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Chinese investment in Afghanistan’s lithium sector: A long shot in the short term

Brookings - 3. August 2022 - 22:09

By Lilly Blumenthal, Caitlin Purdy, Victoria Bassetti

Speculation is mounting that China will take advantage of the power vacuum created by the 2021 U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and seek dominance over that country’s mineral resources, particularly its lithium deposits. These resources play a key role in the global energy transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable resources. Given its global role in exploiting critical minerals, China’s possible activities in Afghanistan raise both security and good governance challenges to the West. In this piece, we unpack several reasons to be skeptical of near-term Chinese-led investment in Afghanistan’s lithium sector while outlining the broader geopolitical interests that may be driving China’s moves in this space.

Concern by the United States and its allies about China’s potential push into Afghanistan’s mining sector is well-founded. China is diplomatically and commercially poised to make additional moves in Afghanistan. Beijing is well positioned to strike mining deals with the Taliban. It has kept its diplomatic mission running in Kabul, hinted that it may formally recognize the Taliban government, and voiced opposition to international sanctions against Afghanistan— though has stopped short of trying to lift them. Foreign Minister Wang Yi even made a surprise visit to the country in late March, the highest-ranking foreign official of any country besides Pakistan and Qatar to do so after the Taliban’s rise to power. He denounced “the political pressure and economic sanctions on Afghanistan imposed by non-regional forces.”

Chinese-Afghan mining deals theoretically make sense. Chinese mining companies could provide the Taliban with much-needed cash to soften the blow of a crippling international sanctions program, which has sparked an economic and humanitarian crisis. In exchange, Beijing would get access to a new, bountiful source of minerals critical to the government’s ongoing decarbonization efforts.

Chinese dominance across critical mineral supply chains poses a strategic challenge to the U.S. and Europe’s green energy transition. The lithium found in Afghanistan is a crucial component of large-capacity batteries for electric vehicles and clean-energy storage systems. Copper, nickel, cobalt, and rare earth elements are also found in Afghanistan, all of which are crucial to the energy transition. China already controls a significant share of mineral processing capacity and is stepping up downstream investments to maintain its control over these and other minerals.

Chinese dominance across critical mineral supply chains poses a strategic challenge to the U.S. and Europe’s green energy transition.

Perhaps aware of the challenge, Washington has recently made moves to bolster its own energy resources. Notably, President Joe Biden invoked a Cold War statute, the Defense Production Act, to boost U.S. production of minerals and metals necessary for electric vehicles  and clean-energy storage systems.

Chinese inroads in Afghanistan also present global governance and corruption questions. Even before the Taliban took control, Afghanistan was plagued by poor governance, marked by a lack of transparency, weak rule of law, and high conflict. In the wake of the American exit, a pro-democracy/anti-corruption force, though heavily flawed, has vanished from the scene. The effect of China’s entrance—potentially as a partner in trillion-dollar business deals—cannot be predicted. But in other countries, China has played an ambiguous role in anti-corruption efforts at best.

Corruption has plagued Afghanistan before. When states are unable to implement transparency, accountability, participation, and other complementary mechanisms— as mentioned in our Leveraging Transparency to Reduce Corruption TAP-Plus framework— there is a greater risk that citizens will not see the economic development benefits of natural resource rents.

In practice, however, American anxiety surrounding China’s potential moves in Afghanistan’s mining sector may be misplaced, for now. Large-scale Chinese development of Afghanistan’s mining sector is improbable, at least in the short term. There are major commercial and operational barriers, as well as regulatory and security challenges. It seems unlikely Beijing would make an aggressive, high-risk lithium play in Afghanistan when other projects in its pipeline are easier to develop and in less risky jurisdictions.

The Taliban sits on largely unexplored but potentially significant natural resource wealth

Afghanistan’s significant but largely unexploited mineral reserves are valued at an estimated $1-3 trillion. However, that estimate does not consider the extraordinarily high cost of accessing the reserves. A 2019 Afghan mining sector map estimated that the country’s reserves include critical resources for the energy transition, like 2.3 billion metric tons (MTs) of iron ore, 30 million MTs of copper, and 1.4 million MTs of rare earth materials. The country is also believed to have significant stores of lithium, potentially rivaling those of Bolivia, which currently has the world’s largest reserves.

Afghanistan’s recent acute economic decline has driven questions about how the country may leverage untapped mineral wealth. The country is currently facing a devastating humanitarian crisis, exacerbated by inflation, millions of dollars in lost income, and the collapse of the country’s banking sector following the Taliban’s takeover. In 2021, the International Monetary Fund warned that Afghanistan’s GDP could contract by up to 30%. Given the surging demand for lithium, there has been speculation that selling the untapped reserves may offer the Taliban an opportunity to forge legitimate connections with international actors and secure a steady stream of legal income.

The Taliban already derives revenue from mining – but commercializing lithium will be difficult

There is already artisanal and small-scale mining in Afghanistan, most of which is informal and unregulated, taking place outside of the country’s formal fiscal and regulatory regime. Mining was a main source of revenue for the Taliban— as well as for Daesh, local militias, and warlords – throughout the U.S. war in Afghanistan. The Taliban established income streams from a relatively diverse portfolio of minerals, comprised of bulk commodities (e.g., coal), industrial minerals (e.g., talc and chromite), and more traditionally “lootable” high-value-per-weight minerals that are easy to get to market (e.g., gold and gemstones, notably emeralds, rubies, and lapis lazuli). The group is estimated to have earned between $200 million and $300 million from mining, its second-largest revenue stream following narcotics. This income was sourced through a combination of direct mining income, collecting quasi royalties and protection payments from miners, and transit tolls.

However, as things currently stand, the Taliban cannot commercialize Afghanistan’s mining sector, including lithium, without outside help. The Taliban’s mining portfolio is mostly comprised of minerals that can be mined and/or processed with limited capital and technology. Gemstones and gold are mined by artisanal and small-scale miners from surface or near-surface deposits using relatively rudimentary processes, but mining and processing lithium is capital- and technologically- intensive and will therefore require outside investment.

Chinese-led development of Afghanistan’s lithium is unlikely in the short term

Western investors are unlikely to invest in Afghanistan’s lithium sector given the sanctions risk. The leading candidate to step forward is China, which has long pursued strategic dominance in the lithium-dependent battery storage segment of the green energy revolution. Reuters reported that, as of 2019, “Chinese entities now control nearly half of global lithium production and 60 percent of electric battery production capacity.”

China has maintained a tricky yet friendly relationship with the Taliban since their takeover. Unofficially, China has been “speaking with the Taliban for many years.” In July, a month before Kabul officially fell, Taliban leadership welcomed the prospects of Chinese aid and reconstruction: “China is a friendly country, and we welcome it for reconstruction and developing Afghanistan… If [the Chinese] have investments, of course, we will ensure their safety.” In November 2021, representatives of several Chinese companies reportedly conducted on-site inspections of potential lithium projects in Afghanistan.

Yet, there are several reasons to be skeptical of near-term Chinese-led investment in Afghanistan’s lithium sector.

