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The threatening danger of fascism

D+C - 13. Februar 2019 - 10:13
Former US Secretary of State warns that democratic values are being undermined incrementally

There is no general definition for “fascism”, writes Albright, who is a political scientist. In her recent book “Fascism: A Warning”, she defines fascism less as a political ideology than as means of gaining power and preserving it. In her view, fascism means that “a single party, speaking with one voice, controls all state institutions, claims to represent the whole people, and calls this illusory world the triumph of the people’s will”. She considers the term “populism”, which is often used in a similar sense (including in D+C/E+Z), to be too imprecise. She argues that every political movement is partly “populist” in some sense, and that this is not bad per se, provided that political competition is given.

Albright’s family originally came from Prague. As a child she had to flee from forces she calls fascist twice: first from the Nazis and later from the Communists. Finally, the family settled in the USA, where Albright became a member of the Democratic Party and rose to become secretary of state under President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001. Based on her own experience and her political career, she now assesses the reasons why fascist forces are rising once more.

In many countries today there is a climate that is reminiscent of the early 20th century:

  • growing nationalism,
  • economic problems,
  • fear of technological change and the associated mass unemployment plus
  • general dissatisfaction with governments.

Fascism feeds on that general mood, and fascists know how to use it, Albright states. They reduce complicated facts to catchy slogans and offer simplistic answers to complicated questions. Fascists split society, for example by claiming that one single enemy is behind many problems.

Undemocratic politics are increasing worldwide (see D+C/E+Z briefing “Populist politics”). Albright spans the globe from Latin America to the USA, Europe, Russia and Asia. She sees radical nationalist movements gaining attention through the media, conquer parliaments and poison public debate with prejudice and hatred in all world regions.

For example, fascism is threatening the European idea, the former policymaker states. Problems such as over-bureaucratisation or the response to legal and illegal migration alienate citizens from the EU. Britain’s exit negotiations are a culmination.

Of course, the book includes a chapter on Donald Trump. To Albright, he is by far the most undemocratic president in American history, seeing the world as a battlefield where each country intends to dominate the others. Albright accuses him of neglecting lessons learned from the Second World War. They included that nations thrive best when they strive for common security, shared prosperity and common freedom. She insists that helping partners to develop their economies or to create a collective defence against common threats is not charity, but serves the interests of all parties involved. To ignore the problems of other countries sooner or later increases the risks one faces oneself.

Today, fascism and fascist policies pose a more dangerous threat to freedom, prosperity and peace worldwide than ever before since the Second World War, Albright writes. What is dangerous about fascism is that it comes incrementally. Fascists are often democratically elected. Once in power, they try to eliminate democratic forces and institutions in order to consolidate their power, the author says. The temptation to close one’s eyes and hope that the worst will simply pass by is great. But a look at history shows that this can be wrong. If we do not defend our freedom, one morning, we might wake up a fascist state, Albright warns.

Madeleine Albright, 2018: Facism: A Warning. New York, HarperCollins Publishers.

Kategorien: english

We now have a Paris Agreement rulebook, where do we go from here? Insights on environmental policies from randomised impact evaluations

OECD - 13. Februar 2019 - 9:54
By Iqbal Dhaliwal, Executive Director, and Rebecca Toole, Senior Policy Associate, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)   At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2018 (COP24), parties agreed to a rulebook that lays out how governments will measure, report and verify emissions under the Paris Agreement. Now countries need to act — … Continue reading We now have a Paris Agreement rulebook, where do we go from here? Insights on environmental policies from randomised impact evaluations
Kategorien: english

‘Shared responsibility’ to stop 420,000 needless deaths from tainted food each year, UN, world leaders warn

UN #SDG News - 12. Februar 2019 - 18:14
Each year, food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins or chemicals cause more than 600 million people to fall ill, and 420,000 to die worldwide, prompting a call from world leaders on Tuesday for greater international cooperation to make the food chain safer.
Kategorien: english

UN guidelines unveiled to prevent rising hearing loss among young smartphone listeners

UN ECOSOC - 12. Februar 2019 - 16:54
More than one billion 12 to 35-year-olds, risk irreversible hearing loss from exposure to loud sounds such as music played on their smartphone, UN health experts said on Tuesday, unveiling new guidelines to help address the problem.
Kategorien: english

Venezuela is a Refugee Crisis

UN Dispatch - 12. Februar 2019 - 16:46

The current political upheaval in Venezuela was preceded by Latin America’s worst-ever refugee crisis. By most estimates, several thousand Venezuelans are fleeing the country every day. Most are going to neighboring Colombia. But every country in the region is impacted.

The numbers are massive. Over 3 million people have fled the country over the last few years. This is about 10% of the country’s total population. In recent months, the numbers of people fleeing the country has intensified.

By some estimates, 25,000 people are fleeing the country every single day.

Colombia is accepting the vast number of refugees from Venezuela

Over one million Venezuelans have fled to Colombia. This is a remarkable fact considering that refugee movements used to move the other direction; Colombia’s long civil war unfolded during a time of relative prosperity in Venezuela.

The NGO Action Against Hunger offered this view from the border town of Cúcuta in early Februarry:

The flow of Venezuelans at the northeastern Colombian border city of Cúcuta is constant.

