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Blockchain technology for partnerships at eye-level

D+C - 2. Oktober 2019 - 8:46
A new digital platform designed by KfW facilitates transparent and secure implementation of ODA

TruBudget (Trusted Budget Expenditure) is a KfW-created digital work platform for partner countries. On that platform, all of the government agencies and donor organisations that are involved in a development project can document and track every action and disbursal. TruBudget is a trust-enhancing workflow tool for business partners who do not have access to a shared IT system.

Every user action is stored in a so-called blockchain, a continuously expandable list of data sets. Once data has been saved in a blockchain, it cannot be changed. Counterfeit and revisions are impossible. Moreover, the data is not stored centrally on a server or on the computers of a single company. Instead, the documentation is decentralised on the computers of all users. That is what makes the system so secure. Information cannot be lost and is protected from retroactive forgery.

These features of TruBudget create enormous advantages. For example, every partner can access up-to-date information about the status of every project in real time. There is no need for cumbersome communication. The new system stops endless e-mail correspondence for requesting updates, sending reminders or exchanging various versions of reports. The agreement process is vastly simplified by the fact that all partners can base decisions on identical, up-to-date information.

Furthermore all information entered on the platform is reliable. Everyone can immediately see who decided and initiated what and when. Even in cases of fraud (which are still possible), the responsible party can be clearly identified thanks to the fraud-proof protocol. This kind of transparency not only facilitates permanent peer control, it also increases the pressure on whoever is responsible for taking the next step.

TruBudget can significantly lower high transaction costs that arise from cumbersome coordination and control efforts. As a result, official development assistance (ODA) becomes more targeted and measures are taken more effectively. That is exactly in line with the goals of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (see box).

With support from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Ministry of Finance of Burkina Faso has developed its own version of TruBudget. Going forward, it may yet be used for implementing all donor projects. Séglaro Abel Somé, Burkina’s deputy minister of finance, says he expects the new application to improve information concerning donor funding, leading to more effective budgeting.

TruBudget has been designed to be easy to use. All that partners need is an internet connection, though it neither has to be permanent nor particularly fast. Work steps are processed either on TruBudget’s user interface or via partners’ own workflow programmes, which are linked to TruBudget through a digital interface (API). The platform therefore makes partners’ cooperation not depending on the respective IT systems they use. Moreover, the digital interface eliminates the need for manual and error-prone entries into other databases. Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Finance and Planning particularly appreciates this aspect as today’s data compilation can be very cumbersome.

Brigitte Compaoré Yoni of Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Finance says: „Thanks to TruBudget, we are finally able to compile reliable and comprehensive data on individual donor disbursements.“

TruBudget was designed to serve as an instrument for partner countries. Decisions about governance and access rights are left up to any government that wants to use such a platform to implement donor-financed projects or programmes. Accordingly, KfW designed the application with open source software. The source code of open-source software is publicly visible and usable. TruBudget is available to anyone free of charge.

TruBudget has been designed to be so flexible that it can serve other purposes. One example is the management of vaccination supply chains. In this case, the software will record stages of delivery, from ordering to transport to arrival in a village. GAVI, the international vaccine alliance, is currently exploring the use of TruBudget in financial management as well as in vaccine supply chains. Other applications, are conceivable as well, for instance the monitoring of contract conditions. The software could also be coupled with other innovative approaches like open data or artificial intelligence (AI).

Alongside Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Finance, the Brazilian Development Bank BNDES has become the first institution to use TruBudget in its procedures and IT-systems. The application is being used to manage the Amazon Fund, though only for individual processes for the time being. Ethiopia and Georgia are also planning pilot applications for KfW-financed programmes. The BMZ is supporting these initiatives. The goal is to ensure access to digital technologies to all countries.

In TruBudget, we finally have a tool that allows donors to use partner systems with an acceptable level of risk. Donor money can thus be included directly and in a safe way in a partner country’s budget process. This approach serves effectiveness and sustainability. The big question now is whether the governments concerned and the donor organisations they cooperate with will consider this technology to serve their interests. More than ever, donors will be assessed according to how much they want their support to actually promote the structural independence of developing countries. This is a paradigm shift, made possible by new technologies. Unfortunately not everyone has accepted it yet.