  • Development of a large-scale lithium mine would require substantial investment. There is a high degree of uncertainty regarding the geological survey of the country’s lithium reserves. Commercial development would first require substantial investment in a survey and exploration program. Much of the existing geological information dates to the Soviet era and may be an overestimation of existing reserves. The U.S. also performed high-level mapping of mineralized areas in Afghanistan during the U.S. occupation, but there remains uncertainty around the extent of probable reserves. Moreover, it would likely be logistically challenging, time-consuming, and costly to mine and export products from Afghanistan, a landlocked country with limited transport and power infrastructure. Production and transportation overhead would be significant. Commercial production would likely take at least 15 years to achieve, as an optimistic estimate, but it could take longer.
  • China strategically employs fiscal, regulatory, or security concerns to stall developments and prevent alternative investment. For instance, China has dragged its feet on existing Afghan mining developments. In November 2007, a state-owned Chinese company won the right to develop Mes Aynak, a large copper mine in Logar province. The company, China Metallurgical Group (MCC), agreed to invest $3 billion, which includedbuilding a plant to process the copper in-country, developing a railway to Torkham on the Pakistani border, and constructing a power plant to provide energy to the mine site, the surrounding areas, and the city of Kabul. However, development stalled due to security challenges, contract disagreements between MCC and the Afghan government, and concerns about impacts on cultural heritage. China is negotiating with the Taliban to start production at the Mes Aynak site, but the timeline remains unclear.

Simultaneously, state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. is discussing revamping the Amu Darya oil and gas project development. There are also rumored to be other ongoing conversations between the Taliban and Chinese investors, including those related to lithium. There is limited information regarding which companies might be considering lithium investment and where, making it hard to disentangle substance from speculation. To date, no deals have materialized. This suggests that while China is willing to acquire concessions, its primary interest may be blocking other players’ access to these resources.

  • China has recently made several lithium plays elsewhere. Notably, in the last five years, Chinese companies have made significant investments in Latin America and Africa. In 2019, the Bolivian government chose a Chinese consortium, Xinjiang TBEA Group Co Ltd, as its strategic partner on multiple lithium projects valued at $2.3 billion. Chinese companies made several major acquisitions in Argentina’s lithium sector last year, including Zijin’s $770 million takeover of Neo Lithium Corp. Ganfeng Lithium took over Bacanora Lithium with a $391 million cash offer in 2021, gaining control of the Sonora lithium project in Mexico, while China’s BYD Chile won a major lithium extraction project in Chile in early 2022. Zijin also recently launched a lithium exploration project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

As others have noted, it is hard to see why China would make an aggressive short-term play in Afghanistan’s lithium sector – given the pipeline of projects and opportunities that would be much easier and less risky to develop. With the exception of the DRC, in all of these examples, Chinese companies have sought out advanced projects in jurisdictions with a mining track record.

China is likely playing a long game to advance its broader geopolitical interests

Beijing is no doubt aware that any significant mining development in Afghanistan faces serious obstacles in the short term due to insecurity and corruption. An alternative read of the situation is that China is using the potential of investments, including in lithium mining, as one of many bargaining chips with the Taliban to build strong relations and advance its broader geopolitical interests. Chinese bids for concessions may also be a strategic move to preempt other countries from investing in Afghanistan’s mining sector, sealing off other players’ concessions to maintain its own market dominance.

Beijing has been clear that it wants regional stability and the Taliban’s help achieving it.

It is more likely that Beijing is developing relationships to retain an option for large-scale development down the line while waiting to see how Afghanistan’s politics and commercial lithium markets shake out. China’s goal of maintaining stability in Afghanistan and broader regional security in Central Asia, where it has made substantial investments in energy and infrastructure projects as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, is important to safeguard and link its economic investments. The Belt and Road Initiative covers the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a series of construction projects throughout Pakistan that includes the development of a large international port at Gwadar, via rail, road, and pipelines.

Beijing has been clear that it wants regional stability and the Taliban’s help achieving it. Foreign Minister Wang has said China supports an inclusive government that incorporates non-Taliban factions, advances moderate domestic and foreign policies, and cracks down on terrorist groups. On the latter point, Beijing has made it clear that the Taliban must cut ties with terrorist groups as a condition of further relations and investment, particularly the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), a Uyghur militant group that repeatedly targets China. The Taliban appears to be considering Beijing’s demands in this respect and in late May relocated TIP fighters away from the Chinese border. However, China remains cautious. For example, China may be hesitant to use its full powers in the U.N. Security Council to dismantle the sanctions regime against Afghanistan because it may not trust the Taliban to fully restrain the TIP.

Overall, the viability of large-scale mining development may well hinge on Afghanistan’s longer-term political and economic trajectory. The government is plagued by divisions, and hard-liners appear to be winning an internal power struggle, evident in a series of draconian actions in late March that rolled back freedoms in the country – including barring older girls from secondary school. China would likely tolerate a hard-line government if it is stable. However, in the current context, donors are less likely to provide assistance beyond basic humanitarian aid, making it challenging for the Taliban to address mounting security and economic challenges.

Beijing’s short-term calculus may change if China’s projects in Latin America do not come to fruition, or if logistical barriers subside and the economic and humanitarian situation stabilizes in Afghanistan. For now, however, there remains a high degree of uncertainty as to whether China will make a serious effort to develop Afghanistan’s lithium reserves.

      
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The Life Project at Clinica Noel, Medellin

Devex - 3. August 2022 - 17:34
Kategorien: english

Psychosocial support and cleft care

Devex - 3. August 2022 - 17:32
Kategorien: english

Ukraine: Black Sea grain shipment success raises hopes more will follow

UN ECOSOC - 3. August 2022 - 16:25
The first, eagerly-awaited commercial shipment of grain to leave the Ukrainian port of Odesa since Russia’s invasion more than five months ago, was cleared to proceed to Lebanon on Wednesday, after a scheduled inspection stopover in Istanbul.
Kategorien: english

The role of regional economic communities in implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area

Brookings - 3. August 2022 - 6:30

By Andrew Mold, Aloysius Uche Ordu

Andrew Mold, chief of regional integration for Eastern Africa at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, explores aspects of the continent’s economic integration agenda under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), arguing that low estimates of intra-African trade can be misleading and exploring how the region’s individual regional economic communities will be central to the agreement’s implementation.

Foresight Africa podcast is part of the Brookings Podcast Network. Subscribe and listen on AppleSpotify, and wherever you listen to podcasts. Send feedback email to podcasts@brookings.edu.

      
Kategorien: english

Food transformations and (un)sustainable diets: Taking consumption seriously in development research

EADI Debating Development Research - 2. August 2022 - 11:08
By Arve Hansen The world is in dire need of more sustainable and healthy food systems. The development field has much to say on the topic but has historically had a clear focus on either food supply or food deprivation. The potential benefits and positive spill-over effects of eating healthier and more sustainably have, however, …
Kategorien: english, Ticker

The Importance of Multi-Stakeholders Involvement in Post-Pandemic Education Recovery

#C20 18 - 2. August 2022 - 5:01

C20 Press Release on 3rd G20 Education Working Group (EdWG) Meeting
Education, Digitalization and Civic Space Working Group (EDCSWG) Education Sub-Working Group

Jakarta, 1 August 2022 – The G20 Education Working Group (EdWG) recently held its third meeting on 27-28 July 2022 online, discussing the third and fourth priority agendas of the education sector, namely, Solidarity and Partnership, and the Future of Work Post-COVID-19 aimed to achieve a global-scale gotong royong in preparing students with relevant skills needed in the future.

On this occasion, the G20 EdWG Host or the Indonesian Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology (MoECRT) invited Civil 20 (C20) and Think 20 (T20) as part of the official Engagement Groups; international organisations such as UNICEF, UNESCO, and OECD; and the G20 Employment Working Group (EWG) or the Indonesian Ministry of Employment.

