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Global Health and the Future We Want — A UN 75 Consultation

UN Dispatch - 29. Juni 2020 - 16:01
Part 3: A Consultation about Global Health

The United Nations turns 75 year this year. Rather than celebrate with a diamond jubilee, the United Nations is instead embarking on a listening tour. The UN is seeking feedback from as many people in as many communities as possible, all around three big questions:

What Kind of World do We Want to Create?

Are We on Track? What is Needed to Bridge the Gap?

Here in the United States, the United Nations Association is hosting “global consultations” around these questions. They are gathering groups to solicit input that will be relayed to leadership at the United Nations ahead of a major meeting in September to mark the UN’s anniversary.

Today’s episode is part three of a three part series that gives listeners an inside look into how the UN is commemorating its anniversary. In part one of this series, I moderated a global consultation that discussed those big questions, but using the lens of gender equality. In part two, we used discussed those questions in the context of climate and the environment. 

In today’s episode, I moderate a consultation about global health. This episode kicks off with my 15 minutes interview with Kate Dodson, Vice President for Global Health at the United Nations Foundation. We discuss the COVID-19 pandemic  — specifically how the World Health Organization and other United Nations entities are responding. We also discuss what reforms might make the WHO more effective at responding to future global health emergencies.

After that interview concludes, the consultation begins. For the podcast, I edited this down to include some of the questions and answers discussed.


Get the podcast to listen later Apple Podcasts  | Google PodcastsSpotify  |  Stitcher  | Radio Public

Take the UN75 survey

The post Global Health and the Future We Want — A UN 75 Consultation appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

COVID-19 and the global contraction in foreign direct investment

OECD - 29. Juni 2020 - 14:54
By Adnan Seric, Research and Industrial Policy Officer at the Department of Policy Research and Statistics (PRS) at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), and Jostein Hauge, Research Fellow at the Centre for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (Institute for Manufacturing) at the University of Cambridge This blog is part of a series on tackling … Continue reading COVID-19 and the global contraction in foreign direct investment
Kategorien: english

Regulating corporate power for a better tomorrow

Global Policy Forum - 29. Juni 2020 - 13:56

Civil society organizations from across the world publish a statement urging member states from the UN Human Rights Council to continue negotiations towards a UN Treaty on Transnational corporations and human rights.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Together for a Green Recovery

SCP-Centre - 29. Juni 2020 - 12:28

The COVID-19 imposed lockdown has brought most of the European economies to a sudden halt. As governments and businesses look for ways to rebuilt, the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, of which the CSCP is a member, stresses the ultimate need to link recovery to the European Green Deal and joins the call to act now for a sustainable and just future for all.

The economic shock has been significant: GDP has fallen, supply chains have been tested, some state systems have been over-burdened, market insecurity has increased, and more. As we step up our efforts in defining the recovery strategy, we must ensure that the end of one crisis does not mean the beginning of another.

The recovery plan is a great opportunity to rethink our society and develop a prosperity model that addresses economic, social, and environmental needs and priorities at the same time. The Coordination Group of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ECESP), to which the CSCP is a member, takes note of the Green Recovery Call to Action, signed by numerous policy makers, businesses, representatives of associations and initiatives, and more. The Coordination Group also stresses the need for a coordinated approach that leaves no one behind.

The Call for Action underlines the importance of a green recovery strategy aimed at rebooting and boosting our economies. In order to trigger a new European economic model, which is more resilient, more protective, more sovereign, and more inclusive, all investments and recovery efforts have to built around the EU Green Deal principles.

The Call for Action highlights that ‘the transition to a climate-neutral economy, the protection of biodiversity and the transformation of agri-food systems have the potential to rapidly deliver jobs, growth and improve the way of life of all citizens worldwide, and to contribute to building more resilient societies.’

The CSCP and its ECESP partners believe that the recovery plans at the local, national, and EU level must enshrine the fight against climate change as the core of the economic strategy and turn these plans into concrete actions and investments. The group also acknowledges the huge social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and therefore higlights the imperative need of making sure that the climate-neutral economy transition is a just and fair one.

The European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ECESP) is deeply engaged in accelerating the transition towards climate neutrality through circular economy. In the light of the Green Recovery Call to Action, the ECESP stresses its commitment to share knwoledge, expertise, and inititatives through the platform and help shape investment decisions that lead to a sustainable economic recovery.

The Green Recovery Call to Action is signed by hundreds of policy makers, businesses, associations, initiatives and more.