Piet Kleffmann is the director of the TruBudget task force.
piet.kleffmann@kfw.de

Kategorien: english

Blog series: Beijing +25 and the road ahead for gender parity

ODI - 2. Oktober 2019 - 0:00
This blog series critically examines global progress and setbacks to gender equality since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
Kategorien: english

UN summit on Financing for Development: SDG ambition versus financing reality

ODI - 2. Oktober 2019 - 0:00
The world will likely fail to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, and by a growing margin, unless financing is put at the top of the global agenda.
Kategorien: english

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Greek island shelter crisis, only 8 per cent of UNGA speakers women, Russian alcohol laws extending lives, Older Persons Day

UN #SDG News - 1. Oktober 2019 - 20:19
Tuesday’s top stories: Greece urged to fast-track asylum-seekers as 1,000 die on the Mediterranean; just 16 women addressed UN General Assembly; less alcohol means longer lives in Russia; cholera campaign in Sudan; standing up for older people on international day.
Kategorien: english

Athens urged to fast track asylum seekers amid island shelters crisis – UNHCR

UN #SDG News - 1. Oktober 2019 - 18:35
A spike in the number of refugees reaching Greek island reception centres is likely to worsen the situation in already “dangerously overcrowded” facilities there, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday.  
Kategorien: english

IVCO 2019 Paper

#Volunteering - 1. Oktober 2019 - 17:01

This paper addresses the work of international volunteer cooperation organisations to measure, understand and learn from the scale and nature of their collective work, and to address its contribution to development.

Kategorien: english

IVCO 2019 Paper

#Volunteering - 1. Oktober 2019 - 17:01

Using examples from in organisations in East Africa, this paper examines emergent efforts at quality improvement, standards setting and accreditation for volunteering in the African context.

Kategorien: english

Amnesty International Secretary General Kumi Naidoo, Podcast Interview

UN Dispatch - 1. Oktober 2019 - 16:30

Kumi Naidoo  is Secretary General of Amnesty International. He’s a longtime activist and civil society leader who joined the anti-apartheid movement as a teenager and for many years lead Greenpeace.

In September, ahead of the UN Climate Summit, Amnesty International conferred its highest honor, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, to Greta Thunberg and the Friday’s for the Future Movement. In this conversation I sought to draw out Kumi Naidoo’s perspective as a longtime activist on this burgeoning transnational youth climate movement. That is the focus of much of our conversation in this episode.

We met in Amnesty’s offices across the street from the United Nations, where days earlier hundreds of young people gathered for a Youth Climate Action summit.  From a UN perspective, this was a pretty interesting and unique event. And Secretary General Antonio Guterres was very transparent that he sought this kind of youth engagement as a means to pressure government to take more meaningful action on climate change.

We kick off discussing what impact he’s seen from this youth movement around the UN and beyond.

At times this conversation gets heavy. And I just want to thank Kumi Naidoo for both taking the time to speak during a very busy UNGA week.

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

The post Amnesty International Secretary General Kumi Naidoo, Podcast Interview appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

People’s Assembly Debates UN Reform and HLPF Review

Global Policy Watch - 1. Oktober 2019 - 15:14

By Elena Marmo

Download UN Monitor #07 (pdf version).

Last week, the UN General Assembly 74th Session’s first full week in New York City met amid High-level meetings on climate, health, the SDGs, financing for development, and Small Island Developing States. Over 90 Heads of State or Government convened at UN Headquarters for this political moment, described by the outgoing President of the General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés as “inextricably linked strands of DNA that make up our ‘blueprint’ for the world”.

Integral to this year’s session has been the heightened participation of corporate, philanthropic and financial actors in both the official, High-level meetings themselves and a variety of concurrent meetings including the SDG Business Forum, the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit, UN Global Compact events, the Bloomberg Global Business Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeepers event.

On 24-25 September, parallel to these High-level UN meetings and closed-door or invitation only business meetings, civil society organisations convened at the Church Center just across the street, not having been awarded meeting space in the UN premises. From here, overlooking the various security checkpoints and motorcades pulling into the United Nations, members of civil society engaged in critical discussions on the future of sustainable development and reforms needed to ensure a just and equitable future for all.

