of foreign capital and resulting currency devaluations and financial crises; and,
• Other types of targeted industrial policies which catalyse upward movement in the value chain of national and regional economies.
• There is also a need to effectively monitor and place controls on capital outflows to address the problem of capital flight that is draining financial resources from entire regions, especially from most of Africa.
• Explicit recognition and implementation of principles such as free, prior and informed consent; common but differentiated responsibilities, and historical responsibility, loss and damage; and environmentally sustainable technology transfer that is accessible for developing countries.
ON THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM
• To establish mechanisms for effective international monitoring and coordination to reduce the probability and size of international financial crises. This will involve the regulation of systemically important financial corporations and financial centers avoiding the socialization of private losses.
• To develop and implement an effective regulatory system for countries and blocks of countries that issue reserves, including measures such as the transition from overdependence on the dollar in international transactions and replacing it with an international currency.
• To regulate food and commodities markets to reduce volatility of prices and protect women’s and people’s livelihoods and rights. The use of “food financial markets”, “vulture trading” and other commodities markets that use high-speed, speculative financial trade of food and water for no motive other than corporate or personal profit should be illegal, and determined financial regulation should be established toward a global moratorium to end such harmful speculative practices. The disproportionate impact of high food and fuel prices on women and children should also be recognized.
• To develop and implement international financial transactions taxes which collection should be oriented to fulfill the commitments in matters of human rights with a special focus on populations excluded by sex, gender, race-ethnicity, age, and environmental standards, discouraging speculation, volatility of prices and the socialization of risks taken by the private sector.
• To strengthen capital flows regulation including control of illicit and volatile financial flows and the elimination of tax havens.
• To create global and regional mechanisms for long-term global public financing for productive diversification in sustainable and decent work intensive sectors and employment, health, social protection policies in compliance with human rights obligations.
• To transcend the conditionalities of austerity and financial openness as barriers to access to finance and markets.
• To democratize the governance of voting system in international financial institutions.
EXTERNAL DEBT SUSTAINABILITY
• To establish a predictable, equitable and comprehensive mechanism of resolution and mediation of sovereign debts.
• Regulation of the financial sector to prevent public bailouts and austerity measures. The human rights violations and social and gender impacts of austerity policies to support debt restructuring should be avoided through the implementation of counter-cyclical fiscal and monetary policies.
• To open, transparent and participatory External Audits of the lending operations of the International Financial Institutions, mainly in the Southern countries.
• To reverse the trend in the loan standards of favoring the private over the public sector, and improve efficiency, reduce corruption, and increase availability and flexibility of resources for public investment.
INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT POLICIES
• To address trade asymmetries between regions and countries, guaranteeing the special and differential treatment principle for developing countries, the removal of subsidies in developed countries, especially in agriculture and the flexibilization of Intellectual Property Rights rules in order to protect public health, environment, natural resources, etc.
• To strengthen regional coordination to facilitate the reorientation of economies towards protecting and building of local industries and productive capacities driven largely by domestic demand while ensuring greater regional trading and productive complementarity in sustainable sectors.
• To apply the Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations of States in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the application of trade and investment agreements.
• To develop a binding multilateral code of conduct for transnational corporations to control and monitor their compliance with human rights obligations and environmental sustainability standards and ensure accountability and promote the creation of an autonomous Center for Dispute Resolution on transnational private and public investments.
• At global and national levels, to monitor gender differential impacts of trade policies and take protective measures where impacts are expected to be harmful; not compromise governments’ policy space to regulate in interests of vulnerable sections; strengthen and implement countries’ extra territorial obligations; identify and protect gender sensitive products; ease processes (waiving of license and other fees), create Research and Development resources for women entrepreneurs, credit and marketing facilities, etc.
• To review the investment protection treaties and Free Trade Agreements signed by countries that restrict the policy space of states to fulfill their obligations regarding human rights and environmental sustainability; including women’s access to basic services such as quality education and skill development opportunities; healthcare including access to medicines and sexual and reproductive health services, to safe and accessible drinking water; and to sustainable and affordable energy sources.
• To promote mechanisms for global and regional cooperation to prevent the “race to the bottom” syndrome, meaning interstate competition based on lowering of taxes, human rights and environmental standards to attract FDI.
• To allow conditions (performance requirements) to be imposed on FDI, whether autonomous or through international agreements, so that it serves the interests of the host country, especially a developing country to promote productive diversification in sustainable and knowledge-intensive work sectors. FDI should mandatorily create quality jobs for women and men, transfer technology, transmit skills and practices from which the recipient population can benefit, promote small and medium-sized enterprises and territorial decentralization.
• To actively penalize harmful FDI in activities that affects the health of people and women, and the environment. Specific areas could be mining, nuclear energy, and chemicals.
• To secure national policy space to implement monetary, fiscal and wage counter-cyclical policies to absorb external shocks, allow governments to increase their tax base through progressive taxation, and, at the same time, enable governments to address gendered labor market segregation while ensuring full employment, decent work and a living wage for all while also promoting the redistribution of unpaid care work among different social actors inside and outside the households.
• To assess macroeconomic policy in terms of its impact on care organization. Some recommendation on the use of fiscal investment to develop social services that will reduce the burden of unpaid care work is useful. There is a need to counteract austerity policies that increase women’s unpaid and care work and expand social public expenditure to fulfill women’s economic, social and sexual and reproductive health rights. Austerity measures are especially harmful in this regard, just as is the case with heightened care burdens ever-more heavily falling on women and girls. There is a need of redistribution of public budgets in order to public policies supporting human rights and socially just social reproduction. This includes providing social infrastructure such as access to clean water, fuel, health services, education and even physical infrastructure like roads that ensure the burden of care work. Conditions of peace and security, particularly personal security are also necessary to ensure the burden of care work is reduced for the household. Comprehensive and universal social protection services are also necessary to reduce the burden of care work on households. Care policies should be a central axis of social protection systems.
• To design and implement progressive tax systems that include taxes on wealth concentration, considering income, wealth and resources; direct taxes on capital gains in the financial system and the real estate sector; and the reduction of indirect taxes/consumption taxes burden.
• To redirect tax exemptions from unsustainable activities, such as industrial fisheries, agriculture, chemicals and extractives, towards productive diversification in sustainable and knowledge-intensive work sectors and investments in local sustainable value chains.
• Progressive tax reform should take into consideration the impact of tax codes and taxing structure on human rights, progress on gender equality, and women's human rights. To assess and correct gender biases implicit in tax policy implies for instance taking tax burden away from single-parent households comparatively with two-parent households; implementing fiscal mechanisms for compensation of discrimination, such as tax exemption for people living in poverty due to gender identity discrimination; updating tax benefits to same-sex couples when there is legal recognition; and implementing tax deductions for number of children.
• To develop monitoring indicators related to the incidence of the tax system on income distribution and reduction of inequality based on gender, race-ethnicity and age.
• A strong call for the development of statistics, targets and indicators that measure well-being, freedom of choice, wage inequality, job segregation, informalisation of work, time use and more and with specific attention to ending persistent and rising inter-state and intra-state inequalities, is key in order to shape an overall sustainability of life goal.
.:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform