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Lessons from LDCs’ responses to COVID-19: From crisis to opportunities?

OECD - 6. Juli 2020 - 17:43
By Ratnakar Adhikari, Executive Director, Enhanced Integrated Framework 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. This blog is also a part of a thread looking more specifically at the … Continue reading Lessons from LDCs’ responses to COVID-19: From crisis to opportunities?
Kategorien: english

Sustainable Finance for Peace and Climate Security | Climate Security Series – Taped Live

UN Dispatch - 6. Juli 2020 - 16:24

This episode is part three of a six-part series examining the relationship between climate and security, produced in partnership with CGIAR, the world’s largest global agricultural innovation network. This episode was taped live in front of a virtual audience and featured five panelists discussing how sustainable finance can support peace and climate security.

In the context of our conversation, sustainable finance is something of an umbrella term for harnessing private sector capital in the service of social and environmental goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals. The conversation that unfolds over the course of about 50 minutes includes examples of innovative financial products, a discussion of the role of traditional development aid, and a broad conversation about what else needs to be done to scale up private sector investment in climate security.


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The post Sustainable Finance for Peace and Climate Security | Climate Security Series – Taped Live appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

PRESSEMITTEILUNG - Nachhaltigkeitsziele & Menschenrechte müssen Bestandteil aller Anti-Corona Krisen-Pakete sein

Global Policy Forum - 6. Juli 2020 - 13:59

Vereinte Nationen: Hochrangiges Forum für Nachhaltige Entwicklung (High Level Political Forum, HLPF) tagt ab morgen Dienstag, 7. Juli bis 16. Juli (virtuell)

Kategorien: english, Ticker

New approach to conflict prevention

D+C - 6. Juli 2020 - 12:40
Realignment of UN peace work and conflict prevention

Teresa Whitfield, director of Policy and Mediation of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, says the new concept will require a radical organisational transformation at the UN: “There will be no more sharp cuts between preventive diplomacy and linear peacebuilding aimed at enduring peace.” The UN now takes an integral approach to thinking through peace processes.

According to Whitfield, this implies there can be no peace without development or without respect for human rights. Peace work needs to take into account new issues such as climate security and root-cause analysis as well as conflict mediation. Aspects such as development and poverty reduction also need to be integrated. But, as Whitfield points out: “Practical implementation is a major challenge, especially in an organisation where a silo mentality prevails.”

However, as the researcher told participants in a Development and Peace Foundation (SEF) online conference on “Crisis Prevention: From Ambition to Action. New Pathways for the UN” in June, she believes the UN has already made considerable progress. The organisation has significantly improved its mediation work, she said, analysing conflicts more intelligently and involving not only governments in crisis intervention and peace work but now also civil society and non-governmental organisations. She also sees a positive sign in the UN leadership’s strong commitment to inclusion and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the pledge to “leave no one behind”.

But Whitfield also explained to the conference that the conflicts ongoing today are much more complex and harder to resolve than those in the past. Conflict resolution is complicated by the following:

  • Many internal conflicts have an international dimension, which makes them impossible to resolve by traditional methods.
  • The armed groups involved are highly fragmented. There are no longer just two conflicting parties such as government and opposition; there are a whole range of players, with different objectives and financial backers.

Examples include the civil wars in Libya, Yemen and Syria. Problems in the UN Security Council make matters worse. All five permanent members have a power of veto, so they can block important decisions. The other, non-permanent members do not have this power and can do practically nothing about it.

Adriana Erthal Abdenur from the Instituto Igarapé, an independent security and development think tank based in Rio de Janeiro, praised the new UN approach at the SEF conference. In her opinion, however, the UN should do more to promote South-South cooperation. So far – she said – South-South cooperation has been understood in extremely narrow terms as technical assistance. At the same time, new actors such as China, India, Indonesia, Turkey and even small states like Timor-Leste are taking innovative approaches to conflict prevention. A vast amount of knowledge and resources is available but not being sufficiently harnessed in the UN process, Abdenur says.

The researcher points to other major innovations at the UN such as the Climate Security Mechanism (CSM), an inter-agency cooperation between the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, UN Development Programme and UN Environment Programme. The CSM is designed to facilitate a more comprehensive UN response to climate-related security risks. Abdenur believes this topic needs to be spread “on a broad base within the organisation”, meaning that all measures and programmes must take climate-related security risks into account.

A great deal has been done in the UN to make processes inclusive. Many measures, such as mediation, have been shifted from governmental level to different actors. One example is Colombia, where after long negotiations and lots of pressure from civil society, a peace agreement was finally reached in 2016 between the government and the country’s largest rebel group, FARC.

Abdenur stressed one point in particular at the online conference: “UN member states and other relevant actors need to be convinced that conflict prevention is not only more economical but also much more effective and saves more lives than a reactive approach.” There is lots of evidence for this, she claimed, referring participants to the UN and World Bank study “Pathways for Peace”.

In a research paper, Abdenur points to another major change that is needed if conflict prevention is to be more than just a buzzword: risk assessment methodologies need to be improved. New technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) should be harnessed for this. The UN is currently working on innovative techniques that use big data and AI to help assess national crisis situations. The experts hope that with these new methods they will be able to predict crises and conflicts faster and more precisely and ideally prevent them in advance.


Whitfield, T., 2019: Mediating in a Complex World.

Abdenur, A., 2019: Making Conflict Prevention a Concrete Reality at the UN.

UN and World Bank, 2018: Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict.

Kategorien: english

A battle for the soul of Islam

D+C - 6. Juli 2020 - 12:16
A feature film shows the threat of violent Islam coming to Senegal

The Islamist fundamentalists came into town softly at first, bearing cash and gifts. They slowly won the favour of townspeople and gained authority. And then they took control – imposing a harsh and violent rule on unsuspecting people who had practiced a gentle form of Islam for centuries.

That is the main story line of a gripping new film by a young Senegalese filmmaker, Mamadou Dia. The film was shown in February at the Film Museum in Frankfurt in the presence of the director, who spoke with the audience afterwards about what he has to say in this film, and why.

On one level the film, titled “Baamum Nafi” (“Nafi’s father”), is a family drama. It concerns two brothers, one known only as “the Tierno”, the town’s long-serving Imam, who leads his people with a gentle hand. The Tierno, a much-loved but somewhat weak figure, has lived in the town all his life.

His older brother, Ousmane, on the other hand, received their father’s support to travel abroad and expand his horizons. Ousmane became a follower of a radical fundamentalist known only as “the Sheikh”. He returned to his home town as an agent of the Sheikh, bringing with him the violent jihadist’s cash and gifts with which to buy influence, and a band of thugs with whom to take control.

Complicating matters is that the two brothers are also fathers, and their teenage children – the Tierno’s daughter Nafi and Ousmane’s son Tokara – are in love and wish to marry. In view of their traditionalist families, the kids are quite avant-garde: the beautiful and intelligent Nafi wishes to study medicine in Dakar and become a doctor, and the gentle and talented Tokara wishes to study dance and become a professional dancer. They support each other in their aspirations.

The two fathers are unaware of these modernist winds blowing through their own homes. They are focused on their struggles with each other: the Tierno’s bitterness that he did not have Ousmane’s opportunities in the world; their differences over how the wedding of their children should be conducted; and their battle to control the town and determine how Islam will be practiced there.

The Tierno is clearly the more sympathetic of the two brothers. But the towns­people, blinded by cash gifts and by arguments about “true Islam” meant to undermine the Tierno’s authority, gradually shift to Ousmane’s camp.

Then the dark side of Islamist fundamentalism starts to appear. Women are required to cover themselves from head to toe with chadors. Forced marriages take place in a mass ceremony. Girls skipping rope run away when the religious overseers approach, knowing that anything that looks like fun is against the new rules. Unmarried couples holding hands in public are seen as a problem.