The People’s Assembly, organised by the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), hosted a session on “High level political forum (HLPF) Reform Including the Role of Private Sector in the UN”. The conversation, moderated by Jens Martens of Global Policy Forum, featured panelists Oli Henman of Action 4 Sustainable Development (A4SD), John Romano of the Transparency, Accountability, Participation (TAP) Network, Kate Donald of the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) and Barbara Adams of the Global Policy Forum. Their remarks and the subsequent interactive conversation touched on challenges and opportunities ahead regarding reform to the wider UN, proposals to reconstitute the HLPF, and immediate opportunities to reform the HLPF.

Big-picture thinking

Wider UN system reform concerns and core principles such as participation and multilateralism were at the forefront of the discussion. Kate Donald of CESR raised the challenge of holding actors outside the UN, like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, to account, while Barbara Adams of GPF identified the trend of “multi-stakeholderism” and its potential for crowding out the public sector as also requiring accountability. These concerns hold implications not only for the SDGs and 2030 Agenda, but more broadly for the future of global governance and multilateralism.

Donald discussed the IMF’s largely unaccountable role in influencing both SDG implementation and wider UN norms and policies. She noted that the IMF has been “positioning itself as an actor on the SDGs and exercises a lot of financial, intellectual, ideological power over how countries implement the SDGs”. And in the cases of Egypt and Brazil, which she discusses in her 2019 Spotlight Report chapter with colleague Grazielle David, the countries saw adverse effects for SDGs when implementing IMF-supported (or sanctioned) austerity measures and public spending freezes. She points out that the IMF therefore “has influence on fiscal and policy space outside of the UN” and in turn has implications for not only achievement of the SDGs but the authority and relevance of global governance as well.

Adams highlighted concerns regarding the UN system-widetrend toward “multi-stakeholderism”, recognising that while it may create room for civil society participation, along with it comes an increased role for the unaccountable private sector and a crowding out of the fundamental role of the public sector in governance. Donald points out a critical distinction, saying multi-stakeholderism is different than participation” and that the “problem with multi-stakeholderism is it obscures power dynamics”. Adams notes that the “challenges we are facing won’t be solved with win-win approaches, there are conflicts of interests” and “solutions that don’t tackle power asymmetries aren’t going to do it”. This point is particularly resonant in her recent 2019 Spotlight Report contribution, “Democratic global governance: if it doesn’t challenge power it isn’t democratic”.

It is through this enhanced multi-stakeholderism that the UN is promoting what is now called “shared value partnerships” and effectively reducing the responsibility and role of governments and the public sector while also stalling the much-needed systemic changes in the realms of wealth distribution, corporate and elite accountability, and old models of economic development. Adams elaborated on this idea, stating, “We are not going to be protecting and advancing human rights and stopping ecological destruction through shared-value partnerships if we allow the UN to become just another stakeholder.”

With panelists and participants raising questions around the 75th Anniversary of the UN, the session encouraged all to think about their vision of the UN and their corresponding theories of change. In what ways can the 75th Anniversary be the start of a conversation on the future of the United Nations and an opportunity to begin a more robust reform process, rather than a simple tinkering of methods and process?

An HLPF Reconstituted 

The panelists and participants also raised questions and suggestions on means to reconstitute the HLPF, focusing on a medium-term approach with questions on the role the HLPF and SDGs play in the broader UN. The same bigger-picture concerns raised around outside actors and multi-stakeholderism also apply here—reform to the HLPF can have wider reverberations across the UN System.

A key challenge to the HLPF’s effectiveness is its heritage and purpose. As participants highlighted, the HLPF was established to be a forum rather than an intergovernmental body. Romano of TAP Network said that as “it’s not a decision-making body, how do we maybe upgrade” the HLPF? Henman of A4SD describes the HLPF as “lacking real teeth and doesn’t inspire action on behalf of government”.

In this context, Barbara Adams of GPF suggests a serious restructuring of the HLPF, advocating it be brought under the General Assembly and given a status similar to the Human Rights Council so that it has the capacity to set norms and overcome governance weakness at a global level.

