The numbers below will be reversing as global corporate campuses bring global manufacturing and technology factories back to the US and more and more government jobs are lost to cull government employees to only those connected by NEPOTISM. The difference in the numbers for manufacturing will be-----most of those growing numbers of workers will not be citizens.
21,995,000 to 12,329,000: Government Employees Outnumber Manufacturing Employees 1.8 to 1
By Terence P. Jeffrey | September 8, 2015 | 11:14 AM EDT
(AP Photo/Mike Groll)(CNSNews.com) - Those employed by government in the United States in August of this year outnumbered those employed in the manufacturing sector by almost 1.8 to 1, according to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There were 21,995,000 employed by federal, state and local government in the United States in August, according to BLS. By contrast, there were only 12,329,000 employed in the manufacturing sector.
We discuss sovereignty as rights given to WE THE CITIZENS under our US Constitution. US citizens of different political beliefs have different ideas of what those sovereign rights are but there are basic common beliefs shared by all citizens in the US and nations overseas having constitutions giving citizens rights. Developing nations with International Economic Zones often have constitutions with rights for their citizens but they do not enforce them. Today in the US we are experiencing the transition to that third world status. Below you see what right-wing citizens define as sovereign citizen and I showed where they have been labelled a terrorist group because they often have taken to arms. The unrest nationally by citizens both Democrat and Republican is that growing SOVEREIGN RIGHTS movement. We want to look at the basic common rights all citizens with constitutions see guaranteed to them. The US Constitution is unique in world history because it was written assuring more rights to citizens than any other document.
WE THE PEOPLE HAVE STRONG PROTECTIONS AND WE ARE GUARANTEED THE RIGHT TO LEGISLATE MEANING THE PEOPLE WE ELECT WORK FOR US.
What is a 'Sovereign Citizen'?
November 30, 2008The ideas of the "sovereign citizens" movement originate in the ideology of the Posse Comitatus, an anti-Semitic group that raged through the Midwest in the late 1970s and 1980s. Sovereign citizens claim that they are not subject to most taxes, are not citizens of the United States (but instead are "non-resident aliens"), cannot be tried for crimes in which there is no complaining victim (zoning and professional licensing violations, for instance), and are only subject to "common law courts," a sort of people's tribunal with no lawyers. Most refuse to obtain Social Security cards, register their vehicles, carry driver's licenses or use zip codes; many refer to UCC-107, a part of the Uniform Commercial Code, to justify their bizarre claims; and some use weird forms of punctuation between their middle and last names in all kinds of documents. Sovereign citizens also often distinguish between so-called "14th Amendment citizens," who are subject to federal and state governments, and themselves, who are also known as "organic citizens" — an ideology that causes adherents to claim that black people, who only became legal citizens when the 14th Amendment was passed after the Civil War, have far fewer rights than whites. Some of the more famous adherents of sovereign citizens ideology include Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols and members of the Montana Freemen.
When you listen to US citizens shouting at our government officials they are shouting for their sovereign rights in our US Constitution, our state constitutions, and those give sovereign rights to our cities/counties. There are no state or local sovereign rights if there is no US Constitution because it is this document that defines that state sovereignty. In all cases our elected officials, people appointed to government leadership, and our US Justice, Maryland Attorney General and state's attorneys, and our local Baltimore State's Attorney are all REQUIRED BY FEDERAL LAW AND THE US CONSTITUTION to protect our rights as citizens. They cannot CHOOSE NOT TO......BUT THEY ARE.
These actions are illegal and of the 3 branches of government as checks and balances----the US Justice Department and state's attorneys have a duty to come after the legislators violating these rights-----the legislators in Congress, Maryland Assembly, and Baltimore City Hall have a duty to come after the judges and public attorneys not doing their duty, and our judicial branch should be providing GUILTY VERDICTS for each of these. THAT IS WHAT OUR US CONSTITUTION GUARANTEES WE THE PEOPLE.
What the 5% to the 1% have been doing is negating the existence of our US Constitution and with that the national, state, and local sovereignty that gives WE THE PEOPLE those rights. They are saying -----
SORRY, WE HAVE A NEW CONSTITUTION----THE NEW NEW DEAL----THAT ONE WORLD GLOBAL CORPORATE TRIBUNAL HAS NO NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY AND REPLACES EACH NATION'S CONSTITUTIONS.
FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS ARE THE ONLY GUARANTEE TO WE THE PEOPLE OF HAVING THOSE RIGHTS TO LEGISLATE PUBLIC POLICY AS WE WANT----AND THEY HAVE BREACHED THAT RIGHT BY FILLING OUR ELECTIONS WITH RIGGING AND FRAUD TO KEEP THEIR 5% TO THE 1% IN OFFICE---SOON TO BE 2% TO THE 1%.
