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On Target? Reflections on targeting in development policies and programmes

INCLUDE Platform - 4. Juli 2022 - 9:39

This blog flows from an INCLUDE report that calls for more attention to human factors and unintended effects of targeting methods. It also points to hidden costs that further influence meaningful participation. Targeting is essentially a very political and messy business.

Development policies and programmes are always aimed at subcategories of populations. Individuals, households, communities, or other units that are targeted meet certain requirements and are then enrolled as participants. There are several ways in which targeting is being done, ranging from statistical methods and indicator-based survey-based methods to more community-based approaches. So far, there is no consensus on which method works best.

It is impossible to have 100% targeting accuracy. Inaccuracy is measured by inclusion errors and exclusion errors. Implementation plays a great role in effectiveness and accuracy, and this is heavily affected by human factors. Issues outside the targeting systems can influence inclusion and exclusion of participants before, during and after their enrolment. Think of administrative processes, queuing, national ID requirements, among others. Inclusion is not only a matter of numbers and gaining access (whether rightfully so or not), but also about meaningful, suitable, and fruitful participation. Hidden costs to this type of meaningful participation, may follow from administrative processes, stigmatising activities, or other costs in terms of time or money. These costs may cause a participant to drop out, either fully or partly.

Most of the times a target population is much larger than the scope of any one programme or policy. Targeting in this case is also about rationing and justifying the narrow selection. In addition, the decisions about targeting methods may align better with political interests than official policy objectives. In many government policies, targeting is employed to benefit some political groups, and in the case of many NGOs, targeting is partly used as a way of raising overall effectiveness of programmes, not necessarily to target the neediest or reach the unreached. On closer inspection, the goal is to reach those with the highest potential or to distinguish the deserving ones within a larger population of people with almost equal levels of welfare.

This reflects the debate around targeting, between those who point to the increased efficiency of targeting, and proponents of universal approaches who point to the lack of political will as a characteristic of targeted approaches. Proponents of targeting argue for allocating budgets to those who need it most, for increased impact per dollar. Opponents argue that more of the intended beneficiaries will be included when a universal approach is taken.

In practice, some form of targeting is always used. Universal approaches also need to distinguish or monitor inclusion and enrolment. The debate is ongoing and grew more salient during the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 onwards, as governments struggled to increase coverage and value of their social protection systems in the wake of restriction measures, often building on existing targeting systems.

In short, there is a general emphasis on accuracy and effectiveness. However, it would make sense to focus on social impact of the targeting exercise, the redressal of grievances and the implementation processes, and the unintended inclusion and exclusion effects of other programme components. Especially when targeting reflects a lack of political will to solve inequalities. For more on targeting and the recommendations we pose, please refer to the two-pager and the executive summary, as well as the report itself.

For feedback, questions or suggestions please leave your comment on our website underneath the post, or reach out to


Het bericht On Target? Reflections on targeting in development policies and programmes verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

The Last Humanitarian Lifeline to Syria May Soon Be Severed | A View From Northern Syria and the United Nations

UN Dispatch - 4. Juli 2022 - 6:48

As the Syrian civil war escalated, the Syrian government began obstructing access to humanitarian relief in rebel held parts of the country. So, in 2014 the UN Security Council took the extraordinary step of allowing the United Nations to deliver humanitarian relief to parts of Syria without the consent of the Syrian government and in violation of Syrian sovereignty.

Since then, humanitarian aid has been able to reach besieged parts of Syria through border crossings, mainly from Turkey into Northern Syria. But in recent years divisions at the Security Council, namely Russian objections to this arrangement, have significantly limited this aid operation. There is now just one border crossing in which aid is delivered from Turkey to rebel held parts of Idlib province in northern Syria. And on July 10th, that last border crossing may close.

Today’s episode is in two parts. First, you will hear from Vanessa Jackson the UN representative for Care International. She explains the broader diplomatic context in which this last border crossing may be forced shut by Russia. Then, you will hear my conversation with Ismail Alabdullah who is a volunteer in Idlib with the White Helmets, a local humanitarian relief and rescue organization. He discusses at length the humanitarian situation in Idlib and the implications of severing the last cross border lifeline of humanitarian aid.

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The post The Last Humanitarian Lifeline to Syria May Soon Be Severed | A View From Northern Syria and the United Nations appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

The Caribbean is ‘ground zero’ for the global climate emergency: Guterres

UN #SDG News - 4. Juli 2022 - 1:28
The UN Secretary-General’s final day in Suriname began on a small plane and ended at a podium. A 90-minute flyover from Paramaribo into the Central Suriname Nature Reserve revealed to António Guterres the astounding beauty of the Amazon but also spotlighted the threats the rainforest is facing from mining and logging activities, and climate change. 
Kategorien: english

The World Is Melting Down and the Cause is Corruption- The G20 Needs to Take Action

#C20 18 - 2. Juli 2022 - 14:57

WASHINGTON DC, Jul 1 2022 (IPS) – The G20 is meeting again next week in Indonesia for the second time this year- at a moment when the world is facing the most difficult economic, political and social challenges for decades.

At their core, these problems are driven by corruption- from the “weaponization” of graft by Russia in Ukraine to the lack of regulation of the enablers of corruption in G20 countries such as the UK. This malfeasance costs lives and livelihoods- and is directly responsible for everything from energy black-outs to food and fuel shortages.

Critical decisions are being made by the G20 about the ways that governments can collectively manage what is now considered a significant transnational threat to peace and prosperity. But despite the earnest anti-corruption commitments made by G20 countries annually, follow-up and delivery on these commitments is a challenge.

” Despite the earnest anti-corruption commitments made by G20 countries annually, follow-up and delivery on these commitments is a challenge “

Civil society has to make its voice heard on these issues now, before it is too late. The Civil-20 (C20)– which we Co-Chair- engages the G20 on behalf of civil society. Over the past several months we have collectively gathered ideas from civil society around the world related to five central corruption challenges on which the G20 must take action immediately: Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and asset recovery; beneficial ownership transparency; countering corruption in the energy transition; open contracting; and the transparency and integrity of corporations.

This is what the C20 members are telling the G20 it needs to do now. First, effective anti-money laundering efforts are key to detecting illicit financial flows from corrupt activities in countries like Russia.

The G20 needs to strengthen regulatory authorities across its membership and expand sanctions for violating AML requirements, in particular for large financial institutions and what are called Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) that facilitate illicit financial flows (such as lawyers or accountants).

Similarly, when assets are returned they need to be aligned to GFAR principles, including through the engagement of civil society and community groups to support the transparency of this process.

Second, the G20 has committed to lead by example on beneficial ownership transparency (the real ownership of companies) and has the opportunity to strengthen this commitment by strengthening G20 High-Level Principles on Beneficial Ownership Transparency in line with improved global standards, including those recommended by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

One challenge is integrating data and G20 member countries should also implement the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard to share and analyze data more easily- which would dramatically improve the ability of citizens to understand who owns companies that might be involved in corruption.

Third, there is massive amounts of corruption as the world transitions to clean energy, but corruption risks in the renewables sector are not unique- they follow many of the same patterns we have seen in infrastructure and the extractives industries, for example. As more and more countries transition towards renewable energy, it is important to prioritize resource governance in ways that align with existing agreed-upon high-level principles and best practices.

The G20 must regulate lobbying activities around clean energy- including through lobbying registries; enforce a strong and credible sanctions regime, including public databases of companies banned from tenders; and support independent civil society monitoring of large-scale energy projects through integrity pacts and other similar vehicles that help to ensure transparent procurement.

Fourth, government contracting is rife with collusion, nepotism and graft. The G20 must open up contracting processes and strengthen open data infrastructure by sharing information across the whole cycle of procurement for projects- from planning to contracting to awards and implementation.

Governments must also publish high-quality open data that is readily machine-readable so it can be used across multiple systems. This does not mean starting from scratch- there are standards for this, like the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) and the Open Contracting for Infrastructure Data Standard (OC4IDS). It is a question of commitment.

Finally, not all G20 member countries are party to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and private sector bribery is not criminalized in every G20 member country as per the UNCAC provisions. This means companies can legally offer bribes to win contracts, and this has to be outlawed immediately.

The EU Directive for Corporate Responsibility Due Diligence includes requirements that the G20 should adopt immediately- for instance to identify the actual or potential adverse human rights impacts of corruption; to prevent or mitigate the potential impacts of bribery; and improve public communication around due diligence processes.

G20 members should also regulate the “revolving doors” through which government and business people can engage in favoritism; and invest in better partnerships between entities working on these issues such as regulators, law enforcement agencies and civil society.

This might all seem quite technical- but the negative impacts of corruption are not felt in government meeting rooms, but in the everyday lives of citizens. The G20 has for too long made excuses for the lack of action on this topic, and we are now seeing the devastating effects. Unless action is taken now, it will be too late.

These ideas were gathered through a consultative process as part of the C20 Anti-Corruption Working Group (ACWG), and represent the inputs of many civil society organizations.

Blair Glencorse is Executive Director of Accountability Lab and is Co-Chair of the C20 ACWG.
Sanjeeta Pant is the Global Programs and Learning Manager at the Lab. Follow the Lab on Twitter @accountlab.

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Kategorien: english, Ticker

What COVID-19 taught us about risk in a complex, inter-connected world

UN ECOSOC - 2. Juli 2022 - 6:16
A new UN report has shed fresh light on the ways that the COVID-19 pandemic unleashed cascading risks, particularly on vulnerable people, worldwide.
Kategorien: english

How sharp will be the global slowdown?

Brookings - 1. Juli 2022 - 23:08

By Justin Damien Guénette

The Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine was yet another supply shock to a global economy still reeling from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the June 2022 edition of the Global Economic Prospects report, global growth is projected to slow sharply from 5.7 percent in 2021 to 2.9 percent this year (Figure 1). The effects of the invasion account for most of the 1.2 percentage point downward revision to this year’s global growth forecast. Growth in emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) is expected to slow from 6.6 percent in 2021 to 3.4 percent in 2022 due to negative spillovers from the war in Ukraine and a deteriorating global environment. Other than the pandemic-induced recession in 2020, this is the weakest year of EMDE growth since 2009.

Arrayed against this baseline of sharply diminishing global growth are various overlapping and mutually reinforcing downside risks, including intensifying geopolitical tensions, rising financial instability, and continuing supply strains. Three of these, which are discussed and quantified in the sub-sections below, may already be materializing. If these shocks materialize at the same time, they could lead to a much sharper global slowdown in 2022-23 than projected in the baseline.

Figure 1. Global growth

Source: World Bank.
Note: EMDEs = emerging market and developing economies. Bars show cumulative output losses over 2020-24, which are computed as deviations from trend, expressed as a share of GDP in 2019. Output is measured in U.S. dollars at 2010-19 prices and market exchange rates. Trend is assumed to grow at the regression-estimated trend growth rate of 2010-19. EMDE commodity exporters exclude the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

Rising financial stress

Relentless inflationary pressures have led to chaotic repricing of monetary policy expectations across the world. Prior to June, markets were pricing in an increase in the U.S. Federal Funds rate to 2.5 percent by end-2022. Barely a few short weeks later, in response to another inflation surprise—total CPI inflation reached 8.6 percent year over year in May—end-2022 expectations surged above 3 percent (Figure 2). Similar revisions have beset other major central banks, sending stock markets plunging amid sustained equity volatility. In turn, EMDE financial conditions have reached their tightest level since the start of the pandemic. Sovereign spreads have increased steadily across EMDEs, particularly in commodity importers, where debt service may be increasingly strained (Figure 3).

Figure 2. Market-based expectations of Fed policy rates

Sources Bloomberg; World Bank.
Note: Figure shows changes in market-based expectations of monetary policy rates over time. “Dec-21” refers to December 21, 2021. “May-22” refers to May 26, 2022, and “Jun-22” refers to June 28, 2022.

