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A conversation with Raj Kumar and Mark Suzman

Devex - 10. Oktober 2019 - 14:23
Kategorien: english

Upcoming SNRD Africa Conference in Abidjan

SNRD Africa - 10. Oktober 2019 - 13:31
Find the agenda, more details forthcoming. We are looking forward to your participation!
Kategorien: english

A Devex Conversation with Stephen Twigg

Devex - 10. Oktober 2019 - 12:21
Kategorien: english

Statement of the Treaty Alliance Germany on the revised draft for a legally binding UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights

Global Policy Forum - 10. Oktober 2019 - 11:16

On the basis of in-depth consultations with governments, researchers and civil society, the Ecuadorian Chairman Emilio Rafael Izquierdo Miño published a consolidated draft agreement (»Revised Draft«) in July 2019. This document will serve as the basis for "substantive negotiations" during the upcoming fifth session of the working group, to be held in Geneva from 14 to 18 October 2019. In its new statement the Treaty Alliance Germany communicates its views on the provisions contained in the Revised Draft.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

BMWi’s AI Innovation Competition – The CSCP Is the Proud Partner of A Winning Consortium

SCP-Centre - 10. Oktober 2019 - 8:34

16 consortiums won the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Innovation Competition run by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) and will have the chance to start implementing their AI-related project ideas from early 2020 onwards.

Among the 16 winners is the project “REIF: Resource-efficient, Economic and Intelligent Foodchain”, which aims to revolutionise the food industry in Germany to guarantee a supply that is as waste-free as possible. The CSCP is a partner of this research project which investigates the potential of AI to optimise the planning and control processes in the food industry.

The CSCP will support the effective and efficient integration of all relevant stakeholders into the REIF ecosystem, both during and after the project. Also, it will contribute to enabling the participating companies to adapt operational processes and organisational learning through training and further education. By analysing the needs of manufacturers, retailers and end consumers, the requirements for AI-based services will be sharpened and the range of solutions and concepts improved to ensure connectivity and further use of the project results.

On 19 September 2019, on the occasion of the opening of the new Digital Technologies Forum in Berlin, Dr Ulrich Nussbaum, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi), honoured the winners of the competition. The winners now have the opportunity to implement their project within the framework of a funded three-year phase. The projects cover numerous industries and topics from health, smart living, trade, production, agriculture, mobility and construction to quantum computing.

The REIF consortium, which will start its work officially in 2020, consists of the following 18 partners: Arxum GmbH, BayWa AG, Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V., Hochland SE, GS1 Germany GmbH, University of Applied Sciences Augsburg, University of Applied Sciences Hof, Industrial Analytics IAB GmbH, Inotec GmbH, Jade University, Kuchenmeister GmbH, Software AG, Spicetech GmbH, Technologisches Institut für angewandte Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, tegut… good food GmbH & Co. KG, Technical University of Munich, Westfleisch SCE mbH. It will be coordinated by the University of Applied Sciences Augsburg. 

For further information, please contact Rosa Strube.

Der Beitrag BMWi’s AI Innovation Competition – The CSCP Is the Proud Partner of A Winning Consortium erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

The Impact of Governance Structures on Protected Area Management

SNRD Africa - 10. Oktober 2019 - 8:32
Lessons-learned with a collaborative management approach at Takamanda National Park in South-West Cameroon
Kategorien: english

Turkey Invades Syria, and Kurdish Fighters Who Helped Defeat ISIS Are Trapped

UN Dispatch - 10. Oktober 2019 - 4:11

Kurdish forces have a long history of siding with the United States. And the United States has a long history of eventually selling them out.

The latest iteration of this dynamic unfolded when Donald Trump ordered a small US military contingent to withdraw from Kurdish controlled parts of Northeastern Syria in advance of a likely Turkish military operation. The move came after phone call between Trump and Turkish President Recep Teyyep Erdogan in which Trump apparently acquiesced to a Turkish military operation against Kurdish fighters from the region.

That military campaign has begun, with Turkish military forces attacking various positions in Northeastern Syria under the control of a Kurdish militia backed b y the United States.  These Kurdish fighters, with backing from the United States, recently ousted ISIS from the region. But Turkey sees Kurdish independence as a deeper strategic threat than ISIS, so it has launched an assault to evict this fighting force from the area.