On the topic of reconstituting the HLPF, there exists an opportunity to leverage the human rights system—both in terms of learning and of coordinating. Kate Donald of CESR notes calls to give “the human rights system more credence, more teeth, and strength within the SDGs accountability sphere”. Perhaps what she called the ‘accountability by design’ of the human rights system can lend itself to the accountability gap the HLPF is facing.

The panelists and participants also raised the lack of coherence feeding the accountability gap and impeding the 2030 Agenda from realisation its full potential. After the panelists’ remarks, participants likened the challenges of coherence to “taping a new crown jewel on the old crown…inviting more and more people to an old framework”. Because of the universality of the 2030 Agenda, actors across the UN System and beyond can certainly make links to their work and support implementation. And as the Secretary-General and UN Leadership continuously position the SDGs as the guiding force and preventive tool for global safety and prosperity, the more the HLPF seems entirely inadequate for the task.

Kate Donald of CESR notes the “SDGs are everywhere and nowhere” which results in a “fundamental lack of coherence”. Because as Donald says, there is a “lack of accountability around who is talking about them and isn’t,” the SDGs become talking points and ambitious goals to “get behind” without any accountability regarding implementation and follow-through. This “SDG-washing” can be seen by actors such as the World Bank, IMF and major companies outside of the UN as well as across the UN System. Most recently, UN entity executive boards met in September to discuss the implementation of A/RES/72/279 to reposition the United Nations to serve the 2030 Agenda and each of them highlighted their successes on SDG progress.

HLPF Immediate

As part of the HLPF mandate, every four years the forum must carry out a “follow-up and review” process to assess progress and effectiveness of the HLPF and make necessary changes. The same bigger-picture concerns were raised around outside actors, multi-stakeholderism and progress of the 2030 Agenda. John Romano of the TAP Network notes, “HLPF reform is the beginning of the conversation” and presents an opportunity to “bring colleagues from national and local level” to make immediate changes. Hence, he focused on reform to the Voluntary National Review (VNR) process, along with panelist Oli Henman of A4SD. Henman describes the VNR process as an opportunity for governments, featuring a “showing of tourism videos, a pick and mix of SDGs they want to report on.”

Henman and Romano discussed various proposals to lengthen the VNR portion of the HLPF to address the problem that “accountability and real change are still not happening” as noted by Henman. Romano highlighted the need to address the role national and local civil society can play in holding governments accountable to the SDGs and VNRs they’ve committed to. Participants reiterated this need for accountability of Member States and suggested incentives like access to special appointments within the UN and disincentives like real-time fact checkers, rating the authenticity of statements made in session.

Romano also raised the relevance of the Regional SDG Fora as “more honest and in-depth”. An immediate action could very well include increased participation and investment in these fora, which also presents an opportunity for local and grassroots civil society to participate in a setting with a lower barrier to entry. And perhaps the goal-by-goal thematic review portion of the HLPF might be scrapped altogether, which Kate Donald of CESR supported. With proposals to divide the HLPF into two or more distinct sessions, she pointed out that this could prevent colleagues and Member States with limited means from participating to the fullest.

Conclusion

While this prospect of reform to the HLPF in the short and long term amid broader reform to the UN System can appear daunting and discouraging, the current political moment—the HLPF review, the 75th Anniversary, and growing discontent in the status quo among civil society—presents a real opportunity to shape the international development architecture and create a fairer, more equitable world where human rights and sustainable development can be realised.

From immediate changes to the VNR process, enhanced accountability action and regional participation to a medium-term reconstituting of the HLPF and a long-term shaping of the United Nations, the People’s Assembly served as a space to convene and discuss the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

The post People’s Assembly Debates UN Reform and HLPF Review appeared first on Global Policy Watch.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Dr Klaus Töpfer — Founding Member of the CSCP — Awarded the Prestigious State Prize

SCP-Centre - 1. Oktober 2019 - 12:25

Prime Minister Armin Laschet awarded the State Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia to Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer on 16 September for his decades of outstanding commitment to international service in environmental protection, nature conservation and global sustainable development, as well as for his service to his home state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The award ceremony took place in the former plenary hall of the German Bundestag in Bonn, and the encomium of the event was held by Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, who was the successor to Prof. Klaus Töpfer in 1994 as Federal Environment Minister of Germany.