Der Beitrag Together for a Green Recovery erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Behaviour Change Insights to Go: Listen to the New Podcast from Our Academy of Change!

SCP-Centre - 29. Juni 2020 - 11:43

Are you curious about why people behave the way they do? Would you like to learn more about behavioural insights and their role in achieving more sustainability? Then, hit play – the first episode of the newly launched Academy of Change (AoC) podcast series explores the topic of Insights together with field expert, Lizzie Kenyon.

It happens all too often: Our good intentions are not matched by our actions. This gap between what we aim for and what we actually do has great implications in the way public policy, economic decisions, or awareness raising campaigns are received and made sense of by people.

Behavioural insights are becoming increasingly important in explaining why people behave the way they do, what provides and does not provide incentives, how they respond to change and much more.

In addition, insights into real-life situations in which people make decisions like, how they discard their waste, if they buy a more sustainable product or recycling their old phones – are crucial for designing successful behaviour change interventions. Without proper understanding of the root causes of such decisions, interventions may miss the point and not lead to the more sustainable behaviour that most of us strive for anyway.

In the Insights episode, we discuss behaviour insights and their support towards more sustainable behaviours. Our guest speaker, Lizzie Kenyon, Director of the Centre for Social Innovation at Keep Britain Tidy highlights that “the first thing that goes into one’s mind when thinking about insights is assumptions”. In Kenyon’s words, “insights can help us to address those assumptions, to take a step back and ask: Do we actually know that, that is what is driving that particular behaviour? Could there be multiple drivers that play a role here?”

To find out more about these as well as many real-life examples of how insights support behavioural change interventions that have a real impact –

Download our Insights podcast now!

The podcast series is part of the Academy of Change (AoC) training programme and it offers complementary views on selected behavioural change topics. Through insightful conversations with experts in the field, the topics are explored from a practical perspective in order to serve listeners from different fields and areas of interest.

The Academy of Change (AoC) is a non-profit initiative of the CSCP, Behaviour Change (BC) and the International Civil Society Centre (ICSC). The AoC is funded by the KR Foundation.

For further question, please contact Mariana Nicolau.

Der Beitrag Behaviour Change Insights to Go: Listen to the New Podcast from Our Academy of Change! erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

‘Putting Solutions on the Table’ Webinar: Approaches and Interventions for More Sustainable Food Consumption Behaviours

SCP-Centre - 29. Juni 2020 - 10:14

How can food consumption behaviours and solution-oriented interventions trigger an EU-wide shift towards a more sustainable future? Moreover, how are these behaviour interventions applied in real life contexts? The VALUMICS webinar “Putting Solutions on the Table: Successful Approaches and Interventions to Support more Sustainable Food Consumption Behaviours in the EU”, 16 July 2020, 15:00 CET, will explore these questions with an outstanding line-up of food and behaviour change experts, who will share and discuss pilot interventions and strategies suitable for the food industry and policy makers. Register here to join us!

Food is one of the strongest levers to optimise human health and environmental sustainability. Food consumption accounts for at least 25% of the average material footprint of a European citizen, which is about three times larger than its estimated sustainable level, studies suggest[1]. From a carbon emission perspective, current European eating patterns are based on carbon intensive behaviours[2], such as daily consumption of animal-derived products that can cause as much as 20 times more carbon emissions than the plant-based counterpart per gram of protein[3]. Therefore, a significant global dietary shift and the reduction of high impact food consumption are necessary in order to be able to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement[4].

A shift to a sustainable food system can bring environmental, health, economic and social benefits. Therefore, the most pressing question is: How to halve the consumption of high impact foods in Europe in the next decades and thereby,­ reduce its footprint?

The aim of the VALUMICS webinar ‘Solutions on the Table’ is to share and discuss insights from existing evidence from hands-on, behaviourally-informed pilot interventions and strategies suitable for the food industry and policy makers in order to drive more sustainable food consumption practices.

The webinar will look into food consumption behaviour patterns in the EU, decision-making drivers and solution-oriented interventions tested in real-life contexts, particularly in food retail stores, to pilot actions and learn what can support the shift towards more sustainable food consumption, e.g. by supporting the increase of plant-based products in people’s diets.

Date: 16 July 2020
Time: 15:00-16:30 CET
Language: English
Cost: Free

Join the webinar and become part of the discussion – register here!

For further information, please contact Mariana Nicolau.



