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Forus Civil Society Network Urges that Respect for Human Rights, Climate Justice and Accountability should be at the core of the New Global Financing Pact

Indigenous activist protesting in Colombia. Credit: Sebastian Barros

PARIS, Jun 23 2023 (IPS) - As the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact unfolds in Paris on 22-23 June, Forus, a global network representing over 22,000 civil society organisations across Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Pacific, calls for the respect of human rights and for meaningful inclusion of civil society in shaping financial systems and structures.

The summit, co-hosted by India, could help find common ground on finance that drives progress at key events later in 2023 and in 2024 – the G20 summit in New Delhi, the COP28 climate talks in Dubai, and the Finance in Common summit with public development banks in Cartagena.

As part of the summit, Sarah Strack, Forus Director, is amplifying civil society’s voices at the high-level Finance in Common event in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders, to discuss and leverage the role of Public Development Banks in financing the SDGs, scaling up sustainable finance, and supporting inclusion. Forus has been engaging in the Finance in Common initiative since its inception in 2020 with the aim to ensure that a people-based approach to development is pursued.

“If we want to have a chance to tackle the most pressing challenges and the multiple crises of our time in a way that really puts first the interests and needs of people, then a shift of mindset and a new financial framework are absolutely necessary. It is essential that civil society plays a central role in shaping this new paradigm at every stage. Let us not forget the wealth of knowledge and leadership present at the local level. By actively engaging and collaborating with communities, we can genuinely measure our progress and honor the commitments we have made to those most in need,” says Sarah Strack.

Harsh Jaitli, CEO of the Voluntary Action Network India (VANI), is representing Forus as an official respondent in the Summit Roundtable “Power Our Planet: Act today. Save tomorrow”, co-hosted by Global Citizen and CISCO. The event seeks to rally for immediate action on economic, social, and climate justice, engaging both public and private sectors to catalyze renewable energy investment in climate-vulnerable countries to reduce energy poverty and accelerate the low-carbon transition.

Harsh Jaitli of VANI states that the New Global Financial Pact will require improved partnerships and the building of trust.

“Double standards have negatively impacted our collective capacity to deliver on effective development and climate related programmes. In some countries, multinational corporations respect human rights, fiscal and climate regulations, but in other countries decisions are made to violate them. Not only does this send the wrong message that some countries and populations are more important than others, but also jeopardizes our collective efforts to affect change. Multinational corporations should commit to respecting human rights, fiscal and climate regulations in all countries and in a consistent manner. When no strong regulations exist, this is the opportunity for multinationals to be proactive and to apply strong rules, which are coherent with their policies,”says Harsh Jaitli.

Julien Comlan Agbessi, Coordinator of the Regional Coalition of West Africa (REPAOC) emphasizes the importance of multi-stakeholder cooperation. Agbessi explains that cooperation between the private sector and the civil society organisations is possible, since the private sector could leverage hugely on the experience and outreach of civil society. “Many poverty alleviation programs and projects with significant funding implemented over the past decades have failed to deliver for communities. Transformative investments in low-income countries and climate impacted countries require putting the needs of people first,” says Julien Comlan Agbessi.

Lina Paola Lara Negrette, Coordinator of the Confederación Colombiana de ONG (Ccong), states that the New Global Financial Pact must incorporate stronger and more meaningful engagement with civil society.

“Civil society has an important role to play in ensuring the accountability and transparency of both government and private sector actors. Civil society can work closely with governments and the private sector to ensure the delivery of social and environmental needs in all investments, which includes respect of human rights”.

Olivier Bruyeron, President of the French platform of CSOs Coordination SUD, equally emphasizes the importance of partnerships with the public and private sector, “CSOs hold valuable knowledge and expertise on international solidarity needed to construct sustainable global solutions and to link them with local development” adds Olivier Bruyeron.

Marianne Buenaventura is project coordinator at Forus.

IPS UN Bureau


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