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Taxcast Extra: How much wealth is stashed offshore?

Tax Justice Network - 27. Juli 2020 - 13:09

In this special extended interview we ask - how much wealth is stashed offshore? We speak to Tax Justice Network senior advisor Jim Henry on why his estimate for the Tax Justice Network of $21 to 32 trillion has been vindicated by new figures released by the OECD: "it means we've discovered an eighth continent of wealth" Further reading here and here. You can hear a shorter version of this interview on the Taxcast #103 available here in which we also bring you Part 2 on systemic racism and tax.

Kategorien: english

Collective trauma

D+C - 27. Juli 2020 - 12:42
Violent conflicts can lead to the traumatisation of entire communities

Trauma causes stress, and that can lead to symptoms of hyper-arousal, like feeling easily frightened, cranky, enraged, churning and petrified. Often, this is coupled with difficulties to sleep or concentrate. Psychic numbing is a tendency of individuals or societies to detach from past traumatic experiences. It is a reduced response to the external world including loss of interest in activity, disconnection from others, hiding from the outside world or escaping from reality.

Collective trauma is a not yet fully completed process of learning how to deal with and integrate extreme levels of toxic stress, anxiety and helplessness (Reimann & König, 2018). It may lead people to be stuck in conflict dynamics while in turn exerting violence against themselves and others. Trauma symptoms are often passed on to the next generation through maladaptive parenting patterns, social or genetic transmission and are then referred to as “transgenerational or intergenerational trauma”.

When certain shared thoughts and feelings are formed by the traumatised group they become part of the common group reality as collective identity markers (see Reimann & König, 2018). This can hinder healing. Narratives of loss and despair, of guilt and shame and/or a shared identity of victimhood are common. Collective emotions are characterised by distrust, shakiness, extreme anguish and apathy (Becker, 2004). The collective mental models or belief systems are characterised by rigid thinking, scapegoating, prejudices, stereotypes, othering and exclusive norms. These elements promote aggression, a culture of violence, in-group dynamics and polarisation.

Working in conflict transformation with trauma-sensitivity then implies being conducive to shifting those collective identity elements towards more inclusive perceptions of the world and to invigorate the resilience of affected communities to foster conducive coping strategies.  


Becker, D., 2004: Dealing with the consequences of organised violence in trauma work. In: Austin, A., Fisher, M., Rospers, N. (eds): Transforming ethnopolitical conflict. The Berghof Handbook: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden.

Reimann, C., and König, U., 2018: Closing a gap in conflict transformation. Understanding collective and transgenerational trauma.

Kategorien: english

‘Competitive After Corona’: Discusses Opportunities with SMEs

SCP-Centre - 27. Juli 2020 - 12:35

With a combined demand and supply shock, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)  have been greatly exposed to the adversities of the pandemic outbreak. On the one hand, production has been affected by business closures, travel restrictions, and distancing requirements. On the other, containment measures have decreased demand, especially in sectors such as gastronomy or tourism. Amidst this pressure, SMEs still have to pay all their fixed costs. Despite a rollback on lockdown measures, many such enterprises are still facing challenges on how to react and adapt to the new situation. What are the lessons learnt so far? Which are the right actions? How to strengthen resilience and become more future-proof?

In July 2020,, the Centre for Digital Responsibility in North-Rhein Westphalia, addressed these questions in an online meeting together with over 130 representatives from SMEs, the NRW government, civil society, and the scientific community. Harnessing the power of digitalisation in supporting SMEs to become more resilient was at the centre of the discussions.

At the event opening, the Minister of Economics and Digital Affairs in NRW, Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart addressed the participants via a recorded video, in which he explained how digital responsibility can lead to more competitiveness, including in crisis times.

Prof. Dr. Barbara  E. Weißenberger from Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, a project partner, reflected on the current state of research: “We are still observing a certain optimism regarding the economy and there is hope that we will be able to absorb a good part of the economic downturn next year. However, I consider it realistic that we will have to deal with the effects of the pandemic even by 2023 or 2024”. She added that the essential part is to focus on making companies more crisis-proof and that this requires measures to improve sustainability. In turn, higher sustainability goals are closely linked to digitalisation, concluded Weißenberger.

Tying digitalisation processes with sustainability goals is a key in With the support of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in NRW and the scientific community, is looking into the specific needs of the businesses and trying to map out solutions collaboratively with them. also intends to make existing knowledge visible and connect key players with one-another. As Wolfgang Trefzger, IHK NRW representative in the team points out: “We want to implement our work in close collaboration with the 16 IHKs in NRW. Experiences from companies that are already pioneering in sustainable digitalisation processes will be taken into account, too”.