The situation is rapidly evolving and in this episode of the Global Dispatches podcast an expert on Kurdish politics and diplomacy, Morgan Kaplan, provides some background and context for understanding events as they unfold. Morgan Kaplan is the executive editor of the academic journal International Security at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the author of numerous studies of Kurdish politics and diplomacy.

We kick off discussing the YPG — these are the Kurdish forces who were the backbone of the fight against ISIS in Syria, and who control territory near the Turkish border. The US had backed them, while Turkey long accused them of being terrorists.

We then discuss some of the broader geopolitics of this situation, including Turkish interests in the region; the role of Moscow and Damascus; and of course the Unites States fraught history with the Kurds.

 

Get the Global Dispatches podcast Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Stitcher  | Google Play Music​  | Radio Public

The post Turkey Invades Syria, and Kurdish Fighters Who Helped Defeat ISIS Are Trapped appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Book Shelf

DEVELOPMENT - 10. Oktober 2019 - 0:00

Getting girls’ voices heard on the global stage: progress since the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action

ODI - 10. Oktober 2019 - 0:00
Adolescent girls are finally starting to get their voices heard, but now world leaders must translate these into adequate support and resourcing.
Kategorien: english

An Intra- and Inter-generational Lens into Rapid Technological Change

DEVELOPMENT - 10. Oktober 2019 - 0:00
Abstract

Technology change is not a new phenomenon and has often been accompanied with uncertainty. Today, we continue to see rapid technological change with unprecedented impact on the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of our societies. These effects are often only realized in hindsight, when their some impact (both positive and negative) can be irreversible. This article outlines various trends aimed at better characterizing technology change today, how this change can be oriented to better serve people and planet, and foresight on its impact on inequalities both within and across generations.

Extractive Industries and Violation of Women’s Rights: Between partnerships and regulation – two diverging ways to tackle the problem at the UN

Global Policy Forum - 9. Oktober 2019 - 18:11

From October 14 to 18, 2019, the intergovernmental working group to elaborate a binding instrument to regulate transnational business enterprises and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (OEIGWG) will convene for the 5thtime in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The new briefing paper “Extractive Industries and Women’s Rights: Between partnerships and regulation – two diverging ways to tackle the problem at the UN”, published by AWID, DAWN, Global Policy Forum and Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung presents how women are disproportionately affected by negative social and environmental impacts of extractive industries. The briefing also explains why a new partnership between UN Women and BHP Billiton, launched in June 2018, is very problematic. Similar to UN Women, other United Nations (UN) entities are trying to attract partnerships with the corporate sector. As the case of UN Women shows, potential risks and side-effects of such partnerships are often not properly addressed. These risks should also be considered in the preparation of the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women and the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration commemorative events in 2020. Corporate involvement in these events should only play a limited role.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Extractive Industries and Violation of Women’s Rights: Between partnerships and regulation – two diverging ways to tackle the problem at the UN

Global Policy Forum - 9. Oktober 2019 - 18:11

From October 14 to 18, 2019, the intergovernmental working group to elaborate a binding instrument to regulate transnational business enterprises and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (OEIGWG) will convene for the 5thtime in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The new briefing paper “Extractive Industries and Women’s Rights: Between partnerships and regulation – two diverging ways to tackle the problem at the UN”, published by AWID, DAWN, Global Policy Forum and Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung presents how women are disproportionately affected by negative social and environmental impacts of extractive industries. The briefing also explains why a new partnership between UN Women and BHP Billiton, launched in June 2018, is very problematic. Similar to UN Women, other United Nations (UN) entities are trying to attract partnerships with the corporate sector. As the case of UN Women shows, potential risks and side-effects of such partnerships are often not properly addressed. These risks should also be considered in the preparation of the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women and the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration commemorative events in 2020. Corporate involvement in these events should only play a limited role.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

UN Treaty - Side Event: Quo Vadis EU?