Executive Director of the CSCP, Micheal Kuhndt and Cristina Fedato, leader of the SIPS team were honoured to be invited to the ceremony. Congratulating Prof. Töpfer on the state award, Mr Kuhndt said “Prof. Töpfer’s legacy and work is an inspiration for all of us at the CSCP, where we continue to take his vision forward with our work in sustainable development and consumption. This award rightly recognises the tireless work he has done for the environment while in public service.’’ Prof. Töpfer along with Prof. Peter Hennicke from the Wuppertal Institute founded the CSCP in 2005.

Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Armin Laschet said, “Climate change presents us with unprecedented challenges – global challenges that can only be met if we pull together internationally. Foreign policy is therefore today more than ever climate foreign policy. Prof. Klaus Töpfer was one of the first to recognise the global significance of climate protection and was a strong and successful advocate for solutions at the highest level – regionally, nationally and globally. He is a true pioneer of climate foreign policy, which has promoted worldwide environmental protection, growth, social balance and the preservation of creation in dialogue with the international community. Like no other, he stands as a champion and early admonisher for global environmental protection”.

Eckart von Hirschhausen, the State Police Orchestra and the choir designed the supporting programme for this State Award Ceremony. The choir group, BonnVoice sang the song “Africa” by Toto, in response to the great African commitment of Prof. Klaus Töpfer.

Photo by Land NRW / Ralph Sondermann Galerie

Der Beitrag Dr Klaus Töpfer — Founding Member of the CSCP — Awarded the Prestigious State Prize erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

The CSCP Contributes to Recent EEA Report – ‘Paving the Way for a Circular Economy: Insights on Status and Potentials’

SCP-Centre - 1. Oktober 2019 - 8:52

While circularity can minimise waste and resource extraction, improve resource efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to conserving biodiversity, a recent report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) states that the circular economy initiatives in Europe are still in their “infancy”.

In its report titled ‘Paving the way for a circular economy: insights on status and potentials’ (published on 1 October 2019) the EEA points out: it is too early to evaluate the overall economic and environmental impacts of the circular economy, since initiatives are young and diverse, and relevant harmonised European-level statistics are still largely lacking.

The good news is European companies are increasingly adopting circular business models, focused mainly on operational efficiency and reducing waste. Shifting from product-based to service-based business models is another promising development. The majority of the EEA member countries support circular economy initiatives with regulation and market-based instruments or softer policy instruments such as information campaigns and labels.

That said, challenges such as corporate culture, market factors and system complexity still limit the adoption of such models. Furthermore, relevant methods of data monitoring is still not available in established information systems, including national statistics. The EEA report also points out that circular economy policies and initiatives require better integration with bio-economy and climate policies.

The CSCP as part of the European Topic Centre on Waste and Materials in a Green Economy (ETC/WMGE) has contributed to this report by particularly looking at circular business models and relevant consumer behaviour.

This EEA report is the fourth focusing on the circular economy; the three previous reports are:

For further questions, please contact Nora Brüggemann

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Der Beitrag The CSCP Contributes to Recent EEA Report – ‘Paving the Way for a Circular Economy: Insights on Status and Potentials’ erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

When rising temperatures do not lead to rising tempers: climate and insecurity in northern Niger

ODI - 1. Oktober 2019 - 0:00
This paper explores the complex and tangled links between climate variability/change and the proliferation of armed networks operating in northern Niger.
Kategorien: english

Fixing the Climate? How Geoengineering Threatens to Undermine the SDGs and Climate Justice

DEVELOPMENT - 1. Oktober 2019 - 0:00
Abstract

Geoengineering—large-scale technological interventions in the Earth’s natural processes and ecosystems promoted to counteract some of the symptoms of climate change—threaten to undermine the achievement of SDGs and climate justice. Both Carbon Dioxide Removal and Solar Radiation Management schemes are bound to exacerbate concomitant socio-ecological and socio-economic global crises, deepen societal dependence on technocratic elites and large-scale technological systems and create new spaces for profit and power for new and old economic elites.