Figure 3. Changes in EMDE sovereign spreads by commodity exporter status

Sources: J.P. Morgan; World Bank.
Note: Figure shows the difference in bond spreads between the latest available data and February 23, 2022 (day prior to the invasion of Ukraine). Last observation is June 24, 2022.

Expectations of faster monetary tightening in the United States could trigger financial stress in EMDEs starting in the third quarter of this year. In this scenario, the Federal Reserve would see no choice but to raise the policy rate to 4 percent by the first quarter of 2023, causing a sharper tightening of EMDE financial conditions. Several major EMDEs would experience large-scale capital outflows and soaring bond spreads, ultimately forcing authorities to accelerate fiscal consolidation efforts. Global growth would be reduced by 0.3 percentage point in 2022 and a further 0.6 percentage point in 2023 compared to current baseline forecasts. EMDEs would be disproportionately affected, with their aggregate growth reduced by 0.5 percentage point in 2022 and 0.9 percentage point in 2023.

Disruptions in energy markets

The war in Ukraine has caused significant supply disruptions and higher price volatility across several commodities, including energy, food, and fertilizers. There are many possible triggers for further upward movements in energy prices. These are all driven by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and could include an immediate ban by Russia on all energy exports to EU members, additional G-7 sanctions targeting shipping companies, and the possibility of secondary sanctions on third parties purchasing Russian energy supplies.

In a scenario of additional major disruptions to energy markets centered around Europe, the prices of natural gas, oil, and coal could spike in the third quarter of 2022 and remain elevated over the remainder of the scenario horizon, reflecting both precautionary buying and lower global supplies. Growth would slow sharply in advanced economies—particularly in the euro area—while EMDEs would face notable headwinds from higher energy prices and weaker foreign demand. On net, global growth could be reduced by 0.5 percentage point in 2022 and a further 0.7 percentage point in 2023.

Recurring lockdowns in China

Economic activity in China is recovering from the deep disruptions caused by strict lockdowns in response to large-scale outbreaks of COVID-19. But the country could experience renewed pandemic disruptions. This possibility of recurring pandemic lockdowns in China is explored in a third risk scenario for global growth. Large-scale COVID-19 resurgences would trigger intermittent lockdowns all the way through 2023, reducing growth in China by 0.5 percentage point in 2022 and a further 0.3 percentage point in 2023. Global spillovers would be modest, unlike in the first two scenarios, but the risks of prolonged disruptions to global supply chains would increase substantially.

Possibility of a sharp global downturn with three shocks

The simultaneous materialization of all three scenarios presented above could reduce global growth to only 2.1 percent in 2022 and 1.5 percent in 2023—0.8 and 1.5 percentage points slower than in the baseline forecast (Figure 4). This would correspond to a sharp global downturn and effectively push the global economy to the brink of recession. The prospects of a dire global economic outcome, so soon after the pandemic global recession, could have devastating consequences for the world’s poor.

Figure 4. Global growth scenarios

Sources: Oxford Economics; World Bank.
Note: Scenario outcomes produced using the Oxford Economics Global Economic Model. Scenarios are linearly additive.

Policies can help!

Even if several downside risks materialize, policymakers may be able to fend off the worst economic outcomes. At a national level, a forceful policy response would require an urgent reprioritization of spending toward targeted relief for vulnerable households, steadfast commitment to credible monetary frameworks, and a general restraint in the use of distortionary policies such as export restrictions and price controls. Once the global economy has stabilized, reversing the damage inflicted by the dual shocks of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine will require an unwavering commitment to growth-enhancing policies, including large-scale investment in education and digital technologies, and the promotion of labor force participation—especially female participation—through active labor market policies.

Kategorien: english

Food insecurity and economic misery in low-income countries

Brookings - 1. Juli 2022 - 22:41

By Carlos Arteta, Sergiy Kasyanenko

The deterioration in the global economic landscape has exacerbated suffering in the world’s poorest countries. Still recovering from the sharp downturn caused by the pandemic, low-income countries (LICs) are being hit hard by soaring inflation at home and rising global interest rates. Dislocations in global commodity markets due to the pandemic, amplified by the war in Ukraine, have led to food and fuel shortages and to surging prices of staple consumer goods. This is eroding real incomes, exacerbating food insecurity, and worsening extreme poverty in LICs. Surging world food prices, which reached their highest levels on record this year, are contributing to the rapid rise in LIC inflation (Figure 1). 

Figure 1. Inflation in low-income countries 

Sources: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO);  Haver Analytics; World Bank.  

Note: “Median” line shows median percentage increase in consumer prices from 12 months earlier for a sample of eight low -income countries. Last observation April 2022. The base period prices of the FAO Food Price Index are the averages for the years 2014-2016. 

Food insecurity is exacerbating misery  

Food consumption accounts for 45 percent of total household expenditure in low-income economies, and diet is heavily based on staple foods including wheat. All LICs are food-deficit countries reliant on imported foods. Imports of wheat from just Russia and Ukraine account for about 14 percent of total caloric intake in a median LIC, compared with just 3 percent in the median emerging market and developing economy. Disruptions to wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine and surging global food prices are slowing LIC growth and increasing extreme poverty, particularly in countries where sizeable segments of the population were already experiencing acute food insecurity (Figure 2). 

Figure 2. Wheat imports and food insecurity in LICs  

Sources: Global Network Against Food Crises; Comtrade (database); World Bank.

Note: DRC = Democratic Republic of Congo. Wheat imports shares are averages for 2019-2020; wheat imports data for Sudan is only available for 2018. “People in food crisis” indicates the estimated percentage of population being in phase 3 or above of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) for 2022; estimates are not available for Madagascar and Togo.