One such example, the Cologne-based bag manufacturer FOND OF, was already presented during the online meeting. Julian Conrads and Till Hess from FOND OF shared first insights into good practices of digital responsibility and set the framework for the following discussion. The highlights of their interview are available here.

The expert panel pointed out various pressing issues regarding digital responsibility on the SMEs’ side. Stephan Grabmeier, innovation and social entrepreneurship expert, highlighted that “neither the economy nor the individual company must see themselves as an end on their own, but instead take the whole into account. Therefore, business must always meet social demands and create meaning. When asked what the world would lack if my company no longer existed, entrepreneurs should be able to give a clear answer in the face of ecological and social crises. This would then also motivate the employees.” Dr. Myriam Jahn, CEO of IoT specialist Q-loud, recalled that competitiveness in the case of digitalisation means speed above all else. This is particularly visible in the context of the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), where according to Jahn, the German economy has still to catch up. On the other hand, Roland Schüren, managing director in the 4th generation bakery ‘Ihr Bäcker Schüren’, emphasised the entrepreneurial perspective, which is less characterised by planning and more so by action, trial, and error. Closer peer exchange, which will facilitate, is fundamental with respect to this.

The discussion of the experts was complemented by questions and suggestions from the audience. An important consensus from the audience side was that, SMEs’ needs and opportunities are often not the focus of the public debate on digitalisation. This could be countered by actively addressing the challenges posed by sustainability and digitalisation, for example by offering products and services with added social value, the experts suggested.

The next online event, a live interview with KI.NRW, a central networking initiative in the field of artificial intelligence in NRW, is scheduled for 12 August 2020. Find out more about the event and register here. In the coming weeks, the team will visit IHK Bonn and IHK Düsseldorf to communicate project contents and receive direct feedback in interactive workshops and personal talks. – Sustainably Competitive is funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs NRW via the EFRE fund.

For further information, please contact Anna Hilger.

Der Beitrag ‘Competitive After Corona’: Discusses Opportunities with SMEs erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Legacy of wounds

D+C - 27. Juli 2020 - 12:27
Peace-work contributes to a healing process of collective trauma in Lebanon

The Lebanese civil war, which lasted from 1975 to 1990, left many wounds unresolved and resulted in a fragmented society with deep sectarian divides. The end of the civil war was followed by a collective suppression of memories about the past three decades. The state promoted this process with the hopes of creating a sense of normality. Yet, this primarily numbed the pain but did not deal with the deep wounds of loss, shame and despair.

Collective narratives of victimhood were passed on within fragmented communities. The past remains a taboo for school history books, and an open public discourse has been silenced. Instead, migrants and refugees as well as foreign powers are scapegoated to be the threat to security and the reason for social and political misery. A language of fear and mistrust gave political parties a platform to manipulate collective needs for safety and security.

Recent events of a massive nationwide uprising, which started in October 2019 and is known as the October Revolution, put these realities and heteronomous identities into question. Protesters all across the country called for an end of corruption, clientelism and the lack of accountability after the government had announced new taxes on internet voice calls. The October Revolution led to a collapse of the government while the country has suffered several months at the brink of financial bankruptcy. A divided society – where many had remained silent for so long – was unified by demanding a root-and-branch transformation of the social and political make-up of Lebanon. It was the end of a prolonged period of collective paralysation.

Peace work that responds to trauma

Entire communities can be traumatised by violent conflicts, and the traumas can be passed on from one generation to the next (see box). In Lebanon, collective trauma­ is obvious. With its projects on “Dealing with the Past”, forumZFD, a German peace organisation working within the Civil Peace Service programme, uses multiperspectivity – the idea that history is interpretational and subjective – to engage people in conversations about the past. It thus contributes to a healing process of collective trauma through understanding how individual and collective identities are influenced by the past.

During its training series “Memory of War”, peace activists from various conflicted communities reflected on collective narratives of identity and mindsets influenced by the consequences of the civil war. In light of events around the October Revolution, the activists explored the importance of a healthy mourning process. This is an important prerequisite to break the deadlock of the mind and body when trauma remains unresolved resulting in collective emotions of fear and despair. The activists got inspired to look at current conflicts in their communities with a multiperspective lens and learned tools to address the past in the present.

Moreover, forumZFD supports teachers across the country and religious communities to learn and teach about the past without deepening divides but rather bridging them. With creative methods, forumZFD and its partner, the Lebanese Association for History, inspire teachers and students to transform the narration of contested historical events and the memorisation of past violence. Besides multiperspectivity, establishing dialogues with older generations is an important means.