The C20 Education, Digitalization and Civic Space Working Group (EDCSWG) appreciates the invitation from the G20 EdWG to participate in the working group’s 2nd and 3rd meetings, and to share findings as well as experiences related to Solidarity and Partnership as part of reimagining, rebuilding, and recovering the education sector. The C20 EDCSWG also values various examples and best practices implemented by multiple stakeholders at all levels from public to private in many countries with different backgrounds, systems, and needs, with one common purpose; to give their very best in responding to recovery.

During the 3-minute intervention, presented by the C20 Coordinator for EDCSWG, Imelda Usnadibrata, stated that the presence 3Cs (COVID-19, Conflicts, Climate Change Crisis) emphasised the need for a Resilient Education System, which could be achieved through Multi-Stakeholders Involvement. These stakeholders include families, communities, healthcare and social protection agencies, the private sector, education authorities, and educational institutions such as schools and colleges, whose collaboration can be enhanced with the use of technology. In such involvement, the role of civil society is undeniable. In fact, civil society organisations (CSOs) are amongst those at the frontline of COVID-19 and other humanitarian responses and recovery.

The C20 EDCSWG also pointed out numerous ways CSOs around the world had contributed to the education sector during the COVID-19 crisis, such as (1) supporting local and national governments in designing and implementing equity strategies; (2) initiating collective movement through alliances and other education networks, from early childhood to higher education levels to serve stronger support in improving access and quality of education for students and other school-aged children and youth; (3) contributing as volunteers with their own resources, from travelling by any means of transport to distribute learning materials, establishing reading camps in villages, implementing learning hours commitments with parents and village leaders, to facilitating home visits programmes; and (4) promoting and supporting capacity building of safe schools for mitigating disaster risks and child-friendly schools for children preventing violence against children.

With all those experiences marked by the spirit of Solidarity and Partnership, the C20 EDCSWG presented two recommendations:

  1. The role of CSOs needs to be strengthened as partners, given their field experiences and resource mobilisation capacities, thus, the ability to inclusively reach larger geographical areas and more stakeholders as well as beneficiaries.
  2. Governments should provide larger room to create an equal partnership with all education stakeholders. Thus, sharing and scaling up best practices can be leveraged to prepare children/youths facing current and future challenges as well as opportunities.

Overall, the recommendations given by the C20 correspond to the agendas formulated by the G20 EdWG. The C20 EDCSWG is looking forward to future engagement and cooperation with the G20 EdWG for a stronger post-pandemic recovery.

#RecoverTogetherRecoverStronger #C20forG20 #YouAreHeard

Further contact:
Imelda Usnadibrata
Coordinator for C20 Education, Digitalization, and Civic Space Working Group (EDCSWG)
Email: Imelda.Usnadibrata@savethechildren.org

About C20:
C20 is one of the official engagement groups of the G20. It provides a platform for civil society organisations around the world to voice people’s aspirations with world leaders in the G20. The C20 engages more than 800 civil society representatives and networks from various countries beyond the G20 member countries. Education, Digitalization, and Civic Space Working Group (EDCSWG) participants: 135 members from 41 countries. The C20 EDCSWG Policy Brief, C20 Education Executive Summary and Presentation Material can be accessed and downloaded by scanning the QR codes or links below:

Kategorien: english, Ticker

EDWG G20 Ciptakan Komitmen Gotong Royong untuk Siapkan Generasi Terampil

#C20 18 - 2. August 2022 - 4:41

Bandung, 29 Juli 2022 – Pertemuan ketiga Kelompok Kerja Pendidikan G20 (G20 Education Working Group/EdWG) yang berlangsung pada 27-28 Juli 2022 membahas agenda prioritas ketiga dan keempat G20 bidang pendidikan. Pembahasan agenda Solidaritas dan Kemitraan serta Masa Depan Dunia Kerja Pasca Covid-19 dilakukan guna mewujudkan gotong royong global dalam membekali para pelajar dengan keterampilan yang relevan di masa depan.

Ketua EdWG G20 (Chair of the G20 EdWG), Iwan Syahril mengatakan, “Pandemi semakin menyadarkan kita akan adanya kebutuhan mendesak untuk mentransformasi sistem pendidikan, tidak hanya di skala nasional tetapi juga global. Di masa pandemi, pelajar di seluruh dunia, terlepas jenjang dan usia, mengalami learning loss. Ditambah lagi, ada juga pelajar yang sama sekali tidak mendapatkan akses terhadap pendidikan selama pandemi. Hal ini secara substansial memengaruhi proses belajar dan dapat menghambat para pelajar untuk meraih mimpi.”

Pada pertemuan ketiga EdWG G20 ini, Kementerian Pendidikan, Kebudayaan, Riset, dan Teknologi (Kemendikbudristek) turut mengundang kelompok pelibatan (engagement group) seperti Civil20 dan Think20; organisasi internasional seperti UNICEF, UNESCO, dan OECD; serta Kelompok Kerja Bidang Ketenagakerjaan G20 (G20 Employment Working Group/EWG).

Kehadiran para perwakilan ini bertujuan untuk menyampaikan informasi terbaru kepada EdWG G20 agar pembahasan agenda prioritas G20 bidang pendidikan semakin relevan dengan aspirasi pemangku kepentingan bidang pendidikan dan ketenagakerjaan yang lebih luas

Dalam pertemuan ini, UNESCO memaparkan G20 Skills Strategy yang dikembangkan bersama EWG G20 untuk mendukung pendekatan pembelajaran sepanjang hayat (lifelong learning approach).

The Director of the Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems, UNESCO, Borhene Chakroun menjelaskan bahwa sistem pendidikan tidak hanya menjawab transisi lapangan pekerjaan, tetapi  dapat membentuk kebutuhan lapangan pekerjaan. Kebutuhan ini dapat dipenuhi dengan cara mengubah pedagogi (changing pedagogy), mengadaptasi kurikulum (adapting curricula), meningkatkan peran guru (upgrading the role of teachers), melindungi dan reimajinasi sekolah (protecting and reimagining schools), serta mempromosikan ruang belajar baru (promoting new learning spaces).

Masukan dari UNESCO tersebut tengah bergulir di Indonesia melalui berbagai terobosan Merdeka Belajar. Antara lain melalui Kurikulum Merdeka, Asesmen Nasional. berbagai kebijakan yang berpusat pada guru seperti Guru Penggerak dan Platform Merdeka Mengajar, serta  Sekolah Penggerak.  

“Berbagai sudut pandang yang bermanfaat untuk memulihkan sektor pendidikan disampaikan melalui kesempatan berdiskusi bersama kelompok kerja dan organisasi internasional di luar EdWG G20. Saya sangat berharap kita semua dapat belajar dari pengalaman dan informasi yang dibagikan, serta menjadikannya sebuah inspirasi untuk mengembangkan pendekatan terbaik untuk mentransformasi sistem pendidikan,” tutup Iwan Syahril.

SOURCE : kemdikbud.go.id

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Kemendikbudristek Pimpin Pemulihan Sektor Pendidikan Dunia Lewat Pertemuan EDWG Ketiga di Bandung 

#C20 18 - 2. August 2022 - 4:37

Bandung, 29 Juli 2022 – Kementerian Pendidikan, Kebudayaan, Riset, dan Teknologi (Kemendikbudristek) telah sukses menggelar pertemuan ketiga Kelompok Kerja Pendidikan (Education Working Group/EdWG) G20 yang berlangsung pada 27 s.d. 28 Juli 2022 secara hibrida dari kota Bandung, Jawa Barat.