Subdued growth and stretched public finances have hamstrung the ability of governments to cushion vulnerable populations from soaring food and fuel prices. Even in LICs that do not rely on imports of wheat from Russia and Ukraine, millions of people are struggling to afford enough food to avoid hunger. Worsening hunger and malnutrition will inevitably exert adverse long-term consequences, compounding the pernicious effects of more than two years of pandemic on human capital. 

War-related disruptions and the sharp deceleration in global growth are amplifying other ongoing challenges faced by LICs, including pervasive poverty, deteriorating security, and policy uncertainty. As a result, growth forecasts for 2022 presented in the World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects report have been downgraded in more than 80 percent of LICs (Figure 3). Per capita income growth in LICs is projected to be a feeble 1.3 percent this year—well below that in middle-income countries (2.3 percent) and high-income countries (2.4 percent). 

Figure 3. Forecast revisions to 2022 growth  

Sources: World Bank. 

Note: EMDEs = emerging market and developing economies; LICs = low-income countries. Sample includes 145 EMDEs and 22 LICs. Forecast revisions show the share of countries where 2022 growth forecasts were downgraded/unchanged/upgraded between January 2022 and June 2022 editions of Global Economic Prospects. Data for 2022 are forecasts. 

In commodity-exporting LICs, elevated commodity prices will only partly mitigate the deleterious effects of higher food and fuel costs. In these countries, surging living costs are tempering gains from increased export earnings. High oil prices are also unlikely to boost growth meaningfully in LIC energy exporters, as aging oil fields as well as pandemic-induced maintenance delays and weak extractive investment limit prospects for increased oil production.  

Agricultural production in most LICs is also expected to remain subdued, further tightening food supply. Several LICs have faced worsening drought conditions and planting delays due to erratic and poor rainfall. In some LICs, higher prices of grains are expected to limit the ability of farmers, especially those dependent on subsistence agriculture, to purchase enough seeds for the new planting season and feed for livestock. The war in Ukraine has also disrupted the global supply of fertilizers. Insufficient access to agricultural inputs could lead to a state of widespread, low-productivity subsistence farming, rendering LIC food systems more vulnerable to shocks.  

More suffering ahead 

These sobering prospects could be even weaker if supply shortages, conflict, and divisions persist. With almost all LICs relying on imports of wheat, a longer-lasting disruption to global trade in cereals would worsen affordability and availability of staple foods. Further price increases of farming inputs—such as seeds, fuels, and fertilizers—could lead to worsening food price pressures. These pressures would be particularly painful in LICs where climate change has already depressed productivity in farming and in those with high incidence of extreme poverty. In this environment of high inflation, a more pronounced deterioration in living standards would exacerbate social unrest, especially in countries suffering from high levels of insecurity and violence. As financial conditions tighten, higher risk aversion would lead to increases in borrowing costs in LICs. High levels of public debt and increased non-concessional borrowing could further stall progress in debt relief. About one-fourth of all LIC external debt has variable interest rates, compared to just 11 percent in 2010.  

Quick and coordinated responses needed 

Already weakened by the adverse shocks during the last two years, LICs are facing stiff headwinds. The scope for domestic fiscal and monetary policy responses is in most cases limited. A concerted global effort is necessary: 

  • A rapid global response to improve access to safe and nutritious food and bolster food security is critical for health and human development in LICs. The international community needs to substantially scale up financing of LICs’ food systems, including measures that target farming, nutrition, social protection, water, and irrigation.  
  • LICs also face formidable debt-related challenges. Even before the invasion of Ukraine, about 60 percent of LICs were in or near debt distress. To mitigate the risks that debt burdens lead to financial crises, globally coordinated debt relief efforts are essential.  
  • The global community also needs to help foster LIC vaccination rates, which continue to lag far behind other EMDEs owing to a combination of insufficient supply, logistical challenges, and vaccine hesitancy. Sustained collective action is required to bolster pandemic preparedness and rapidly expand vaccination campaigns in LICs.  
  • Finally, the increasing frequency and severity of climate-related disasters highlights the escalating costs of climate change, especially among the poorest countries. Green investment projects need to be accompanied by policies to reduce the economic, health, and social costs of climate change, many of which are borne disproportionately by vulnerable populations in poor economies and make these countries more resilient to climate shocks.  

In the poorest countries of the world, a quick return to economic growth and prosperity is the surest antidote to all these problems, including climate change.

Kategorien: english

Today’s global economy is eerily similar to the 1970s, but governments can still escape a stagflation episode

Brookings - 1. Juli 2022 - 20:52

By Jongrim Ha, M. Ayhan Kose, Franziska Ohnsorge

The global economy is in the midst of a sudden slowdown accompanied by a steep run-up in global inflation to multidecade highs. These developments raise concerns about stagflation—the coincidence of weak growth and elevated inflation—similar to what the world suffered in the 1970s. That experience should be warning of the damage this could wreak on emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs). The stagflation of that era ended with a global recession and a series of financial crises in EMDEs. In light of the lessons of that stagflation episode, these economies need to do a quick rethink of policies to cope with the consequences of rapidly tightening global financing conditions. 

Inflation and growth: moving in opposite directions  

In May 2022, global inflation (8.1 percent) and EMDE inflation (9.4 percent) were at their highest levels since 2008. Inflation in advanced economies reached its highest level recorded during the last four decades. As recent shocks in energy and food prices recede, supply bottlenecks ease, and financial conditions tighten, global inflation is expected to decline to about 3 percent next year. But this would still be about 1 percentage point above its average in 2019, before the pandemic turned the world upside down.  

After collapsing during the 2020 global recession, global growth rebounded to 5.7 percent in 2021, supported by unprecedented fiscal and monetary policy accommodation. However, growth is now expected to slow to 2.9 percent in 2022 with little change in 2023-24 because of the war in Ukraine, the fading of pent-up demand, and the withdrawal of policy support amid high inflation. Beyond the near-term, global growth is expected to remain subdued over the 2020s, reflecting a trend weakening of the fundamental drivers of growth.  