'The Framers of our Constitution created our government to be exclusively controlled by the people of the U.S. It's important to note that we are self-governed. We elect our government representatives and make our own laws. So many legal scholars prefer to think of the citizens as being sovereign rather than the states or the federal government'.
Sovereignty in the American Political System: Definition & History
Chapter 3 / Lesson 4 Transcript
The United States is a sovereign nation with two levels of sovereignty. This lesson takes a look at the history of U.S. sovereignty, including the principles of dual sovereignty and nullification.
The Declaration of Independence
Meet Darla. She just graduated from college. She's moving out on her own and will be responsible for making her own rules, paying her own bills and otherwise fulfilling her responsibilities. Darla is declaring her independence!
In 1776, our Declaration of Independence formally announced the American colonies to be independent and sovereign states. This meant that the colonies were no longer under the authority of Great Britain. Instead, the colonies each claimed all rights that other independent nations enjoyed, such as declaring war and establishing their own system of commerce.
Specifically, the colonists sought independence because they objected to various rules put upon them by Great Britain. This included foreign taxation. The colonists felt they shouldn't be taxed by Great Britain. Also, they didn't want to be transported back to Great Britain to appear in court if they were involved in a dispute or charged with a crime. They wanted to have their own taxes and their own court systems. As a truly independent entity, the colonists no longer had to answer to any other nation's government. They could develop their own government.
The independent colonies eventually became the United States of America. The states agreed to work together and be united, though each state also remained independent from the other states and independent from the federal government. The country was formed, and continues to operate, as a sovereign nation. In other words, the United States is a free and independent country. No other country or entity has control over the U.S.
Remember that the United States is established under the U.S. Constitution, which was enacted in 1788. The Framers of our Constitution created our government to be exclusively controlled by the people of the U.S. It's important to note that we are self-governed. We elect our government representatives and make our own laws. So many legal scholars prefer to think of the citizens as being sovereign rather than the states or the federal government.
This political principle is known as popular sovereignty. This principle maintains that the source of governmental power comes from the will of the people. Popular sovereignty is based on the concept that government exists in order to benefit the citizens. If the government isn't operating to benefit the citizens, then the government should cease to exist.
The U.S. wasn't the first to use popular sovereignty. The idea was around and in use for thousands of years before the creation of the Constitution. In fact, both the Romans and Greeks used popular sovereignty. Both systems used elected or appointed representatives to administrate government, much like the U.S.
In the U.S., we actually have several sovereign governments. Remember that the Constitution created federalism. Federalism is a separation of powers between the federal government and the individual state governments. Certain powers are given to the federal government through the Constitution, and all other matters are reserved to the states through the Tenth Amendment.
This means that each state government is also a sovereign entity. We therefore have two levels of sovereignty: the federal government and the state governments. For example, Nebraska can't tell Nevada what they can and cannot do. The states are independent from one another. Additionally, the federal government is independent from each of the states.
These levels give rise to a legal principle known as nullification. Nullification was championed by Thomas Jefferson and maintains that the states can and should refuse to enforce unconstitutional federal laws. Because the states are independent from the federal government, nullification poses that the states have no outright responsibility to uphold another entities' laws. It's meant to be a check on federal powers because if the federal government is allowed to determine the extent of its own powers, it could continue to expand those powers. Note, however, that no federal court has ever upheld the use of nullification.
The common rights that US citizens have that many developing nation citizens do as well besides the right to expect honest elections for people to represent us----we have a Bill of Rights and US Rule of Law that everyone as a citizen is protected by our legislators, by our justice agencies, and by our courts. If there is not pathway to public justice through courts----you are not a citizen. Today, the 5% to the 1% are simply CHOOSING which civil and criminal cases can move through courts and that is illegal. This violates our national, state, and local sovereignty and rights. Passing laws defining our US cities as International Economic Zones under Trans Pacific Trade Pact was always illegal and unconstitutional because it takes all national, state, and local sovereignty and our rights as citizens away.
These same basic constitutional protections exist in overseas nations having International Economic Zones and those nations' citizens have been fighting for their rights for decades! This is why we see many citizens oversight protesting and raising armed conflict with what they call a 1% WALL STREET global capture of their leadership. Now it is coming to the US. Academics in the US having watched several decades ago the effects of our then US corporations moving to these overseas International Economic Zones know what we see in the US today and Americans reacting is the same reactions those overseas citizens had back then.