A Multifaceted Approach to Understand the Problem of Internet Addiction Among the Young Indian Students

DEVELOPMENT - 1. Oktober 2019 - 0:00
Abstract

There is a broad consensus in the health literature regarding the positive and prolific effects of Internet technology on well-being, though several studies also describe the negative consequences in terms of emerging new pathological conditions among users. This article explores the prevalence, determinants and effects of Internet addiction among young Indian students. Using the questionnaire-based survey data from a cross-section of 1050 young Internet users, it reports evidence of Internet addiction among Indian students, which can be associated with Internet overuse and physical, psychological and behavioural indicators. It also highlights the psychological issues both, as a cause and effect, of longer Internet usage.

Disability Identification Cards: Issues in Effective Design

DEVELOPMENT - 1. Oktober 2019 - 0:00
Abstract

Around the world, the issue of disability inclusion is gaining increasing prominence. To promote disability-inclusion in programmes, a growing number of countries are considering the creation of a disability identification card. However, the administration of a disability ID card in low and middle-income countries differs from those in high-income countries. The purpose of this article is to discuss some of the challenges involved in creating a disability ID and how to address these challenges in the context of low and middle-income countries, suggesting that countries considering instituting disability ID cards must move with caution. ID card programmes can only advance disability policy and the wellbeing of persons with disabilities if undertaken in a well-designed manner in line with a country’s administrative capacity.

Hidden Risks of the Belt & Road: Financiers Beware!

#ALERT - 30. September 2019 - 23:30

Divya Narain is a doctoral student at the University of Queensland, studying the risks and safeguards of China’s world-changing Belt & Road Initiative.  Formerly trained at the University of Oxford, she returns from a recent conference in Beijing with many concerns.

The Belt & Road Initiative, China’s multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure push, is a defining force of the twenty-first century—right up there with climate change and right-wing populism.

The scale of the BRI is astonishing, presently slated to span 130 nations across the planet.  This incudes extensive roads and railways, flanked by thousands of power and industrial projects.  Many of these are being built along six massive economic corridors that alone will cut across 70 countries on several continents.

The BRI is poised to transform transport and trade in the developing world.  It will also have extraordinary impacts on the environment, as its corridors and other projects crisscross some of the most pristine and vulnerable ecosystems in the world.

A BRIDGE TOO FAR?

During the 2000s, buoyed by swelling foreign-exchange reserves and high domestic savings, Chinese banks were flush with money.  This is the fiscal backdrop against which the BRI, the signature program of Chinese President Xi Jinpeng, was launched in 2013. 

The BRI has already garnered nearly $600 billion in investments, according to the World Bank.  Some BRI projects are being heralded as a success, but many reports of projects hitting roadblocks are emerging (for example, see here, here, and here). 

According to one estimate, as many as 14 percent of BRI projects worth about a third of its total investment have already run into trouble.  This trend is variously attributed to cost overruns, laborious land acquisition, and local pushback. 

ENVIRONMENTAL RISKS ARE FINANCIAL RISKS

Environmental impacts of the BRI are also playing a major role in complicating projects.  As ALERT has long asserted, mega-infrastructure projects bring with them a slew of environmental problems that can translate into material risks for project proponents—including, notably, project financiers.

These risks take the form of compensation liabilities, litigation, and negative publicity—something that is already playing out in the BRI. 

A Kenyan court, for example, blocked a China-backed coal plant and port project on the island of Lamu, a UNESCO World Heritage site, after the financier, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, failed to heed three years of petitioning from local land defenders. 

Colombia’s first mega-dam, Ituango, is another BRI project facing liabilities and lawsuits after a tunnel collapse forced the evacuation of more than 100,000 residents downstream.

Most controversial of all is a dam project in Indonesia that threatens the only habitat of the critically endangered Tapanuli orangutan, the world’s rarest great ape.  Unrelenting opposition from scientists and environmentalists led the Bank of China, in a rare move, to announce re-evaluation of funding for the dam

FLOOD OF MONEY

The current scale of Chinese lending is unprecedented.  

In recent years, China’s two state-owned development banks, the China Development Bank and The Export-Import Bank of China, have lent as much globally as the top six multilateral banks, such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. 