“People come to buy food, medicines, hygiene items and basic goods, or to sell jewelry and other small technological goods – many women are even selling their hair,” says Luis Fernando Ramírez, project coordinator for Action Against Hunger in the department of Norte de Santander.

Although many people return in the day, the permanent arrival of an estimated 90,000 people every month puts a constant pressure on the area. There are currently more than one million Venezuelans in Colombia.

“We are also talking about an area where armed groups continue to operate, so it is a doubly affected area,” Ramirez adds.

“Many people enter the country through the city of Cúcuta in order to reach Rumichaca and then their final destination is Peru,” explains Ramírez.

“Walking this route is 32 days on the road. At first we detected that there were about 20-30 people per day. Now there are around 200 or 300 people daily. The number of children making this route has increased, as well as vulnerable pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. The migrants also face the risk of trafficking and hunger along the way.”

After Colombia, Peru is a the second most popular destination country for Venezuelan refugees, with over 500,000, according to the UN Refugee Agency. It is followed by Ecuador, with over 220,000, Argentina over 130,000, Chile, over 100,000 and Brazil, 85,000.

Countries in Central America and the Caribbean are also increasingly a destination for fleeing Venezuelans.

Panama is now hosting 94,000 Venezuelans, according to the UN Refugee Agency. Small countries like Trinidad and Tobago are also feeling the burden of hosting Venezuelan refugees. The island country is located just seven miles off the coast of Venezuela. It has a small population–about 1.2 million people.  As of the end of January, over 40,000 Venezuelans had fled to the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. This makes it the country with the largest proportion of Venezuelan migrants in the region.

The outmigration from Venezuela happened in stages.

Andrei Serbin Pont is the research director of the regional think tank Cries. He recently undertook a study of the Venezuelan refugee crisis with the Stanley Foundation. As he explains in this episode of the Global Dispatches podcast, the first Venezuelans to flee the country at the outset of this crisis were mostly upper and middle class people who could more easily afford they journey. Many in this first cohort ended up in the United States.

But as the crisis dragged on and the situation became more and more desperate, the demographics of these refugees shifted. More and more poor people began to flee–and these people were particularly vulnerable. The regional response has been uneven, with some countries offering more protections to these refugees than others.

Get Global Dispatches Podcast ​iTunes  |  Spotify  |   Stitcher  | Google Play Music​

We spoke last year as the refugee crisis was intensifying–and since then the situation has only gotten worse. While the politics of this situation are evolving, this conversation offers the context you need to understand the humanitarian and refugee dimension of this crisis.

The post Venezuela is a Refugee Crisis appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Boat made of recycled plastic and flip-flops inspires fight for cleaner seas along African coast

UN #SDG News - 12. Februar 2019 - 16:05
After completing a historic 500km journey from the Kenyan island of Lamu to the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar, the world’s first ever traditional “dhow” sailing boat made entirely from recycled plastic, known as the Flipflopi, has successfully raised awareness of the need to overcome one of the world’s biggest environmental challenges: plastic pollution.
Kategorien: english

New Research Shows How Countries Can Avoid the “Resource Curse”

UN Dispatch - 11. Februar 2019 - 16:04

The riddle of how to avoid the so-called “resource curse” has bedeviled a generation of policy makers, economists and academics.

“Resource curse” refers to the negative consequences that befall a country when it discovers a valuable natural resource, like oil. Often times the discovery of oil does not propel a country’s economic development. Rather, it sets back the political and economic development of the place where oil was discovered.

My guest today is engaging in ground-breaking research that suggests some ways that a government may avoid the resource curse. Sam Hickey is a professor of the politics and development at the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester. He is engaged in some long-term research into how governments in Africa are approaching their oil sectors. This includes a fascinating study comparing how democratic Ghana and authoritarian Uganda have approached their relatively recent oil discoveries.

Responsible resource extraction is a key element in the development of many countries around the world.  This conversation offers a very useful explanation about how the resource curse manifests itself in various contexts, and how the conventional approach to avoiding the curse has fallen short over the years. Finally, we discuss what emerging academic research says about what works–and what does not — in avoiding the resource curse.

If you have 20 minutes and want a better understanding of how natural resources can help or hinder economic development, have a listen.

Get Global Dispatches Podcast ​iTunes  |  Spotify  |   Stitcher  | Google Play Music​

About Sam Hickey

Sam Hickey is Professor of Politics and Development at the University of Manchester, and Joint Director of Research at the ESID research centre. He is also Research Director at the Global Development Institute, where ESID is based.


Sam’s research interests include the links between politics and development, including issues of state capacity and elite commitment; natural resource governance; social exclusion and adverse incorporation; citizenship participation and NGOs; the politics of social protection and social justice.

Within ESID, Sam is coordinating and researching on a project that will investigate the implications of oil for governance and inclusive development in Ghana and Uganda. He is also working on a project exploring the politics of securing higher levels of capacity and commitment to delivering improved quality schooling, through a comparison of Bangladesh and Ghana. Finally, he is providing support for a project on women’s political empowerment exploring the link between women’s political inclusion in developing countries and the successful adoption and implementation of policies aimed at gender equity.

