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Zimbabwe is in the Midst of its Worst Crisis Since the Fall of Robert Mugabe

UN Dispatch - 4. Februar 2019 - 16:49

Zimbabwe was rocked by protests in mid-January in the most significant public display of dissatisfaction with the government of Emerson Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa deposed longtime Zimbabwe ruler Robert Mugabe in a coup in November 2017. This past summer he further ensconced himself in power through an election in which he was declared the winner.

The proximate cause of these protests were a sudden increase in the price of fuel. The government’s response was exceedingly violent and repressive. Thousands of people are now languishing in jail.

On the line with me to explain what caused these protests and why the once promising rule of Emerson Mnangagwa is now looking more and more like a facsimile of the Mugabe era is Mako Muzenda.

Mako Muzenda is a freelance journalist from Zimbabwe who contributes to UN Dispatch. She is currently finishing her post graduate work at university in South Africa, which is where I caught up with her for this episode.

We kick off discussing the fuel tax hike that lead to these protests before having a longer conversation about the ups and downs of the Mnangagwa era in Zimbabwe.

If you have twenty minutes and want to learn the impact of these mass protests in Zimbabwe, have a listen

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

The post Zimbabwe is in the Midst of its Worst Crisis Since the Fall of Robert Mugabe appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Towards a Human Rights Based Approach to Bridging Africa’s Gender Digital Divide

OECD - 4. Februar 2019 - 9:57
By Nadira Bayat, Programme Director, Global Economic Governance (GEG) Africa1 This blog is part of a special series marking the launch of the updated 2019 Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) The rapid rise of the Internet, together with emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), advanced robotics and drones, Blockchain, the “Internet … Continue reading Towards a Human Rights Based Approach to Bridging Africa’s Gender Digital Divide
Kategorien: english

STATEMENT ON THE BAPA+40 ZERO DRAFT OUTCOME DOCUMENT | Southern CSO Alliance on South-South Cooperation

Reality of Aid - 3. Februar 2019 - 8:36
We, civil society organizations from Asia, Africa and Latin America under the banner of the Southern CSO Alliance on South-South Cooperation, first and foremost, commend the UN Office for South-South Cooperation for organizing the 2nd High Level Conference on South-South Cooperation. We join in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action, which reaffirmed that technical cooperation’s purpose, guided by the principles of respect for national sovereignty and equality, is to derive mutual benefits to achieve national and collective self-reliance of countries in the developing world. We appreciate the Conference as an effort to review the trends in South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation, including the progress in supporting and promoting such cooperation and identifying new opportunities, as well as challenges and suggestions to overcome them. Given the numerous changes, continuing expansion in terms of scope and actors, as well as the many challenges faced, the importance of such review and recommendations on ways forward cannot be emphasized more, especially amidst the worsening poverty and inequality in the Global South. As much as we, civil society organizations, would like to support this very important undertaking, however, we regret the limited transparency in the organizing of the BAPA+40 Conference and in South-South cooperation as a whole, which seriously limits meaningful CSO participation in this development arena. While there is an opportunity for CSOs to engage in the upcoming conference, we would be able to contribute substantial inputs if proactively reached and provided with timely and adequate information on the processes and content of the Conference. Nonetheless, even as there are still many questions around how the rest of our CSO colleagues will be able to register and participate in the conference, we appreciate the UNOSSC’s assurance that our comments and inputs to the draft outcome document will be treated well. Herewith, we contribute our comments and inputs to ensure that the outcome document resonates the most pressing issues and urgent calls of the impoverished and marginalized peoples. Overall, it is worth noting that the zero draft reaffirms the premise and prior commitments of South-South cooperation, identifies important areas it deems integral to its work, as well as the basic principles on which it is anchored. However, it can still be improved by articulating the resistance to colonialism as the developing countries’ shared sympathies and objectives, and from there putting in place safeguards in triangular cooperation to stop Northern governments’ perpetuation of the flawed policies and practices of the traditional North-South development cooperation into the South-South cooperation architecture. At the same time, we note with concern that Southern governments too are replicating such flawed policies and practices not only in triangular but throughout the South-South cooperation architecture. The repeated emphasis on triangular cooperation and addressing developing countries’ need for technology through massive diffusion of technology throughout the South is a cause for concern as this justifies greater Northern governments, businesses and Northern-dominated financial institutions’ influence in and dumping of surplus technologies through South-South cooperation. Indeed, we need more resources for achieving the ambitious goals of Agenda 2030. However, our call should not end at simply encouraging traditional providers to extend support but to also deliver on their ODA and development effectiveness commitments and obligations. While emphasizing the importance of inclusiveness and multi-stakeholder partnerships, there is hardly any mention of how to concretely and meaningfully involve civil society organizations and the people’s issues and interests that we stand for – human rights, fundamental freedoms, social justice, addressing the root causes of poverty, women empowerment and gender equality, environmental sustainability, labor rights, social services, among many others. We thus call on the UNOSSC and all Southern governments to respect CSOs as independent development actors, committing to provide us with an enabling environment so that they can fulfil our role in South-South cooperation while ensuring that we are not instrumentalized to increase the role of and enable the private sector. Thus, we hereby submit to and call on the UNOSSC and other Southern governments, as well as Northern governments involved in triangular cooperation to incorporate our inputs to the zero draft (with language formulation suggestions in the actual document), centered mainly on the following: 1. Acknowledging the historical context of Southern peoples’ struggle against colonialism and the paternalistic nature of the post-war North-South cooperation that gave the impetus for strengthening solidarity through South-South cooperation; 2. Clarifying that South-South cooperation and its various forms and modalities are aimed at contributing to the realization of the sustainable development goals and genuine human development and reduction of inequalities between and within countries, not mere economic growth; 3. Committing SSC actors, in addition to the Bandung principles of national sovereignty, national ownership and independence, equality, non-conditionality, non-interference in domestic affairs and mutual benefit; to the development effectiveness principles of democratic ownership, inclusiveness, transparency and accountability, as well as to human rights conventions, laws, norms and standards; 4. Stressing that while developed countries and international organizations and institutions are invited to SSC through triangular cooperation, we are not letting them do away with their ODA and development effectiveness commitments and obligations to the developing world; 5. Emphasizing that national priorities and strategies, on which SSC should be based, be democratically-owned, that is, owned not just by the national governments but also parliaments, local governments, and above all, by the people; in the same way that the people – communities and their organizations - are meaningfully included in all stages of development processes; 6. Underscoring the important role of CSOs committing SSC actors to providing them with an enabling environment by institutionalizing frameworks, spaces, mechanisms and resources for them to fulfil their role as development actors in their own right at all levels and aspects of South-South cooperation; 7. Promoting people-to-people cooperation as an expression of solidarity by also providing the necessary framework, mechanisms and resources; 8. Qualifying the promotion and diffusion of technology to emphasize that it should be based on the actual needs and context of the people on the ground; inclusiveness and multi-stakeholder partnerships to highlight people’s meaningful participation; and private sector to pinpoint micro-small-and-medium enterprises as partners, rather than big foreign and local corporations; 9. Emphasizing that funding from developed countries and other international organizations and institutions should be untied and unconditional, and should be accessible including to CSOs; and that domestic resource mobilization should not mean austerity measures and greater tax impositions on the people, i.e. through progressive taxation and social protection; 10. Committing actors to conduct monitoring, knowledge production, review, assessment and reporting using a human rights-based framework.### Reference: Lyn Angelica Pano |Global Coordinator |Email: lpano@realityofaid.org
Kategorien: english

Fruit and vegetables in Ghana: better quality boosts income

GIZ Germany - 2. Februar 2019 - 1:37
: Wed, 30 Jan 2019 HH:mm:ss
Sustainable cultivation and access to new markets: farmers in Ghana benefit from training.
Kategorien: english

Comments on Draft Ministerial Declaration of the 2019 United Nations Environment Assembly

Women - 1. Februar 2019 - 20:28
Comments on Draft Ministerial Declaration of the 2019 United Nations Environment Assembly

The WMG is concerned about the fact that this language proposed is going back 25 years in time since there is already a 2020 target to phase out harmful toxic chemicals in consumer products under SAICM (1996). We call for an urgent phase out and ‘mandatory substitution’ of harmful chemicals as committed in 2002 at the WSSD in Johannesburg, and call UNEP not to ‘step on its toes’, and acknowledge previously agreed policy frameworks as well as Resolutions from past UNEAs.

Download here the final comments on the Draft Ministerial Declaration of the 2019 United Nations Environment Assembly delivered by the Women’s Major Group.

Kategorien: english

Gilbert Houngbo, IFAD President

Devex - 1. Februar 2019 - 19:29
Kategorien: english

Open Position: Intern, SDG Index

UN SDSN - 1. Februar 2019 - 16:10
ABOUT SDSN

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has been operating since 2012 under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.  It is directed by Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, SDG Advocate, and has offices in New York, Paris, and New Delhi.

THE ROLE

Intern, SDG Index Team

6 months full time, April – September, in Paris, France

Job Posting Date: February 1, 2019

The Intern will work in the SDG Index team responsible for producing the flagship report “SDG Index and Dashboards” under the supervision of the project manager. His/her main tasks will be to support the production of the next SDG Index and Dashboards report to be published in July 2019 and to support the production of other SDG indices for Africa, Europe, and Latin America. The intern will contribute to various projects related to the implementation of the SDGs and sustainable consumption and production practices.