WE ARE NOT CITIZENS IF THERE IS NO NATIONAL, STATE, OR LOCAL SOVEREIGNTY----THIS IS ANOTHER WAY OF SAYING WE ARE SOVEREIGN CITIZENS----
The sovereign citizen group above have very different views on these issues but they too are relying on the definition of what is sovereign.
Below you see the tangled reasoning CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA are now using to redefine what US sovereignty means and it extends of course to protecting global corporations in overseas International Economic Zones. This is the excuse for negating all the US Constitutional structures protecting WE THE PEOPLE ----they must restructure to protect the interests of those empire-building global corporations.
Bolstering American Sovereignty with Treaties
by Roger Alford
Concerns about sovereignty in an age of globalization are common, and often take a defensive posture that seeks to limit the reach of international law. But sovereignty and international law are not incompatible. Broadly understood, sovereignty may be defined as the advancement of the national interest, and the reality of globalization requires the United States…
You can see this is a right-leaning citizen in that the article pretends that the issue of slavery and segregation was not settled in the US Constitutional Amendments of EQUAL PROTECTION. It is this selective interpretation of our US Constitution and rights to all citizens these few decades that has led to the 1% negating all of our US Constitution. The 5% to the 1% across all population groups had better WAKE UP! Stop passing all these laws and start serving WE THE PEOPLE!
'The American Constitution may allow grievous injustices—such as slavery and segregation—to persist for long periods of time, but it also creates a risk-averse political system that prevents the United States from swinging wildly in one direction or another. Altering federalism and the separation of powers to allow for greater international cooperation may seem desirable now, but the long-term benefits may not exceed the costs, if those costs are likely to weaken the Constitution’s governing principles in domestic affairs'
May 6, 2012|Anne-Marie Slaughter, Executive Power, Federalism, Globalization, International Court of Justice, Popular Sovereignty, Self-Execution Doctrine, Separation of Powers, World Trade Organization
Debating Sovereignty: Globalization, International Law, and the United States Constitution
by John Yoo|1 Comment
Globalization is transforming American society. As never before, the U.S. economy depends on international trade, the free flow of capital, and integration into the world financial system. International events affect domestic markets and institutions more than ever. Advances in communications, transportation, and the Internet have brought great benefits to the United States. But the September 11, 2001 attacks also revealed globalization’s dark side. Terrorism, refugee flows, pollution, drug smuggling, and crime depend on the same channels of globalization as the world economy.
These economic, technological, and social changes have occurred because of the acceleration of communication, transportation, and information systems across national borders.
Globalization has led to (1) the explosive growth in international trade; (2) the swift creation of international markets in goods and services; (3) the easy movement of capital and labor across national borders; (4) the rise of major transnational networks, such as international drug cartels, international crime-fighting regimes, and international terrorism; and (5) the global effects of industrialization on the environment and global commons.
These profound changes present challenges to the American constitutional order because they give rise to international law and institutions that demand the transfer of sovereignty in response. To limit carbon emissions, proposed follow-ons to the Kyoto accords seek to regulate energy use throughout the world. To allow for the smooth movement of capital, nations must coordinate their regulatory controls on the financial industry. These multilateral treaty regimes seek to regulate private activity under the control of independent sovereign nations. They ask states to delegate lawmaking, law enforcement, or adjudication authority to bureaucracies, such as the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, or the World Trade Organization, that operate along undemocratic lines and remain unaccountable to any nation.
These efforts at global governance create tension with American constitutional controls on state power. Recent examples abound. To what extent do international court judgments have force in American law, preempting valid judgments by domestic courts? Can the President and the Senate make an international treaty that binds the United States to either legalize or criminalize abortion, or are issues of family law reserved to the states? Should international and foreign laws be used to interpret the U.S. Constitution? May Congress and the President delegate federal authority to international organizations to regulate domestic conduct, for instance, over industrial production or carbon emissions? Must American courts enforce the decisions of international courts banning the death penalty or freeing international terrorists?
Many scholars of international law argue that globalization’s demands justify abnormal powers for the federal government. Treaties on global warming or the environment, for example, should have a reach beyond the Constitution’s normal limits on the powers of Congress. International institutions like the WTO or the ICJ should enjoy the power to issue direct orders in the U.S. legal system, overcoming contrary policies at the state or even federal levels. States should have no voice in responding to globalization. Courts, as the least democratic branch, should play a primary role in incorporating global governance at home without the intervention of the elected branches of government.