For instance, the project “From Local History to a Wider Understanding of the Past” initiated transgenerational conversations on daily life during the civil war. After recording these oral histories, students are invited to transform their findings through artistic means and express how these memories relate to their own present life. The project contributes to a cross-generational process of reconstructing and integrating fragmented memories from the past which is an essential element in collective trauma healing.

Another focus of forumZFD aims at encouraging community activism across divides to mobilise for nonviolent action. Together with its partner, The Lebanese Women Democratic Gathering, forumZFD supported the foundation of a women’s cooperation Nisaa Kaderat (Capable Women) with Syrian and Lebanese peace activists. Nisaa Kaderat opened a self-organised community centre that provides a safe space for women of all nationalities and generations in the city of Baalbek. It invites women to find shelter and relief from everyday micro-aggressions against their gender and to practice self-care. Inspired by tools from nonviolent communication, community dialogue and psychosocial support, women meet each other with empathy to transform collective emotions of loneliness, victimhood and shame. The dialogue supports women from different generations to stimulate a transgenerational healing process.

In short, on the one hand, the lens of collective trauma can be integrated into the work of conflict transformation. On the other hand, group-building processes create an atmosphere of empathy where individual experiences can be processed with the support of the group and collective learning processes can be facilitated.

Thus, if conflict transformation is sensitive to the psycho-social dynamics of collective trauma, it strengthens the re­silience on an individual and collective level. It thereby transforms the health-promoting tools to strengthen resilience and positive coping strategies – parallel to other ­activities – in order to create safe spaces for groups such as women groups or community groups.

It is also important, however, to work on the transformation of shared narratives of the past and of victim identities through media, arts, festivals, exhibitions and digital storytelling platforms, and to transform the enemy image of “the other”. This in turn will help to strengthen a sense of self-efficacy, helping to overcome shared feelings of helplessness and to transform passivity and political apathy into empowerment and agency.

Miriam Modalal is a project manager for community organising at forumZFD, an international non-governmental organisation working in the field of conflict transformation, in Lebanon.

Dalilah Reuben-Shemia was a peace and conflict consultant and is a nonviolent action researcher.

Kategorien: english

Belonging together

D+C - 27. Juli 2020 - 11:59
Nations are nothing natural, but human-made “imagined communities”

Consider Switzerland. Its official languages are German, French and Italian. Its people live on different sides of the Alps, which are less a shared region than Europe’s most massive natural border. Every linguistic group has a lot in common with the large neighbouring country that uses the same language. Almost 40 % of the Swiss are Catholic, 30 % are Protestant and 20 % do not adhere to any religious faith.

By European standards, Switzerland is unusually diverse, but also unusually stable and peaceful. The Swiss have a long history of emphasising local-level self-rule and defining themselves as independent of the Europe’s major powers. Their sense of nationhood is strong – and closely linked to the country’s constitutional order. A strong sense of nationhood serves as an immunisation against fragile statehood. Where people accept that they belong to an imagined community and share its fate, violence strife is less likely than where they lack such a sense of belonging. In its absence, crises of legitimacy can result in terrible bloodshed. A recent European example was Yugoslavia’s disintegration in the 1990s.

Conceptually, the terms “peacebuilding”, “statebuilding” and “nationbuilding” have considerable overlap. The reasons are that non-violent resolution of conflict is more likely where the state commands a monopoly on the legitimate use of force, and that a shared national identity makes people less disposed to taking up arms against one another or against the state.

After traumatic socio-political disasters such as civil war or dictatorship, all three matter: peacebuilding, statebuilding and nationbuilding. Since they are mutually reinforcing, it is not important to figure out what comes first. Action to promote one indirectly promotes the other two, and the essential thing is to promote them all to the maximum extent possible.

The history of high-income countries shows that nationhood fosters two kinds of solidarity. One is the solidarity against other countries and foreigners, which can become quite aggressive. The other is welfare-state solidarity, defending compatriots from desperate need. Today’s right-wing populists link both varieties in a perfidious way. They claim that immigrants and other minorities only want to exploit the government-funded safety nets which, according to populist narratives, should only serve the nation understood as a homogenous entity. The irony is that this kind of agitation is divisive. It undermines people’s sense of belonging together and weakens institutions.

Traumatised nations do not need scapegoating but reconciliation. Acceptance of the historical truth is necessary, and so is trust in institutions and the rule of law. For these things to come about, people must feel secure. It is a fallacy to believe that effective social-protection systems are basically the reward for strong nation- and statehood. They are also preconditions for nation- and statehood. In post-crisis countries, the international community should not only try to provide military security. Efforts to establish social security would serve peace and nation building.