PRINCIPAL RESPONSIBILITIES

1) Provide support for the launch of the 2019 SDG Index and Dashboards and other SDG indices for Africa, Europe and Latin America

  • Contribute to the production of tables and graphs
  • Help integrate comments from stakeholders’ consultations
  • Help drafting methodological sections and conduct sensitivity tests
  • Assist in reviewing draft sections submitted by the production company.
  • Contribute to producing communication materials (infographics, country fact sheets, other) and support the dissemination of the results.
  • Liaise with relevant stakeholders when needed

2) Carry out research and statistical analyses for various projects related to the implementation of the SDGs and sustainable consumption and production practices

  • Under the supervision of the project manager and in collaboration with the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy responsible for the Environmental Performance Index, provide support in finalizing the new Environmental Impact Index
  • Carry out research and liaise with experts in the field to identify new data sources
  • Conduct research and analysis for projects related to good governance for the SDGs and in particular good governance of land-use systems
QUALIFICATIONS

Academic background

Candidates should be pursuing an advanced degree in economics, statistics, international relations, environmental studies, political science, or any other related fields. S/he must be enrolled in a certified degree programme (or be able to obtain a Convention de stage from their university), and have the right to hold an internship in France.

Professional background

  • Experience working with data and in statistics would be a plus
  • Experience in the topic of environment and sustainable consumption would be a plus

Languages

  • This position requires fluency in English
  • Fluency in at least one other language would be a plus

Other skills required

  • Good knowledge of economics and statistics
  • Knowledge of Excel and other statistical tools for data handling
  • Knowledge of computer software for the design of graphs
  • Attention to details
  • Ability to work in a team environment
  • Good communication skills, diplomacy with country respondents

Core competencies

For this role, the following competencies would be particularly important: Achievement focus, Analytical thinking, Drafting skills, Teamwork and Team leadership, Diplomatic sensitivity.

SALARY AND BENEFITS

The internship will be compensated at the standard minimum hourly rate, plus 50% of transportation costs.

HOW TO APPLY:

To apply, please send a cover letter and a CV to Guillaume Lafortune: guillaume.lafortune@unsdsn.org. Deadline for applying: 25th February, 2019.

Stagiaire, Équipe Indice ODD (Objectifs de développement durable)

Stage de 6 mois à temps plein, Avril-Septembre, à Paris, France

Date de l’annonce : 1 février 2019

Le stagiaire travaillera dans l’équipe Indice ODD chargée de produire le rapport phare “SDG Index and Dashboards” sous la supervision du chef de projet. Ses tâches principales seront de soutenir la production du prochain rapport « SDG Index and Dashboards » qui sera publié en juin 2019 et de soutenir la production des indices ODD pour l’Afrique, l’Europe et l’Amérique du Sud qui seront publiés en juillet 2019. Le stagiaire contribuera également à divers projets liés à la mise en œuvre des ODD et des principes de consommation et de production durable.

TÂCHES ET RESPONSABILITÉS

1) Fournir un soutien pour le lancement de l’indice ODD 2019 et des indices ODD pour l’Afrique, l’Europe et l’Amérique du Sud

  • Contribuer à la production de tableaux et de graphiques
  • Aider à intégrer les commentaires des consultations des parties prenantes
  • Aider à la rédaction de sections méthodologiques et effectuer des tests de sensibilité
  • Réviser des ébauches transmises par la société d’édition
  • Contribuer à la production de supports de communication (infographies, fiches pays, autres) et aider à disséminer les résultats
  • Assurer la liaison avec les parties prenantes le cas-échéant

2) Effectuer des recherches et des analyses statistiques pour divers projets liés à la mise en œuvre des ODD et des principes de consommation et de production durable.

  • Sous la supervision du chef de projet et en collaboration avec le Centre Yale du droit et de la politique de l’environnement responsable de l’indice EPI, apporter son soutien dans la finalisation d’un nouvel indice sur l’impact environnemental des pays
  • Effectuer des recherches et assurer la liaison avec des experts dans le domaine afin d’identifier de nouvelles sources de données
  • Contribuer à des projets de recherche et d’analyse en lien avec la bonne gouvernance et les ODD notamment en matière d’utilisation durable des sols
COMPÉTENCES

Formation universitaire

Les candidats doivent poursuivre des études supérieures en économie, en statistique, en relations internationales, en études environnementales, en science politique ou dans tout autre domaine connexe. Il / elle doit être inscrit (e) à un programme d’études certifié (ou être en mesure d’obtenir une convention de stage de son université), et avoir le droit d’effectuer un stage en France.