These efforts aim at nothing less than the erosion of American national sovereignty. Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former Princeton dean and Obama State Department Official, argues that networks of foreign and international officials and institutions will develop independent, common legal standards that will be imposed on nations. According to her, “where the defining features of the international system are connection rather than separation, interaction rather than isolation, and institutions rather than free space, sovereignty as autonomy makes no sense.” Or, as Harvard scholars Abram and Antonia Chayes have written a “new sovereignty” has emerged where the international order is governed not by independent nation-states but by a “tightly woven fabric of international agreements, organizations, and institutions that shape their relations with one another and penetrate deeply into their internal economics and politics.”
These responses to globalization pose the most direct challenges to the fundamental principle underlying the system of government in the United States: popular sovereignty. Unlike other nations, which locate ultimate power in a nation, in a monarch, or in a government, the U.S. Constitution locates sovereignty in the People of the United States. The various institutions of the U.S. government are merely agents of the People, whose powers are delegated exclusively through the U.S. Constitution. The American people hardwired two principles into the U.S. Constitution’s structure: the separation of powers and federalism.
Popular sovereignty reflects a basic American commitment to govern by exclusively constitutional mechanisms, such as federalism and separation of powers, both of which create the political institutions through which the people can exercise power.
These constitutional structures may prove burdensome or inefficient, but they enhance accountability and transparency in government—important features of constitutional democracy. Globalization poses real challenges to American constitutional law, but the answer is not, as some would have it, abandoning the core principle of the American political system. Popular sovereignty is to be ignored at one’s peril.
Grasping the Constitution’s application to the issues raised by globalization depends more on the basic structures of government set out in the Constitution’s text, the traditions of American political practice, and even judicial precedents. The Framers’ most important decision was to maintain a distinctive structure for the exercise of governmental power at home: lawmaking through congressional bicameralism followed by presentment to the President. At the same time, the Framers believed that foreign affairs demanded a more flexible process that relied more on presidential leadership, given its functional advantages in acting with speed, decision, and dispatch. We believe that the best way to approach globalization is to tame it by subjecting its domestic effects to the same separation-of-powers and federalism rules that apply to any other law. But for conduct and events abroad, we believe that the Constitution largely frees the government from the straitjacket of the domestic rules of the game, and directs authority to the branch most functionally suited to such quick and momentous decisions: the executive.
Three constitutional doctrines can avoid globalization’s problems while still permitting the United States to accrue the benefits of international cooperation. First, treaties should be presumed to be non-self-executing: in other words, treaties do not take effect as enforceable domestic law without an intervening Act of Congress. Second, the President must possess the primary authority power to terminate international obligations and to interpret international law. Third, states must assume a leading role in the implementation of international law and agreements, especially in areas (such as family and property law) that have remained traditionally in their control. All of these mechanisms shift basic decisions between the pressures of globalization and the goals of a democratic constitutional government to the executive and legislative branches of the federal and state governments.
These doctrines rest on both “functional” and “formal” grounds. Such solutions are supported not only by the text and history of the Constitution and Supreme Court precedent, but also by their functional consequences. While all three doctrines have strong historical and precedential foundations in the U.S. constitutional tradition, one can reasonably disagree about them. Rather than try to establish these doctrines as constitutional requirements, these doctrines should be adopted because they are prudent. To require the political branches of government to fulfill the mandates of international law simply makes sense as a matter of consequences. They prevent international treaties and organizations from creating a loophole in the American constitutional system that would grow only bigger as globalization advances apace.
From a normative perspective, the legislative and executive branches of the federal and state governments are the institutions best positioned to reconcile the pressures of globalization with the U.S. legal system. These institutions are able to release the pressures of globalization on the American constitutional system because they enjoy the greatest political accountability and functional expertise in the conduct of international relations (in the case of the executive branch) or local public policy (in the case of the state governments). Conversely, we do not think that the American judiciary should play the kind of autonomous role that many legal academics and policy analysts wish for. Although we believe courts should maintain an independent place, we also believe courts should maintain their traditional deference to the executive and the legislative branches in affairs of state, in political questions, in foreign relations, and in war.
While relatively young, the new forms and orders of global governance should sound a familiar note to students of the American administrative state. Just as innovative international regimes seek more pervasive regulation of garden-variety conduct, so too did the New Deal seek national control over private economic decisions that had once rested within the control of the states. The Kyoto accords had their counterpart in the federal government’s efforts to control the production of every bushel of wheat on every American farm in Wickard v. Filburn. The new international courts and entities have their counterparts in the New Deal’s commissions and independent bodies, created to remove politics from administration in favor of technical expertise. These international bodies, to remain neutral, must have officials who are free from the control of any individual nation. Similarly, the New Deal witnessed the creation of a slew of alphabet agencies whose officials could not be removed by the President. The New Deal’s stretching of constitutional doctrine sparked a confrontation between FDR and the Supreme Court, which kept to a narrower and less flexible vision of federal power and the role of administrative agencies during FDR’s first term. Similarly, in the absence of a theory that allows for an accommodation of international policy demands with the U.S. constitutional system, these new forms of international cooperation may well produce an analogous collision with constitutional law.