Global Policy Forum - 9. Oktober 2019 - 15:13
The Revised Draft of the UN Treaty on business and human rights builds on international standards in the area like the UN Guiding Principles on Business or the Human Rights and General Comment 24 of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights or. It reflects recent developments in Europe, like the French law on duty of vigilance, and initiatives for a national law on due diligence in Switzerland, Germany, Finland and Denmark. European institutions, UN bodies and other international organizations have repeatedly acknowledged the need for binding regulation to ensure business liability for human rights abuses and to improve access to justice for victims of corporate-related human rights abuses. As the various national initiatives increase the pressure for harmonization on EU level, the Finish (2019) and German (2020) presidency of the Council of the EU for have put an EU wide regulation on their agenda. In a joint side event on October 14, co-organized by members of the Treaty Alliance Germany and the EU Treaty Alliance, the links between current policies at EU and EU member state level and the proposals in the Revised Draft will be discussed.
Kategorien: english, Ticker

Why civil disobedience is inherently non-authoritarian

D+C - 9. Oktober 2019 - 15:10
So far Extinction Rebellion seems to be living up to non-violence principles

XR is an interesting new phenomenon. It started about a year ago in Britain and is spreading fast internationally. This week, XR activists have been – or still are – blocking transport infrastructure in major cities, including London, Berlin, Amsterdam, New York, Mumbai, Sydney and others. They want to draw attention to the climate crisis, the loss of biodiversity and other related trends. Moreover, they demand radical policy change to limit the damage and reverse the trends.

XR is attracting a lot of criticism. It is no surprise that climate-crisis deniers disagree with this movement, but it is striking that even people who agree that climate action is necessary are expressing criticism. I am not sure if XR is taking the right approach myself. My worry is that disrupting urban traffic may antagonise masses of people and turn them against the environmentalist cause. In my eyes, the priority must be to convince people of climate action. On the other hand, determined protests may serve that purpose. It is too early to tell. 

Some points that XR critics raise, however, reveal a general lack of understanding of civil disobedience as a political instrument. It has been argued, for example:

  • that XR is fundamentally undemocratic and even authoritarian,
  • that it lacks a spirit of solidarity with other movements, and
  • that it is too friendly (and even accommodating) towards the police and the authorities in general.

Let me elaborate briefly why I disagree.

Non-violent movements can be very forceful. However, their power results mostly from the ethical stand they are taking and not so much from the disruption they cause. The idea is not to make all traffic stand still by any means possible to impose the movement’s will on everyone else. Breaking the law is not meant to be the immediate remedy. It serves as a symbol of determination and emphasises urgency. The goal is to involve as many people as possible to show that one has mass endorsement and force the authorities to respond to the movements’ demands.

Therefore, non-violent protesters do not try to avoid arrest and indictment. Nor do they try to polarise “us versus them”. Instead, they insist that something is wrong with the existing order and make a moral appeal to change it. The fundamental message is: “We do not think things can keep going on as usual.”

Obviously, the authorities will find it hard to enforce sanctions against a movement if its demands are basically sound. It is true that civil disobedience does cast doubt on the legitimacy of the political order and those holding political office, but non-violent activists neither attack the police, nor do they keep them from doing their work. They do not try to overwhelm the security forces, but only to overburden them. To achieve that, they need to convince and mobilise huge numbers of people. Such action may be radical, but it always includes the invitation to engage in debate and find solutions to pressing problems.

Questions of legitimacy

Any government that depends on democratic legitimacy, will struggle to explain why it is locking up thousands of non-violent people. By contrast, it will face no similar problems when its security forces clamp down on people who smashed windows, burned cars or harmed persons. It is thus easier to crush violent protests than to silence mass non-violent action. Numbers and ethical concerns matter very much.

That said, it is not easy to organise non-violent disobedience. Tense situations can easily spin out of control, and it is imperative for the movement to avoid violence. That means that every single activist who takes part in illegal non-violent action must do so voluntarily. Those who are pressed to take part are far more likely to panic, and panic can trigger violence. For this reason, activists often organise in small groups of people who know one another and look out for one another. Anyone who no longer feels confident, is free to leave at any time. Mutual trust is important, and that means there is only little scope for including strangers spontaneously.

Non-violent movements must make sure they are not usurped by agents provocateurs. They must also keep a distance from radical groups that may try to ride piggyback without committing fully either to cause or to non-violent methods. These are further reasons to organise in many small groups that act autonomously and voluntarily. Of course, these groups must coordinate joint action, but none of them obey commands. They are not at the disposal of some kind of top leader or headquarters. Every group is guided by its members' conscience.

A non-violent movement is thus implicitly non-authoritarian. Its strength ultimately depends on how many people it can mobilise to consciously risk being arrested, taken to court and eventually sentenced. A movement of this kind must focus on the common cause it is fighting for, setting aside all other politically relevant concerns. The scope for expressing solidarity with other movements is therefore limited. It is pointless, moreover to criticise such a movement of elitism only because not everyone has equal incentives to take part. Only those who want to take the risk are invited to do so. Nobody expects illegal immigrants, for example, to risk an arrest which might lead to deportation. Every participant must assess the risks personally and act accordingly.