[1] Leppänen et al., 2011

[2] Akenji et al., 2019

[3] Leahy, 2019

[4] Willett, W. et al., 2019

Der Beitrag ‘Putting Solutions on the Table’ Webinar: Approaches and Interventions for More Sustainable Food Consumption Behaviours erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Migration und die Agenda 2030: Es zählt nur, wer gezählt wird - Migrant*innen und Geflüchtete in den Zielen nachhaltiger Entwicklung

GDI Briefing - 29. Juni 2020 - 9:45

Unter dem Leitgedanken „Leave no one behind“ hat sich die Weltgemeinschaft mit der Agenda 2030 zum Ziel gesetzt, die Lebensbedingungen armer und marginalisierter Bevölkerungsgruppen zu verbessern. Zu ihnen gehören in vielen Fällen auch Geflüchtete und Migrant*innen. Um Fortschritte in der Umsetzung der Agenda 2030 sichtbar zu machen, wurde ein strukturierter Prozess aufgesetzt. Hierfür sind die Ziele nachhaltiger Entwicklung (Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs) maßgebend. Die gesonderte Berücksichtigung von Geflüchteten und Migrant*innen in dieser Fortschrittsüberprüfung war von Anfang an vorgesehen. Dies stellt jedoch hohe Anforderungen an die Datenverfügbarkeit: Um im strukturierten Überprüfungsprozess der SDGs Veränderungen in der Lebenssituation migrantischer Bevölkerungsgruppen nachvollziehbar zu machen, bedarf es nach Migrationsstatus aufgeschlüsselte Daten. Diese Aufschlüsselung ermöglicht es, Rückschlüsse auf das Wohlergehen der Geflüchteten und Migrant*innen zu ziehen. Ziel 17.18 der Agenda 2030 fordert explizit die differenzierte Berücksichtigung dieser Bevölkerungsgruppe in den personenbezogenen SDGs sowie den hierfür notwendigen Kapazitätsausbau im Bereich der Datenerhebung.
Zensusdaten, Daten aus nationalen Verwaltungsregistern und Stichprobenerhebungen stellen mögliche Quellen zur Erreichung dieser Zielsetzung dar; allerdings unterscheiden sich diese Datensätze hinsichtlich ihrer Reichweite und Fähigkeit, verschiedene Arten von Informationen zu erfassen und bilden jeweils nur einen Teil der Realität ab. Fünf Jahre nach Verabschiedung der SDGs ist die Bilanz daher ernüchternd: Nach wie vor fehlen in den meisten Ländern nach Migrationsstatus disaggregierte Daten. Damit wächst die Gefahr, dass sich bestehende Benachteiligungen verstetigen oder verstärken. Im Kontext ihres umfassenden Engagements für die Umsetzung der SDGs sollte sich die Bundesregierung dafür einsetzen, dass Geflüchtete und Migrant*innen im Follow-Up- und Review-Prozess der Agenda 2030 systematisch berücksichtigt werden. Für die von der VN ausgerufene „Dekade der Umsetzung“ leiten sich hieraus folgende Empfehlungen ab:
•    Harmonisierung von Migrationsdefinitionen: Bei der Datenerhebung sollten die von der VN-Statistikkommission empfohlenen Definitionen verwendet werden.
•    Unterstützung der Datenerhebung: Die personellen und finanziellen Kapazitäten der nationalen Statistikbehörden in Partnerländern sollten systematisch gestärkt werden.
•    Stärkung von Synergien: Zwischen migrationsspezifischen Datenzentren und übergeordneten, eng mit dem SDG-Prozess verbundenen Dateninitiativen sollten Brücken geschlagen werden.
•    Ausbau von Migrationsexpertise im SDG-Prozess: Um Veränderungen in der Lebenssituation von Migrant*innen und Geflüchteten stärker zu berücksichtigen, sollte Migrationsexpertise systematischer als bisher in die Vorbereitung der SDG-Reviews eingebunden werden.

Kategorien: english

Auf Covid-19 muss eine tiefgreifende Transformation der Steuersysteme folgen

GDI Briefing - 29. Juni 2020 - 9:00

Die aktuelle Krise zeigt einmal mehr, wie wichtig leistungsfähige und gut regierte Staaten sind, wenn es darum geht, elementare Probleme kollektiv zu lösen. Steuersysteme werden eine Schlüsselrolle spielen, um die sozialen und wirtschaftlichen Folgen der Covid-19-Pandemie in Entwicklungsländern abzufedern und nach der Pandemie eine möglichst rasche und nachhaltige wirtschaftliche Erholung zu befördern.