It gets worse. A petty thief is punished harshly; one sees a sword coming down, and while a severed hand is not shown, viewers get the idea. A town that was previously easy-going and tolerant turns into a fearful place gripped by corrupt, power-mad rulers using religion to impose a reign of terror.

Clearly, a new interpretation of Islam has taken hold. The townspeople are ambivalent; many were taken by surprise. At one point the two brothers debate what Islam actually means. Is it a religion of tolerance and charity, as the Tierno understands it? Or is it a harsh system of rules based on strict interpretation and punitive application of Koranic precepts, as seen by Ousmane?

The film ultimately is a tragedy. To be able to marry, Nafi and Tokara carry out a trick to get around Islamist rules. The gambit ends badly. But towards the end, Nafi does go off to the University and one gets the sense that many townspeople have come to see the reign of terror for what it is, and turn against it.

Interestingly, this film was made in Mamadou Dia’s home town of Matam, in northeastern Senegal, right on the border of Mauritania. Only two professional actors were in – those portraying the two brothers. Every­one else in the film is a resident of Matam.

That arrangement gives the film a documentary aspect – showing daily life in a small town – while weaving in fictional elements to show how violent Islamism can infiltrate a peaceful town. It also meant Dia – who previously worked as a journalist across Africa – could produce his first feature-length film on a low budget.

In his comments to the audience in Frankfurt after the screening, Dia explained why he made this film. “In 2014 I went to New York to study film. Every time I said I am a Muslim, people had a certain idea of what that is, and I had to explain, ‘no, Senegal is different, that is not how we live Islam.’” Senegal is officially a secular state and it outlaws violent fundamentalism. In local towns, the practice of Islam is often mixed with pre-Islamic traditions.

Dia noted that fundamentalism is an interpretation of Islam and is not necessarily linked to violence. “There are a billion Muslims in the world. There is not just one type of Muslim; there is a whole range. In Senegal, we call Muslims who eat pork and drink alcohol ‘Muslims of the left’, and there are many other types as well. The one percent of Muslims who go around killing people, the so-called Jihadists, kill more Muslims than any other religion.”

In response to an audience member from Mali, who noted that violent Islamism has infiltrated much of the Sahel region including Mali, Dia said: “Senegal is not safer or stronger than Mali or Burkina Faso. We all want to live in peaceful places. Senegal is secular and extremism hasn’t happened yet. I wanted to tell the people of Senegal not to wait for extremism to hit before we talk about it. That is why I made the film: to get the debate started.”

Baamum Nafi (Nafi’s father), 2019, Senegal, director: Mamadou Dia.

Kategorien: english

COVID-19: super-accelerator or game-changer for international (development) co-operation?

GDI Briefing - 6. Juli 2020 - 11:34

The outbreak of COVID-19 as a global health emergency and the resulting socio-economic crisis is testing global structures of co-operation. The challenges are giving rise to new forms and expressions of transnational solidarity.

Kategorien: english

Corona und die SDGs: Folgen der COVID-19 Pandemie für die Verwirklichung der globalen Nachhaltigkeitsziele (Stand Juli 2020)

Global Policy Forum - 6. Juli 2020 - 10:49

Die COVID-19-Pandemie und die politischen Maßnahmen, mit denen die Regierungen auf sie reagierten, haben gravierende Folgen für die globale Nachhaltigkeitsagenda. Auch wenn sich das ganze Ausmaß der Krise und ihrer Auswirkungen derzeit noch nicht abschätzen lässt, droht schon jetzt die Gefahr, dass die Pandemie die Verwirklichung der international vereinbarten Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung (SDGs) in ihrer Gesamtheit gefährdet. Das neue Briefing des Global Policy Forums skizziert für jedes der 17 SDGs anhand einiger punktueller Beispiele, welches Ausmaß die globale Coronakrise in verschiedenen Sektoren haben kann. Es macht deutlich, dass die Agenda 2030 und ihre Nachhaltigkeitsziele scheitern werden, wenn sie in den politischen Antworten auf die Coronakrise nicht systematisch berücksichtigt werden.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

“Governance is fundamental”