The growth slowdown is steeper, inflation increases not quite as bad (yet)

The current juncture resembles the early 1970s in three key respects: 

  • Elevated inflation and weak growth. The global economy has been emerging from the pandemic-related global recession of 2020, just as it did during the stagflationary period after the global recession in 1975. Global inflation during 1973-83 averaged 11.3 percent a year, more than three times as high as the average of 3.6 percent a year during 1962-72. While the inflation run-up since the 2020 global recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has been less steep than after the 1975 recession, the projected growth slowdown is much steeper. Between 2021 and 2024, global growth is projected to slow by 2.7 percentage points, more than twice as much as between 1976 and 1979 (Figure 1). 
  • Supply shocks after prolonged monetary policy accommodation. Supply disruptions driven by the pandemic and the recent supply shock dealt to global energy and food prices by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine resemble the oil shocks in 1973 and 1979-80. Increases in energy prices in the 1970s and during the period 2020-22 have constituted the largest changes in prices of the past 50 years. Then and now, monetary policy generally was highly accommodative in the run-up to these shocks, with interest rates negative in real terms for several years. 
  • Significant vulnerabilities in emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs). In the 1970s and early 1980s, as now, high debt, elevated inflation, and weak fiscal positions made EMDEs vulnerable to tightening financial conditions. The stagflation of the 1970s coincided with the first global wave of debt accumulation in the past half-century. Low global real interest rates and the rapid development of syndicated loan markets encouraged a surge in EMDE debt, especially in Latin America and many low-income countries. The 2010s featured the fourth (and current) wave of global debt accumulation involving the largest, fastest, and most broad-based increase in government debt by EMDEs in the past 50 years. A number of LICs are already either in or near debt distress. The sheer magnitude and speed of the debt buildup heightens the associated risks. 
Figure 1. Developments in the 1970s and 2020s: Similarities  A. Slowdown in growth after global recessions 

B. CPI inflation

C. Real interest rates  

D. Change in food and energy prices 

Sources: Federal Reserve Economic Data; Haver Analytics; World Bank.  

Notes: CPI = consumer price index; EMDEs = emerging market and developing economies. A. Figure shows changes in global growth (in percentage points) between 2021-24 and 1976-79; covers three years following a rebound from a global recession; B. Annual averages of headline and core CPI inflation in the United States and global (average across 66 countries). 2022 is based on the averages of January to May 2022; C. Figure shows nominal and real (CPI-adjusted) short-term interest rates (Treasury bill rates or money market rates, with the maturity of three months or less). Global interest rates are weighted by GDP in U.S. dollars. Sample includes 113 countries, though the sample size varies by year; D. Percent change in monthly energy and food price indices over a 24-month period. Because of data limitations, prior to 1979, the energy price change is proxied using the oil price change.

Critical differences from the 1970s 

While the similarities outlined above are worrying, there are important cyclical and structural differences between the 1970s and the current situation. These mean that the global economy could yet escape a repeat of that stagflation episode.  

  • Smaller shocks. At least thus far, the magnitude of commodity price jumps has been smaller than in the 1970s. For now, global inflation in 2022 is still less broad-based than it was in the 1970s, and core inflation has remained moderate in many countries, even if it has recently picked up. 
  • More credible monetary policy frameworks. Monetary policy frameworks have become increasingly focused on price stability over time. In the 1970s, central banks often faced competing objectives—aiming for both high output and employment, as well as for price stability. In contrast, central banks in advanced economies and many EMDEs now have clear mandates for price stability, typically expressed as an explicit inflation target (Figure 2). As a result of improvements in policy frameworks and better anchored inflation expectations, inflation—in particular core inflation—has become much less sensitive to inflation surprises. 
  • More flexible economies. The 1970s were a time of considerable structural economic rigidities, many of which have since evolved. Today’s greater economic flexibility, with less centralized wage setting and less financial repression, allows a faster supply and demand response in sectors where prices are rising particularly rapidly and reduces the likelihood of price-wage spirals becoming entrenched. In addition, the energy intensity of GDP has fallen considerably since the 1970s, making economies more resilient to shocks in energy prices (World Bank 2022a).  
  • Less fiscal accommodation. The 1960s and 1970s were marked by expansionary fiscal policy. In contrast, fiscal policy tightening is expected in coming years as governments withdraw the unprecedented fiscal support provided during the pandemic. 
Figure 2. Developments in the 1970s and 2020s: Differences  A. Number of countries with inflation targeting  

B. Labor market flexibility 

C. US inflation expectations 

D. Global energy intensity 


Notes: TOE=Tonnes of oil equivalent. A. Based on the clarification of IMF Annual Report on Exchange Arrangements and Exchange Restrictions and country-specific sources; B. Collective bargaining rates indicate percent of employees with bargaining powers. Trade union density rates indicate the number of union members as a percent of total employees. Aggregation is based on median across a balanced set of 25 economies; C. U.S. consumer inflation expectations based on April 2022 University of Michigan survey; D. Energy includes coal, natural gas, and oil. TOE stands for tonnes (metric tons) of oil equivalent. Aggregates calculated using GDP weights at average 2010-19 prices and market exchange rates.

A sluggish response to serious risks  

Concerns about persistently above-target inflation have already prompted central banks in most advanced economies and many EMDEs to tighten monetary policy amid a sharp growth slowdown. Despite this tightening, as of May 2022, real policy rates (adjusted by actual inflation) remain deeply negative in the average advanced economy (-5.2 percent) and in the average EMDE (-3.2 percent). 

If inflation expectations de-anchor, as they did in the 1970s, because of persistently elevated inflation and repeated inflationary shocks, the interest rate increases required to bring inflation back to target in advanced economies will be greater than those currently anticipated by financial markets. This raises the specter of the steep increases in interest rates that brought inflation under control but also triggered a global recession in 1982. That global recession also coincided with a string of financial crises and marked the beginning of a protracted period of weak growth in many EMDEs. 