Kategorien: english

How the first redistribution attempt failed

D+C - 27. Juli 2020 - 11:37
The policy proposed by Namibia’s first National Land Reform Conference in the early 1990s never took off

The idea was that white farmers would voluntarily sell land to black buyers who would often rely on government support so they could afford the price. Whenever a current owner put land up for sale, the Conference recommended giving the government preferential rights to buy.

This policy, however, faltered fast. For one thing, the land purchases by government agencies were slow and inefficient. According to official data published in 2018, over 8 million hectares (a bit more than one fifth of the privately-owned farmland) were offered to the state since 1992, but only 37 % of that land was actually bought. The statistics show that whites still own almost 50 % of the land. The descendants of the people who were dispossessed under colonial rule remain landless.

Making matters worse, inequality persists even where redistribution has occurred. It is now no longer necessarily based on pigmentation. Political connections and ethnic affinities matter too. Many members of the political and administrative elite have been classified on paper as belonging to the “previously disadvantaged”, which made them eligible for land redistribution. Many of them are originally from Namibia’s northern regions where land had always remained in the possession of the local communities. Subsidised by taxpayers’ money, people whose ancestors had never been disposed thus acquired land. To own a farm, is now a status symbol for members of the new elite.

Such misguided allocation of land has become a bone of contention. Descendants of communities expropriated by colonialism still feel pushed aside. Such feelings fuel inter-ethnic animosities.

There is more bad news. Many of the non-privileged resettlement beneficiaries cannot make a living from the land. Lacking capital and know-how, they depend on state aid.

Kategorien: english

Righting a wrong

D+C - 27. Juli 2020 - 11:24
To make amends for colonial-era crimes, Germany should fund Namibian land restitution

National statistics document Namibia’s unequitable pattern of land ownership. Fewer than 5,000 (predominantly white) commercial farmers own 48 % of the land. About 35 % of the land is reserved for communal use by indigenous communities. More than 70 % of the population depend on it. The state holds another 17 % of the land.

This is inconsistent with stated national policy. The government’s declared intention is to transfer land to descendants of those who were dispossessed in colonial times. Its agenda includes resettlements of indigenous people as well as the voluntary transfers of commercial agricultural land. Not much progress has been made however. Land ownership remains heavily skewed in favour of the privileged few, who now include members of the political class (see box).

As a former colonial power, Germany bears a responsibility to support redressing the situation. From 1884 to 1915, the colony was called German South West Africa. German colonial rule was very brutal. The administration encouraged whites to set up farms on indigenous land. Resistance by local Ovaherero and Nama communities against forced expulsions triggered the first genocide of the 20th century in the years 1904 to 1908 (see Joshua Kwesi Aikins in Focus section of D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2017/11). The Damara were affected too. Survivors were detained in concentration camps and forced into native reserves. White farmers also systematically eliminated San communities (Bushmen).

Land grabs continued after South Africa occupied the territory in 1915 and, in 1919, became the mandatory power. Afrikaans-speaking white farmers moved to the “fifth province”. Expulsions and resettlements of indigenous communities continued until the 1960s under South Africa’s Bantustan Policy, which set aside reserves for specific ethnic groups. These areas were euphemistically called “tribal homelands”.

Independence was supposed to liberate the black communities and restore their dignity. In 1990, the liberation movement South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO) formed the new government of a sovereign nation. Land ownership hardly changed, however, even though there was a promising start with a national land conference in 1991. Unfortunately, redistribution of land to the dispossessed failed miserably. The process was slow and far too often benefited politically connected persons who had no ancestral claims.

Dissatisfaction with the failed reform led to a second land conference in October 2018. It paid more attention to ancestral land claims than the first one. In February 2019, a 15-member Commission on Ancestral Land was appointed. In December 2019, the Commission recommended giving priority to the dispossessed. It stated: “Colonialism stripped people of their dignity and cultural rights and other fundamental rights, and [this] requires urgent systematic redress.” The Commission suggested to rely on “reparations from the former colonial powers” to strengthen land reform and restore social justice.

A role for Germany

The two former colonial powers are Germany and South Africa. Their legacy is certainly appalling. The South African government, however, is itself the result of a freedom struggle and refuses to be held accountable for the former Apartheid regime’s abusiveness. Of course, South Africa’s involvement does not lessen Germany’s responsibility in any way.

In mid-2015, a spokesperson of Germany’s Foreign Office acknowledged, after persistent questioning from a journalist, that imperial warfare in Namibia was tantamount to genocide. Since then, Germany and Namibia have been negotiating how to come to terms with the persisting injustice. Though Germany’s Federal Government has never agreed to reparations and avoids using the term, the Namibian Commission’s proposal deserves consideration. Germany could indeed provide funds for land redistribution. The money could be used to compensate expropriated farmers even if they do not wish to sell their land.

