Reclaiming policies for the public: Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2017
In the 2030 Agenda governments committed to a revitalized Global Partnership between States and declared that public finance has to play a vital role in achieving the SDGs. But in recent decades, the combination of neoliberal ideology, corporate lobbying, business-friendly fiscal policies, tax avoidance and tax evasion has led to a massive weakening of the public sector and its ability to provide essential goods and services.
The same corporate strategies and fiscal and regulatory policies that led to this weakening have enabled an unprecedented accumulation of individual wealth and increasing market concentration.
The proponents of privatization and public-private partnerships (PPPs) use these trends to present the private sector as the most efficient way to provide the necessary means for implementing the SDGs. But many studies and experiences by affected communities have shown that privatization and PPPs involve disproportionate risks and costs for the public sector. PPPs can even exacerbate inequalities, decrease equitable access to essential services and jeopardize the fulfilment of human rights.
Therefore, it is high time to counter these trends, reclaim public policy space and take bold measures to strengthen public finance, regulate or reject PPPs and weaken the grip of corporate power on people’s lives. These are indispensable prerequisites to achieve the SDGs and to turn the vision of the transformation of our world, as proclaimed in the title of the 2030 Agenda, into reality.