Like nationalization, globalization will inevitably call on us to reconsider the same fundamental questions: the proper scope of the federal government’s regulatory power; the balance of authority between the President and Congress; and the appropriate role of the courts. We may only belatedly realize the consequences of economic and social transformation on constitutional doctrine. The inability of international organizations to provide legitimacy commensurate with the scope of their delegated authority—when combined with the serious strains that their delegations place on the federal government’s own legitimacy--weigh strongly in favor of enforcing the Constitution’s formal processes for exercising public power. A formalist approach would confer the greatest possible level of political and popular acceptance because any consent to international law and institutions would then occur with the full extent of the Constitution’s legitimating force. Such an approach might require rejecting some delegations, but it would at least ensure the full measure of domestic political legitimacy to support those that survive.
Any fundamental change in the Constitution’s structures to accommodate globalization would be a terrible mistake. Putting aside their historical pedigrees, we think that federalism and the separation of powers today guarantee a number of normative benefits for the United States. Federalism, for example, creates policy competition among states; citizens can maximize their preferences by choosing to live in states with policies that they prefer. Federalism encourages innovation in government policy—states serve as fifty “laboratories of democracy” which conduct experiments at solving social problems—that will lead to more effective national solutions. Federalism allows for the more effective provision of public goods—or certain benefits, such as schools, roads, regional transportation systems, parks, and law enforcement—that affect smaller geographic units rather than the nation as a whole. Federalism has significant advantages above and beyond its historical presence in the Constitution.
The separation of powers also provides significant benefits beyond the happy accident of its inclusion in the Constitution. Dividing legislative power between two houses of Congress and the President demands that a high level of consensus exist before the government exercises its powers. As the level of consensus increases, the law is more likely to express the will of the majority and to represent the better judgment on the right trade-offs for society. Multiple hurdles for the legislative process reduce the chances that special interest groups will use domestic regulation to capture benefits for themselves at the public’s expense. The separation of powers encourages the vigorous exercise of national powers at the right moment. The President can lead the nation into war, protect the national security, or conduct foreign affairs with “decision, activity, secrecy, and dispatch,” in the words of Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 70. By openly allocating power to the branch best suited for its exercise, the separation of powers encourages accountability to the electorate. The separation of powers provides a safeguard for liberty by making it difficult for any one party or group to take over the controls of government altogether, and by giving each of the branches the means to frustrate the plans of the others.
America’s decentralized government, both between the national and state governments and between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, discourages a rush into radical reforms or sweeping alterations of the basic rules of the political system. The American Constitution may allow grievous injustices—such as slavery and segregation—to persist for long periods of time, but it also creates a risk-averse political system that prevents the United States from swinging wildly in one direction or another. Altering federalism and the separation of powers to allow for greater international cooperation may seem desirable now, but the long-term benefits may not exceed the costs, if those costs are likely to weaken the Constitution’s governing principles in domestic affairs. The American system can accommodate the demands of globalization within existing doctrines of the separation of powers and federalism, but with some difficulty. That is worth the price to preserve the constitutional principles that have served the nation so well, for so long.
THE ARTICLE BELOW IS LONG---PLEASE GLANCE THROUGH JUST TO BECOME FAMILIAR WITH TERMS USED BY WORLD BANK AND WTO----THINK AS WE READ WHAT BRINGING ALL THESE NATIONS AND INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ZONES WILL LOOK LIKE FOR CITIZENS AROUND THE WORLD WITH ONE GLOBAL TRIBUNAL CONTROLLED BY A GLOBAL 1% KNOWN IN EACH NATION FOR BEING BRUTAL, AUTHORITARIAN, MILITARISTIC WITH EXTREME WEALTH AND EXTREME POVERTY.
What are called ABSENCE OF A THEORY THAT ALLOWS FOR ACCOMMODATION OF INTERNATIONAL POLICY-----is another word for the fact that the founding fathers deliberately wrote the US Constitution to NOT ALLOW EXTREME WEALTH AND POWER so no corporate monopoly, no accumulation of wealth from generation to generation---and that is why our US Constitution does not allow all these kinds of global trade agreements attacking our US sovereignty. It is not a matter of interpretation---it simply is not allowed.