The legal foundation for such a land redistribution is in place. While the country’s constitution confirms that any property titles that existed at the time of independence are legally valid, its Article 16 states clearly: “The State or a competent body or organ authorised by law may expropriate property in the public interest subject to the payment of just compensation, in accordance with requirements and procedures to be determined by Act of Parliament”. Laws and regulations are in place, and in 2008, the High Court spelled out guidelines for enforcing them.

Funding a redistribution and expropriation policy along these lines would be a sensible first step. Next, Germany should then co-finance the indispensable investments in rural infrastructure and agricultural extension services. The idea would be to empower local communities in ways that allow them to fully benefit from re­settlement. The Namibian government, for its part, would have to ensure that only the descendants of the dispossessed benefit from redistribution, but not politically-connected elites.

Both the German and the Namibian government would be wise to invest in this kind of policy. It would not only facilitate reconciliation between Germany and Namibia, but also between groups in Namibia – the truly dispossessed and those only pretending to be. Namibia would get a new start. The destructive legacy of skewed land ownership would be overcome.

Neither side should shy away from using the word “reparations.” For Germany, an obstacle may be that such a step might look like an irritating precedent to other former colonial powers. They do not want to pay compensations for past crimes (see Kehinde Andrews in Focus section of D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2017/11).

As Namibia’s Commission on Ancestral Land correctly stated, however, “the term reparation is used in a wide sense” in international law. It can stand for any measure that serves “to redress the various types of harms victims may have suffered”.

Land is identity, and stolen land translates into stolen identity. Property rights that were granted by a legal system that was only established after colonial land grabs may remain valid – but they are inherently unjust. It is necessary to right the wrongs of the past. The current talks between Germany and Namibia offer an historic opportunity to do so.

Henning Melber is director emeritus of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation in Uppsala, Sweden, and an extraordinary professor at the University of Pretoria and the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. He is a member of South West African Organisation (SWAPO), having joined it in 1974.

Kategorien: english

Migration and skills for the low‑carbon transition

ODI - 27. Juli 2020 - 0:00
A discussion of the role of migration policy in the transition to low-carbon economies.
Kategorien: english

COVID-19 means development setbacks for Mongolia: a UN Resident Coordinator’s blog

UN ECOSOC - 25. Juli 2020 - 6:30
Mongolia has recorded very few cases of COVID-19, less than 300 as on date, despite its more than 4,000 kilometre porous border with China. However, the country faces a major economic impact from the pandemic, says Tapan Mishra, the UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia.
Kategorien: english

Heard at the 2020 UN High-level Political Forum

Global Policy Watch - 24. Juli 2020 - 19:54

Download UN Monitor #18 (pdf version).

By Barbara Adams, Carter Boyd and Karen Judd

“The world is going through a public health crisis which is turning into a global economic and social crisis. The HLPF is one of the first major intergovernmental meetings with universal participation and broad stakeholder engagement since the onset of the crisis.

“It is critical that the United Nations send a strong message to all people demonstrating that we can forge consensus and give a multilateral response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that we are committed to rebuilding better after the pandemic, with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as our roadmap. Countries, societies, youth and the media will all be looking to the United Nations for its guidance.”

How did the 2020 HLPF, which met 7-17 July 2020 in virtual format, respond to these words from the ‘presiding officer’, the President of ECOSOC Mona Juul, who said in her concluding remarks: we “cannot revert to the old normal…normal was part of the problem–all of our discussions have underlined recovery presents a rare opportunity to shape the new normal”.

Here are some of the voices heard at the 2020 HLPF, reverberating around the themes of building back better, leave no one behind, COVID-19, inequalities, data and accountability.


Building back better risks going backwards

  • We cannot go back to normal. Normal is what got us into this mess, but also this financial crisis and climate crisis… [and] weakened state capacity after decades of hollowing it out through … austerity, outsourcing, and privatization. — Mariana Mazzucato, UN CDP
  • The reality is that we have a lot of challenges achieving the world we said we wanted in 2015 and we are actually backtracking. We need solutions that include the informal labor sector, debt relief, and agricultural development. — Alice Kalibata, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
  • I’m tired of hearing building back better. What is better? We need to build back differently, with more diversified economies that are greener, more inclusive. Who are we building back better for? Big economies, for profit, and big business, or for sustainable development? – Isabelle Durant, UNCTAD
  • Building back better for SIDS is not going back to what they had. When we were encouraged to diversify our countries and markets, we took what we were really good at and exchanged it for something else, not a true diversification. — Sharon Lindo, Belize
  • To build back better we need to foster an open and innovative dialogue with a comprehensive and inclusive financing for development system to address the challenges MICs are facing. — Philippines
  • …align the build back better principle in the context of sustainable financing strategies through increased liquidity, concessional financing and debt swaps. — Armida Alisjahbana, UN ESCAP
  • As we join online conversations like this, vulnerable populations are not at the table and are unable to participate. To build back better the world must focus on improving digital access, not a digital dream world that excludes those most vulnerable. —Elenita Dano, ETC Group

Leave No One Behind < Addressing inequalities

Leave no-one behind has become the official slogan of the 2030 Agenda and the HLPF. Multiple statements of efforts to be inclusive, while welcome, are pro forma, selective and neglect many disadvantaged groups – and ignore the dynamics, policies and practices that push many behind.