Expérience professionnelle

  • Expérience de travail avec des données et dans les statistiques serait un plus
  • Une expérience dans le domaine de l’environnement et de la consommation durable serait un plus

Langues

  • Ce poste exige la maîtrise de l’anglais
  • La maîtrise d’au moins une autre langue serait un plus

Autres compétences requises

  • Bonne connaissance de l’économie et des statistiques
  • Connaissance d’Excel et d’autres outils statistiques pour la gestion des données
  • Connaissance des logiciels informatiques pour la conception de graphiques
  • Attention aux détails
  • Capacité à travailler dans un environnement d’équipe
  • Bonnes capacités de communication, diplomatie avec les pays répondants

Les compétences de base

Pour ce rôle, les compétences suivantes seraient particulièrement importantes : la pensée analytique, les compétences rédactionnelles, le travail d’équipe, la sensibilité diplomatique.

INFORMATIONS SUR LA GRATIFICATION

Le stagiaire recevra une gratification au taux horaire minimum standard, majoré de 50% des frais de transport.

APPLICATION

Pour appliquer, veuillez transmettre une lettre de motivation et un CV à Guillaume Lafortune : guillaume.lafortune@unsdsn.org. Date limite pour appliquer: 25 février 2019.

Kategorien: english

Here is How Countries Rank in Education

UN Dispatch - 1. Februar 2019 - 16:00

How does every country rank when it comes to the education levels of their adult populations? Two reports offer some insight into the percentage of country’s populations that have completed primary, secondary and tertiary education levels.

U.S. News and World Report recently ranked the United Kingdom as the number one country for education. But data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that others, like South Korea and Canada, are actually doing better.

The U.S. News and World Report says that education is “one of the best predictors of a nation’s future success.” According to its rankings, the top five countries with a successful future are the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Germany and France. At the bottom are Pakistan, Nigeria, Ghana, Angola and Iraq.

Their ranking is based on perception surveys that asked participants to judge how well-developed public education system of a country is, if they would consider attending university there and if the country provides top-quality education.

But what does quantitative data show? How are countries actually progressing toward Sustainable Development Goal 4 of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for everyone?

The OECD is an intergovernmental economic organization made up of 36 of the world’s most advanced countries as well as emerging economies. According to the OECD’s latest figures on its members’ education levels, South Korea has the largest proportion of highly-educated young adults. In 2017, nearly 70 percent of its 24- to 35-year-olds attained tertiary education, which includes university and vocational programs.

Adult education levels, Credit: OECD

This is a massive increase in schooling level compared to just one generation ago: Only 21 percent of South Korea’s 55- to 64-year-olds completed tertiary education.

And, it’s a big step for the country toward achieving several targets under Sustainable Development Goal 4, including ensuring “equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education” as well as “substantially increasing the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills…for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.”

Following behind South Korea in the 24-to-35 age bracket are Canada (61 percent), Japan (60 percent), Russia (58 percent) and Lithuania (56 percent). The U.K. comes in eighth at 52 percent and the U.S. comes in 13th at 48 percent.

When looking at the larger group of adults age 24 to 65 who have completed tertiary education, Canada comes in at the top with 57 percent. Second is Japan at 51 percent.

But progress toward quality primary and secondary education is also a key target for Sustainable Development Goal 4. According to the OECD, the Czech Republic has the highest percent of high-school educated adults, with 70 percent of its 24- to 65-year-olds having completed upper secondary education. Others at the top include Slovakia (68 percent), South Africa (66 percent), Poland (62 percent) and Hungary (60 percent).

Globally, there has been significant progress in educational attainment over the last few decades. However, the OECD warned in a September report that data show that inequities that manifest early in life – including socio-economic status, gender, immigrant background and geographic location – “tend to accumulate throughout life, first in education and then in the labor market.” Among those inequities, the report says that socio-economic status has the biggest impact not only on participation in education but also economic and social outcomes.

But participation in higher education is “more important than ever,” the report says, as technological advancement is pushing out lower-skilled jobs. It appears then that despite perceptions that the U.K. and U.S. have the world’s best education, it’s countries like South Korea and Canada that are setting up their people for success.

The post Here is How Countries Rank in Education appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Join the C20 Preparatory Face-to-Face Meeting

#C20 18 - 1. Februar 2019 - 5:00

Join the C20 Preparatory Face-to-Face Meeting!