THE MOVING FORWARD 5% to the 1% have of course decided for WE THE PEOPLE that all this is now going to change. This is why those American citizens shouting against Trans Pacific Trade Pact keep saying this is not a trade deal---it is restructuring our entire government and sovereign protections of citizenship.
Now comes WE THE PEOPLE protesting a government that we clearly see as TYRANNY-----our US Constitution forbids a government of tyranny. Yet this government will soon use our US Justice Department to say WE THE PEOPLE are radicals and terrorists interfering with global economic commerce. This is what is tied to global militarized police departments----clearing US city real estate using unconstitutional means of fraud, corruption, and brutality. It is being done for that global rights of commerce.
'Similarly, in the absence of a theory that allows for an accommodation of international policy demands with the U.S. constitutional system, these new forms of international cooperation may well produce an analogous collision with constitutional law'.
Below we see the document saying that the United Nations will be used to enforce these global trade agreements as they have since CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA regardless of national sovereignty and constitutional issues and any nation or citizen refusing to comply will be considered a threat or criminal. Keep in mind------these elections have been rigged such that a super-majority of American citizens have NOT VOTED TO DO THIS----you see the topic of SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT posing progressive in creating these global corporate campuses that will devastate the global environment---not reduce global warming. Global warming is fast-tracked with fast-tracking of Trans Pacific Trade Pact.
There are two dates used by the ONE WORLD 1% in Trans Pacific Trade Pact-----first, the fact that the details of TPP will not be allowed to be seen by US citizens for 5 years after Congress passes it. This is beyond the 2020 window attached to most of the progressive posing labor and justice laws being enacted today. They use that 2020 date so the 99% being fooled will not know it until after all the installation of US International Economic Zone policies have occurred. The second date seen here----2030----is the date installations and global systems will be completed and without coincidence----correspond to the coming economic crash and GREAT DEPRESSION recession supposedly to last all of next decade-----VOILA---THE ENTIRE 2020s taken to impoverishment and dismantling all that is American.
2030 Sustainable Development Agenda
Volume 9 - Number 9
How to monitor the trade elements of the 2030 Agenda?
9 November 2015
Alice Tipping, Robert Wolfe
Can existing institutions be used to ensure proper follow-up and review of the trade commitments made in the UN’s new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development?
Trade is reflected throughout the new global sustainable development agenda, both in “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” and in the outcome document from the Third International Financing for Development (FfD3) conference known as the “Addis Ababa Action Agenda.” These outcome documents are intended to guide and balance social, economic, and environmental objectives over the next 15 years. Follow-up and review of the agenda as a whole is essential, although delicate because the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are aspirational objectives, not legally binding obligations. In themselves, the SDGs will not directly change policy, but the review process might. [Ref 1]
Most of the action needed on sustainable development is national and even local. Follow-up and review mechanisms will allow national and local-level policymakers, as well as civil society, to review both effort and outcomes. And by learning from the experience of others, adjustments can be made. The purpose of review mechanisms is thus not “evaluation” but the sharing of experiences as a way to facilitate learning and policy improvement. The 2030 Agenda is also universal, as the goals and targets apply to all countries, whatever their level of development. Regional and global review as well as national review will help, as countries in different regions or at the same level of development may face similar challenges, and hence have lessons to share.
Trade is part of the 2030 Agenda in each of the three dimensions of sustainable development, but its diffuse contribution means that follow-up and review will be challenging. [Ref 2] Unlike other aspects of the SDGs and FfD3, international trade is covered by numerous bilateral, regional, and multilateral agreements, which have their own review mechanisms. Some trade-related targets in the SDGs are goal specific, others feature trade as a cross-cutting “means of implementation” (MoI) relevant to the achievement of the framework as a whole. For example, SDG 14 on oceans conservation refers to the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations, while the final SDG 17 identifies the principles upheld by the WTO and conclusion of the Doha Round negotiations as an overarching supportive effort. The FfD3 outcome includes some trade-related targets similar to those identified in the SDGs as well as several other unique trade issues – such as on regional economic integration – that are useful complements. The SDGs regrettably focus predominantly on expanding exports; while they recognise, if only implicitly, the importance of maintaining an open trade regime that would allow domestic firms access to low-cost inputs, they do not explicitly address the central role that services play in accessing global value chains (GVCs). The SDGs are also limited in devoting insufficient explicit attention to things like trade costs that are important for participation in GVCs, although some of these elements such as trade facilitation and trade finance are part of the FfD3 outcome.
In themselves, the SDGs will not directly change policy, but the review process might.
A universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory, and equitable multilateral trading system, as well as meaningful trade liberalisation, in the words of the FfD3 outcome document, can serve as an engine of economic growth, not least by encouraging long-term private and public investment in productive capacities, reduce poverty, and promote sustainable development. With appropriate supporting policies, infrastructure, and an educated work force, according to the AAAA, trade can promote employment, decent work and women’s empowerment, reduce inequality, and contribute to the realisation of the SDGs.
With this context in mind, trade’s contribution to sustainable development ought to be reviewed as part of the broader policy framework. In a longer paper originally published last June, which includes current thinking on possible trade indicators and where the necessary data is already being collected, the trade-related elements in the draft SDGs and FfD3 outcome were grouped into six clusters: subsidies and commodities trade; access to water, energy, medicines; economic diversification, GVCs, and trade facilitation; illegal extraction and trade in natural resources, trade in hazardous chemicals and waste; multilateral trading system, regional trade, and investment agreements; and policy coherence for sustainable development. The purpose of the rest of this article is to describe where trade-related review and follow-up mechanisms already exist that could help policymakers compare experiences.
Trade policy review at the WTO
Various peer review mechanisms, ranging from multilateral reviews to regional mechanisms that could review groups of UN members, to regional economic integration organisations, offer forums where policymakers could discuss progress against specific trade-related elements of the 2030 Agenda. The WTO provides an obvious starting point for this survey, given its centrality in the system of rules of the global trading system, its transparency and accountability mechanisms will be critical for review and follow-up of the 2030 Agenda.
One way that WTO members could enhance the work the secretariat does for them is by asking it to facilitate an integrated discussion of how those mechanisms could contribute to achieving the trade-related objectives of the SDGs and FfD. Moreover, while many existing WTO processes could contribute to review and follow-up, it might also make sense for the chair of the General Council to write to the chairs of all WTO bodies asking how they intend to internalise the SDGs in their work.
For example, the Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE) could play a key role in the review of trade-related SDGs, given its broad mandate and the fact that it is not linked to any WTO agreement. In recent years, it has discussed the trade-related aspects of illegal logging, fossil fuel subsidies, energy efficiency, carbon footprinting and environmental labeling, to list just a few. It could also monitor negotiations on green goods and services, and it could commission an annual report on the environmental dimension of trade-related SDGs, perhaps based on its database of all environment-related WTO notifications.
The WTO Committee on Regional Trade Agreements (CRTA) could use its Transparency Mechanism to consider a horizontal review of sustainable development chapters in regional trade agreements (RTAs). It could also consider whether trade and investment treaties appropriately safeguard domestic policies for sustainable development. The Committee on Trade and Development (CTD)’s Monitoring Mechanism, which analyses the implementation of all special and differential treatment provisions with a view to facilitating integration of developing and least-developed members into the multilateral trading system, could be another important point of reference.
The most comprehensive platform for trade related peer review is the WTO Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB) since its analytic reports on individual countries and on the trading system can draw on information from other WTO committees, as well as the work of other international organisations and non-state actors, with regular opportunities for discussion by all members of the WTO. The main work of the TPRB is the discussion of the periodic Trade Policy Review (TPR) reports on every member. The four largest traders are reviewed every two years, the next 16 every four years, and the rest every six years. This schedule could be aligned, if not perfectly, with the every-four-years schedule of national reviews of the SDGs. It ought to be possible to have the reviews for most members precede by no more than a couple of years its national review, ensuring that WTO review of the trade-related aspects of the SDGs does not add to the reporting burden on governments, while allowing the national report to benefit from the results of peer review in the WTO.
The second major task of the TPRB is the annual monitoring report reviewing the trading system, members’ policies, and the work of the WTO itself. Various sections of this flagship report, including “recent economic trends,” “trade and trade-related policy developments,” and “transparency of trade policies” could maintain an eye on SDG-related issues and pull-out the 2030 Agenda aspects of all country reporting made available through the TPR process.
While not subject to discussion, the WTO Annual Report, could be used to identify what the organisation has accomplished in areas relevant to the 2030 Agenda. Finally, given the diffuse nature of potential options for review within the WTO, members could place as a standing item on the agenda of the biennial ministerial conference consideration of a synthesis report on the contribution of trade to achieving the SDGs. Such a broad review is important for a global assessment of progress especially as the UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) charged with leading that process may not have sufficient time to devote to trade in most years.
Other options for review of trade-related elements
The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) provides another possible multilateral avenue for 2030 Agenda review. In addition to discussion in its Trade and Development Commission, UNCTAD review mechanisms include Investment Policy Reviews, the Voluntary Competition Policy Review, and the Global Commodities Forum. The main advantage of UNCTAD’s existing peer review processes is that these are voluntary, exemplifying national ownership of the process, and imposing a more manageable burden on developing countries’ public resources. Given the breadth of UNCTAD’s membership, it provides a wide range of countries with the opportunity to have their policies reviewed.