If current stagflationary pressures intensify, EMDEs would likely face economic danger again because of their less weakly-anchored inflation expectations, elevated financial vulnerabilities, and dwindling growth prospects. This makes it urgent for their governments to shore up their fiscal and external buffers to stave off potential contagion, strengthen their monetary policy frameworks to reduce policy uncertainty, and implement structural policies to reinvigorate growth.  

Kategorien: english

UN Ocean Conference ends with call for greater ambition and global commitment to address dire state of the Ocean

UN #SDG News - 1. Juli 2022 - 19:04
Following a week of discussions and events in Lisbon, Portugal, the UN Ocean Conference concluded on Friday, with governments and heads of state agreeing on a new political declaration to Save Our Ocean.
Kategorien: english

UN Ocean Conference ends with call for greater ambition and global commitment to address dire state of the Ocean

UN ECOSOC - 1. Juli 2022 - 19:04
Following a week of discussions and events in Lisbon, Portugal, the UN Ocean Conference concluded on Friday, with governments and heads of state agreeing on a new political declaration to Save Our Ocean.
Kategorien: english

Why the Ocean Matters?

UNSDN - 1. Juli 2022 - 17:18

The ocean covers 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, is the planet’s largest biosphere, and is home to up to 80 percent of all life in the world. It generates 50 percent of the oxygen we need, absorbs 25 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions and captures 90 percent of the additional heat generated from those emissions. It is not just ‘the lungs of the planet’ but also its largest carbon sink – a vital buffer against the impacts of climate change.

It nurtures unimaginable biodiversity and produces food, jobs, mineral and energy resources needed for life on the planet to survive and thrive. There is a great deal we still do not know about the ocean but there are many reasons why we need to manage it sustainably – as set out in the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water.

The science is clear – the ocean is facing unprecedented threats as a result of human activities. Its health and ability to sustain life will only get worse as the world population grows and human activities increase. If we want to address some of the most defining issues of our time such as climate change, food insecurity, diseases and pandemics, diminishing biodiversity, economic inequality and even conflicts and strife, we must act now to protect the state of our ocean.

Save our Ocean, Protect our Future

The Ocean Conference, co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal, comes at a critical time as the world is seeking to address many of the deep-rooted problems of our societies laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic and which will require major structural transformations and common shared solutions that are anchored in the SDGs. To mobilize action, the Conference will seek to propel much needed science-based innovative solutions aimed at starting a new chapter of global ocean action.

For more information, please click here.

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LIVE · Devex World 2022 - Fichandler stage

Devex - 1. Juli 2022 - 16:36
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LIVE · Devex World 2022 - Kogod stage

Devex - 1. Juli 2022 - 16:29
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A new global economic diversification index

OECD - 1. Juli 2022 - 14:52

Economic diversification – a key to addressing economic risks, macroeconomic stability, volatile economic growth and sustainable development issues – has become an everyday term in the policy lexicon of natural resource dependent countries. Although many diversification policies have been implemented over the past several decades, there has been little effort to assess if they have been successful. The majority of existing research focuses on trade diversification.

The post A new global economic diversification index appeared first on Development Matters.

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Hurdles on reconciliation between Germany and the Ovaherero

D+C - 1. Juli 2022 - 13:17
Germany and Namibia are struggling to redress crimes of the colonial era

In 2015, a spokesperson of the Federal Foreign Office acknowledged that the war waged by German troops in the colony of German South West Africa in 1904 amounted to genocide. The victims were from the Ovaherero and Nama ethnic groups (and, to some extent, the Damara and San as well).

Since then, Germany and Namibia have been engaged in bilateral talks to make amends for the crimes committed by the colonial power more than a century earlier.

The negotiations are being observed with interest around the world. After all, no other former colonial power has made similar concessions so far, even though colonial rulers wiped out ethnic groups elsewhere too. In the three former British colonies New Zealand, Canada and Australia, however, governments have made various gestures to survivors of indigenous peoples.

Germany’s attempt to address the injustice could set a precedent. The negotiations with Namibia are thus something of a balancing act. The Federal Government is keen to avoid the far-reaching consequences that a full admission of guilt would entail.

After five and a half years of negotiations, the special envoys of both countries agreed a joint declaration in Berlin in mid-May 2021. Its programmatic title reads: “United in remembrance of our colonial past, united in our will to reconcile, united in our vision of the future.”

The document was supposed to be ratified by both foreign ministers in Windhoek in June, but then came the pandemic. There is, moreover, massive opposition in Namibia. Judging by recent developments, the Namibian side is unlikely to approve the declaration in its current form.

Admission of guilt

In the declaration, Germany’s admission of guilt is unequivocal: “The German Government acknowledges that the abominable atrocities committed during periods of the colonial war culminated in events that, from today’s perspective, would be called genocide.” As so often, however, the devil is in the detail. In this case, the words “today’s perspective” are the problem. They mean that though Germany “accepts a moral, historical and political obligation to tender an apology for this genocide and subsequently provide the necessary means for reconciliation and reconstruction,” it does not acknowledge any legal duties. Accordingly, the term “reparations” is not mentioned either.

Heiko Maas, then Germany’s foreign minister, spoke in the Bundestag, the federal parliament on 9 June 2021. He insisted that the agreement was voluntary and denied there was any legal obligation to make payments. “This is not comparable to the issue of reparations,” he added.

As a matter of fact, the unsigned declaration notes that it settles “all financial aspects of the issues relating to the past”. In May 2021, Maas had told the press that € 1.1 billion were to be made available to support reconstruction in Namibia. He said that was a “gesture of recognition of the immeasurable suffering,” but clarified that legal claims for compensation could not be derived from the declaration.

The € 1.1 billion of German “reconstruction assistance” would be provided over a period of 30 years and support development projects in seven of the country’s regions. The majority of the descendants of those who were killed in the war of annihilation live in these regions today. It makes sense to spend the money on rural development and infrastructure. In particular, it would be good to focus on issues of unfair land distribution and of land ownership which goes back to colonial times (see my contribution on

A drop in the ocean

What is deeply problematic is that the amount pledged is a mere drop in the ocean. It is roughly what Germany has spent on development efforts in Namibia since the country became independent. The joint declaration stresses the intention “to heal the wounds of the past and create a lasting future partnership.”