XR is a new phenomenon. Non-violence is one of its declared principles. I haven't done any serious research concerning XR, but from what I have read in the media so far, it seems to me that XR is living up to it. Whether XR will achieve its goals, is an entirely different question.

Kategorien: english

Sustainable Development, Debt and Human Rights

Global Policy Watch - 9. Oktober 2019 - 14:29

By Elena Marmo

Download UN Monitor #08 (pdf version).

As the dust of the UN General Assembly High-level week settles, the General Assembly and its committees continue their annual work on a myriad of issues. Across the upcoming meetings, the many themes discussed at the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit, High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development and High-level meeting on the SAMOA Pathway are salient and pivotal to shaping discussions on macroeconomic conditions for development and human rights.

Looking behind: outcomes of the High-level week

The High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development (FfD) on 26 September 2019 featured inspired discussions on combatting illicit financial flows, financing the SDGs and climate action against rising debt burdens, highlighting the need for structural, macroeconomic changes to lending and trade in order to best equip countries to achieve the SDGs.

At the opening of the High-level dialogue, Secretary-General António Guterres noted that “collaboration is crucial in cracking down on tax avoidance, tax evasion, corruption and illicit financial flows that deprive developing countries of tens of billions of dollars of potential resources for their development every year”. With Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM) posed as a crucial element to financing the SDGs, the High-level dialogue on FfD afternoon session’s focus on mobilizing and attracting private sector financing could be a danger, should  increased private financing further crowd out the public sector and their role as service providers. Additionally, the President of the General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad Bande stated: “We are again seeing alarming signs of debt accumulation and distress in many places…Debt sustainability must be addressed so that recent history does not repeat itself.”

The concern for debt sustainability was also present in the High-level meeting on the SAMOA Pathway, where keynote speaker Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados urgently reminded Member States that climate change’s disproportionate effects on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have implications for debt burdens as well. She noted, “I refer once again to the plight of Barbuda whose cost of recovery was 10 times that which was pledged and who have still not collected even that which was pledged”, adding that for SIDS, vulnerable to natural disaster and climate risks, debts incurred for development are washed away quickly, leaving countries with high levels of debt and little development to show for it. On this, the Secretary-General said, many SIDS are “trapped in an accelerating and unsustainable cycle of disaster and debt”.

Looking forward: UNGA Second Committee

After the High-level week, the topics of debt and financing contine on the agendas of two General Assembly committees:  the Committee on Economic and Financial affairs (Second) and Committee on Social, Humanitarian & Cultural Issues (Third). These committees will meet for the remainder of 2019 at UN Headquarters in New York City and will be Webcast for those not able to attend in-person. The discussions will see presentations of reports by the Secretary-General as well as UN Independent Experts and Special Rapporteurs, urging action on various fronts.

On 10 October the Second Committee will discuss macroeconomic issues including:  international trade and development. international financial system and development. external debt sustainability and development, commodities, financial inclusion for sustainable development, promotion of international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows and strengthen good practices on assets return to foster sustainable development.

The committee has before it the Secretary-General’s Report on “External debt sustainability and development”.

The report highlights, the “ratio of total external debt to GDP has worsened, increasing to 29.1 per cent in 2018” (p. 5). Figure II below illustrates this upward trend, and its sharp increase since 2015.

The Secretary-General’s report also makes note of the “cycle of disaster and debt” the Secretary-General mentioned at the SAMOA Pathway meeting—calling upon an UNCTAD study on the impact of 21 natural disasters in developing countries between 1980 and 2008. The report recognizes that “such large-scale shocks can add, on average, 24 percentage points to the debt-to-GDP ratio of affected countries in the three years that follow the event. If the event does not lead to a rapid increase in foreign aid, that number could reach 43 percentage points” (p. 8).

While the report explores the increase of private creditors and subsequent shorter-term debt, it omits concerns many have with the role of International Finance Institutions (IFIs) and Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). The report does acknowledge the SDG financing gap (see Figure IV) and calls for “enhanced debt data transparency” as it “is undoubtedly critical to improved future policy designs to address financial and debt distress” and because “meeting the Sustainable Development Goals over the next decade will require more drastic action to mitigate debt vulnerabilities in developing countries and improve debt sustainability now” (p.13).