Der zusätzliche Finanzbedarf der öffentlichen Haushalte wird dabei vor allem in den ärmeren Ländern gewaltig sein. Wichtige Einnahmequellen, wie der Export von Naturressourcen oder der Tourismus, sind auf unbestimmte Zeit eingebrochen. Schätzungen der Weltbank sagen zum Beispiel für Afrika voraus, dass je nach Ausmaß der Krise mit einem Rückgang der staatlichen Einnahmen um 12 bis 16 Prozent zu rechnen ist. Für das Jahr 2020 wird eine durchschnittliche Erhöhung der Haushaltsdefizite um 3,5 Prozentpunkte des Bruttoinlandsprodukts prognostiziert.

Viele Entwicklungsländer befinden sich noch in der Lockdown-Phase der Pandemie. In dieser Phase geht es vor allem um Steuererleichterungen, die den Unternehmen kurzfristig Liquidität verschaffen, so wie zum Beispiel der Aufschub fälliger Steuerzahlungen. Danach folgt eine Phase der Lockerungen, in welcher Steuererleichterungen als Konsum- oder Investitionsanreize eingesetzt werden, um die Wirtschaft wieder anzukurbeln. Viele Industrienationen befinden sich momentan in dieser Phase, in der eine Balance zwischen effektiven Steueranreizen für die Wirtschaft und ausreichenden Staatseinnahmen zur Finanzierung der erhöhten Ausgaben gefunden werden muss. Spätestens mit dem Ende der Pandemie müssen zusätzlich langfristige Maßnahmen in den Blick genommen werden, um die öffentlichen Finanzsysteme resilient und zukunftsfähig zu machen.

Doch welche Möglichkeiten haben die Regierungen, um kurzfristig steuerliche Anreize für Investitionen und wirtschaftliche Notfallprogramme zu gewähren, ohne mittel- und langfristig die Finanzierung der wachsenden Staatsausgaben zu gefährden? Gerade ärmere Länder haben hier häufig nur wenig finanziellen Spielraum für Konjunkturpakete.

Zum einen müssen die Steuersysteme auf eine breitere Basis gestellt werden. Eine effektivere Besteuerung der wohlhabenden Privathaushalte und Vermögen ist notwendig. Viele Staaten erzielen zum Beispiel kaum Einnahmen aus Grundsteuern oder aus privaten Einkommenssteuern. Gerade solche Steuern fördern aber die Progressivität und Fairness der Steuersysteme, weil sie die Leistungsfähigkeit wohlhabender Steuerzahler stärker berücksichtigen.

Zum anderen müssen Steuerhinterziehung und -vermeidung – welche jährlich weltweit zu Milliardeneinbußen an Steuereinnahmen führen – entschlossen verfolgt werden. Hierfür ist es wichtig, in den Steuerbehörden die Qualität der Steuerdaten und -register, aber auch die Kapazitäten der Steuerprüfung zu erhöhen. Digitalisierung und Automatisierung bei der Führung von Registern, dem Rechnungswesen und dem Austausch von Informationen, sowohl national zwischen Behörden als auch international zwischen Ländern, sind dafür zentrale Ansatzpunkte.

Doch die erforderlichen Maßnahmen können die ärmeren Entwicklungsländer alleine nicht stemmen. Sie sind besonders bei der Bekämpfung von Steuerhinterziehung und -vermeidung durch Großkonzerne auf internationale Zusammenarbeit angewiesen. Vor allem muss dem intransparenten Geschäftsgebaren der sogenannten Steueroasen und dem globalen Unterbietungswettbewerb bei den Unternehmenssteuern ein Ende gesetzt werden. Zu Letzterem ist die Einführung einer globalen Mindeststeuer im Gespräch. Sie ist gegenwärtig Gegenstand von Verhandlungen unter dem Dach der OECD und sollte zügig umgesetzt werden.

Die Entwicklungsländer werden daneben weitere Finanzmittel benötigen, die ihnen nur teilweise in Form von Krediten zufließen können. Die vielfach diskutierten Finanztransaktionssteuern könnten eine weitere Einnahmequelle für Staaten bilden. Außerdem könnten über Steuern auf große Vermögen und Erbschaften mehr Mittel mobilisiert werden – besonders wenn es gelingt, die G20-Länder hier zu einem gemeinsamen Vorgehen zu bewegen. Eine international abgestimmte Besteuerung digitaler Dienstleistungen, etwa der großen Technologie-Unternehmen, könnte staatliche Steuereinnahmen zudem stärken. Der Rückzug der USA aus den OECD-Gesprächen zur Besteuerung der digitalen Wirtschaft ist kein positives Signal in diese Richtung. Er sollte jedoch nicht als endgültige Niederlage multilateraler Lösungen hingenommen werden, sondern als Warnung und Ermutigung für die anderen Länder, weitere Anstrengungen für gemeinsame Lösungen zu unternehmen.