Not every comparison is fair, but it makes sense to put the € 1.1 billion in perspective. In 2021, Jens Spahn, then Germany’s health minister, spent 1 billion euros on coronavirus masks of dubious quality. After the Boxing Day tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004, German private donors and government agencies drummed up € 1.1 billion in just six months’ time. Stuttgart’s new train station (S21) will cost an estimated € 9 billion, and Berlin’s new airport came in at € 7 billion.

Some German critics have pointed out that € 1.1 billion support for Namibia is quite paltry. Ruprecht Polenz, the German government’s special envoy for addressing the colonial history in Namibia, asked them how much they would consider appropriate. This is another example of the colonial view still prevailing. After all, it is not Germans who should decide. If Germany wishes seriously to redress the situation, the question should be put to the people of Namibia.

So far, any top-ups to the planned funding have been categorically ruled out. That will presumably also apply to the € 50 million earmarked for “appropriate ways of memory and remembrance”, including “projects on reconciliation, remembrance, research and education”. By contrast, Berlin’s Holocaust memorial cost € 28 million to build on land that is worth another € 40 million. Running the Humboldt Forum in Berlin is expected to cost € 60 million per year. It is the reconstruction of the historic City Palace, cost € 700 million and now serves as a museum.

Popular opposition

According to the draft declaration, Germany “apologises and bows before the descendants of the victims”, whereas the “Namibian Government and people accept Germany’s apology”. The aim is to “close the painful chapter (...) and mark a new dawn in the relationship”. Yet the people of Namibia were not even asked whether they would accept the apology.

While bilateral negotiations may foster – and even be necessary for – international understanding between different nations, they are no guarantee of understanding. Key representatives of the descendants of those who were directly affected by the genocide did not take part in the talks. Members of the diaspora which resulted from the forced expulsions in the early 20th century were not given consideration either.

Unsurprisingly, the declaration has sparked heated debates in the Namibian parliament. Opposition parties showed unprecedented unanimity in rejecting it. Even leading representatives of SWAPO (South-West Africa People’s Organisation), the governing party, saw scope for improvement – at least in financial terms. They included the deputy president and the prime minister.

Follow-up negotiations

The vehement opposition prompted the Namibian government to announce follow-up negotiations in late November 2021. Though Germany has categorically rejected any such talks, the coalition treaty of the new Federal Government does note: “­Reconciliation with Namibia remains an indispensable duty that arises out of our historic and moral responsibility.”

In early 2022, Berlin signalled that the ball was now in Namibia’s court. Speaking about follow-up negotiations, a government spokesperson said of the declaration: “An offer from the German side is on the table, and the Namibian side must now decide how to respond to this offer.” It is not clear whether this would allow further talks.

So far, the “reconciliation agreement” has not lived up to its name. Ovaherero and Nama representatives feel snubbed by their exclusion from the negotiations. They are demanding direct talks with the German government. Their stance does not make the situation any easier. Diplomatic conventions will hardly permit talks that do not involve the Namibian government. That, however, should not impede civil-society efforts to promote understanding and international relations in any way.

Related reading

A collection of individual accounts given primarily by German politicians and cultural professionals, as well as by some of those directly affected (including of German descent) in Namibia, was published in March 2022. The German-language book (Melber and Platt, 2022) is an attempt to understand the different ways in which history is viewed in the present day and to show that the impacts of colonial crimes are not limited to the past. The introduction emphasises: “In future, it will not be a question of adding one more day of commemoration, but of re-examining our own narratives.” It is necessary to face up to, acknowledge and reduce the asymmetries that still result from the colonial view.

Melber, H., Platt, K. (ed.), 2022: Koloniale Vergangenheit – postkoloniale Zukunft? Die deutsch-namibischen Beziehungen neu denken (“Colonial past – postcolonial future? Rethinking German-Namibian relations” – in German only). Frankfurt/Main, Brandes & Apsel.

Henning Melber came to Namibia as a German youngster. He supported the independence struggle and joined SWAPO in 1974. He later ran the Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit in Windhoek, before serving as research director at the Nordic Africa Institute and later director of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation (both in Uppsala). He is also an extraordinary professor at the University of Pretoria as well as the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein.

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Underage “okada” riders in Ghana

D+C - 1. Juli 2022 - 12:49
The involvement of underage children in the commercial motorcycle taxi business is raising concern

The laws of Ghana permit individuals of 18 years and older to drive or operate a vehicle like a motorcycle. Underage youth males, pushed by hardships, are finding a way to defy the law and operate as okada riders in many parts of Ghana. Commercial motorcycle taxi business is very popular in many African cities because the public transport systems are often unreliable and poorly maintained. This is amongst others due to rapid urbanisation and associated growth without a corresponding growth in transportation infrastructure.

Many young Ghanaians learn how to ride an okada from friends and other informal settings. There are no driving schools for such riders. Moreover, many people are choosing to buy the bikes and offer them to riders as a side business.

17-year-old Augustine Amankwaah lost his father at an early age. In 2022, his mother who was paying his school fees also passed away. Since he had not yet completed school and had gained no skills, he chose to work as a commercial motorcycle rider. “I dropped out of school in grade 9 after my mother died this year. I have six adult siblings,” he says.

“As a last born, I found myself alone. None of my siblings are ready to take care of me, so I had to find means to survive,” Amankwaah explains. He sometimes must use his meagre savings to support one of his elder sisters in Bono region who is unemployed and yet has a 4-year-old child.

The commercial motorcycle taxi business has many risks. Okada riders ignore traffic laws such as stopping at red signals. As such, many are involved in road accidents. The motorcycles are also sought after by thieves and fraudsters who pretend to be customers and rob the riders of the bike and other precious belongings. Some riders have even been killed, especially by late night customers.