Pada pertemuan ini, Kemendikbudristek kembali menegaskan pentingnya menguatkan semangat gotong royong sebagai landasan dari upaya negara-negara G20 untuk mereimajinasi, membangun kembali, serta memulihkan sektor pendidikan.

“Pertemuan ketiga EdWG ini menandai komitmen kita untuk bergotong royong mempertahankan kolaborasi dan kemitraan agar dapat pulih bersama dan pulih lebih kuat, khususnya di bidang pendidikan,” jelas Chair of G20 EdWG, Iwan Syahril.

Pada kesempatan yang sama, Alternate Chair G20 EdWG, Anindito Aditomo yang juga menjabat sebagai Kepala Badan Standar, Kurikulum, dan Asesmen (BSKAP) Kemendikbudristek memaparkan draf dari laporan dan kompendium EdWG G20. “Apresiasi saya sampaikan kepada para delegasi G20 yang telah memberikan masukan dan berkomitmen untuk  terus bergotong royong dalam upaya mentransformasi dunia pendidikan,” kata Anindito.

Konsep gotong royong, menurut Gianluca Grandi, Troika Co-chair G20 EdWG dari Italia, mendukung tujuan EdWG G20 pada Presidensi Indonesia untuk membangun sistem pendidikan yang adil, tangguh, dan berkelanjutan.

Apresiasi juga disampaikan para delegasi atas inisiatif Kemendikbudristek untuk membawa hasil EdWG G20 kepada negara-negara anggota Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa (PBB) melalui Transforming Education Summit (TES) yang akan diselenggarakan pada 19 September 2022 di New York.

Sebagai wujud nyata  komitmen Kemendikbudristek untuk menguatkan kolaborasi dalam upaya pencapaian agenda prioritas ketiga, yaitu Solidaritas dan Kemitraan (Solidarity and Partnerships), pada pertemuan ketiga EdWG  turut diundang Ketua Kelompok Kerja Ketenagakerjaan (Employment Working Group/EWG) G20, yakni Sekretaris Jenderal Kementerian Ketenagakerjaan Anwar Sanusi, serta kelompok pelibatan (engagement group) seperti Civil20 (C20) dan Think20 (T20) untuk berbagi informasi dan pengalaman kepada para delegasi EdWG.

Delegasi C20, Imelda Usnadibrata, memaparkan hasil dari kolaborasi antara  kebijakan pemerintah dengan gerakan kemasyarakatan dalam upaya memperbaiki sistem pendidikan secara global. Adapun delegasi dari T20, Heni Kurniasih,  menjelaskan bahwa sistem pendidikan pascapandemi perlu berfokus pada perwujudan pendidikan yang inklusif dan mampu mempersiapkan generasi muda dengan keterampilan-keterampilan yang relevan di masa depan.

Masukan dari kedua kelompok pelibatan tersebut selaras dengan agenda prioritas keempat EdWG G20 yaitu Masa Depan Dunia Kerja Pasca COVID-19 (The Future of Work Post-COVID19).

Pada pertemuan ini, Kemendikbudristek juga mengundang organisasi internasional seperti UNICEF, UNESCO, dan OECD untuk berbagi perkembangan terbaru dalam transformasi sistem pendidikan di konteks global. UNESCO memaparkan G20 Skills Strategy yang dikembangkan bersama Kelompok Kerja Ketenagakerjaan EWG G20 untuk mendukung pendekatan pembelajaran sepanjang hayat (lifelong learning approach) dalam upaya mempersiapkan peserta didik dengan dunia kerja di masa mendatang.

Iwan Syahril menutup sesi terakhir EdWG ketiga ini dengan mengundang para delegasi untuk hadir pada pertemuan EdWG keempat dan pertemuan tingkat menteri bidang pendidikan yang akan diadakan di Bali pada September 2022 mendatang.

“Saya percaya pertemuan di Bali nanti akan menjadi peristiwa yang monumental untuk pulih bersama menjadi lebih kuat. Saya sangat mengapresiasi kehadiran dan kontribusi para delegasi dalam pertemuan EdWG ketiga ini,” tutup Iwan.

SOURCE : kemdikbud.go.id

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Is the risk of crime against businesses greater in more unequal countries?

Brookings - 1. August 2022 - 21:25

By Addisu Lashitew, Sorin Krammer, Jonathan Doh

Rising inequality is one of the most pressing societal challenges of our time. According to data from the World Inequality Database, the past two decades saw an increase in the overall income share of the richest 10 percent of the population in all but two of the world’s 10 largest economies (the exceptions are France and the United Kingdom). In the world’s largest economies, the average income share of the richest 10 percent of the population increased from 37.5 percent in 2001 to 41.3 percent in 2021. This is often attributed to rapid technological change and competition from international trade, although the magnitude of change in inequality, as well as its underlying explanations, are potentially different between advanced and emerging economies.

In addition to evaluating broader ethical considerations, academic research has started to unpack the many perverse ways in which rising inequality shapes societies: from lower economic growth to reduced subjective wellbeing and political polarization. Researchers have also explored how corporations are implicated in rising inequality within countries, triggering a debate around the role of corporations in spurring or deterring it. An important issue that has not received much attention, however, is the reverse effect—i.e., the potential cost that income inequality imposes on businesses.

The results indicate that a one decile increase of the Gini coefficient is associated with a 4 percent increase of crime risk. This is a large increase compared to the 20 percent average crime risk in the sample.

In a recently published study, we shed light on one of the channels through which inequality affects businesses—namely, crime risk— and the role of social cohesion in mitigating its deleterious effects. Our analysis draws on the World Bank’s Enterprises Survey, which provides rich data on crime exposure and losses among businesses. Figure 1 provides a scatter plot of inequality, measured using the Gini coefficient, against crime exposure among businesses (i.e., the average probability of theft incidence over 2006-2018). The plot, which is based on 122 countries covered in our dataset, reveals a clear positive association between crime and inequality with a correlation coefficient of 0.40. In South Africa, the most unequal country in the world with a Gini of 0.63, the chance that a firm will experience crime in a given year was 43.3 percent. In Kazakhstan, where inequality is moderate with a Gini of 0.28, the crime risk of businesses was just 17%.

Figure 1. The relationship between crime and inequalitySource: Authors’ computations based on World Bank data

We confirmed this positive association through more systematic regression analysis that accounted for different country and firm effects. The results indicate that a one decile increase of the Gini coefficient is associated with a 4 percent increase of crime risk. This is a large increase compared to the 20 percent average crime risk in the sample.

Three explanations

There are at least three sets of explanations for this strong positive association between inequality and crime: economic, sociological and institutional.

  • Gary Becker, who won the 1992 Nobel prize in economics, has popularized the rationalist view of crime, contending that agents choose to engage in criminal activities by weighing between the expected payoffs of criminal activities vis-à-vis legal work. According to this view, inequality increases the economic appeal of criminal acts by dimming the of prospects of the poor to secure legal employment and achieve upward mobility.
  • Second, sociological theories, such as Robert Merton’s strain theory, contend that the poor become more resentful of the rich when their hopes of improving their status become untenable in the face of growing income and wealth disparities. In tandem, the ability of societies to regulate the behavior of their members diminishes, which allows economic and social grievances to fester into violence and crime.
  • Finally, institutional theory suggests that inequality tends to erode the social fabric that binds communities, thus weakening institutions that support the legitimacy of business activities. In some cases, businesses could gradually lose their “license to operate” as their legitimacy slowly fades. In others, inequalities could lead to violent protests or radical social movements that demand redistribution of wealth and directly incriminate the rich and their businesses. In our analysis, we emphasize this latter explanation.