Die Weltwirtschaftskrise 2008/2009 hatte neben vielen negativen Auswirkungen eine positive Folge: Sie hat die internationale Kooperation in Steuerfragen enorm vorangebracht. Derartige Impulse brauchen wir nun auch zur Bewältigung der Covid-19 Pandemie. Es geht dabei nicht nur darum, mehr Einnahmen zu generieren, sondern vor allem darum, mehr Gerechtigkeit in der Einnahmengenerierung zu schaffen. Dazu müssen Steuergerechtigkeit und –fairness öffentlich stärker diskutiert werden. Denn wie die finanziellen Mittel zur Bewältigung der Krise erhoben und eingesetzt werden, wird sich auch auf die Legitimität der Staaten und den sozialen Zusammenhalt auswirken.

Dieser Text ist Teil einer Sonderreihe unseres Formats Die aktuelle Kolumne, die die Folgen der Corona-Krise entwicklungspolitisch und sozioökonomisch einordnet. Sie finden die weiteren Texte hier auf unserer Überblicksseite.

Kategorien: english

Implementing the IASC Guidelines on inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action

ODI - 29. Juni 2020 - 0:00
Highlighting strategies for using the IASC Guidelines to mainstream disability inclusion within humanitarian interventions.
Kategorien: english

It’s time to turn the Covid-19 recovery into a green renaissance

ODI - 29. Juni 2020 - 0:00
Green must be at the very centre, not on the periphery, of the Covid-19 recovery planning we do now.
Kategorien: english

Negative impacts of electric car battery production must be urgently addressed: UN trade agency

UN ECOSOC - 28. Juni 2020 - 6:15
Demand for raw materials used in the production of electric car batteries is set to soar, prompting the UN trade body, UNCTAD, to call for the social and environmental impacts of the extraction of raw materials, which include human rights abuses, to be urgently addressed.
Kategorien: english

ONLINE | Launch of CDP Paper: National Reports on the 2030 Agenda: What do they (not) reveal?

Global Policy Watch - 27. Juni 2020 - 23:37

Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, member states and civil society have reported on the progress made in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Monday, July 13, 2020, 8:00 am to 9:00 am (EDT).

Please register here.

In National Reports on the 2030 Agenda: What do they (not) reveal?, Roberto Bissio from Social Watch International, Barbara Adams from Global Policy Forum, and Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, professor of international affairs and director of the Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs at The New School and vice chair of the Committee for Development Policy, will discuss lessons of the VNR process to date including national reporting on the 2030 Agenda, both by governments and civil society. The event will present the key findings of an overview content analysis of 2019 Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) by the Committee for Development Policy (CDP).

This event is co-hosted by the United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP), Social Watch International, Global Policy Forum and the Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs.

Presented by Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs at the Schools of Public Engagement, with United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP)Social Watch International, and the Global Policy Forum.

Please register here.

The post ONLINE | Launch of CDP Paper: National Reports on the 2030 Agenda: What do they (not) reveal? appeared first on Global Policy Watch.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

What will power the post-pandemic global economic recovery?

UN ECOSOC - 27. Juni 2020 - 6:15
As governments try to kick-start their economies, the UN is calling for recovery plans to be built around low-carbon technologies, to avoid a return to fossil-fuel based business as usual.
Kategorien: english

Never-ending reformism from above and dissatisfaction from below: the paradox of Moroccan post-Spring politics