The post New Research Shows How Countries Can Avoid the “Resource Curse” appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

T20 Japan recognizes Global Solutions Summit as associated event

T20 - 11. Februar 2019 - 14:43

Think20 Japan recognized the Global Solutions Summit as an associated event under its G20 presidency, for its work in bringing think tanks and researchers together to reflect on policy areas relevant to G20 policy makers.

More than 150 speakers will participate in over 50 unique panels, including German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Naoyuki Yoshino, Chair of T20 Japan 2019 and Dean of the Asian Development Bank Institute.

Policy recommendations cover sustainable development, infrastructure finance, trade, climate change, social cohesion, the future of politics, cooperation with African nations, aging populations and much more.

This year’s Summit in Berlin on March 18-19, 2019 is hosted by the Global Solutions Initiative Foundation, a global think tank network which contributes to greater continuity and impact within G20 policy arenas.

The T20 Japan Summit will be held two months later in Tokyo. Further details will be announced as they become available.

Please visit and for more information.

The post T20 Japan recognizes Global Solutions Summit as associated event appeared first on G20 Insights.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Captured states: When EU governments are a channel for corporate interests

Global Policy Forum - 11. Februar 2019 - 13:12
Member states play a hugely important role in EU decision-making, but too often they act as middlemen for corporate interests. This new report combines case studies, original research, and analysis to illustrate the depth of the problem - and what you can do about it. The new report “Captured states: when EU governments are a channel for corporate interests” by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) provides an overview of how member states act as a channel for corporate influence, whether it is in the Council of the European Union; the European Council; or the EU’s committee structure.
Kategorien: english, Ticker

Involve the local people

D+C - 11. Februar 2019 - 12:52
The Great Green Wall across Africa could stop the Sahara from expanding – if done right

An 8,000 kilometre long belt of trees is being planted from Senegal to Djibouti. It will be the so-called Great Green Wall (see box next page). So far, 15 % of the work has reportedly been done. Will this project stop the Sahara from expanding?
The idea of building such an 8,000 kilometre long, 15 kilometre deep wall is great. The undertaking has many implications, and stopping the desert sounds like an interesting target. However, the desert is not marching like human beings. The trees cannot stop the Sahara from expanding unless they are well maintained and become an integral part of a complex ecosystem that supports the economic and socio-cultural activities of the communities in the zone. That way, the local people must support the project. In Nigeria, however, we don’t see sufficient community buy-in so far. Over the years, the government has organised annual tree-planting exercises, but the people are not integrated in the process and don’t see why they should help to maintain the trees planted in those ceremonies. They regard it as a government project, not as their own. Another problem is that in some places, the trees are not local species, so they don’t survive under the given conditions or are simply not relevant to the people.
Did the tree-planting events start with the Great Green Wall project in your country?

No, it has been going on before. The Great Green Wall project has brought about more coordinated efforts at regenerating the vegetation in the belt. Why and how does desertification take place?
Well, desertification means that certain places change into deserts. That can happen anywhere. Here in Nigeria there are two main causes: climate change and poor management of the environment. This includes the management of irrigation systems. Climate change causes water stress and drought. Among the man-made factors, pastoralism and overgrazing matter most.

What are the impacts of desertification?
It causes internal migration by displacing people from their homes. The main reason is water stress: fertile lands are lost, and agriculture is severely restricted. I would call the affected people climate refugees. Take Lake Chad in north eastern Nigeria as an example: it is almost dried up – less than five percent of its original size remain. Thousands of farmers, fishers and pastoralists have become refugees and left the area. Others have lost their homes and economic means. The displacement is a contributory factor to the violent conflicts in the area and Nigeria’s middle belt (see Lea Diehl in D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2018/09, Monitor section).

What can be done to stop this trend?
The most important thing is that people need water, so watersheds must be protected. Tree-planting is crucial too. There are indigenous trees that are able to conserve water in the soil. Those species have to be used for the Great Green Wall. To make the project successful, local actions and knowledge must be utilised, and the local people must be fully integrated in the process of planning and execution of the project.

Can you give examples of such action?
Sure. Last year, two of the laureates of the Right Livelihood Award were recognised because they were able to restore dry lands. One of them is Yacouba Sawadogo, a farmer from Burkina Faso. He used a local technology or method called “zia” that involves stone ridges and the application of compost to grow a variety of trees and regenerate overall vegetation. The trees are now greening an area of Burkina Faso that would otherwise be semi-arid. The other person is Tony Rinaudo, an Australian agronomist and pioneer of farmer-managed natural regeneration. He brings roots back to life – it’s almost like magic. He works with local farmers to prune and bring roots in the soil back to life. It is as if we were walking on forests, there are dormant roots beneath our feet! Both methods are very sustainable and require little external inputs. They should be copied in other places.