Along with these ‘big two’ state-owned development banks are another ‘big four’ state-owned commercial banks.  Collectively, these six Chinese state-owned banks have provided more than 90 percent of BRI’s financing to date. 

So, China is flooding the world with new investments, many of which are perceived as high-risk by financial, political, and environmental experts.  In fact, investment from Chinese private banks has remained low, evidently because of such concerns.

As the BRI blasts across some of the most ecologically-sensitive geographies, Chinese banks have become a powerful planetary force.  But with such power comes great responsibility—and great risk.

Clearly, given China’s rapidly increasing debt and many high-risk overseas investments, it would be in the best interest of China and its citizens to steer clear of environmentally risky projects.  At the moment, they are not doing so.

Kategorien: english

‘We may be small islands, but no man is an island’, Papua New Guinea youth tells world leaders

UNSDN - 30. September 2019 - 17:26

The young advocate from the island nation of Papua New Guinea, painted a vivid picture of the dangers for delegates on Friday, during the last major summit of the UN’s high level week, dedicated to looking at the progress and pitfalls facing Small Island Developing States (SIDS) as the world warms, and the seas rise.

Speaking from the General Assembly Hall podium, she offered a personal view in poetic form, of the struggles she is dealing with: “I am a youth of a small island, when in a global community, most everyone doesn’t know where I am. And what hurts the most, is I know where they all are”.

Testimonies like Ms. Nen’s received a warm welcome during the event, geared towards addressing climate and development issues unique to island states, and assessing the implementation of priorities laid out in a 2014 mandate, to accelerate SIDS development.

The Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action – or SAMOA Pathway, was agreed in September 2014, during the Third International Conference to focus the world’s attention on islands’ special development roles and particular vulnerabilities.

As world leaders gathered for a mid-term review on the plan’s implementation, five years form its adoption, they conceded that progress toward sustainable development for SIDS require a major increase in urgent investment, and the road to stability for many island nations is threatened by amplified environmental challenges, economic crises, food security, and others.

While some progress has been made in addressing social inclusion, gender equality, poverty and unemployment, inequality continues to affect vulnerable groups, and devastating effects of climate change cause lasting loss of life and property.

Putting the plan into action represents “an important chance for the international community to demonstrate solidarity”, Secretary-General António Guterres stressed.

“Small Island Developing States are a special case for sustainable development. They require the concerted long-term attention and investment of the entire international community”, he said.

Following in line for comment, President Michael Higgins of Ireland, which sponsored the event, emphasized that “we cannot allow our words in one compartment to be contradictory to another. There must be consistency across the architecture and delivery, most of all the words must be followed by action.”

“This is not academic, this is about life,” he added, highlighting that for island nations “the word ‘disaster’ has a different meaning…as it is a disaster that will come again and again, and therefore response must take account of the danger of recurrence.”

The day-long review comes one month after Hurricane Dorian devastated parts of the Bahamas, adding to the increasing frequency, scale and intensity of natural disasters and their unique threat to island nations and their people.

Keynote speaker and leading Hollywood actor, Jason Momoa said, “I am standing here today because I am ashamed that not all leaders have wanted agreement”, referring the groundbreaking 2015 Paris Climate pledge to limit the globe from warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“I have seen how one place can be oblivious to another…with a foothold in two worlds, I began to see how a problem for one can become a problem for all,” said the star of the Aquaman superhero movie, speaking to his background as Hawaiian-born, and Iowa-raised.

A political declaration is expected to come at the summit’s conclusion, a concise action-oriented agreement to further propel the SAMOA pathway’s integration which will require the international community’s support.

Source: UN News

The post ‘We may be small islands, but no man is an island’, Papua New Guinea youth tells world leaders appeared first on UNSDN - United Nations Social Development Network.

Kategorien: english

Add your voice to the call for #HealthForAll

UNSDN - 30. September 2019 - 17:12

On 23 September at UN Headquarters in New York, world leaders adopted a high-level United Nations Political Declaration on universal health coverage (UHC), the most comprehensive set of health commitments ever adopted at this level.

“This declaration represents a landmark for global health and development,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General at WHO. “The world has 11 years left to make good on its sustainable development goals. Universal health coverage is key to ensuring that happens.”