GDI Briefing - 26. Juni 2020 - 16:46

For scholars, policy-makers and casual observers, there is no doubt that Morocco has undergone an impressive transformation process since Mohammed VI came to power in 1999. The country projects an image of liberal-democratic modernity and socio-economic progress that the international community is happy to go along with. But at the heart of Moroccan modernization lies a glaring paradox: despite two decades of reforms, the dissatisfaction of ordinary citizens with the way the system works has been consistently high, and a number of socio-economic and political indicators do not support the regime’s claim that the country has democratised or is democratising. This article examines the country’s political system through the reformist process – political, economic and social – that began in the 2000s, continued with the constitutional changes of 2011 and culminated with the two PJD-led governments that followed the parliamentary elections of 2011 and 2016. In particular, this study examines the reformist drive in the context of the inter-paradigm debate between democratisation and authoritarian resilience. We employ four criteria to determine to what extent Morocco has democratised: the accountability of decision-makers, the participation of a plurality of voices in the formulation of policies, the degree of individual freedoms and the protection of human rights. This article concludes that the reformist process is simply a narrative the regime has adopted to fend off international criticism and to reconfigure domestic institutions. The fundamentally authoritarian nature of the regime has not changed, and the dominant institutional role that the monarch – unelected and unaccountable – plays undermines all claims of democratisation.

Kategorien: english

EU among group pushing for relaxation of debt relief rules - 26. Juni 2020 - 15:59
The EU, along with a group of countries, is pushing for a relaxation in how debt relief is defined in the latest round of talks at the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) on Thursday (25 June), EURACTIV understands.
Kategorien: english

Nothing is true

D+C - 26. Juni 2020 - 15:22
Why populists depend on systematical disinformation

As Peter Pomerantsev has argued about Russian President Vladimir Putin, populist leaders want people to feel that “nothing is true and everything is possible” (see Hans Dembowski in Tribune section of D+C/E+Z e-paper 2018/06). President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil similarly depends on disinformation. Depressingly, top leaders of many countries do so, including, for example, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, Narendra Modi in India, Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Boris Johnson in Britain, Donald Trump in the USA and Iván Duque Márquez in Colombia. Other governments also cheat occasionally, but politicians with authoritarian leanings and a tendency to focus on a vague idea of national greatness need to lie systematically. They thrive on hounding scapegoats – communists, immigrants and minorities but also “the elite” or independent media. Leaders like Bolsonaro pretend to be fighting for “the” people, which they suggest is a homogenous entity.

In reality, they serve powerful special interests. In contrast to what the president says, Brazil’s forest fires do not help indigenous communities. They please the lobbies of ranchers and plantation owners. The president’s aggressive rhetoric against supposed enemies serves to distract from actual policy impacts.

Like other populists, Bolsonaro and his team want to destroy or at least discredit fact-based truth. He casts doubt on both independent science and independent journalism, pretending that they only provide a selection of many different alternative perceptions of reality, and that they are at odds with “the” people’s “real” interests. To reinforce that message, automated computer programmes and paid people keep reiterating the same untruths on social media. They follow the example of Joseph Goebbels, who was Nazi Germany’s propaganda minister. He declared that “a lie repeated a thousand times becomes true”.

Bolsonaro’s vicious propaganda is two-pronged. It tirelessly repeats the lies that it wants to be believed and it fiercely attacks the reputation of anyone who dares prove those lies wrong.

Kategorien: english

Lying about Brazil’s forests

D+C - 26. Juni 2020 - 15:07
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro falsely says deforestation is not a problem

In October last year, devastating fires turned several parts of Brazil’s Amazonian forests into ashes. Indigenous people and other marginalised communities suffered in particular, and the entire river basin’s ecology is increasingly at risk (see Carmen Josse in Tribune section of D+C/E+Z e-paper 2019/10). Nonetheless, Bolsonaro addressed an audience of investors in Saudi Arabia and told them that the fires did not worry him. He declared them to be a “typical practice of local and indigenous people in an attempt to transform extractivism into agriculture”.

Experts were shocked, and so was the general public. French President Emmanuel Macron even spoke of a disaster and pointed out that Brazil had to take urgent action. Unless environmental standards are observed, European environmentalists do not want a trade deal between the EU and Mercosur to be ratified. Brazil belongs to the regional organisation Mercosur.

Bolsonaro dismisses any criticism. In autumn, he said: “A few weeks ago, Brazil was severely attacked by a European head of state on the Amazon issue.” He insisted that indigenous people burn down the forest for survival and claimed that this was one of the reasons why he “did not identify with previous policies regarding the Amazon”. Under his predecessors, land was reserved for conservation managed by indigenous communities. Rules of that kind limited how far agribusiness companies could expand operations. They want more land and benefit from the fires that, under Bolsonaro, are clearing forests.

In late 2019, international observers wondered why a head of state would deny science, use false pre3mises and lie about policies that were actually quite successful. Brazilians watching him closely had no doubt. It was an attempt to confuse the public and make the fires seem like something natural.