This meeting will permit each Working Group to meet and exchange ideas in person, especially local and international coordinators, and, allow all the C20 participants to participate in a common space for simultaneous exchange towards C20 Summit. Also, this meeting will offer opportunities to speak with representatives of the G20 Presidency to optimize coordination between the C20 and G20, in the same way as has been done in previous C20 meetings.

Event details:

Date: Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th, February 2019
Venue: Tokyo, Japan
Organized by: Japan Civil Society Platform for 2019 G20 Summit (C20 Secretariat)
Co-organized by: Sasakawa Peace Foundation
Expected Participants:
– C20 Steering Committee Members
– C20 International Advisory Committee Members
– Coordinators of C20 Thematic Working Groups
– International and Japanese civil society organizations working on thematic issues related to G20 Osaka Summit

Note: Lunch and coffee will be provide on Day 1 (for Day 2, lunch only)

If you wish to attend the meeting, please contact C20 Secretariat (c20 @ civil-20.org)

*Please note that no financial support will be provided from C20 Secretariat. You are expected be engage in discussions actively, and have to arrange your flights and accommodation by yourself.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Inclusion at universities and the job market

UNSDN - 1. Februar 2019 - 4:52

German Institute for Inclusive Education pushes for inclusion at universities and the job market

People with disabilities have a right to education (article 24) and a right to work (article 27). Further, awareness for the capabilities and contributions of people with disabilities should be raised and promoted (article 8). The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilitiesstates that clearly. At the Institute for Inclusive Education in Kiel, Germany, it is our goal to put these rights into practice.

We have created a three year full-time qualification for people with so called intellectual disabilities that allows them to get a thorough education. The qualification is focused on educational work and trains people to become educational specialists. The certificate they earn allows them to work on the regular job market – giving lectures at universities and colleges to teach future professionals about the life realities of people with disabilities. These educational specialists close the gap between theory and practice of inclusion – giving students a perspective of how inclusion can work.

After employing the first group of educational specialists at our institute in the north of Germany (Kiel), we are excited to cooperate with universities throughout Germany and the world to qualify people with disabilities.

The video below gives you a glimpse into our work and we hope to spread our idea widely.

Learn more here: https://inklusive-bildung.org/en

Source: Institute for Inclusive Education, Germany

The post Inclusion at universities and the job market appeared first on UNSDN - United Nations Social Development Network.

Kategorien: english

Striving to transform Tanzania’s cotton sector

ODI - 1. Februar 2019 - 0:00
We review Gatsby Africa’s efforts to turn around Tanzania’s underperforming cotton sector.
Kategorien: english

Caribbean Youth Climate Change Forum

UN SDSN - 31. Januar 2019 - 17:20

On Thursday, February 7, the University of the West Indies and the SDSN Caribbean will organize a virtual forum on Climate Change Impacts to the Caribbean and the Attainment of the SDGs: The Importance of Involving Youth. The event will begin at 6:00 pm in Jamaica and at 7:00 pm for the Eastern Caribbean. Moderated by Dr. David Smith, Chair of the SDSN Caribbean, the event will feature a speech by UWI Vice Chancellor Hilary Beckles, as well as discussants Michael Taylor, John Agard, Una May Gordon, Laleta Davis Mattis, June Barbour, and Thalia Balkaran. To join, follow this link at the appointed time. You can also download an event flier.

Kategorien: english

Boom in Artificial Intelligence patents, points to ‘quantum leap’ in tech: UN report

UN ECOSOC - 31. Januar 2019 - 16:55
The “upsurge” in patent applications for devices and machines powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the last five years, suggests that it could soon revolutionize all areas of daily life far beyond the tech world, a UN report suggested on Thursday.
Kategorien: english

What is Next for the United States in Afghanistan?

UN Dispatch - 31. Januar 2019 - 16:41

The United States and the Taliban may be close to an agreement. Negotiations over the future of US involvement in Afghanistan are underway in Qatar, and in late January there was word of a “tentative” agreement that could lead to the US exiting Afghanistan and the Taliban entering Afghan politics.

These negotiations are the latest iteration of an evolving US strategy toward Afghanistan two years into the Trump administration.

On the line to discuss the Trump administration’s approach to Afghanistan in the context of recent US history is Sharifullah Dorani.  He is the author of the new book America in Afghanistan: Foreign Policy and Decision Making from Bush to Obama to Trump. A the title suggests, the book examines the history of US involvement in Afghanistan from 2001 through the first two years of the Trump presidency.

We discuss what has stayed the same and what has distinguished the Trump administration’s approach to Afghanistan from his predecessors.

We recorded this conversation just a few weeks after Trump, via Tweet, suggested a precipitous withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. We discuss what role American troops are currently playing in Afghanistan and what some of the debates about troop levels have been. We also discuss the ongoing diplomatic efforts led by Trump’s envoy to Afghanistan, former US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad.