  • Rich countries and corporations are pushing everyone else behind….’leave no one behind’ is SDG-washing. –Winnie Byanyima, UNAIDS
  • Most voluntary national reports [in 2019] mention leave no one behind (45 of the 47) but it’s the depth of that principle we are concerned about with only 7 recognizing what policies might be pushing people behind. — Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, UN CDP
  • When the system fails, we see that those most vulnerable will suffer most. This is why inequality is at the center of the 2030 Agenda. It’s at the intersection of economic, social and environmental constraints. We risk seeing a new generation of inequalities around digitalization and climate change in the European consensus on development. — EU and EU member states
  • This pandemic will result in millions more cases of gender-based violence. We don’t have to let this happen. — Natalia Kanem, UNFPA
  • Latin America is the most unequal region of the world and the efforts made to decrease poverty are now at risk of receding…. The health crisis has shown us that universal access to healthcare services is only part of the challenge. The lack of jobs, gender inequality, lack of social protection systems, education, environmental problems all have a direct impact of increasing the level of poverty worldwide. We believe acting in silos will return us to the ‘business as usual’ scenario…. For Mexico…our priority is to address the needs of vulnerable groups, with more intersectoral and multilateral responses. …In doing so, the government has partnered with the private sector and out civil society. — Camila Zepeda, Mexico
  • We may end up with more inequality…. Gender equality is a prerequisite to build back better. — Erna Solberg, Norway
  • The VNRs show the main strategy of governments to address leaving no one behind is social protection. They stress violence against women but rarely unpaid work and childcare. — Roberto Bissio, Social Watch
  • Young people pointed to the longstanding inequalities among and within countries, as well as continued gender-based violence, ethnic and racial discrimination, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and other types of minority targeted policies that contradict values of dignity and human rights. Young people also expressed their need to recognize diversity in languages, cultures, indigenous knowledge and heritages that enrich our humanity. — Jayathma Wickramanayake, S-G’s Envoy on Youth

COVID-19: New crisis or systemic failure?

  • The COVID-19 pandemic actually puts the principles of multilateralism and multi-stakeholderism to the test because the principles, among others talk about the need for a strong public sector, for strong government, and for a strong state. — Geraldine Joslun Fraser-Moleketi, UN CEPA
  • COVID-19 has exacerbated the systemic risks and fragilities in our economic and financial systems and development models. It has also highlighted the cascading impact of disasters crossing economic, social, environmental, dimensions of sustainable development, and affecting all countries, especially developing countries. — Munir Akram, Pakistan
  • Inequality and climate change are driving the agenda backwards – COVID-19 builds on both drivers. – UN CDP Communique
  • The landscape has changed significantly since we last met in 2019, and it is clear that COVID-19 presents a significant challenge to achieving the SDGs. But our message is that we must not be consumed by the challenge alone we must use this as an opportunity to rebuild better. — James Roscoe, UK
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is a global shock that has exacerbated existing challenges and created new vulnerabilities for middle-income countries, setting back progress and development gains made during the past years. Recent data generated by various UN entities and reflected in the S-G Policy Briefs have highlighted that the substantial drop in remittances, loss of full-time employment, loss of employment in the informal sector, debt risks, pressure on health systems and food security due to the pandemic are specifically being felt in, and will acutely impact, middle-income countries. — Philippines
  • COVID-19 comes at a time when we were already off track to deliver on the 2030 Agenda, and at the time when we are backtracking on some issues, including hunger, inequalities, climate change, or biodiversity …. We need to propel our efforts towards first aligning both public and private finance with the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. Second, to promote sustainable investments and shifting finance away from fossil fuel. Third, to invest in the protection of biodiversity and natural ecosystems. And fourth, to strengthen regional and local supply chains while reducing their climate footprints. — Cyrille Pierre, France
  • If one piece fails, negative consequences are felt elsewhere in the whole system…. This time it has been health. Next time, it could be environmental degradation. We have agreed to a set of interlinked SDGs, and it’s an opportunity to address issues in an integrated manner…. when the system fails, we see that those most vulnerable will suffer the most. This is why inequalities are at the center of the 2030 agenda…. We risk seeing a new generation of inequalities around digitalization and climate change. — EU and EU member states
  • COVID-19 has exposed the hardship of the informal economy, care workers and the need for adequate universal social protection. … Respect for workers’ rights must be at the center of the recovery, and that new transformative agenda for gender equality is urgent. Ratification of the new ILO Convention on Violence and Harassment should be a priority. Involvement of trade unions and not only business is required. — Sweden
  • The 2030 Agenda must not be another victim of the COVID-19. — Camila Zepeda, Mexico