D+C - 6. Juli 2020 - 9:41
UNDP chief explains how the concepts of “human development” and “sustainable development” are converging

When the UNDP launched the Human Development Index (HDI) in 1990, the guiding idea was to empower people to take their fates into their own hands. Do I remember that correctly?
Yes, but that was not the singular motivation. The Human Development Index introduced a broader approach to advance human wellbeing termed the human development approach. This methodology is about expanding the richness of human life, rather than simply the richness of the economy in which human beings live. The index was a response to the dominant paradigm back then – that is, powerful institutions were simply equating development with economic growth and rising per-capita incomes. That was the era of structural adjustment and the Washington Consensus, both of which were entirely geared towards market dynamics. Human wellbeing did not get much attention. On behalf of the UNDP, Amartya Sen and Mahbub ul Haq, two prominent economists, designed the HDI in a way that took into account important other components that were overlooked – especially education and health outcomes. Both elements are extremely important to a person’s wellbeing. It is critical to measure a country’s progress in these areas to see where there are gaps and address them – to ensure that people can indeed reach their full potential.

Has the HDI changed the development paradigm?
Yes, in many ways the HDI has become mainstream. Consider, for example, the fact that the World Bank launched its own Human Capital Index in 2018, which aims to measure progress in some of the same areas. However, the debate does not stand still, and we strive to improve the concept accordingly. We are now focusing more and more on inequality. Last year’s Human Development Report showed, for example, that more equal societies often outperform more unequal societies. That is true in spite of lower per-capita incomes. For the first time, this year’s report will include an assessment of how inequality and environmental problems are intrinsically linked. It is critical to better understand how issues like pollution or the destruction of ecosystems hurt poor people much more than rich people – and design ways to address this imbalance.

Is human development ultimately the same as sustainable development?
The two concepts are certainly converging, but they have a different history. Human development is more squarely focused on human beings. It was conceived to counter an understanding of development that purely took economic indicators into account. The concept of sustainable development was formulated for different reasons. It was adopted by the UN at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 after many years of debate. The fundamental idea is that future generations must enjoy the same opportunities as people do today. One implication of this is the principle that business activity must not damage or destroy the natural environment. However, global warming and the loss of ecosystems and biodiversity is quite obviously harming the outlook for future generations. The Earth Summit also emphasised that the rich regions of the world cannot prosper at the expense of disadvantaged regions. Every human being deserves the same opportunities in life. The three pillars of sustainability, as understood in Rio – social inclusion, environmental protection and the long-term viability of businesses – remain critically important today.

A core element of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the principle to “leave no one behind”. Does it make sense to trace the SDGs back to the Earth Summit?
Yes, and we can trace their germination back to previous international debates as well. The UN has a long history of thought leadership in these matters. The Brundtland Commission was very important in the late 1980s, as was the Brandt Commission in the early 1980s.

To what extent is improved governance – at national as well as global levels – essential to achieving the SDGs?
Governance is absolutely fundamental. It is about how we interact with one another. It is about fairness, rule of law, values and so on. The rights of individual persons depend on governance. That also applies to the rights of minorities and other vulnerable groups. However, it is difficult to measure the quality of governance, not least because there are ideological differences. Nonetheless, the SDGs reflect a multilateral consensus. By using them as the yardstick, there is actually some scope to measure how effective countries’ governance systems are. Apart from governments, many other actors have to play their part in governance, of course – from the private-sector to civil-society organisations or research institutes. Governance is about more than just government action, and that is especially true at the global level. We do not have a “world government”, but we do have governance systems that regulate many important things from telecoms and postal services to trade and maritime safety. The Covid-19 pandemic proves once again how important global governance is. Unless we work together to contain the virus everywhere, it is liable to re-emerge and spread rapidly again. Indeed, an economic slowdown in one part of the world will have a major knock-on effect and hurt other regions of the world. If we want the world economy to recover, we will need stimulus programmes for every country – not only the prosperous ones.

