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Prisoners hold a direct debate with parliamentarians

In a rare encounter, prisoners hold a direct debate with parliamentarians. “They asked questions about the privatization of motorways and airports and questioned the value of these privatizations. They also talked about the wealth tax. One of them had a good thought which surprised me on the relative impoverishment of France while noting that wealth is now being redistributed to other countries like China.” [Midi Libre, 8 March 2019]

Source: peopleoverprof.it

"The federal government needs to make a massive commitment to building public works"

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka tells congress the federal government needs to make a massive commitment to building public works. But there are conditions. “Fundamental labor standards specific to construction and transportation, which have been included in past infrastructure investment statutes, must be attached to all federally assisted projects. Collective bargaining agreements and family-supporting wages and benefits must not be undermined by low-wage bids, and public-sector pay, benefits and labor rights must be protected when special interests push privatization and contracting-out schemes.”

Source: aflcio.org

The New York Times has run a front page investigative story on the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa

The New York Times has run a front page investigative story on the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa and how privatization and weak government oversight contributed to it. “Beyond potential negligence,” the Times reports, “the case has exposed what critics say are deep systemic failings in how Italy privatized roadways. Autostrade reaped huge profits and acquired so much power that the state became a largely passive regulator. While no evidence has emerged that inspection findings were manipulated, the company effectively regulated itself—because Autostrade's parent company owned the inspection company responsible for safety checks on the Morandi Bridge. ‘The government was happy to leave the system to exploit drivers and share in the bounty produced by tolls,’ [Prof. Marco Ponti] said in a recent phone interview, having just headed a commission to assess the viability of a high-speed rail link with France. ‘And because it's a long concession, nobody is really looking at it, except bureaucrats and the superpower that is Autostrade,’ he added. ‘And they became close friends.’”

Source: www.nytimes.com

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Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2018

"The world is off-track in terms of achieving sustainable development and fundamental policy changes are necessary to unleash the transformative potential of the SDGs.” This is the main message of the Spotlight Report 2018, the most comprehensive independent assessment of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The report was launched on 9 July, the opening day of the High Level Political Forum at the United Nations in New York by a global coalition of civil society organizations and trade unions.

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Public-Private Partnerships and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Fit for purpose?

In light of a cautious emphasis given to public-private partnerships (PPPs) as a mechanism to finance infrastructure projects and highlighting the need for capacity building and knowledge sharing at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, this paper reviews the extant literature on the subject and identifies areas requiring better understanding and institutional innovation for ensuring value for money, minimizing contingent fiscal risk and improving accountability. This paper will discuss recent findings on the effectiveness of PPPs and reflect on their suitability as a key vehicle to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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CSOs as equal partners in monitoring public finance

CSOs as equal partners in monitoring public finance started from 2016 with the aim to improve accountability and transparency of the public finance in targeted countries and strengthen Civil Society Organisations’ (CSOs) role and voice in monitoring the institutions’ performance in that area. Key project activities are research and monitoring, advocacy, capacity building and transfer of knowledge/practices and networking in the field of the 4 specific topics: • public debt, • public-private partnerships, • tax equity and • infrastructure projects. More about the project and our work can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/BalkanMonitoringPublicFinance/