If you have 20 minutes and want to better understand the context in which negotiations between the United States and the Taliban are taking place, then have a listen.

 

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

The post What is Next for the United States in Afghanistan? appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Persecuted journalists

D+C - 31. Januar 2019 - 15:29
Journalists in Libya are under threat when exercising their profession

Local journalists are exposed to uncontrolled militia violence in Libya. Such groups control  Tripoli, the capital, and they tend to be stronger than the official security forces.

Last July, the Libyan Marine Force invited journalists of the international news agencies Reuters and AFP to come to the Tripoli port to take photos of a boat with migrants. Four journalists went there and started doing their job. They were suddenly attacked and arrested by an armed group. The men belonged to the militia who controlled the port. The journalists spent a terrible night at a cell with the militiamen insulting them as spies. The next day, the agencies they worked for managed to have them released.

Security forces, however, can be a problem too. In December 2018, a Libyan court in Ajilat, a town west of the capital Tripoli, sentenced Muktar Al-Halak to one year in jail plus a € 50 fine. The prison sentence was suspended. The 44-year-old journalist and photographer was accused of publishing “security information”.

“I was shocked,” Muktar recounts. “I asked the judge on what basis they had decided that I was guilty. He replied by advising me to quit journalism and find another kind of work.”

Muktar had been arrested illegally by the Security Directorate of Ajilat and locked up for 11 days. “These were the most terrible nights of my whole life,” he says.   

“The arrestment procedures were false,” maintains Reda Fhelboom, the chairman of the Libyan Organisation for Independent Media (FOIM). He points out that, according to a Libyan law, there are special rules for detaining a journalist: a clear complaint must be submitted, then the minister’s permission must be obtained, and the minister must assign the attorney of journalism to investigate the case.

Jalal Othman of the Libyan Institution for Investigative Journalism (LIFIJ) points out: “Also, there is no journalists’ union which could support our colleagues when they are threatened.” He bemoans a general lack of capacities and capacitybuilding: “There are still no real media institutions in Libya which are able to develop skills of journalists and link them with the outside world.”

Libyan journalists also suffer due to their low pay, and that includes those who are in government employment. Jamal El-Zaidi, who works for the Journalism Governmental Board of Libya, explains that the salaries are calculated according to a law that was passed more than 30 years ago and states that salaries cannot be increased: “Due to this, journalists are unable to feed their families, because prices are rising, but their income is still the same as years ago.”

 

Moutaz Ali is a journalist and director of the “Libyan Institution for Investigative Journalism” (LIFIJ). He lives in Tripoli, Libya.
ali.moutaz77@gmail.com

 

LINKS

Libyan Organization for Independent Media (FOIM)
https://m.facebook.com/LOFIM.ly/

Libyan Institution for Investigative Journalism (LIFIJ)
https://m.facebook.com/lifij.ly/?locale2=ar_AR

Kategorien: english

#DevEnabled careers: Josh Josa

Devex - 31. Januar 2019 - 14:59
Kategorien: english

When action comes too late

D+C - 31. Januar 2019 - 14:57
Vale seems to be finally learning the lessons disasters

In November 2015, the devastation was shocking. Many Brazilians did not think that a disaster of such scale would be possible. They were wrong. Negligence was worse than many had believed. Government oversight had failed, and the managers of major mining corporations, including the Brazil based multinational Vale, had not lived up to their duties. Apparently, maximising profits was higher on their agenda than ensuring safety.

In January 2019, the next accident came as an even greater shock. It proved that negligence was still as bad as it had been before the previous disaster. Quite obviously, the lessons were not learned. The big question now is whether they will be learned this time. The outlook is mixed.

It is true that some people have now been arrested and that the authorities are putting pressure on Vale. But that cannot reverse the harm. The corporation’s share price has dropped by one quarter because investors know that it will have to pay for the damages. In simple business terms, it is clear that more diligence and investment in the waste management of mines would have paid off handsomely. The costs that result from negligence will considerably hurt Vale’s bottom line, and its public reputation has already suffered in spectacular fashion.

The good news is that the corporation’s leadership seems to understand the implications. It has announced it will stop using dams in its waste-management system and will reduce iron-ore production until such existing infrastructure is totally dismantled. For the sake of long-term viability, it is thus foregoing short-term profits. Had this been done earlier, several hundred people would not have died. Nonetheless, acting late is better than never acting.

The political connotations are relevant too, however, and they are not promising. In the past three years, Brazil’s top leaders have been emphasising the role of private-sector businesses and downplaying the role of government agencies. President Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached in 2016, is a centre-left policymaker and basically promoted a balanced approach. The idea was to allow market dynamics to generate prosperity, but to regulate businesses probably and redistribute some of the gains to fight poverty.