Together, these economic, social, and institutional forces could end up making businesses in unequal countries legitimate targets of criminal activities.

One antidote: social cohesion

Does stronger social cohesion mitigate the adverse effects of inequality? To answer this question, we considered the potential role of social trust and fractionalization to moderate the link between inequality and crime. Social trust reflects the extent to which members of society believe in the honesty, integrity, and reliability of other (random) individuals. Prior research has underscored that generalized trust is a crucial element of social cohesion that enables collective action. We also expect that high trust societies will have higher moral standards, which would dilute the relationship between inequality and crime by reducing the likelihood of inequalities fueling widespread resentment against the rich. Trust also has an “ecological” effect that facilitates interaction and interdependence among community members with different levels of social status. It can thus serve as an informal regulatory mechanism that compensates for the weakening of formal institutions in unequal societies.

Besides trust, social cohesion has other elements reflected in cognitive and cultural commonalities that create a shared sense of identity. Ethnolinguistic fractionalization, which captures cognitive and cultural divergences, can be taken as an inverse measure of social cohesion that shapes the relationship between inequality and crime. First, the economic mechanism linking inequality and crime could be stronger in countries with greater ethnolinguistic fractionalization since inequality in these countries will likely reinforce economic organization and resource allocation along ethnic or racial lines. Excluded groups could be further disenfranchised, which could fuel hate crime directed toward businesses owned by ethnic groups that are considered privileged. An example can be attacks by the poor on minority-owned businesses in South Africa during the 2021 protests. There is also a large body of evidence that ethnolinguistic fractionalization tends to undermine the development of democratic and inclusive institutions. Highly fractionalized countries, therefore, will not be well-positioned to devise sound policies that can mitigate the adverse effects of inequality, especially redistributive ones that transfer wealth across racial groups.

Our analysis confirmed that social cohesion, measured using social trust and ethnolinguistic fractionization, had a significant moderating role. The inequality-crime link declines sharply as levels of trust increase, becoming insignificant as trust reaches the levels seen in Armenia and Thailand (where slightly more than one-third the population trusts other random people). The strong link between inequality and crime thus seems to be mainly confined to low-trust countries.

The link between inequality and crime is greater at higher levels of ethno-linguistic fractionalization. In China, where fractionalization is very low, the association between inequality and crime is only half as large as the level in Burkina Faso, where fractionalization is far greater.

Inequality does not just increase the risk of crime in businesses; it is also associated with greater losses from crime (measured as a share of revenues). These results, which are robust to a wide array of sensitivity tests, highlight how inequality can constitute an important hidden operational cost for businesses, including multinational enterprises. The results suggest that crime risks attributable to inequality could shape foreign market entry and capital allocation decisions of corporations.

      
Kategorien: english

African Growth and Opportunity Act: Program usage, trends, and sectoral highlights

Brookings - 1. August 2022 - 19:28

By Landry Signé

1. Summary of testimony and discussion

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a preferential trade program that gives countries in sub-Saharan Africa preferential access to U.S. markets, allowing them to export products tariff-free. AGOA was created with the aim of increasing trade activity between the two countries and with a broader goal of fostering economic and political development in Africa. To date, AGOA has greatly increased total exports to the United States, but data on utilization rates has caused some to question why certain countries are able to capitalize on AGOA more than others. Despite some successes, the continued dominance of oil and apparel exports along with the decline in AGOA exports after their peak in 2008 has lowered confidence among some leaders and experts in AGOA’s ability to deliver on its promises. The potential of AGOA remains powerful to promote regional integration and diversified economies, but the data and experience of the past two decades must be examined to understand how the policy can be better structured and implemented in the future. While there is limited empirical evidence on the effects of these factors on AGOA implementation and success, this testimony suggests that they can be analyzed by comparing across commonalities and by using the lens of policy implementation theories. Themes that emerged from the discussion with Commissioners included the role that the African Continental Free Trade Area can play in widening and deepening AGOA’s successes, and the importance of value-adding activities being located in African countries.

Continue reading the full testimony here

 

      
Kategorien: english

10 years of the Aid Transparency Index—How has the US fared?

Brookings - 1. August 2022 - 18:12

By Sally Paxton, George Ingram

July 13, 2022 marked the 10th anniversary of Publish What You Fund’s Aid Transparency Index. This year’s 2022 Index included 50 of the top global donors, including four US entities—the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States Department of State (State), and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). MCC, USAID, State, and PEPFAR have been included in the Index assessment since the first iteration in 2012, providing a rare opportunity to look back over a decade of performance.

The Index is the only independent global assessment of donors’ transparency of aid and development finance. It is the product of six months of intense work of data collection, consultation with stakeholders, including donors in the Index, and assessment of the data. The review involved sampling approximately 13,000 documents and reviewing 147,310 projects with transactions totaling $221.7 billion. The final product is a ranking of donors on a scale of 100–0, with categories ranging from “very good” to “very poor”.

U.S. commitment to transparency

The legal and policy commitments to aid transparency by the U.S. have grown stronger over the last decade. In 2011, the U.S. officially joined the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI)—a multistakeholder, voluntary effort to report aid information to an open data standard. In 2016, Congress passed the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (FATAA), which required all agencies involved in the provision of US foreign assistance to report—at the activity level—on at least a quarterly basis to ForeignAssistance.gov. With the BUILD Act of 2018, which created the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, Congress made the reporting requirements of FATAA applicable to this new U.S. development finance institution.

This strong commitment to robust reporting of U.S. foreign assistance is critical given the global reach of U.S. policy and programs. The world faces an ongoing global pandemic, with unequal impacts on vulnerable populations, and an unprecedented food crisis, significantly exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and leading to large numbers of people facing hunger and starvation. The growing effects of climate change are only intensifying these problems. This has put already scarce resources under severe strain, underscoring the need to ensure effective investments with a clear vision on how to put every dollar to maximum use. Given the U.S.’ role as the world’s largest bilateral donor, we should expect the U.S. to lead in transparency.

Performance of U.S. agencies

The U.S. performance in the Index was mixed, as has been true for the last decade. The MCC, which has been a consistent high performer, once again scored as both the top U.S. agency and the top bilateral agency globally. After years of mixed performance, PEPFAR showed significant improvement, coming in as the second best in the U.S., jumping almost nine points from 2020. USAID, which had a strong performance in 2020, lost ground, slipping 12 points. State, which in 2020 reached the “good” category for the first time, slipped five points and back into “fair.”

As with past indexes, the release of the Aid Transparency Index was accompanied by a global report as well as a U.S. Brief. The U.S. brief summarizes performance, but its focus is on recommendations for areas for improvement for each of the U.S. agencies.

Recommendations

Some of the recommendations have been long standing and show a persistent failure of improvement.

  • For example, State’s basic project level information—titles, descriptions, and other basic information—has been a perpetual problem. The time is long past for addressing improvements to the fundamentals of project level information. Other basic issues, including publication of tenders and contracts, are problems for State, USAID, and PEPFAR.
  • Performance information—such as evaluations and results data—has lagged for most agencies, although MCC’s information is high quality.
  • Subnational information—important data for many users—needs to improve for USAID, State, and PEPFAR.
  • Timeliness is an important component of data quality. Only USAID publishes its information monthly, which is now the norm globally. All four agencies in the past have published on a monthly basis. Especially given current global needs, this should be a requirement for all US agencies moving forward.
Progress

There was good news. A new indicator was introduced in this Index that allows for better identification of the relationship between funders, implementers, and coordinators. The U.S. agencies answered the call, with USAID, PEPAR, and State all coming in among the top ten best performers (MCC was exempt from this test for the 2022 Index). Well done!