Systematic obfuscation

Governments run by right-wing populists like Bolsonaro have a strong tendency to obfuscate and mislead (see box). The reason is that empirical facts clash with populist propaganda. Bolsonaro does not want the public to believe what the providers of unbiased, scientific information say, so he does what he can to undermine their credibility.

Accordingly, Bolsonaro turned against the National Institute for Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais – INPE) in August last year. INPE is a government agency that uses satellite images to monitor Brazil. Among other things, it documents the state of Brazilian forests. Its Deter system documents logging in real time. INPE’s methodology is endorsed by NASA, the US space agency. Ricardo Salles, the environment minister supported Bolsonaro’s attack on INPE. Both politicians stated they needed better and more accurate data. They fired Ricardo Galvão, the physicist who was leading the institute.

International observers were shocked. “Jair Bolsonaro and his anti-environment minister, Ricardo Salles, made a bold attempt to lower the iron curtain on Amazon deforestation data – live and before the eyes of the entire world,” stated a comment in El País, the leading Spanish newspaper. “The government’s undisguised intention is to censor INPE and create a monitoring system in tune with the fictional world of Bolsonarism.”

The government has recently been sued for failing to protect the Amazon forest. Cases have been filed by an organisation of environment-ministry staff members, opposition parties and the NGOs Greenpeace and Instituto Socioambiental. Deutsche Welle reported that they argue Bolsonaro’s government acted wrongly by weakening inspections related to timber exports and by cutting climate-protecting funding.

The science is clear: the global climate is changing, and forests are dwindling in many countries. The two trends are mutually reinforcing. In order to protect humankind from ever worsening disasters, they must be stopped. Brazil’s forests are probably the world’s most important – because of their sheer size and their great biodiversity. Making matters more worrisome, deforestation in Brazil may be close to a tipping point after which the forests may be unable to regrow as they did in the past.

Faster deforestation

Bolsonaro won the presidential elections in 2018 and took office on 1 January 2019. His campaign promised to:

  • discontinue environmental assessments,
  • end the protection of specific forest areas and
  • erase demarcations that define indigenous land.

That agenda obviously adds up to faster deforestation. According to Imazon, an independent think tank, 1,722 square kilometres were cleared in the months January to May 2020. That was 39 % more forest area than in the same period a year earlier when Bolsonaro had just taken office.

Brazil’s federal government is taking an anti-science approach not only in regard to forest issues. Its response to the global Covid-19 pandemic has been equally problematic right from the start (see Gilberto Scofield Jr. in Covid-19 diary in D+C/E+Z e-paper 2020/06). Even though the deadly disease is now spreading fast in Brazil (see Thuany Rodrigues in Covid-19 diary in D+C/E+Z e-paper 2020/06), Bolsonaro has not changed his stance. On 7 June, his government stopped publishing total numbers of infections and deaths. According to the website, however, the country had counted almost 690,000 infections by 8 June, more than any other country apart from the USA, and the disease had killed more than 37,000 Brazilians. Many of them, however, belong to black and indigenous communities who, in the right-wing populists’ eyes, do not count as real citizens. In view of all the untruths, many people hope that the truth will soon catch up with Bolsonaro. He is suspected of corruption and obstruction of justice. The Supreme Court authorised investigations in late April. Democracy depends on checks and balances, and Bolsonaro has done his best to blunt them since taking power. The good news is that he has not managed to subvert all state institutions. A leaked video that showed him and his cabinet denigrating the judiciary, moreover, has hurt his own credibility.

His supporters, however, still hope that he will somehow manage to make his make-belief promises come true. That will never happen. Brazil cannot be a homogenous nation that excludes anyone who is somehow different and thrives on destroying the environment. Brazil is a diverse nation – and no society will last if it destroys the foundations on which it depends.

Jorge Soares is the pseudonym of a Brazilian Journalist who wrote this story before being told by his employer that, in these politically troubled times, he may no longer publish opinion pieces.

Kategorien: english

COVID-19 has threatened medical equipment supply chains: it is in developing countries’ interest to rebuild them better

OECD - 26. Juni 2020 - 11:53
By Piergiuseppe Fortunato, Economic Affairs Officer, UNCTAD and Annalisa Primi, Head, Structural Policies and Innovation Unit, OECD Development Centre This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide. Supply chain breakdowns and … Continue reading COVID-19 has threatened medical equipment supply chains: it is in developing countries’ interest to rebuild them better
Kategorien: english

Why we need global cooperation

D+C - 26. Juni 2020 - 11:11
Hans Dembowski spells out some thoughts on global governance ahead of Shattuck Center panel discussion on Friday 3 July

A system that destroys its environment ultimately destroys itself. The reason is that systems are components of the environments in which they exist and on which they depend. That is a very basic tenet of systems theory.