Stopping desertification is not the only goal of the Great Green Wall. Which other effects are important?
I think the other goal is to make the region a vibrant area of a mix of economic activities. The Great Green Wall must generate such economic activities. It is designed to stimulate agriculture and make people manage the soil better. We have to restore small-scale farming. Large monocultures don’t help, they are environmentally destructive because they require so much water and chemical inputs. It is important that the Great Green Wall does not become a Great Green Plantation. If we don’t restore and support smallholder farming, the livelihoods of most local people will keep deteriorating, and they will not see any reason to get involved in environmental action. So, in the end, it depends on how it is done. A Great Green Wall consisting of a monoculture of exotic or even genetically engineered trees will be absolutely worthless. But if it’s done right, the wall will be very useful. Done well, it’ll be direct economic and climate action, with masses of people involved. We are both hopeful and cautious.

Nnimmo Bassey directs the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), a non-governmental Nigerian ecology think tank.

Kategorien: english

Bundesentwicklungsministerium schlägt Gesetz zur Regelung menschenrechtlicher und umweltbezogener Sorgfaltspflichten in globalen Wertschöpfungsketten vor

Global Policy Forum - 11. Februar 2019 - 12:06

Laut Medien, hat das Bundesentwicklungsministerium (BMZ) einen Entwurf für ein sogenanntes  Wertschöpfungskettengesetzes erarbeitet. Der Entwurf enthält ein neues Gesetz, das menschenrechtliche und umweltbezogene Sorgfaltspflichten für große Unternehmen festschreibt, so die Tageszeitung taz. Bislang setzte die Bundesregierung auf freiwillige Maßnahmen, so auch in dem Ende 2016 verabschiedeten Nationalen Aktionsplan Wirtschaft und Menschenrechte. Aktuell ist Ernst & Young damit beauftragt, die Umsetzung der menschenrechtlichen Sorgfalt durch Unternehmen in Deutschland zu überprüfen. Sollte sich bis 2020 weniger als die Hälfte großer Unternehmen zu den Menschenrechten bekennen, will die Bundesregierung gesetzlich tätig werden, so die bisherigen Pläne. Mit dem vom BMZ erarbeiteten Gesetzentwurf wird dieses Vorhaben konkretisiert. Ein solches Gesetz sollte jedoch nicht nur Sorgfaltspflichten und die entsprechenden Sanktionsmöglichkeiten festschreiben, sondern auch den Zugang zur deutschen Justiz für Betroffene von Menschenrechtsverletzungen aus dem Ausland verbessern.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

The Changing Faces of Aid: Encouraging Global Justice or Buttressing Inequalities?