Finally, a shout out for the completed consolidation of USAID’s and State’s two official websites into a single useable website. This effort was years in the making, one in which we spilled much ink. But the result is a good one for users and taxpayers, and we look forward to continued improvements in the useability of the project level data and to facilitating the engagement with local actors around the data.

Agency policy roundtable

Brookings and Friends of Publish What You Fund hosted a joint policy meeting with all the agencies for a deeper discussion of the assessment. We do this in part because it isn’t apparent that U.S. agencies collaborate on publication of the data. The session creates time and space for thinking about not only how best to improve the data but how to improve its accessibility to a range of stakeholders. This is even more exciting as the release of the Index comes at a time when the IATI data set has reached a critical level of maturity and quality. We shared some of the innovative research being undertaken by Publish What You Fund, specifically on tracking finance of women’s equality and empowerment, as well as ideas for further use of IATI data, including tracking local ownership, unpaid care, and climate finance. The EU launch of the Index also contained several very useful examples of how IATI data is being used to improve research and outcomes. These examples speak to the range of opportunities for useful and granular research, all of which can improve decision making, allocations, and effective investments.

Engagement and use of data

Good quality publication is a critical first milestone. But it is important that agencies actively use the data and engage with stakeholders on the information—especially local actors—with the goal of improving development outcomes. A useful step in this direction was the addition of USG data to the presentation of IATI data on the Beyond USG tab on ForeignAssistance.gov (the earlier iteration did not). Adding USG data provides access to IATI data on assistance that all donors are providing to a country.

Now that it is possible to use IATI data for policy making, program management, research, and engagement with local stakeholders, the effort by all donors to provide robust IATI data is an especially worthwhile investment.

      
Kategorien: english

The Philippines Gets a New President With A Very Familiar Name

UN Dispatch - 1. August 2022 - 17:51

On May 9th, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was elected President of the Philippines. If that name sounds familiar to you, it is because he is the son of Ferdinand Marcos Senior, the brutal kleptocrat who ruled the Philippines for nearly 20 years.

Marcos Jr., who is commonly known as “Bongbong,” took office on June 30th succeeding Rodrigo Duterte, whose six year term was marked by a sharp deterioration of human rights in the Philippines, including a so-called “war on drugs” in which several thousands of people were extrajudicially killed by state security forces. Bongbong Marcos’ vice president is Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte.

To help explain this new chapter in Philippines politics is Dr. Tom Smith, Principle Lecturer in International Relations for the University of Portsmouth, and the Academic Director to the Royal Air Force College.

 

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Transcript lightly edited for clarity

Who was Ferdinand Marcos Sr.?

 Dr. Tom Smith [00:00:00] Forming an ally of the two clans — the now very powerful Duterte clan and the Marcos clan in the presidential palace is going to be really quite formidable for liberal forces in the Philippines.

Edited News Clips [00:01:30] “His government promised President Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation address will be his best. It was meant to highlight his administration’s achievement over the past two years, but it ended up becoming one of the most chaotic national events in recent times.” “The illegal drugs war will not be sidelined. Instead, it will be as relentless and chilling, if you will, as on the day begun.”.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:02:05] In the Philippines, a vote for president is separate from a vote for vice president but Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte formed an alliance, and both were overwhelmingly elected as president and vice president…

Dr. Tom Smith [00:03:49] During the seventies, Ferdinand Marcos Sr. Was elected to be the president of the Philippines, in kind of a boom time in the Philippines, actually, when the Asian economies, the Asian tiger economies were really starting to grow. The Philippines was well-placed to take advantage of globalization. This is in the death throes of the war in Vietnam, and the Philippines had been a strong ally of the United States during that period. And Ferdinand Marcos came to power and was well supported by the United States but the sins of the father, as you referred to, those are the ones that everybody remembers now. So, I mean, the headlines really over that period of his reign, a period of martial law which instituted from 1972 to 81. These are well documented, so I feel confident in citing those but we’re talking around 3000 known extrajudicial killings, which are well cited and referenced in a fairly notorious Amnesty International report. Reports of around 35,000 people were tortured under his reign. 70,000 incarcerated and a whole plethora of other human rights abuses which were orchestrated at his behest, but it was actually the AFP, the armed forces of the Philippines, which conducted most of these. He did invent some other paramilitary units, police units, to undertake some of these as well but that was kind of the dark period which all ended in the early eighties with the People Power Revolution and the ousting of Ferdinand Marcos Senior. And he went in exile to Hawaii through the United States.

Who is Imelda Marcos?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:05:29] And his rule was also marked by a plundering of state coffers to personally enrich himself and his family. He left office in Philippines, was forced out, an extremely wealthy person.

Dr. Tom Smith [00:05:45] Indeed. I mean, this really is a scandal of legendary proportions and it’s been very well documented. Fairly recently in documentary films made about Ferdinand’s wife, Imelda Marcos, who’s still alive and back in the Philippines, sporting some of the same luxurious goods that she’s been accused of plundering during her time as the first lady.

Edited Documentary Clips [00:06:06] “I was always criticized for being excessive, but that is mothering.” “3000 pairs of shoes. Shipping animals from Africa, Picasso, Michelangelo.” “The demonstrators stormed the gates of the palace to take back what they said was theirs.” “It was a big reception. I had to wear jewelry and we were told, get into the helicopter. So, I pulled diamonds in diapers. It saved us later on, the great lawyers.”

What was the plundering in the Philippines?

Dr. Tom Smith [00:06:33] I mean, he was shipped out on a US military aircraft, first to Guam, then to Hawaii with as legend has it, bucketloads loads of cash, US dollars, famous artworks as well as having pilfered much of the resources of the Philippines away in Swiss bank accounts over the years and real estate around the world and what have you. So, the plunder, as is referred to in the Philippines, is well known and notorious. That’s not to say there’s been much of a criminal investigation into it. The closest we’ve got to that is cases pending against Imelda Marcos, the matriarch of the family but now the son has been elected as president. I don’t expect those cases to go very far.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:07:13] You mentioned Imelda Marcos’s notorious spending habits, and I couldn’t help but be bemused at this image I saw of Marcos Jr sitting with his mother in the Philippines and in the background is a Picasso painting that almost certainly was purchased through ill-gotten gains from the state coffers.

Dr. Tom Smith [00:07:38] The brazenness to take that picture and laud that in front of the world tells you an awful lot really of the sort of characters we’re talking about and how they feel a divine right to rule and that the things that they acquired, the wealth that they acquired, which they still hold on to — which still makes them very powerful, a very powerful political force in contemporary Filipino politics — is theirs and nobody else is to care so those pictures did shock people. The documentary I referred to previously, the Kingmaker documentary about Imelda as well, and her famous shoe collection and all the rest of it really is an excellent watch for anybody interested.

How was Ferdinand Marcos Jr. elected as the president of the Philippines?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:08:15] So how is it that Ferdinand Marcos, Jr, known colloquially as Bongbong, was able to rehabilitate his family’s reputation in the Philippines given the terrible sins and misrule of his father, with whom he shares a name?

