CIVICUS' new annual report warns about growing role of private sector in governance

Author: CIVICUS (South Africa), Published on: 7 March 2018

"CIVICUS: State of Civil Society Report 2018 - Year in Review: Top 10 trends", 06 Mar 2018

As 2017 gave way to 2018, the battle lines seemed more starkly drawn...than ever... [One of the top 10 trends in 2017 was the] private sector mandate creep. As the UN’s funding base has declined, it has increasingly embraced the private sector, something that many in civil society...noted with concern. At the national level, the private sector plays an ever-growing role in the delivery of core services, while governments prioritise the promotion of business growth... The role of the private sector seems hardwired into the Sustainable Development Goals... even though privileging the private sector may make other goals harder to achieve, such as those on decent work, income inequality and responsible consumption and corruption, which require...systemic change...something businesses that benefit from current models of governance are unlikely to embrace...Projects with extensive private sector involvement tend to offer less scope for democratic oversight and accountability. When the private sector has privileged access to governance institutions, including...the UN, civil society may be crowded out... To fill a crucial gap in international law, a wider range of civil society should engage in the process to develop a binding treaty on transnational business and human rights currently under way at the UN Human Rights Council...

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