Reality of Aid - 11. Februar 2019 - 9:32
Recent changes in the direction and prospect for international aid in the context of Agenda 2030 lead us to raise questions on the role of Official Development Assistance (ODA) in meeting the financing needs of Agenda 2030.  Is ODA fit for this purpose? Are the current directions in ODA helping or hindering the realization of Agenda 2030 and the SDGs? Many challenges for development in the 21st Century require both a human rights -based and feminist approach to development cooperation.  Such an approach is one in which the priorities and practices in providing aid and other forms of development finance are thoroughly informed by human rights standards and inclusive policy dialogue that takes into account the interests of the impoverished and marginalized, and that puts in place comprehensive measures to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment. The current uses of aid, however, undermine its very essence as a concessional resource dedicated to human rights and the eradication of poverty. ODA and private sector resources to achieve the SDGs There is a general recognition that considerable financial resources are required to meet the financial requirements of the SDGs – although the best way to source these resources is highly contested. Many powerful actors have argued this objective is best accomplished by instrumentalising ODA as a resource to mobilize private sector finance for development through various Private Sector Instruments (PSIs), including those used by specialized Development Finance Institutions (DFIs). But what do we know about the country level outcomes and impact of private sector finance through PSIs? The short answer is “not enough”. The OECD itself recognises that the evidence base on the impact of blended finance is not yet persuasive: “Little reliable evidence has been produced linking initial blending efforts with proven development results. The 2018 Reality of Aid Report highlights several case studies that point to some clear directions. The Dibamba Thermal Power Project in Cameroon for example, was partly financed through ODA/blended finance mechanisms. In contravention of requirements under Cameroon law, the project implementers largely ignored the need to address local community services. At the broader economic level, the project has heavily relied on foreign technicians, technology and spare parts, making it difficult for Cameroon to “own” and sustain the project.  It collaborates concerns raised elsewhere by civil society, that private sector instruments and blended finance will be associated with an increase in informally tied aid. With the further investment of ODA to mobilize private finance for development, ODA will only drift away from its core goal of reducing poverty and inequalities. ODA, security, migration and options for development Current trends in the allocation of ODA deepen the “militarization of aid” and its diversion to countries and purposes linked to the strategic security interests of major provider countries. For example, since 2002, a movement towards security priorities has been apparent in bilateral aid allocations to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, countries of major geo-strategic interest to northern providers. Despite long-standing DAC principles that ODA should not support financing of military equipment or services, diversion of aid to military and security spending persists.  In fact, Korea uses ODA to support police training by the Korean National Police Agency in several Asian countries. Training police forces with ODA resources has been a growing area of provider activities in implementing international security policies. Korean critics suggest that in South Korea, protest-management skills training and Korean-made equipment quash dissent and quell democratization rallies such as in The Philippines and in South Korea itself. Training police forces with ODA resources has been a growing area of provider activities in implementing international security policies. ODA and responding to the acute challenges of climate change Climate change can hamper development results and development choices can also change the Earth’s climate by controlling or releasing the carbon emissions in the atmosphere. The international community has been facing many issues in managing climate change, while also pushing to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The fragmented nature of the global climate finance landscape increases the challenges associated with accessing finance and reduces overall efficiencies (Sachs & Schmidt-Traub, 2013). With the imperative to scale up climate finance after 2020, all countries and stakeholders must make new and concerted efforts to agree on new targets beyond the $100 billion and to consider new and innovative sources for climate finance. Examples of the latter include carbon pricing for aviation, a financial transaction tax or an equitable fossil fuel extraction levy. Developed countries must honour their previous commitments to new and additional public resources for international climate finance, while also increasing their ODA for other purposes. South-South Development Cooperation in development finance For over four decades emerging developing countries have been engaging in SSDC, primarily through technical exchanges and the sharing of knowledge, among many other forms, in addressing development challenges.  However, to fulfill its promise, CSO activists in the South emphasize that SSDC must be held to standards that are embedded in SSDC principles. It is essential to strengthen capacities to support inclusive partnerships, greater transparency, and people’s rights. While recognizing SSDC as an invaluable resource, it must also be emphasized that it is not an alternative to fully transformed and substantially increased North-South development cooperation. China’s SSDC in Kenya and Angola for example, which responds to African countries’ need for infrastructure, is largely driven by China’s economic interests, companies and technologies. Issues relating to human rights [such as labour rights] or people’s empowerment remain aspirations that are alluded to, but are not tackled directly by either side of the cooperation.  Safeguarding the integrity of ODA and Transforming Development Cooperation: A Reality of Aid Action Agenda: In the context of Agenda 2030, aid providers must live up to their promise that aid is a resource devoted to reducing poverty and inequalities. They must transform their allocations and aid practices in ways that support collaborative initiatives as well as equal and inclusive partnerships for these purposes. They must work within the framework of development effectiveness principles, human rights and feminist approaches. National democratic ownership of development strategies, plans and action in developing countries should be confirmed in practice as the foundation for effective development cooperation. The Reality of Aid Network is putting forward a Ten-Point Action Agenda for retooling ODA for the transformation of development cooperation:
  1. Achieving the 0.7% Target – DAC providers that have not achieved the 0.7% of GNI UN target for ODA must set out a plan to do so without further delay.
  1. Addressing the needs of the least developed, low income, fragile and conflict-affected countries – As DAC donors move towards the 0.7% target, they must also meet the long-standing commitment to allocate up to 0.2% of their GNI to Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
  1. Establishing a rights -based framework – The allocation of all forms of development finance, but particularly ODA and other concessional sources, must be designed and measured against four development effectiveness principles, human rights standards.
  1. Mainstreaming gender equality and women’s empowerment – Providers of ODA and other forms of concessional development finance (e.g. SSDC) must demonstrably mainstream gender equality and women’s empowerment in all dimensions of development cooperation projects, programs and policies.
  1. Addressing other identity-based inequalities – Providers of ODA must develop strategies to guide increased efforts to tackle all forms of inequalities, such as those based on economic marginalization, disabilities, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or age.
  1. Reversing the shrinking and closing space for CSOs as development actors – All actors for development – governments, provider agencies, parliamentarians, INGOs – must proactively challenge the increasing regulatory, policy and physical attacks on civil society organizations, human rights defenders, indigenous groups and environmental activists.
  1. Implementing clear policies for ODA to improve its quality as a development resource - Development and aid effectiveness principles require practical reforms to strengthen partner ownership to achieve the priorities of ODA.
  1. Deploying ODA to support private sector initiatives and catalyze private sector funding –ODA should only be deployed for provider Private Sector Instruments (PSIs) in projects/activities that can be directly related to building capacities of developing country private sector actors to demonstrably improve the situations of people living in poverty.
  1. Rejecting the militarization and securitization of aid – In responding to humanitarian situations and the development needs of countries with high levels of poverty, conflict and fragility, providers should avoid shaping their strategies and aid initiatives according to their own foreign policy, geo-political and security (migration and counter-terrorism) interests.
  1. Responding to the acute and growing challenges from climate change – All Parties should reach agreement on a post-2020 climate-financing framework for developing countries that meets the growing challenges they face in adaptation, mitigation as well as Loss and Damage. While concessional climate finance meets the criteria for ODA, the DAC should account for principal purpose climate finance separate from its reporting of ODA, acknowledging the UNFCCC principle of “new and additional.” The UNFCCC should develop clear guidance for all Parties on defining finance for adaptation, mitigation and Loss and Damage.
Kategorien: english

Manager Training Programme: 20 years of capacity building and business contacts

GIZ Germany - 10. Februar 2019 - 1:42
: Thu, 18 Oct 2018 HH:mm:ss
More than 13,000 managers have taken part in further training, generating benefits for German and foreign companies alike.
Kategorien: english

Building peace through culture: joint projects to foster mutual understanding

GIZ Germany - 10. Februar 2019 - 1:42
: Thu, 11 Oct 2018 HH:mm:ss
In Rwanda, GIZ supports peaceful coexistence between refugees and host communities through cultural and educational activities. Examples include photography workshops, a newspaper created by refugees and training courses on conflict resolution.
Kategorien: english

#DevEnabled careers: Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame

Devex - 8. Februar 2019 - 13:21
Kategorien: english

Early signs of paradigm change

D+C - 8. Februar 2019 - 11:36
With global implications, the buzzword “Green New Deal” is causing new excitement in US politics

The Green New Deal has not been precisely defined so far. The rough outlines are clear however. The goals are to transform the US economy radically in order to make it environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive. The basic idea is to achieve these things by boosting government spending on eco-friendly infrastructure, related jobs and skills training. The scope of the challenges ahead would guarantee full employment, Green New Deal proponents reckon.