Finally, although the report offers basic observations about debt trends, it omits comments on a comprehensive debt workout mechanism as presented by civil society organizations at September’s High-level meeting on FfD.

Looking forward: UNGA Third Committee

In its consideration of the foreign debt, the Third Committee will broaden the approach with a thorough investigation on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights. On 21 October, the Independent Expert, Mr. Juan Bohoslavsky, will brief the Member States on his 13th annual report to the General Assembly.

In his report, Bohoslavsky highlights the many ways in which foreign debt actively impedes the realization of human rights. Using the human rights framework as a guide, he argues, “the introduction of austerity measures does not contribute to economic recovery, but instead has negative consequences in terms of economic growth, debt ratios and equality, and routinely results in a series of negative human rights impacts” (p. 2). This holds implications for all lending, but particularly for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

In taking stock of the global debt crisis, Bohoslavsky notes the “coercive nature” of preconditions and the way in which the growth in number and scope of conditionalities have “reduce[d] the national legal and policymaking space considerably” (p. 7). Despite wide recognition of the pivotal role of the public sector and social services in implementing the SDGs, IFI loans continue to impose conditionalities that include slashing public spending, privatizing public services and regressive tax reforms. Bohoslavsky cites various examples, from the privatization of state-owned enterprises in Ukraine to regressive taxes (value-added taxes) in Colombia and Costa Rica.

The implementation of such conditionalities has a disproportionate effect on already marginalized and vulnerable populations—including lower class individuals and women. Bohoslavsky cites, “mandated cuts to public sector jobs have contributed to rising informality, diminished unemployment benefits, the deterioration of social protections and increased burdens in terms of unpaid care work on women” (p.13). It is clear that such processes not only violate human rights but also result in an increase in inequality and a “threat to social cohesion”.

In response, Bohoslavky’s report includes a demonstration of IFI complicity in the violation of human rights as well as justification for “cessation, non-repetition and reparation”. Key to his argument, Bohoslavsky notes that IFIs can be deemed complicit when “aid or assistance provided by an international organization in question would be considered internationally wrongful, that this element was known by international organization, and the existence of a causal link between the goods or services provided and the harm caused (violations of human rights, in this case)” (p. 15).

It is precisely because Member States often view the IMF as the lender of last resort, that it leverages bargaining power to “exercise influence on the borrower so that the borrower is not fully free to choose its own economic policies” (p.18). This power imbalance inherent to the debt-accumulation process is what makes IFIs complicit in the resulting human rights violations. If human rights impact assessments were carried out to assess potential impacts of lending agreements, rather than a continuation of structural adjustment and austerity measures, there would be positive implications for human rights. This rights-based framework provides grounding in international law to approach deliberations on debt in various fora, in order to uncover and address the injustices and violations inherent to the debt crisis.

Opportunities ahead

The Third Committee’s rights-based mandate enables a myriad of Special Rapporteurs and UN Independent Experts to bring their expertise to bear to close the gap between economic policies and human rights. In the Second Committee’s work on macroeconomic affairs and sustainable development there exists considerable complementarity and some overlap with the Third Committee’s programme of work, and many reports, like Bohoslavsky’s, hold implications for wider discussions not only on macroeconomics, but also sustainable development, gender equality and institutional reform for equity.

The September’s High-level week of summits demonstrated the clear need for comprehensive measures to address the issue of debt, and the complex challenges to be considered within it. As the UN General Assembly continues its work in the Second and Third Committees, opportunities must not be missed to present concrete next steps and actions to remedy the debt crisis.

The post Sustainable Development, Debt and Human Rights appeared first on Global Policy Watch.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

‘Justice’ not ‘aid’ for the Global South

EADI Debating Development Research - 9. Oktober 2019 - 11:51
By Koen Bogaert, Julie Carlier, Brecht De Smet, Marlies Casier, Dorien Vanden Boer and Bernard Mazijn Development cooperation does not work. It has never worked. So why not flush the European DG Development down the drain? That was the conclusion of a recent piece published by European researchers Jan Orbie and Sarah Delputte. The danger …
Kategorien: english, Ticker

Governance and Assessment of Future Spaces: A Discussion of Some Issues Raised by the Possibilities of Human–Machine Mergers

