Private sector for development: for the public good?

At the EU level, the private sector is being increasingly promoted as the key actor for development. While it could offer additional resources for achieving sustainable development, it has not always brought positive impacts so far. Human rights violations, tax avoidance, pollution, and a lack of transparency and accountability, have been major concerns.

On that matter, CONCORD just published a new report entitled a “10 point roadmap for Europe on the role of the private sector in development”. This elaborates ten areas of action where the EU should address accountability, effectiveness and sustainability. It has been developed by CONCORD members in collaboration with Civil Society allies and experts, and it includes case studies from across the world which illustrate both opportunities for positive outcomes as well as existing gaps and concerns.

SOLIDAR welcomes the ‘10 point roadmap for Europe’ as a method of working with the private sector on development:

  1. Abandon the “one-size fits all” approach
  2. Adopt mechanisms to avoid the corporate capture of the decision-making processes
  3. Align the financial system with the social and environmental agendas
  4. Ensure the public delivery of essential services, and acknowledge that private finance cannot be a substitute for public investment
  5. Ensure companies pay their fair share of tax in the countries and regions where they operate
  6. Ensure the sustainability chapters in investment treaties are equally enforceable as the provisions protecting investors
  7. Ensure business enterprises operating outside the EU are held accountable for the impact of their operations on human rights and the environment
  8. Reform EU competition law
  9. Ensure the respect of the ‘Busan development effectiveness principles’ in all programmes and projects
  10. Ensure transparency and accountability when public finance is used to leverage private investments in developing countries

SOLIDAR released last week its “Private Sector: Mismatching development with economic growth” position paper, which is very much in line with the points highlighted above. For more information, see here.

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