The name “Green New Deal” obviously points to the historic example of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the US president who led the nation out of the Great Depression of the 1930s and whose assertive economic policies helped it to prevail in World War II. In the dramatic slump after the stock market crash of 1929, he promised Americans “a new deal”. Given that the economy lacked sufficient private-sector investments to grow, Roosevelt opted for massive state-funded infrastructure investments. Moreover, he started social-protection programmes to ensure that elderly and disabled poor people did not live in misery.

Democratic policymakers have launched a document outlining what they want the Green New Deal to do. It includes universal health care, free college and promotion of minorities. That fits the Roosevelt model, but goes beyond environmental issues. Anyway, the paper is  still too vague for immediate legislation. Debate will go on, and for the purpose of this blogpost, I will stick to the narrower environmental meaning of Green New Deal.

In any case, Roosevelt’s New Deal fast stimulated new economic activity. Private-sector companies started expanding capacities again. They noticed that they were able to sell additional output because purchasing power had increased again. The New Deal thus restored investor confidence. That it was funded with budget deficits did not matter.  

The government’s role in the economy became even bigger in the war. Industries were increasingly geared to military needs, with the federal budget bearing the costs. Government lending kept increasing. The huge public debt, however, did not lead to serious bottlenecks even after the war. The reason was fast growth for the next few decades. Accordingly, the New Deal debt accounted for an ever smaller share of GDP.

Policymakers of the Democratic Party now want to tackle the environmental crisis in a similar way. One big difference, of course, is that, in the Roosevelt era, nobody worried about the global environment. Another big difference is that public policy today is not guided by the exigencies of a World War. Proponents of the Green New Deal point out, however, that climate change is as urgent a challenge as Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were in the 1940s.

They make sense. Even the Trump administration admits that global warming will reduce economic output in the USA by more than $ 5 trillion by the end of this century. Given that we know the costs of climate change will be huge, we would be well-advised to invest heavily in preventing or at least mitigating the damages now. And no, there is nothing wrong with using loans to finance measures now if they prevent huge costs in the future. Interest rates are currently very low anyway.  

Democrats correctly point out that Donald Trump’s tax cuts increased the national deficit dramatically, and they argue that fighting climate change and improving social inclusion are more worthy goals than reducing rich people’s tax burden. It is worth emphasising, moreover, that the current scenario resembles the 1930 in an important way: Investor confidence in real-economy opportunities is very low. There is a lack of good business ideas. One consequence is weak demand for cred, so interest rates are very low. Stock markets and the financial sector in general are focused on nominal, short-term rewards, not on long-term investments. A government-triggered expansion of eco-friendly sectors might well make a difference and lead to a self-propelling dynamic.

The proponents of the Green New Deal definitely want a strong state. To them, low taxes are not what matters most. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the young congresswoman from New York who is currently the rising star among Democrats, has proposed a marginal tax rate of 70 % on all incomes above an annual $ 10 million for financing the Green New Deal. Elizabeth Warren, a senator who wants to become the Democratic nominee for the next presidential election, has proposed a wealth tax.

Until very recently, such ideas would have been considered absurd. Today, they are taken seriously. Part of the reason is that US citizens increasingly worry about climate change. The president and leading Republicans may still deny it is happening, but people are aware of the impacts nonetheless. Hurricanes, wildfires and unprecedented cold spells are causing serious suffering. And yes, most US citizens understand that climate change means more cases of extreme weather, not a linear increase of temperatures.

Though the debate has changed in Washington, the national policies will not do so soon. As long as Donald Trump is in the White House and Republicans control the Senate, no kind of Green New Deal will be implemented. At this point, however, it looks unlikely that Trump will be re-elected, and after him, change may come very fast.

Market-orthodox conservatives seem to be losing an important battle, according to The Economist. The London-based magazine has always taken climate change seriously, but as the standard bearer of free-market ideology, it keeps promoting solutions such as taxing carbon emissions or cap-and-trade programmes. Such measures would, in theory, be a clever way to factor the environmental side-effects of market transactions into those market transactions, thus providing incentives for making more environmentally friendly choices. Such schemes have been discussed again and again for decades. So far, they have not really helped to limit global warming. The environmental crisis has only become worse.

The Economist argues that, when markets fail, government action is warranted. In view of risks that threaten humanity as a species, action of a scale that resembles a war effort would make sense. We must get a grip on the problems.

