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In advance of the United Nations Summit on Financing for Development taking place in Addis Ababa from July 13-17, Public Services International, the Blue Planet Project, Education International, Sisters of Mercy – Mercy International Association, Franciscans International and the Transnational Institute have spearheaded a global petition calling for safeguards against the corporate takeover of essential services in the name of sustainable development. The petition signed by more than 150 organizations worldwide calls to exclude water and sanitation, health care and education from discussions regarding private financing and private sector financing within the context of financing for development. The petition highlights the fact that the UN discussions on private sector participation must acknowledge the fact that the proliferation of global trade deals and investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms have undermined the sovereignty of States and restricted their policy space while protecting the interests of foreign investors above human rights and the environment over the past few decades.
Despite our repeated concerns regarding the human rights and social justice impacts of privatization, there is a great push for private financing and private sector participation within the agenda. PSI condemns the global trend towards the privatisation of public services due to which millions of people have been deprived of their fundamental human rights and reaffirms that the provision of universally accessible quality public services contributes to the reduction of poverty and inequality and the expansion of decent work and enhances social integration and cohesion.
Considering gaps in existing national and international legal regimes for holding transnational and other corporations accountable for their role in human rights abuses;
Having reviewed the evidence that certain categories of private sector actors and the development policies that promote them are responsible for a range of systemic human rights abuses that undermine efforts toward promoting sustainable development;
Recalling that the obligation to respect, protect and fulfill human rights lies with the State, and that States must protect against human rights abuses by third parties over whom they have jurisdiction including transnational corporations operating within and beyond their borders;
Recognizing that the proliferation of global trade deals and investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms undermine the sovereignty of States and restrict their policy space while protecting the interests of foreign investors above human rights, the public interest and the environment;
And noting the history of international financial institutions using loans to impose austerity measures and structural adjustment policies that have destroyed social safety nets and exacerbated poverty;
Civil society groups call for the following safeguards and conditions to be included in the SDG implementation and financing mechanisms:
Signed by Public Services International / Education International / Blue Planet Project / Transnational Institute / Franciscans International / Sisters of Mercy, Mercy International Association /