He added: “Universal health coverage is a political choice: today world leaders have signaled their readiness to make that choice. I congratulate them.”

The declaration comes the day after the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners flagged the need to double health coverage between now and 2030 or leave up to 5 billion people unable to access health care.

In adopting the declaration, U.N. Member States have committed to advance towards UHC by investing in four major areas around primary health care.

These include mechanisms to ensure no one suffers financial hardship because they have had to pay for healthcare out of their own pockets and implementing high-impact health interventions to combat diseases and protect women’s and children’s health.

In addition, countries must strengthen health workforce and infrastructure and reinforce governance capacity. They will report back on their progress to the U.N. General Assembly in 2023.

“Now that the world has committed to health for all, it is time to get down to the hard work of turning those commitments into results,” said Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“We all have a role to play. Donors and country governments need to move beyond business as usual to bolster the primary health care systems that address the vast majority of people’s needs over their lifetimes,” said Gates.

On 24 September, WHO and 11 other multilateral organizations, which collectively channel one third of development assistance for health, will launch their Global Action Plan for health and wellbeing for all. The plan will ensure the 12 partners provide more streamlined support to countries to help deliver universal health coverage and achieve the health-related SDG targets.


WHAT IS UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE?

Universal health coverage means that all people have access to health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship. Currently, for at least half of the people in the world this is not possible. About 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty each year because of out-of-pocket spending on health. This must change. To make health for all a reality, we need commitment at all levels of society to ensure high-quality services to all people as close to home as possible.

WHY HEALTH FOR ALL? – 5 ARGUMENTS Learn more about the Universal Health Coverage. Source: WHO

The post Add your voice to the call for #HealthForAll appeared first on UNSDN - United Nations Social Development Network.

Kategorien: english

Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University Students Visit the CSCP as Part of ‘Tour De CSR’

SCP-Centre - 30. September 2019 - 13:25

The students of Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences (H-Brs) attended a workshop organised by the CSCP to learn about developing innovative Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities that facilitate the concept of circular cities. This was a part of their one-week CSR course where they cycled to different organisations in the Rhineland and Ruhr area to learn about business ethics and different approaches to CSR.

The 2- hour workshop started with a presentation on CSR and circular cities, through which the students were made aware of the challenges in cities. Following this, they were divided into groups and had the chance to collaborate on solutions on the following questions:
– How can organisations contribute to the development of circular cities through their CSR strategy?
– How can design thinking be used and successfully implemented?

The other topics students focused on were local production systems, urban mobility system and urban bioeconomy, where they had the opportunity to develop their concepts. One such interesting concept which they devised under the topic of urban bioeconomy was a food waste collection system. Here, waste from private households and companies are collected by people riding cargo bicycles, which is then brought to urban gardening spots. The organic waste produced from the food waste is then further used as fertiliser to cultivate fruits and vegetables. Additionally, this urban gardening spot houses a recreation space which also offers childcare facilities.

They also developed business models for the future which were based on CSR-strategies and the principles of the circular economy. Each group had the chance to present their results and explain the business model. This was followed by a lively discussion on the challenges and opportunities of these business models .

The Faculty of Economics and the Centre for Ethics and Responsibility (ZEV) at the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences (H-BRS) introduced a one-week course in CSR for their students this year. Instead of this course being held in a lecture hall, the students conceived the idea of Tour de CSR, where they cycle to different companies to engage with their representatives and receive insights into their CSR strategy.

The Tour de CSR lead the group of students to companies Deutsche Post DHL Group (Bonn), REWE Group (Cologne), PricewaterhouseCoopers, Fortuna Düsseldorf, C&A (Düsseldorf), Impact Hub Ruhr (Essen) and Barmer (Wuppertal).

For further information, please contact Marius Mertens.

Photo by Holger Willing

Der Beitrag Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University Students Visit the CSCP as Part of ‘Tour De CSR’ erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Why don’t women benefit from international trade as much as men?

EURACTIV.com - 30. September 2019 - 11:05
President-elect Ursula von der Leyen will be the first female Commission president. Not only that, but she has also succeeded in forming the first gender-balanced EU leadership team. Women are back on the EU's agenda, writes Cecilia Malmström.
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