At the same time, a wider review role for UNCTAD could be supported by improvements to the organisation’s institutional capacity, and by increasing developed countries’ relatively lower level of engagement its work. The UNCTAD secretariat has already begun to consider how the organisation could play a role in review of governments’ trade and sustainable development policies.
The World Bank could also serve as an important source of data and analysis on the trade-related elements of the 2030 Agenda using its immense data collection and analytical capacity. It could play an important potential part in reviewing investments made by international financial institutions (IFIs), for example in infrastructure, in the context of the framework’s new commitments. It could also play a role in convening national and global experts to develop cross-cutting global reviews of the role of trade in relation to particular objectives. This work could build on the existing system of knowledge platforms within the Bank.
The UN Regional Commissions, such as the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) are also currently thinking about their roles in supporting the implementation and review of the 2030 Agenda, and assessing their capacity to undertake this augmented role.
Many regional economic integration bodies such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group also already conduct peer reviews of members’ trade and trade-related policies, as does the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). Like the UN regional commissions, these organisations could potentially provide a good environment for further discussion, among peers at a regional level, of the contribution of trade-related policies to sustainable development. A potential disadvantage of these organisations, however, is that not all of their secretariats have the capacity to support a follow-up and review process.
The regional development banks, in concert with the World Bank, could also play a role in reviewing the trade-related elements of the 2030 Agenda. Data collection, analysis, and peer review may be easier to mobilise at regional level, perhaps following the model of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in conducting policy reviews at country level.
In this context we consider the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and International Energy Agency (IEA) to be regional bodies since their membership is far from universal. But these two organisations will nonetheless be invaluable in reviewing the progress of their members to achieving the 2030 Agenda. Peer review is deeply embedded in the work of the OECD, drawing on the secretariat’s considerable capacity for data gathering and analysis. For several of the trade-related elements of the SDGs mapped above, in particular the elements related to agriculture, fisheries and fossil fuel subsidies, OECD and IEA data is probably the most reliable available. Review of the coherence between OECD members’ aid and trade policies will be especially important.
The semi-annual, multi-stakeholder Global Aid for Trade Review provides a regular forum for reviewing Aid for Trade flows, while the coherence of aid and trade policies could be reviewed at a regional level in the OECD Development Assistance Committee, or in meetings of the OECD Policy Coherence for Development Focal Points. Members of the OECD may wish, moreover, to create a mechanism for periodic peer review of each member’s national SDG reports.
Bringing it all together
We have mentioned a great many reports and institutions in this article. Our longer paper provides a sketch of the architecture that might support this process. In light of the inevitable complexity and distinct areas of expertise in each trade-related review forum, an additional option could be the creation of an inter-agency “trade and 2030 Agenda” group – perhaps building on the work that several trade organisations undertook as part of the UN Technical Support Team that helped the SDG negotiations – to prepare a synthesis report as needed for the national reviews and an annual synthesis for the regional and global levels. While many UN entities have a trade-related role, the body with the most significant review capacity is the WTO. One option might therefore be to ask the WTO to coordinate such a task force. The aim of such a thematic report on the trade-related elements prepared for the HLPF would be to keep attention on the trade opening “forest” as opposed to all the “trees.” As with all the other reports discussed, it should be a public document, the foundation for an open and participatory process for review and follow-up of the sustainable development agenda.
This paper is adapted from a longer working draft Options for follow-up and review of the trade-related elements of the post-2015 agenda and financing for development published jointly by ICTSD and IISD in June 2015. The longer paper has an extensive list of the work of other scholars and organisations on which we draw. A revised paper based on the final SDG and FfD3 outcomes is forthcoming. [Editor's note, ICTSD is the publisher of Bridges Trade BioRes]
Alice Tipping, Senior Programme Officer, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)
Robert Wolfe, Professor, Queen’s University and Senior Associate, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
[Ref 1] For further details on the mandated 2030 Agenda review process see paragraph 90 in “Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” Draft resolution referred to the United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda by the General Assembly at its sixty-ninth session. September 2015. (A/70/L.1) For details of the review process prescribed by FfD3 see “Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (Addis Ababa Action Agenda).” Draft resolution submitted by the President of the General Assembly. July 2015. (A/69/L.82)
[Ref 2] For more details on the trade outcomes of the 2030 Agenda see “World leaders set to adopt post-2015 sustainable development agenda.” Bridges Trade BioRes. ICTSD. 18 September 2015.