Free-market ideologues should not fear that this would be the end of capitalism. Roosevelt’s New Deal did not eradicate the market economy, but saved it. It restored growth when market forces had led into a downward spiral. It is noteworthy in this context, that Green New Deal proponents in the USA today are not proposing to nationalise key industries or adopt any other Marxist approaches. Some may call themselves Democratic Socialists, but they don’t want to abolish markets. They want to make them serve the common good. The model is Denmark, not Venezuela or the Soviet Union.

P.S.: The term “Green New Deal” has actually been around for about a decade. The UNDP has used it, and so have Germany’s Green Party and indeed Democrats in the USA. However, the idea did not gain much traction. I wish it had. The world might now be a safer place.


Kategorien: english

What works in soft skills development and work-based learning to boost decent employment for Africa’s youth

INCLUDE Platform - 8. Februar 2019 - 10:58

(Nairobi) The world of work is undergoing major structural changes. Work-based learning, soft skills, and skills for jobs in the digital economy are critical to support the transition of young women and men in Africa in the world of work and to align education and training policies and systems with the current and future demands of the labour market. “We must remember, though, that youth are not a homogeneous group”, stressed Marleen Dekker, Coordinator of the INCLUDE Knowledge Platform. Mentoring can help youth to hone their skills, but much remains unknown about how and under which conditions mentoring can successfully facilitate the transition from school to decent work.

Building the capacity of researchers and co-designing research projects to generate rigorous evidence and inform decision making on what works, and why, in youth employment were at the centre of the workshop by the research initiative on ‘Boosting decent employment for Africa’s youth’, which was held on 31 January and 1 February 2019 and hosted by the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) in Nairobi. This initiative is a joint effort of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and INCLUDE. It is embedded in the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth and brings together the expertise, convening power and resources of its partners. “The main goal of the research initiative is to support action-oriented research that will help design effective and innovative interventions that foster economic opportunities for youth in Sub-Saharan Africa”, explained Martha Melesse, IDRC’s program leader.

During the workshop, 11 shortlisted research teams presented their proposals to generate evidence on effective approaches to foster work-based learning programmes and mentorship, and soft skills and digital jobs for youth in 11 African countries: Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa. In addition to the constructive feedback provided on the proposals by more than 75 researchers and representatives of youth organizations, donor institutions, private sector and government representatives, the research teams benefited from capacity building sessions on how to incorporate gender analysis and how to improve research uptake.

Tackling gender constraints is a crucial aspect to be considered across themes by all the research groups. The capacity building session on gender provided concrete examples of available methodological approaches and tools (including IDRC gender categorization) for conducting robust gender analysis as well as practical suggestions. For instance, one practical suggestion is to consider gendered time-use patterns when planning a training. Overall a key lesson emerging from the presentations was the importance of integrating gender analysis in every step of the research process.

This research initiative focuses on applied research, which aims at, among other things, informing programmes, practices and policies that boost decent employment for Africa’s youth. How to successfully engage with policymakers and inform policies was the focus of the research uptake session. The session highlighted the need for project teams to design research uptake strategies from the outset and to adjust them as needed, taking into account changing realities regarding target audiences and political environments. The presentations emphasised that to achieve policy traction, projects have to be designed with policy questions in mind. “Supporting decision makers across Africa with rigorous evidence on what works, and why, is critical to advance the goal of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, that is to scale up action and impact on youth employment while accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals”, emphasized Susana Puerto, ILO Senior Youth Employment Specialist.

The full report from this workshops will be available on the INCLUDE website soon.

The post What works in soft skills development and work-based learning to boost decent employment for Africa’s youth appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Foodies Are Celebrating the New United Nations Holiday, World Pulses Day

UN Dispatch - 8. Februar 2019 - 10:46

The United Nations General Assembly voted to add “World Pulses Day” to the official UN calendar of awareness raising holidays and commemorations. So, World Pulses Day will be commemorated for the first time at the United Nations on February 10.

Pulses is a catch-all phrase for legumes, like lentils, beans and peas. They provide an excellent source of protein and also boast a number of environmental benefits. They are good for both people and the planet — so, it would make sense that the United Nations would champion pulses.

Pulses are good for you

With non-communicable diseases like hypertension and heart disease on the rise in many parts of the world, pulses can offer a healthy source of  protein, particularly when compared to red meat. Pulses can also serve as a high fiber, low calorie alternative to cereals. A study from the National Institutes of Health finds that pulse consumption, “positively affects several other cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as blood pressure, platelet activity, and inflammation.” The study concludes, “including pulses in the diet is a healthy way to meet dietary recommendations and is associated with reduced risk of several chronic diseases. Long-term randomized controlled trials are needed to demonstrate the direct effects of pulses on these diseases.”

Pulses are good for the environment

Pulses have a number of environmental benefits. For one, they are a low carbon alternative to meats. A study published in the journal Science finds that “while meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, it uses the vast majority – 83% – of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

Beyond viewing pulses as an meat-alternative, they also have positive externalities for the farming sector as a whole. Pulses have a unique ability to help maintain optimal nitrogen levels in soils, which helps boost crop yields. The FAO says that  On average, cereals grown after pulses yield 1.5 tonnes more per hectare than those not preceded by pulses, which is equal to the effect of 100 kilograms of nitrogen fertilizer.” The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization recognizes as an environmentally sustainable natural fertilizer.