The involvement of underage children in this high-risk business is raising concern among many Ghanaian rights advocates. Moreover, the Road Traffic Regulations 2012 of Ghana prohibit the use of motorcycles and three wheelers for commercial activities. However, there has been a blatant disregard for this regulation for many years, mainly due to challenges in enforcement and difficulty in distinguishing private from commercial use.

16-year-old Emmanuel Nantakyi Boateng is another young Ghanaian who operates an okada in Sankore, western Ghana. He argues that whereas their involvement in the business breaks law, economic and social realities leave them no choice. “Our earnings have been affected by the recent hike in prices of petrol. But I still earn a monthly salary from the owner of the motorcycle I ride,” he says.

Young boys like Amankwaah and Boateng cannot afford to buy their own motorcycles and therefore work as riders for hire. At the end of each day, they give a quota of their earnings to their patrons. Amankwaah gets a salary of 300 cedis (about € 36) from the okada owner at the end of the month. “I work from 6 o’clock in the morning to 9 o’clock in the evening, Monday to Saturday. It was really a good job before hikes in the fuel prices. Despite that, I still need to do it to earn a living,” Amankwaah says.

Bright Boateng is a Ghanaian writer and teacher at Wesley University College of Education in Kumasi.

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Poor Kenyans complain about rising public debt

D+C - 1. Juli 2022 - 12:10
Instead of shiny infrastructure projects, Kenyans would prefer to have more financial support from the government

Kenya’s public debt is said to have risen from $ 23.96 billion in 2013 to $ 70.17 billion in 2021. Large infrastructure projects are a big contributor to this. For instance, at a cost of $ 3.6 billion, a standard gauge railway (SGR) was constructed in 2017 covering 578.8 kilometre (km) from the coastal town of Mombasa to Nairobi. Three years later, a major road project, the Nairobi Expressway, which is 27 km long, was commissioned at a cost of $ 879 million to ease traffic congestion in the city.

In the wake of rising commodity prices, financial hardship and increasing poverty, various Kenyan “Jua kalis” have voiced their concerns about the debt situation and its impact on their livelihood. “Jua kali” is a Swahili term used to refer to those who  do their trade in the informal sector.

Civil-society organisations in Kenya under the umbrella body “Okoa Uchumi”, led by The Institute of Social Accountability (TISA) Kenya, gathered a group of Jua kalis from Nairobi to discuss public debt and the impact it is having on their lives. Participants also included residents from informal settlements in Nairobi as well as people running small informal businesses.

“Two or three years ago, I would sell a whole bale of clothes in one and a half weeks. These days, it takes sometimes even three months to sell just one bale”, said Simon Mburu, a vendor of second-hand clothes in Muthurwa, a popular second-hand clothes market in Nairobi. He notes, that people just don’t buy clothes as often as they used to. “I have been forced to relocate to a cheaper apartment and have had to take my children to a county school which is still very expensive. They are often sent home for lack of school fees. Life is hard!,” he complained.

Mburu and many other Jua kalis are facing hardship in business and are putting the blame on government. They feel that more investment should be channelled in other productive sectors. “Of what importance is that shiny railway to me when I do not have the capital to support my small business? Or to feed my family? And that we are pressed by the government to pay back these loans is not fair. Part of that money should come to support small businesses!,” Mburu added.

Diana Anyango, a single mother working with a grassroots group advocating for social justice also decried the increasing cost of living. “I must ration household goods to save on the cost of living – from basic things as toilet paper to water. We do not take a shower every day because a 20 litre can of water costs 50 Kenyan shilling ($ 0.5), and so I must decide whether to buy water or buy food. It is not easy; you lose your dignity if you are struggling on whether to take a shower or buy food,” Anyango said.

Kenyans such as Mburu and Anyango wish to be supported by the government instead of having shiny infrastructure projects.

Jacob Opara is a research and development consultant in Kenya.


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CPDE January-June 2022 Newsletter out now

CSO Partnership - 1. Juli 2022 - 8:34

The CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness has released its first newsletter for 2022, covering its engagements from January to June, including the All Secretariats Meeting, its event on climate finance at the Stockholm+50, the kickoff of its 10th anniversary celebrations, and the launch of its capacity development materials for civil society organisations (CSOs).

Download here!

The post CPDE January-June 2022 Newsletter out now appeared first on CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness.

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Civil society is struggling with ever worsening framework conditions – all over the world. What do we do about it?

CSO Partnership - 1. Juli 2022 - 3:26

 For civil society to work unchallenged, the international community must demand that governments and companies adhere to the effective development cooperation principles of democratic ownership of development priorities, and transparency and accountability.

Under pressure

Around the world, representatives of civil society have less and less room for manoeuvre. They are subjected to legal proceedings, surveillance, and defamation, or funds are withheld. These attacks by state or state-approved forces on independent development actors, human rights, and democracy, aim to limit the social and political participation of civil society and suppress criticism of systems that favour a few but neglect the majority.

For civil society to work unchallenged, the international community must demand that governments and companies adhere to the effective development cooperation principles of democratic ownership of development priorities, and transparency and accountability.

Civil society must be involved in the design and implementation of development policies and projects. It is the task of civil society to stand united against restrictions – through awareness raising, legal action, and mobilising the general public.

Our platform monitors whether governments are fulfilling their obligation to create an enabling environment for civil society. We also raise awareness, call on national authorities to address gaps in the implementation of the above development principles, and advocate for an end to attacks on human rights defenders through the Belgrade Call to Action.#

The post Civil society is struggling with ever worsening framework conditions – all over the world. What do we do about it? appeared first on CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness.

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US Supreme Court ruling on environmental protection ‘a setback in our fight against climate change’

UN ECOSOC - 30. Juni 2022 - 23:53
The ruling by the United States Supreme Court against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday, is “a setback in our fight against climate change” said the UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.
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