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Big Alcohol, Big Oil and Big Pharma hold meeting in the heart of the UN

Donnerstag 23. August 2018 von htm

New York, United Nations, July 19, 2018 – Civil society groups express deep concern about presence of harmful industries at the United Nations and during the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development  

On July 12, 2018, front groups for Big Alcohol, Big Oil and Big Pharma were inexplicably granted access into the heart of the UN to host a side event as part of the official program of the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

The HLPF is the premier body of the United Nations to assess and discuss the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). [1] The HLPF is convening at the United Nations in New York between July 10-18, bringing together more than 2000 participants from civil society and other stakeholder groups with more than 100 ministers from governments around the world. The purpose of the meeting is to jointly assess global and national progress and challenges in achieving the SDGs. During the eight days of the HLPF, a total of 190 side events are being organized. And here is where it gets ugly.

Two front groups for some of the most harmful industries in the world joined with the UN Office of Partnerships to host a side event about private sector initiatives to promote sustainable development. [2] Masquerading as a “not-for-profit” organization, the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) is the lobby arm representing 11 of the biggest alcohol producers in the world [3], while GBCHealth is the front group for Big Oil, Big Pharma and other industries harmful to health and development. [4]

The fact that private sector invitation-only events take place in the heart of the UN is deeply concerning. In this way, well-funded private sector front groups are able to monopolize the conversation on matters of public concern, further fueling problems of intransparency and monopolizing the definition of problems and accepted solutions. Harmful industries should have no place at discussions about solutions to the problems that their products, business models and business practices are causing in the first place. 

In a time of shrinking space for civil society, front groups funded by harmful industries can pay their way to prime access to the UN and decision-makers. The event was held in the UN Secretariat Building, West Terrace, where only few can afford to rent meeting rooms and other associated costs. Basic analysis of the official HLPF program shows that only about 20% of all side events list civil society groups as primary organizer. Many civil society event applications were rejected and therefore had to find affordable space outside UN premises.

This event is also deeply concerning because alcohol is a massive obstacle to development, adversely affecting 13 of 17 SDGs, killing one human being every 10 seconds, fueling poverty, inequality, violence, including gender-based violence, and vast economic and productivity losses. [5] [6] The corporations represented by the IARD have a horrific track record of human rights abuses [7], exploitation of women and girls [8], use of tax avoidance schemes [9] [10], institutional ties with the tobacco and other harmful industries [11] [12], marketing techniques and strategies that expose children, adolescents and youth to alcohol [13], and misrepresentation of the science about the harmfulness of their products [14].

All of these corporations attack evidence-based and WHO-recommended public policies and interventions that help save and improve lives by reducing and preventing alcohol harm – because these policies would jeopardize their profits. [15]

Extractive industries, like Big Oil, often undermine effective measures against climate change and for transformation towards sustainable development. The adverse effects of their business practices extend across the SDGs. [16]

These facts clearly show the conflict of interest at work when harmful industries like Big Alcohol, Big Oil and Big Pharma engage in conversations about health and development.

However, at the side event, which was part of the official HLPF program, none of these facts could be highlighted because the event was invitation only, excluding selected civil society groups. And so, in the heart of the UN and during a most important meeting to discuss obstacles to sustainable development, harmful industries were able to spread misinformation and propaganda.

As civil society groups, representing communities affected by the harms these industries cause to people, families and societies worldwide, we are deeply concerned about this event and what it represents.

We are concerned about the absence of quality standards for HLPF side events. We are also concerned about the lack of conflict of interest safeguards.

We strongly oppose the shrinking space for civil society and ever increasing platforms for harmful private interests. We are against the role of the UN Office of Partnerships, promoting harmful industries that undermine and attack policies and guidelines of other UN agencies.

We are concerned about Human Rights compliance of harmful industries and their attempts to use the United Nations to white and green wash the real harms they cause to human and planetary health and well-being.

We are concerned about the integrity and effectiveness of the HLPF and our collective ability to find the most comprehensive solutions to achieve sustainable development for all, not just for a few corporate giants.

Link to IOGT Intern. with List of signatories

Dieser Beitrag wurde erstellt am Donnerstag 23. August 2018 um 09:06 und abgelegt unter adults, Advertising, Alcohol industry, Alerts, Allgemein, consumption, Documents, English Website, Events, Global, Parliaments / Governments, Politics, Prevention, societal effects, Watchdogs. Kommentare zu diesen Eintrag im RSS 2.0 Feed. Die Kommentare sind derzeit geschlossen, aber sie können einen Trackback auf Ihrer Seite einrichten.

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