Is the global governance system up to task?
Let me say first that the system is remarkably strong. Don’t forget that its institutions were largely built during the Cold War. In spite of that era’s fundamental tensions, multilateral institutions grew, and today, they are managing important tasks quite successfully. It is true, however, that the multilateral system faces considerable constraints. It is somewhat remarkable to consider that the budget of the UN Secretary-General is about the same size as the budget of the New York City Fire Department. It is hard to deny that the multilateral system is underfunded. The UN Security Council should have been reformed many years ago for its membership to better reflect current power relations. Moreover, we need increased respect for international law. Indeed, a renewed commitment to global governance would be a welcome development.

But many governments now emphasise sovereignty and want to put their nations’ interests first.
Well, it is a false dichotomy to try to choose between global governance and sovereignty. Global governance benefits all nations – and it does not require a country to surrender sovereignty. On the contrary, global governance results from sovereign countries joining forces to rise to challenges together. The plain truth is that countries can only achieve certain objectives through cooperation – aims which are impossible if they go alone. Indeed, the great challenges that humankind now faces, exceed the capacities of every single nation state. Most notably, no country can manage the climate crisis on its own. And world trade and the global financial architecture require cooperation. The rapid spread of Covid-19 and its lack of respect for borders is a stark reminder of this fact. Crises will keep getting worse unless we can rely on strong, respected and effective global institutions.

I’d like to return to where we started. It seems to me that the paradigm that equates growth with development is still quite strong. To some extent, it even marks the SDGs which emphasise the importance of private-sector businesses and market dynamics. Does that not fly in the face of human development?
No, not really. It is another fallacy to believe that we must choose between economic prosperity and environmental sustainability. That is something the experts agree on. Economies can – and must – develop further without destroying the environment. Germany is actually a good example of development that is not purely linked to economic growth but rather, it is about fostering green growth and sustainable development. The country’s performance in the past ten years or so has been good. There was full employment before the Covid-19 crisis began, but the growth rate was actually very disappointing in comparison with previous decades. The more an economy matures, the less important growth becomes. Nonetheless, many policymakers in all countries, are stuck in the old growth mindset. Too many finance ministries around the world still do not have an office or at least an expert team to assess environmental sustainability issues. Once again, more, not less cooperation in this area, is the best way to make progress.

Some critics say that the entire notion of development is toxic because former colonial powers are imposing their will on the rest of the world. They say humankind needs a fundamental “restart”. What is your response?
I think that this is a mostly hypothetical reasoning without much relevance to what happens next in our world. Throughout history, different cultures have interacted with one another. There was a constant exchange leading to both opportunities and risks. It is impossible to go back in history and start from scratch. We must work together to meet the challenges that our species is collectively facing right now – most notably climate change.

Achim Steiner is the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Kategorien: english

Reliable and forward-looking: GIZ provides effective support in the Corona crisis

GIZ Germany - 6. Juli 2020 - 7:51
: Thu, 02 Jul 2020 HH:mm:ss
Annual press conference: Business volume rises to EUR 3.1 billion in 2019
Kategorien: english

Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven is GIZ’s new managing director

GIZ Germany - 6. Juli 2020 - 7:51
: Tue, 30 Jun 2020 HH:mm:ss
The development expert will start work on 1 October 2020.
Kategorien: english

Climate and Environmental Report: sustainable mobility is crucial

GIZ Germany - 6. Juli 2020 - 7:51
: Fri, 13 Mar 2020 HH:mm:ss
On the road to climate neutrality in 2020: business trips are the biggest contributing factor to greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore offer the greatest potential for savings.
Kategorien: english

Participatory scenario planning in times of uncertainty: five key lessons

ODI - 6. Juli 2020 - 0:00
Five takeaways about constructing participatory scenarios for adaptive programmes.
Kategorien: english

Join the Global Reset Dialogue

ODI - 6. Juli 2020 - 0:00
Join the conversation as thought leaders around the world share their views on how to build a more equal and sustainable world beyond Covid-19.
Kategorien: english

HLPF 2020 Alternative VNR Reports by Our Members

Women - 5. Juli 2020 - 20:37


Similar to previous years, the Women’s Major Group’s members throughout the World, have prepared Alternative / Shadow Reports for their countries’ Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs). The list of HLPF 2020’s VNR countries can be found here.