It makes sense to see our species as a single biological system – and obviously, humankind is destroying the natural environment we all depend on. Frightening trends include climate change, the dwindling of biodiversity, the depletion of ocean resources, desertification, deforestation, pollution with long-lasting plastic and more. If these trends are not stopped and reversed, disasters lie ahead. No country will be safe. Without some kind of global governance were all nations have a say, humanity will pay an enormous price.

In a similar way, our species as a whole is exposed to Covid-19. We can only protect our own individual nations if we manage to protect all other nations as well. As long as the pandemic is spreading in some parts of the world, getting a grip on it at the national level is only of limited use. Infections are likely to flare up again elsewhere, and keeping borders closed is not an attractive solution, even though narrow-minded nationalists may like the idea.

They neglect the harm and the pain closed borders cause. Frustration about not being able to travel was an important reason for the collapse of communist rule in East Germany.

It is worth bearing in mind, moreover, that individual nations’ economies are ultimately subsystems of the global economy. Closed borders hurt exporters as well as importers. They reduce opportunity. The bigger markets are, the more opportunities they offer, which is why many emerging markets have benefited from WTO membership. China is the most striking example, but not the only one.

By contrast, there is no example of a developing country that prospered thanks to isolationism and autarky.

As I have argued before, Covid-19 is a double challenge:

  • First of all, health-care systems around the world must cope with the pandemic. Humankind has a common interest in things not spinning out of control anywhere. Nurses and doctors need protective gear everywhere. As research advances and it becomes clearer which therapies work and which don’t, the relevant resources must be made available everywhere. Once there is a vaccine, it must be used to maximum impact. Immunising one nation entirely makes much less sense than to start immunising health-care staff everywhere. The point is that no one is really protected until everyone is.
  • Second, the global economy has taken a hit. Aggregate demand has been radically reduced by lockdowns, and on the supply side, production has stalled in many industries too. There is a need for stimulus spending everywhere. Even more urgent, social protection must be beefed up for those who have lost their normal incomes. Since national economies are interdependent, global cooperation will prove useful.

Global cooperation is required on many other issues, of course. Fighting organised crime, ensuring financial stability and maintaining peace are among the challenges that no national government can rise to successfully on its own.

Digitalisation, moreover, is changing societies everywhere. Global rules concerning data privacy or the deliberate spread of disinformation would be helpful. We do not have them. Even worse, the hugely profitable multinational corporations that dominate the internet hardly pay taxes. Their business practices are disruptive. The global community basically allows them to rake in the benefits, but does not make them contribute to repairing the damage.

In view of all the issues that require global governance, it is bizarre that populist leaders have successfully agitated against multilateralism. It is even more bizarre that media pundits started to theorise that the era of globalists was over and nationalists were now resurgent. What they failed to do was to explain how any kind of “my nation first” approach could ever successfully tackle the big global challenges. Nor could they explain how many leaders who all put their narrowly understood national interest first can ever forge lasting alliances with one another.

It is interesting to note in this context, that Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Jair Bolsonaro, three of the world's most important populist leaders, appear to be having a particularly bad Covid-19 pandemic. In the USA, Britain and Brazil, infection rates are awful, and the death toll terrible. Their governments’ responses to this crisis were guided by wishful thinking, but not well considered.

This is most certain linked to the fact that all three of them have so far thrived politically on aggressive rhetoric. What they never offered is detailed policies designed to solve complex problems. They claim to be making their nation great again. But they do not define greatness in any meaningful way. They show no interest in social inclusion. They do not seem to care about equal opportunities. They promise some kind of world leadership - which is odd, because they do not make any proposals on how to solve humankind's pressing problems.

The international community deserves better. We need prudent global governance – and it can only result from sensible cooperation.

Kategorien: english

SEEG: Addressing COVID-19 with Berlin’s Charité hospital

GIZ Germany - 26. Juni 2020 - 7:35
: Tue, 23 Jun 2020 HH:mm:ss
Experts from Berlin’s Charité hospital and SEEG are supporting Latin American countries in tackling the coronavirus. Their assistance is in higher demand than ever.
Kategorien: english


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