DEVELOPMENT - 9. Oktober 2019 - 0:00
Abstract

This article explores potential privacy, security, and ethical issues raised by technologies that allow for human–machine mergers. The focus is on research, development and products at the intersection of robotics, artificial intelligence, Big Data, and smart computing. We suggest that there is a need for a more holistic approach to the assessment of such technology and its governance. We argue that in order to determine how the law will need to respond to this particular future space, it is necessary to understand the full impacts of human–machine mergers on societies and our planet—to go beyond these three aforementioned issues. We aim to encourage further discussion and research on this as well as the broader organism-machine merger question, including on our FLE5SH (F = financial, L = legal, E5 = economic, ethical, equity, environmental, and ecosystem, S = socio-political, H = historical) framework for the governance and assessment of these and other future spaces.

Antonio Guterres Warns Thousands of Employees that the UN is Running Out of Money

UN Dispatch - 8. Oktober 2019 - 20:49

In a highly unusual letter sent to thousands of UN staffers, Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned of an impending budget shortfall facing the United Nations.

“To date, Member States have paid only 70 per cent of the total amount needed for our regular budget operations in 2019.” he wrote in an email on Monday evening and viewed by UN Dispatch. “This translates into a cash shortage of $230 million at the end of September.  We run the risk of depleting our backup liquidity reserves by the end of the month,” he added.

Guterres told staff that he was working with management at the UN to implement cost saving measures so the direct impact on staff would be limited.  “Managers will be asked to explore avenues to further limit expenses during the last quarter, including postponing conferences and meetings or seeking ways to reduce related expenses by adjusting services,  I am also directing them to limit all official travel to the most essential activities and to further reduce all other non-post expenses.” he wrote. “This includes postponing purchases of goods and services, implementing energy saving and other measures to reduce utility bills and temporarily curtailing expenses on managing facilities.”

At issue is that key UN member states have not paid their UN dues on time and in full

The United Nations regular budget is funded through membership dues from UN member states. Wealthier countries pay a greater share of these assessed contributions and poorer countries pay less, all based on a formula negotiated by member states every few years.  In all, 129 out of 193 member states have paid their 2019 assessments in full collecting $1.99 billion, the Secretary General’s spokesperson told reporters today. But $1.3 billion is still outstanding. That gap is impacting the UN’s day-to-day work. “We are now driven to prioritize our work on the basis of the availability of cash undermining mandate implementation,” said UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

The budget gap is largely driven by the United States and Brazil. The United States owes $1.05 billion in total, including $674m of the 2019 assessment. Brazil owes a total of $140 million. (All other major contributors have paid their dues for the year.)

The United States typically pays the bulk of its annual member dues at the end of the year, owing to the budget process in Washington, D.C. The United Nations has historically been able to ride out this end-of-year squeeze, but it is unable to do so this year. This is partly due to Brazil’s non-payment and to the fact that the United States has accumulated deep in arrears to the regular UN budget. Congress has mandated that the US withhold 15% of its payments to the UN until the State Department certifies that the UN has taken certain steps on whistleblower protection. This is in the process of being done, a budget expert tells me, and the UN expects some $90 million of arrears from 2018 to be paid.

But for now, the crunch is being felt by the UN.

In his email to staff, Antonio Guterres suggests the UN can make payroll and staff will not be directly impacted for the moment.  Still, unless member states pay their dues on time and in full, much of the UN’s work around the world may slow down significantly.

This should deeply concern UN member states. The Secretary General and the his staff do not set the UN’s budget; nor do they create their own mandates and missions around the world.  Rather, it is the UN member states that both set the UN’s budget and direct the UN’s work.

By not paying the UN to do the work being asking of it, member states are leaving the UN in an extremely difficult position. UN member states (including a veto-holding member of the Security Council) are asking the United Nations to take on more and more tasks around the world but they are not providing the promised resources to get the job done.

 

The post Antonio Guterres Warns Thousands of Employees that the UN is Running Out of Money appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

One billion people have preventable eye conditions, increasingly linked to lifestyle choices: UN health agency

UN ECOSOC - 8. Oktober 2019 - 17:03
A staggering 2.2 billion people already suffer from eye conditions and visual impairment today, but the global need for eye care is set to increase “dramatically”, with lack of exercise a key factor, the UN health agency said on Tuesday, unveiling its first ever report on vision across the world.
Kategorien: english

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