Dr. Tom Smith [00:08:37] Yeah, I mean, the answer to that is going to be quite complex, Mark. He didn’t really try to rehabilitate the name. He lent into the name. The Marcos brand, as it is, the family dynasty, is what gives him credence, what gives him power. He didn’t in any way try to diminish that or apologize for his father. In fact, he when questioned about that and he avoided questions as much as possible during the election campaign, he flatly refused to condemn his father’s crimes of the past and they’ve never admitted to the plunder, they’ve never admitted to the human rights abuses. When you have a system in which the son of a dictator, a reviled dictator with an international reputation, can assume power then you have to look more forensically at the politics of the Philippines and how it elects its leaders and that’s through a very transactional form of politics. At the bottom of the electoral pyramid in the Philippines is the Barangay captain, the local village captain, he’s nine times out of ten, tethered to the local mayor, then governor and then senator and at the top of that pyramid sits the president. So, when you’re voting for your local village captain, the man that has the most say in your life, who can affect change in your life the most, who can give you fresh water, food security in your own village, that vote is then tethered all the way up the pyramid to the president. And so, the transactional nature of the politics in the Philippines means that a vote for certain barangay captains who have their loyalty to the Marcos’s is already cemented and this election really proved this client relationship of the politics there in the Philippines.

How are elections structured in the Philippines?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:10:14] So it’s like an old school political machine.

Dr. Tom Smith [00:10:17] Yeah or a Ponzi, you might want to call it. We refer to this, you know, in the West in various different forms but in the Philippines, it’s really quite entrenched now, and of course, there are other aspects to it as well. I mean, quite frankly, let’s call a spade a spade. Votes are bought. Manny Pacquiao, the famous boxer, came in at a distant fourth office with less than 10% of the vote was never going to be a credible candidate and this is a Western facing character because his boxing campaign very brazenly was offering money at the side of stages to potential voters of election rallies. Where people are paid to attend rallies and then vote for people; it’s not hidden. It’s quite open that transactional nature.

Who is Sara Duterte?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:10:59] And into this sort of transactional mix. How does Sara Duterte fix? Because there seems to be a lot of intrigue in her decision not to run for president, to succeed her father, Rodrigo Duterte, but rather to vie for the vice presidency, which is elected separately. But I take it she formed an alliance with Marcos?

Dr. Tom Smith [00:11:24] That’s right, yes. Presidents and vice presidents are elected on different ballots, so you vote for each separately, but Marcos and Sara Duterte did ally together, effectively forming a unified ticket together. I think a lot of people were surprised that Sara didn’t run and just take up the mantle from her father, continue his policies, you know, the drug war and the rest of it, his anti-American rhetoric and continue that — particularly there’s an ICC investigation pending against the father Rodrigo Duterte and obviously having daughter in office would help shield him from that. So, I was quite surprised that she didn’t run. I’m not surprised, therefore, that she went for vice president and forming an ally of the two clans that now very powerful Duterte clan and the Marcos clan in the presidential palace, is going to be really quite formidable for liberal forces in the Philippines to make any inroads in the next six years. But what that really means is it tees up, Sara, as the front runner for really the next election in 2028 to be the next president, I imagine.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:12:29] Because presidents serve a single six-year term, right?

Dr. Tom Smith [00:12:32] That’s right. Yeah. I mean, the Constitution does prevent anybody running again but I suspected that Rodrigo Duterte, especially during the pandemic, thought about overturning that Constitution and making an amendment to that. He didn’t in the end, but a powerful president certainly could and that’s not beyond the realms of possibility, they could change the Constitution on that.

What are Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte’s policy priorities?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:12:53] So Marcos and Sara Duterte, they didn’t just eke out a victory, they won overwhelmingly in these elections, and they take office in the context of Rodrigo Duterte’s last six years of sidelining liberal forces of campaigns against the free press and generally of a shrinking space for civil society within the Philippines. What do these next six years portend for that kind of creeping authoritarianism that we’ve seen in the Philippines over the previous six years?

Dr. Tom Smith [00:13:35] Yeah, it doesn’t bode well for those liberal forces that you referred to, Mark. Bongbong hasn’t been that articulate in his views around policy, domestic or foreign policy during the campaign. He dodged questions as much as possible so even some time after the election, we’re not able to flesh out and really understand what policies he’s going to follow and be direct with. But with Sara on his shoulder as the vice president, we’ve got to imagine that if the drug war is to continue, maybe there’ll be a rebranding, there’s not going to be the full scale investigation that the country needs to get to the bottom of that and look at the deaths of the 20, maybe 30,000 extrajudicial killings that happened over the last six years under the brand of the war on drugs, as well as the human rights abuses, particularly in Duterte’s time with the practice of red tagging: tagging liberal allies as a so-called red, a communist, an enemy of the state. And that became a really pernicious. So that went against lawyers, journalists, activists, even academics, where from time to time they would publish sort of a matrix of the enemies of the state. And that has had crippling impacts on people’s lives, as you can imagine and on the liberal inroads that they can be made in domestic politics. And I can’t see how that tactic, which is served the Duterte clan very well being put to one side and replaced with anything else by the Marcos clan with Sara there so sadly, I think we’re in for something of the same, maybe some slight rebranding, but these policies have had a devastating effect, and nothing bodes well for their continuance, I’m afraid.

How much power will Sara Duterte have over Filipino policies as vice president?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:15:21] To what extent does Sara Duterte share her father’s bombast and outlandish behavior? And to what extent is she, as vice president, able to steer policy?

Dr. Tom Smith [00:15:36] As vice president she’s largely ceremonial. The previous vice president under Duterte was a liberal, Leni Robredo, and while she was a thorn in his side to speak out against things like the drug war, she wasn’t able to do anything. Under a different administration, Sara may be given more responsibilities. Maybe she’ll be given a post as Secretary of State for some department, there’s talk of being the Secretary of State for Education. And so, one of the core policies, the only policy they really held to both Bongbong and Sara during their campaign, was to implement compulsory ROTC service for college students. This is really quite pernicious as well. This is going to militarize the society of the Philippines even more.

What is Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC)?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:16:18] I should say, for those not in the United States, ROTC is Reserve Officer Training Corp. It’s a way for college students and even high school students to be socialized into the military and receive training as students.

Dr. Tom Smith [00:16:35] Yeah, they receive all basic training, there’s usually an officer class to that as well. This mirrored what goes on in the US, in the Philippines for quite some many years, but they want to implement that as a compulsory level of service, which is difficult because in the Philippines, during the Marcos dictatorship, because it was the army that did the bidding of the President, carried out much of the violence. A lot of the trust of the society in the Philippines was lost in the military and it’s taken an awful long time for that to be rebuilt. I mean, I’ve worked very closely with Filipino military people who’ve been the US to the UK, to Sandhurst and West Point to get all that training, they’re very credible and good people, and over the last six years under Duterte, all that goodwill has been lost because the military have got back in bed with politics, society has become much more militarized and so I expect that to Sara herself — yes, she’s quite bombastic, like her father, slightly different shades, perhaps, but there’s some fairly famous footage of her in Davao.

News Report [00:17:34] “This is Sara Duterte, mayor of Davao City. This is Sara Duterte when things don’t go her way. The target of the rage, a sheriff… he was carrying out a court order to tear down houses in a slum area. Duterte says she’d asked for a two-hour delay so she could ask the residents to peacefully dismantle their homes. He ignored her request and got in return four blows to his left eye, face and back.”