In fact, developing a shadow report can be a powerful tool in any case. It provides a platform to work across civil society organizations, creates opportunities to engage with your government, helps determine a baseline to measure change over time, generates information and analysis to use in advocacy and media work, and helps to identify gaps and deficiencies in government policies and programs. If you are engaged in other types of international reporting, such as reporting to the CEDAW Committee, you may be able to use information and analysis from one shadow report to support another.” – WMG’s Engaging with the National Voluntary Review Process


Alliance of Civil Society Organizations of Argentina’s Report (English)

Alliance of Civil Society Organizations of Argentina’s Report (Spanish)


Right Here, Right Now Coalition (YUWA)’s Report (English)



The post HLPF 2020 Alternative VNR Reports by Our Members appeared first on Women's Major Group.

Kategorien: english

‘Stay the course together to emerge stronger’ from COVID-19 crisis: UN chief’s message to major sustainability forum

UN #SDG News - 5. Juli 2020 - 17:00
As a major United Nations forum prepares to assess progress towards a fairer future for people and the planet, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has warned that each of the Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kategorien: english

Towards greening trade? Environmental provisions in emerging markets’ preferential trade agreements

GDI Briefing - 5. Juli 2020 - 11:29

This chapter focuses on the linkage between economic and environmental governance by tracking environmental provisions in preferential trade agreements (PTAs). While the USA and the European Union are frequently seen as innovators of ‘green’ content in PTAs, systematic research on the role of emerging markets in promoting this development is scarce. For this reason, we develop an original, detailed data set mapping the environmental content in 48 PTAs signed by the emerging markets China, India, Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico. Our findings clearly indicate a trend towards more environmental content in those countries’ PTAs over time. At the same time, the data hint at patterns that suggest that these developments may at least be partly driven by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. The chapter contributes to the literature on the design of PTAs, the linkage between trade and environment, as well as the role of emerging markets in global governance.

Kategorien: english

Corona und die SDGs: Folgen der COVID-19 Pandemie für die Verwirklichung der globalen Nachhaltigkeitsziele

Global Policy Forum - 5. Juli 2020 - 7:00

Die COVID-19-Pandemie und die politischen Maßnahmen, mit denen die Regierungen auf sie reagierten, haben gravierende Folgen für die globale Nachhaltigkeitsagenda. Auch wenn sich das ganze Ausmaß der Krise und ihrer Auswirkungen derzeit noch nicht abschätzen lässt, droht schon jetzt die Gefahr, dass die Pandemie die Verwirklichung der international vereinbarten Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung (SDGs) in ihrer Gesamtheit gefährdet. Das neue Briefing des Global Policy Forums skizziert für jedes der 17 SDGs anhand einiger punktueller Beispiele, welches Ausmaß die globale Coronakrise in verschiedenen Sektoren haben kann. Es macht deutlich, dass die Agenda 2030 und ihre Nachhaltigkeitsziele scheitern werden, wenn sie in den politischen Antworten auf die Coronakrise nicht systematisch berücksichtigt werden.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

The changing landscape of sustainability standards in Indonesia: potentials and pitfalls of making global value chains more sustainable

GDI Briefing - 4. Juli 2020 - 11:41

This chapter investigates the changing landscape of voluntary sustainability standards in Indonesia and discusses potential trade-offs between the socio-economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in the context of smallholder certification in the palm oil sector. On the one hand, there is a concern that sustainability standards might weaken the socio-economic situation of smallholders by preventing them from having access to global value chains and markets that demand certification. On the other hand, whereas certification can give rise to socio-economic benefits for smallholders taking part in certification schemes, these benefits may have undesirable consequences for environmental sustainability. The chapter studies these trade-offs and discusses how the synergies between economic, environmental and social sustainability can be promoted.

Kategorien: english


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