Foodies Are Championing This Day

World Pulses Day 2019 was created through a vote of the United Nations General Assembly last year. There are many of these sorts of commemorative days throughout the UN calendar, and the addition of this particular day comes after the General Assembly declared 2016 “The International Year of Pulses.”

Foodies of all stripes are celebrating. A leading think tank for food, Food Bank, is encouraging people to eat falafel and hummus on February 10th. Meanwhile, the Vegetarian news website VegNews is spreading the word. The International Pulses Confederation has a clearing house of resources for individuals and organizations who want to get involved in the first-ever World Pulses Day. And it’s clear that this idea is already gaining attention around the UN.

It’s the first #WorldPulsesDay. Globally, 821 million people are undernourished and 155 million children are stunted. Pulses are a good source of protein and fiber, are drought resistant and have a relatively small carbon footprint. All vital in order to achieve the #SDGs.

— Iceland at UN 🇮🇸 (@IcelandUN) February 7, 2019

So, cook yourself some pulses today. You’d be doing yourself and your planet a favor.

Recipes here.

The post Foodies Are Celebrating the New United Nations Holiday, World Pulses Day appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

“Poor choice”

D+C - 8. Februar 2019 - 10:39
The FT’s assessment of Trump’s nominee for the World Bank presidency is devastating

Malpass is an official of the Trump administration. The FT’s assessment (paywall) is devastating: “His judgment even on economics, his supposed speciality, is wanting. Notoriously, as then chief economist at Bear Stearns, Mr Malpass was blithely confident about the strength of the US economy in 2007 – a year before the global financial crisis hit and his own employer went under. As early as 2011 he suggested tightening monetary policy and driving up the dollar, a hard-money philosophy entirely at odds with the reality that the Fed had averted economic disaster. Mr Malpass is also deeply sceptical of multilateral institutions. An unpopular president leading a dysfunctional organisation will encourage activity to shift to other development banks, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.”

Malpass obviously wanted to rise to the challenge. The FT ran his response yesterday. The bizarre irony is that his message actually confirms the FT’s assessment. Malpass argues: “Developing nations can benefit from lessons learnt all over the world. Nations that foster innovation and freer markets and that have lower taxes, fewer regulatory burdens and stable currencies, tend to alleviate poverty faster than others. If more countries adopt pro-growth economic environments, the global economy will be stronger.”

This argument is flawed in several ways:

  • Least-developed countries (LDCs) are low-tax countries (see  article in D+C/E+Z 2018/03, Focus section). They lack the fiscal resources to build infrastructure, ensure the rule of law and provide essential social services including basic education and health care.
  • To a large extent, the economies of least-developed countries are informal. That means most business activity is unregulated. In other words, markets are mostly “free”, but they do not prosper in the lack of hard and soft infrastructure, which would include the enforcement of sensible rules. Instead, corruption and mafia-type protection schemes rule.
  • Least-developed countries do not really lack ideas for innovation. Industrialisation normally starts in the garment sector, relying on technology that has been around for a long time.

What LDCs need is entrepreneurship that creates registered and tax-paying business. The challenge is to set in motion a virtuous cycle of growth, with state action facilitating businesses and successful businesses bolstering state revenues.

What Malpass writes, basically reflects the markt-orthodoxy that prevails in Donald Trump’s Republican party. That orthodoxy did not work well in the global financial crisis and it does not fit successful European economies.

History tells us several things. Yes, markets are important for generating prosperity, but no, they do not deliver the results on their own. Governments have a role to play, and appropriate taxation is essential. That is one reason why international donor discourse has been emphasising “domestic resource mobilisation” in the past decade or so.

Nonetheless, Malpass reiterates market-orthodox platitudes as though they were something the World Bank should finally consider. He seems to be unaware of just how badly those approaches failed when the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund endorsed them in the 1980s and 1990s.

In its editorial comment, the FT regrets that the World Bank’s other stakeholders are likely to accept Malpass, nonetheless, because they want to avoid tensions with the White House. I hope that will not be so. The convention that the head of the World Bank must always be from the USA and the head of the IMF from Europe is completely outdated. It should be discontinued, and there certainly are more qualified leaders than Malpass.

The Economist (another paywall) takes a different approach. Ackowledging that Malpass is a less than perfect candidate, the London-based magazine calls on World Bank stakeholders to approve him. It points out that he is among the better-qualified officials of the Trump administration and that he helped to negotiate a capital increase for the World Bank. That increase might be at risk if Trump feels offended.

I’d argue, however, that Trump has begun to look weak after the Democrats’ victory in the midterm election and his unability to get funding for his wall on the southern border in spite of the recent government-shutdown drama. I think international leaders should dare to confront him and that policymakers from emerging markets would be well-advised to nominate a competent candidate of their own.

Kategorien: english

Cotonou successor: EU-Africa relations at the crossroads - 8. Februar 2019 - 8:11
Negotiators are hoping to break the back on talks for the successor to the Cotonou Agreement, which expires in May 2020, between the EU and 79 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP).
Kategorien: english


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