Dr. Tom Smith [00:18:05] She’s certainly capable of grabbing headlines, just like her father.

How will Bongbong Marcos handle the Philippines’ foreign policy with China and the United States?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:18:10] On foreign policy, Rodrigo Duterte, somewhat surprisingly, at least early on in his administration, started to warm ties with China. This is despite the fact that the Philippines and China have an ongoing territorial dispute over islands in the South China Sea. Yet Rodrigo Duterte had generally warm relations with China. What do we expect from Bongbong Marcos in terms of how he might balance the Philippines’ historic security alliance with the United States, with the Philippines’ relationship with China?

Dr. Tom Smith [00:18:55] I think that’s really interesting and to be honest with you, I think he’s feeling out for himself. He has, to his credit, employed quite a few technocrats thus far into positions, and one of those is a career diplomat in the foreign policy position and that bodes well for a serious person to look at th foreign policy for the Philippines if it’s not to Bongbong’s taste or interests, and he’s probably given his previous utterance on the topic, he’s going to talk about sovereignty, going to talk about territorial integrity, which play all well to the South China Sea issue. However, I think just like Rodrigo Duterte found out, Bongbong Marcos is going to find trying to get some leverage either out of China or the United States and find itself to a path to enlightenment for the Philippines between these two powerful forces is going to be very, very difficult. Rodrigo Duterte ultimately talked very strongly about pushing back against US influence, for which he has a fair point and perhaps cozying up to China a more closely aligned regional superpower of which you can understand, but really got nowhere with that. The foreign investment promised from China never materialized. The infrastructure projects which Duterte promised off the back of that never materialized. And so, we still have a fairly close security relationship with the United States. So, it will be interesting to see how much the Philippines leans on the United States to assert its sovereignty in the South China Sea of the disputed islands. The other big policy issue which will come to the fore pretty quickly for Bongbong, will be something called the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, and that really is the pen and paper, the legitimacy of all the US bases and military personnel in the Philippines, which makes it that landing spot for the pivot to Asia.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:20:50] So is there going to be a moment in the coming weeks or months or early in Bongbong’s tenure in which he will have to somehow confront that U.S. military alliance and as you said, put pen to paper and sign agreements.

Dr. Tom Smith [00:21:06] I think all parties will avoid that. I think the US will avoid putting Bongbong in a difficult position where he has to choose. I think the Chinese will as well and I think Bongbong will avoid that, so I imagine actually for the next few months we’ll see a lot of handholding. I know Bongbong has been invited to Washington to meet Biden, and the foreign minister of China has already been to Manila, he was the first guest, actually. So, they’re all making plays and making good, positive noises. I don’t think any crescendo to this relationship is going to happen any time soon. There are other things, though, which might force the US’s hand. I mean, the historic relationship with his father, I think is going to cast a light on the US relationship with the Philippines back in the spotlight of the seventies and then obviously his exile. But Maria Ressa, the famous journalist who won the Nobel Prize, she’s facing jail, trumped up charges in the Philippines, entirely politicized under the Duterte reign, have rolled over now into the Marcos administration and again, with Sara’s influence, I think she’s facing jail and that will put the U.S. and Western allies in a very difficult position. Are they going to speak out and object against that? And then, of course, there are all these sorts of dissidents and famous people languishing in jail, not least a sitting senator of the Philippines, Leila de Lima, who’s already been in jail for five and a half years. So, it kind of feels a little bit churlish, maybe spoken about Maria Ressa, who hasn’t gone to jail yet when one female senator has been in jail for five and a half years without any restitution. So, I think these things are more impending spotlights maybe than the South China Sea, which I think all parties would rather just ignore.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:22:47] Well, Tom, thank you so much for your time. This has been very helpful.

Dr. Tom Smith [00:22:51] No problem. Good to speak to you as always.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:23:00] Thank you for listening to Global Dispatches. Our show is produced by me, Mark Leon Goldberg, and edited and mixed by Levi Sharp.

The post The Philippines Gets a New President With A Very Familiar Name appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Playing for a Good Life: How a Card Game Can Prompt Citizen Engagement

SCP-Centre - 1. August 2022 - 12:03

In June 2022, the Healthy Austria Fund (Fonds Gesundes Österreich – FGÖ) held the 24th Austrian Health Promotion Conference as a hybrid event in Linz with the theme Promote Health – Protect the Climate. The CSCP, as part of the PSLifestyle project, was invited to contribute to the conference with a workshop on the topic of “health and equity co-benefits of citizen engagement in sustainability”, in collaboration with EuroHealthNet, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (NL) and PROGES.

During the conference, the PSLifestyle project team explored citizen engagement through a card game that brings together climate, health, and equity. The aim was to share with the participants some of the key findings so far from this approach to citizen engagement as implemented in the first round of the PSLifestyle Living Labs and highlight some of the ways in which creative interactive methods can be used to engage citizens.

Bringing citizen engagement methods alive

In order to bring this topic alive, the PSLifestyle team adapted the Situation Lab’s Creative Commons card game The Thing From the Future to the health and climate topic and played it with the workshop participants in small groups. The game is a fun, interactive method of idea generation and can be played in various forms, from small groups to a whole-room game.

During the conference, we had three categories of prompts in different piles of cards: challenges, themes, and actors. The group shuffled these and turned one of each over. These then acted as a set of prompts, for which they as individuals had 3 minutes to come up with a health and climate related idea. The challenge card set out the particular issue for which they had to find a solution; the theme card gave the type of solution; and the actors card shared the people who would be enacting it. When the time was up, everyone shared their idea with their group and they collectively decided on a winning idea. These were then shared with the whole workshop after each round.

A tool for opening up the creative process

A key advantage of a card game like this is the way it challenges you to come up with ideas that link combinations of parameters which you might not normally bring together. For example, you might think that there’s not an obvious solution to the challenge of water pollution through a food-related project in a centre for older people. However, the game mechanism forces you into finding a way to link things together, find commonalities and often generate quite innovative ideas. The fact that the process comes in the form of a game makes it less intimidating to dive into.

In our workshop, participants shared ideas for a range of card combinations such creating an app that gives users live updates about allergens in the air or transforming empty buildings to create meeting places to improve the mental wellbeing of communities.

Games and other interactive activities are an integral part of the methodology of our PSLifestyle Living Lab meetings, where through inclusive methods we explore topics of sustainable behaviours and lifestyles together with citizens, co-developing the PSL Tool in the process. To learn more about our next lab meetings in Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Turkey, check out our PSLifestyle website and sign up for our newsletter (at the bottom of the page) for opportunities to get involved.

For further questions, please contact Rosalyn Old.

The post Playing for a Good Life: How a Card Game Can Prompt Citizen Engagement appeared first on CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Trouble at the UN: Western member states push back against Chinese-led FAO

GDI Briefing - 1. August 2022 - 11:31

If asked in which international arena the great power conflict over global order has become most salient in recent years, most would probably point to the United Nations Human Rights Council or the Security Council. In contrast, the U.N.’s development cooperation has so far been spared diplomatic conflicts of similar intensity. But as China has become more articulate about “building international relations of a new type” which will be less dominated by Western powers and norms and give greater voice to developing states, tensions are rising in this field too. It was a major success for China when in 2019 a Chinese candidate, Qu Dongyu, was elected director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Three years into Qu’s tenure, a worrisome, multi-pronged diplomatic brawl has erupted between FAO leadership and Western members, highlighting the challenging path for China toward a new type of international relations.

Kategorien: english

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