Brazil, however, was hit by a severe recession, and legislators decided to impeach her. It proved impossible to link her to the vast corruption scandals that had been making headlines for some time, so she was impeached for having made inaccurate statements concerning the budget. From that point on, whatever was good for business was said to be good for Brazil.

Her supporters considered Rousseff’s downfall a kind of coup. Indeed, the new administration led by Michel Temer, her successor and former vice president, changed course dramatically. It cut social spending and announced market-orthodox reforms, though it proved politically too weak to implement all of them. Part of the problem was that Temer himself was deeply involved in the corruption scandals, and so were many other leading politicians. The double whammy of recession and corruption investigations undermined their legitimacy.

No, one probably cannot blame Temer personally for the recent corporate disaster in Minas Gerais. Brazil’s political system is complex, and the constitution has established the separation of powers. Quite obviously, the state government Minas Gerais must now answer many tricky questions. But though Temer is probably not guilty in a legal sense, he actually was responsible in a political sense. The example the country’s head of state sets has a bearing how public matters are handled anywhere in the country.

Many Brazilians have lost faith in the political establishment. Accordingly, a right-wing populist won the presidential elections last year. Jair Bolsonaro claims to be tough on crime and shows no respect for minorities and human rights. In regard to economic affairs, however, he has adopted the doctrines of market orthodoxy. Among other things, he has promised to open up Amazonian forests to mining companies.

One might hope that the recent disaster was devastating enough to make him change his mind. On the other hand, why should someone who did not learn the lessons of the accident in 2015 now change course?

Around the world, major corporations and large-scale investors are becoming more aware of environmental issues. Institutional investors have begun to back off from fossil-fuel industries. In this context, Vale’s decision to shore up its waste-management system to prevent future disasters makes sense. It shows that the company’s leadership is paying attention to longer-term investor sentiments. But what about other mining companies? Vale is not the only one that uses dams to store waste.

It is good that some managers’ attitudes are finally changing. Government action should encourage that trend. Experience shows that it often takes private-sector leaders too long to learn a lesson. Unfortunately, some policymakers are even slower.

P.S.: Apparently a German consultancy, Tüv Süd, recently told Vale that the dam, which later burst, was safe. Its reputation has surely taken a hit too.

 

Kategorien: english

Indigenous peoples are key stakeholders

D+C - 31. Januar 2019 - 12:00
The indispensable role of local communities in the protection of Amazonian forests

For millennia, the indigenous peoples of the Amazon have de facto been the guardians of large tropical forest areas. Defined according to biogeographic criteria, the Amazon region has a size of almost 7 million square kilometres. This is the greatest forest area remaining on earth. More than a third (37 %) of it belongs to more than 3,344 formally acknowledged Indigenous Territories. They are home to 375 different ethnic groups.

RAISG is a network of civil-society organisations from several Latin American countries. The abbreviation stands for “Amazonian Socio-environmental Georeferenced Information Network” (Red Amazónica de Información Socioambiental Georreferenciada). It uses every available method, including high-tech options, to document the socio-environmental state of the Amazon basin.

RAISG research shows that, until 2015, only eight percent of Amazonian deforestation occurred in the forests inhabited by indigenous peoples. By contrast, 88 % of all deforestation happened in the less than 50 % of the Amazon area that is neither indigenous territory nor protected area. This pattern was consistent across all countries of the region.

In recent years, other studies have provided similar evidence. Conversion rates tend to be much lower where forests are managed by indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs). IPLCs therefore help to stem carbon emissions that are related to land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF). Globally, emissions from the LULUCF sector amount to about eight percent of the total. In Amazonian countries, however, the share is much higher, with LULUCF accounting for 24 % to 50 % of national carbon emissions.

Researchers have found out that indigenous territories indeed serve as deforestation barriers. Moreover, governance regimes make a difference. In Brazil, a study assessed different forest parcels that were under comparable threat of deforestation. The result was that those in Indigenous Territories and other protected areas were less likely to be destroyed. The deforestation pressures actually tended to be strongest in indigenous lands, but the actual deforestation rates were lowest there.

It is sometimes argued that many IPLC managed forests are in remote areas where deforestation is less likely. This perception is not accurate. At least it does not reflect the Brazilian experience in the years 2001 to 2013. A recent study showed that deforestation rates in IPLC forests stayed 49 % to 88 % below those of unprotected forest land that is comparable in terms of remoteness and other conditions. Similar patterns were evident in Bolivia and Colombia, but could not be discerned in Ecuador.