Social protection to the fore

  • To leave no one behind after COVID-19, we must ensure access to the health system and social protection as well as the quality food and nutrition for the poor. We must prevent increased prevalence of undernourishment and stunting. The greatest impact is through economic stimulus policy, a strengthened social safety net programme. — Indonesia
  • Underinvestment in social protection has left many homeless. Countries in conflict are already struggling. Lower income countries need USD 50 billion in addition to the USD 100 billion to cope and overcome COVID-19. There is catastrophic destruction of gains made.
    — Rola Dashti, UN ESCWA
  • COVID-19, has exposed the hardship of the informal economy, care workers and the need for adequate universal social protection…. Respect for workers’ rights must be at the center of the recovery, and a new transformative agenda for gender equality is urgent. Ratification of the new ILO Convention on Violence and Harassment should be a priority. Involvement of trade unions and not only business is required… Maybe some global fund for social protection to ensure that you are leaving no one behind. — Sweden

The pandemic and the SDGs put multiple commitments to the test, not least how we measure progress, how we define poverty and how we underplay or ignore potential existential threats and growing inequalities.

Who measures what? What data counts?

  • [There is] limited attention on a need for disaggregated data, where work on reducing inequalities really begins…Two very important goals are going in the wrong direction: Inequality and Climate Change. When they go backwards, they compromise all the other SDGs. – Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, UN CDP
  • We do not have the right indicators – care work implies health and education, thousands of caregivers are dying but as unpaid household workers, not part of GDP – this presents a huge challenge to measure progress another way…. — Roberto Bissio, Social Watch
  • …the importance of changing our classification … if we stay within our traditional sort of GDP per capita definitions of the crisis we will not be addressing the countries. — Vera Songwe, UN ECA
  • Measures for GDP or human development do not tell our story and path. COVID-19 stopped the economy. Decades of global development and progress have been halted…. pay more attention to this notion of vulnerability. It’s not about GDP per capita. What is our capacity to absorb new technology, composition of our population, levels of education and skills that allows us … to really take advantage of the resources that we have? – Marsha Caddle, Barbados
  • Getting the data right to guide policy responses will have life and death implications in this crisis and will support the SDG acceleration efforts over the coming decade. Therefore, investing into good, timely and disaggregated data and data and innovation at this point is urgently needed. — Stefan Schweinfest, UN DESA
  • [Data gaps] include new and emerging vulnerabilities, along with what we already typify as being risky poverty categories. We have to examine these, including workers who have lost their jobs in this experience, who already were precariously close, and those with low wages and as involuntary returned migrants and migrant workers. –Rochelle Whyte, Jamaica
  • Education and the digital divide. Those without access have no access to schooling, this is a new educational divide. The ‘digital equality paradox’ means more people are more excluded. Digital technology doesn’t give us more equal access but furthers the divide. –Anriette Esterhuysen, Internet Governance Forum, South Africa


  • The partnerships that we do remain very critical. We need to strengthen the partnerships across governments and between governments, private sector development, foundations. Partnerships are going to need to be very structured. They need to be timely, very purposeful and sustained over the short to the medium term. — Rochelle Whyte, Jamaica
  • Business can and should play a major role in reinvigorating multilateralism through inclusive business models and by demonstrating ethical leadership and good governance. … Never before did so many different stakeholders, including business, have a seat at the table. The resulting SDGs offer companies a powerful blueprint for societal transformation and for business benefit… Growing numbers of companies awakening to the importance of responsible business…. — Sandra Ojiambo, UN Global Compact
  • It is interesting to see that year after year the level of trust in governments and established institutions like church and media, et cetera, is decreasing whereas the expectations they are expressing with respect to companies and NGOs are increasing. …Brands are now confronted with questions that … touch upon very critical topics of living together, of society, of addressing common global challenges, racial injustice, social injustice, black lives matter. …they realize that they don’t have the level of trust and legitimacy to advise on policies and therefore they need partnerships with those entitled to have a view… And this is why partnerships, public-private partnerships are so essential. — Stephan Loerke, World Federation of Advertisers
  • In the post COVID-19 world, opportunistic multilateralism is just not good enough. Holistic and inclusive multilateralism at the UN is a vital component of a people-centric approach whereby international norms in relation to fair trade, sustainable development and human rights are given equal precedence to other global priorities….Civil society plays a key role in making people’s voices count and ensuring no one is left behind. Enabling an environment for civil society where civic freedoms are respected are crucial to realizing the promise of the UN Charter. We look to the UN to protect and promote the rights of civil society, to maximize their contribution to peace, security and development. — Julia Sanchez, Civicus