Lower rates of deforestation and degradation mean that carbon emissions are kept lower too. Vast amounts of carbon are stored in forest biomass, and it is crucial to keep it there. The Amazon region’s Indigenous Territories make important contributions to reducing countries’ carbon emissions.

The Indigenous Territories only account for about one third of the total forest area, but they store nearly one third of the region’s aboveground carbon. That makes them relevant for the success of the Paris Agreement on climate change. In its context, the countries of the Amazon basin have committed to making nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to mitigation. They would be unable to fulfil them if the carbon sinks that IPLCs manage and protect were to experience similar deforestation rates as unprotected areas do. That would be a disaster in other regards as well. The regional climate would change with considerable impacts on the continent’s rainfall patterns. Desertification may get worse, and biodiversity would definitely suffer dramatically (see article by Stephan Opitz in the Focus section of D+C/E+Z 2019/01).

Traditional knowledge

Historically, the livelihoods of indigenous Amazonian peoples have depended directly on the forest. Its resources served all vital purposes, including food, shelter, water, fibre, fuel and medicines. Accordingly, the cultures of the many different ethnic groups are inextricably linked to the local environments where they live. The territory defines their identity. Their cosmology is based on relationships their ancestors forged with the forces of nature. That understanding was passed down from generation to generation. In the process, the traditional knowledge evolved that sustained communities for millennia, both in material and spiritual terms.

Today, however, this balance is at risk. Western culture is encroaching on the Amazon region. Its influence on IPLCs and their territories is growing. RAISG data shows that, in 2018, 16,900 kilometres of roads cut through them. Moreover, concessions for mining and oil drilling have either been granted already or are likely to be granted soon for 470,000 square kilometres of IPLC forest. Unfortunately, governments are prone to grant such concessions regardless of an area’s legal status, so other protected areas are affected too.

Indigenous leaders are aware of the importance of the forests. They express their communities’ concerns, demanding appropriate national policies and safeguards. Moreover, they are disappointed in REDD+. The acronym stands for “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and enhancing carbon sinks in developing countries”. It is an initiative taken at the UN climate summit in 2005. The idea was that forest-rich countries would get rewards for forest protection, provided that the results were measurable. REDD+ proved less effective than hoped. Implementation is difficult for several reasons. One problem to be addressed is that the local communities need to be rewarded too.

In 2011, indigenous groups from the Amazon region joined forces and proposed an alternative to REDD+. It is called Amazon Indigenous REDD+ (RIA for the Spanish translation). RIA was conceived as a strategy to contribute to the mitigation of – and adaptation to – climate change, for instance by building resilience through the conservation and holistic management of their territories. RIA emphasises traditional knowledge because it appreciates the value of standing forests and the ecosystem services they deliver. At the same time, the approach is supposed to promote the welfare, self-determination and future welfare of IPLCs.

Recognition of collective land rights is an essential part of the RIA proposal, and so is the demand for the enactment of national development policies that are consistent with countries’ commitments to climate protection. Tangible steps must be taken towards better control and decisive reduction of deforestation and forest degradation. The drivers of environmental harm include the agroindustry, grazing, timber, mining etcetera. Large-scale infrastructure for hydropower and transportation matter too. These issues must be tackled.

The sad truth is that national governments are not really responding to this urgent need. Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s new president, has expressed his hostility to the very idea of environmental protection (for more on Brazil’s crisis of democracy, read Carlos Albuquerque’s essay in the Tribune section of D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2019/02). His disrespect for the rights of minorities and, indeed, human rights are worrisome too. Latin America certainly does not need any further empowerment of the businesses that cause deforestation. Letting them do will only lead to disaster.

On the upside, the bearing of indigenous peoples from the Amazon and other world regions on international negotiations has been growing. For example, the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform will serve as bridge that links the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to local communities and their traditional knowledge. The Platform will promote the exchange of experiences and sharing of best practices (see article by Fatima Arkin in the Focus section of D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2019/02).

Scientists point out that reaching the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals will only be possible if forest-based strategies are adopted. Such approaches are costeffective ways to prevent harm. Afforestation, eco-friendly agriculture and sustainable forest management are needed. Measures must be scaled up and funded adequately. Given the vital role of Amazonian IPLCs and their current poverty, they must be involved in decision-making and should benefit from relevant investments.

Carmen Josse is a researcher who works for the Fundación EcoCiencia in Ecuador. This civil-society think tank is a member of the international non-governmental network RAISG (Red Amazónica de Información Socioambiental Georreferenciada – Amazonian Socio-environmental Georeferenced Information Network).
carmenjosse@ecociencia.org
www.ecociencia.org

Link
RAISG:
https://www.amazoniasocioambiental.org/en/
 

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