Policies, reporting and accountability don’t end at the border

  • COVID-19 exposed the limits and risks of the current markets and supply chains; risks of deepening the digital divide; environmental breathing space; momentum for debt forgiveness; and stresses how much we depend on each other and what we can do if we coordinate action. — Isabelle Durant, UNCTAD
  • We need a complete paradigm shift and a transformation…. we need to keep linking climate change, the biodiversity and the land degradation together. That is the heart of the sustainable development goals. — Yasmine Fouad, Egypt
  • No country is on its own. Africa as a continent is affected by global imperatives, good or not … Resilience alone without a holistic approach to well-being and broader development needs is counter-productive. — Ibrahim Mayaki, NEPAD
  • Many countries lack universal health care and social protection systems though it is these situations that lead to a route back to social/economic inclusion…. we need a fundamental post pandemic review of fiscal policy, an international commission on fiscal policy for SDGs to improve progressivity of wealth including taxes and strengthen social health and protection systems. The current system undermines our ability to achieve the SDGs. – Paul Ladd, UNRISD
  • … universal Social Security and service systems and good educational opportunities for all are the key in preventing exclusion and before anybody has even time to think about the cost. Let me underline that this goes hand-in-hand with a broad based and effective tax system. — Sofie Sandström, Finland
  • Young people see the start of the Decade of Action as an opportunity to stop, to rethink or to dismantle systems of oppression, realign our values and enact meaningful structural reforms which will put in place the proper mechanisms to galvanize the UN Member States, private sector and civil society….Our main message across the board was that there must be no going back to normal….Many young people feel that the needs and rights of marginalized groups should be better represented given their unique vulnerabilities.
    — Jayathma Wickramanayake, S-G’s Envoy on Youth


The HLPF continues to be among the most attended of all UN meetings, with broad participation from civil society and the corporate sector along with Member States. However, the quantity in participation has not been matched by the quality of policy commitments and actions from Member States to ensure the transformation needed.

Most Member States reporting on their progress to achieve the SDGs including in the VNRs focus exclusively on their domestic efforts and ignore their cross-border and global responsibilities. This is misleading in light of climate change, rising inequalities, debt crises, global pandemics, and the drivers of these challenges lie more heavily with the major economic players, public and private, while “those left behind” have little means of protection with the current rules of the multilateral game.

Member States have it in their power to correct these weaknesses by transforming the UN from a stage on which to perform to a political space in which to be held accountable.

The post Heard at the 2020 UN High-level Political Forum appeared first on Global Policy Watch.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Dramatic Arctic fires and sea ice melt, show need for urgent climate action

UN #SDG News - 24. Juli 2020 - 16:57
“Exceptional and prolonged” temperatures in Siberia, have left parts of the Arctic warmer than sub-tropical Florida, and fuelled “devastating” wildfires for a second consecutive year, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Friday, while warning also of rapidly decreasing sea ice along the Russian polar coast.
Kategorien: english

The mental landscape of post-conflict life in northern Uganda

ODI - 24. Juli 2020 - 0:00
A series of seven reports using behavioural insights to think differently about the mental landscape of post-conflict life in northern Uganda.
Kategorien: english

Spotlight on a Partnership: Johnson & Johnson

Devex - 23. Juli 2020 - 15:40
Kategorien: english

#103: racism and tax justice Part 2

Tax Justice Network - 23. Juli 2020 - 13:17

This month we bring you part 2 on how tax justice can help address systemic racism in the US. Author Shawn Rochester, (The Black Tax: the cost of being Black in America) does some number crunching on the historic denial of equality and economic costs of exclusion, Gabriel Zucman speaks on reforming the private tax of healthcare, Cortney Sanders of the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities speaks about the impact of covid19 on communities of colour, and Brandon J. McKoy of New Jersey Policy Perspective speaks on the myth of millionaire tax flight.

Plus: how much wealth is stashed offshore? We speak to Jim Henry on why our estimate of $21 to 32 trillion has been vindicated by new figures released by the OECD: "it means we've discovered an eighth continent of wealth"

Transcript available here (not 100% accurate)

Kategorien: english


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