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Negotiating a royalty pricing agreement: lessons from Liberia

OECD - 18. Juni 2020 - 17:53
By Stephen E. Shay, Lecturer at Harvard Law School; Iain Steel, independent economics consultant; Gabrielle Beran, Governance and Program Manager, International Senior Lawyers Project-UK (ISLP-UK); Olumide Abimbola, Business Development Lead, CONNEX Support Unit. Countries often collect royalties on the sale of their natural resources, but how can they be sure that the price is right … Continue reading Negotiating a royalty pricing agreement: lessons from Liberia
Kategorien: english

How the Black Lives Matter Movement Went Global

UN Dispatch - 18. Juni 2020 - 17:14

The Black Lives Matter movement has spread quickly around the world. Over the last several weeks, there have been BLM demonstrations in nearly every major city in Europe. Tens of thousands of people showed up for protests in Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, and London, just to name a few. There were also many protests across Latin America, Australia–even Asian cities like Seoul and Tokyo saw Black Lives Matter protests.

So how did the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota spark an anti-racism and civil rights movement that extends far beyond the United States?

My guest today, Dominique Day, is in a unique position to analyze that question.  She is an American who serves as vice-chair of the “Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent,”  a UN human rights entity that monitors anti-black racism around the world.  The Working Group regularly releases reports based on fact finding missions to countries around the world. These reports provide rich illustrations of the ways in which people of African descent are discriminated against in different places around the world, while also offering concrete policy recommendations to combat racism.

We kick off with a discussion of how the Working Group operates and how anti-black racism manifests itself differently around the world.  We then have a broader conversation about what is motivating the Black Lives Matter movement outside the United States.

We recorded our conversation one day before a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council devoted to anti-Black racism and police brutality. That meeting was called at the behest of African countries and is yet another example of the transnational impact of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

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The post How the Black Lives Matter Movement Went Global appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Growing inequality can worsen the pandemic’s effects

GDI Briefing - 18. Juni 2020 - 15:44

The impacts that Covid-19 has brought about in our daily lives are very apparent. Less apparent is the immediate implications of the pandemic for global poverty. The calculation of economic losses or reductions in gross domestic product (GDP) that are currently being estimated at around 5.2 percent globally may convey only a partial picture of the social and human costs. In fact, these calculations may suffer from a similar bias that many economic impact assessments of climate change have. Absolute losses often appear larger in wealthier areas simply because there is more to be lost in economic terms. In terms on the effects on livelihoods, however, impacts are going to hit vulnerable communities the hardest. Any net loss for them represents a larger share of their already limited income and the effects will be felt well beyond shocks to their income.

It is therefore important to assess the impact of the pandemic on global poverty and how this may affect our ability to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals. This is exactly what a team at the World Bank has done. Using a model jointly co-developed by DIE and the World Bank where we simulate global poverty up to 2030 and the role inequality changes could have in achieving that poverty goal, they estimate that roughly 70 million additional people will fall into extreme poverty worldwide because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is indeed worrying. Particularly considering that the income level at which a person is deemed extremely poor by global standards corresponds to the average poverty line of several of the poorest countries and is thus a very low benchmark. Indeed, having some extra 70 million living on less than around two dollars (to be precise USD 1.9 in 2011 purchasing power parity) per person per day is definitely a matter of concern. In addition to adding more that 10 percent to the roughly 600 million people already in extreme poverty, many more are also falling into the not-so-extreme poverty level above, which is still very poor.

Another key issue is how the global recession translates into decreased incomes for people in different parts of the income distribution. The additional 70 million poor estimated above assumes that everyone along the distribution sees their incomes fall at the same rate. However, in developing countries, lockdowns affect a lot of people working in the informal sector or with precarious jobs. Many of these low-income earners may see much of their income wiped out for a good few months. They will therefore be disproportionately impacted, thereby increasing inequality. If that is the case, decreases in GDP may translate into decreases in incomes at different rates across the distribution of incomes. This means that the distributional impacts of the recession need to be seriously taken into consideration.

Currently, we can only simulate how changes in inequality may affect the poverty estimate, since actual data on the distributional impacts are not available. If inequality decreases or increases by 1 percent in terms of the Gini index, a standard measure of inequality, the number of additional extreme poor could be 55 or 85 million, respectively. Such percentage changes in the distribution of income are within the range of what is common within a year for any given country. The numbers would widen to approximately 40-100 million people if changes in inequality were of the order of 2 percent. The possibility of all countries’ inequality changing in the exact same way is remote, but this provides an idea of the outcome range when changes in the distribution are considered: 2 percent reductions in the Gini can nearly halve the global poverty impact of the pandemic, while a 2 percent increase in the Gini coefficient can magnify its poverty impacts by almost 50 percent.

Beyond what the exact number of additional poor is, what should also matter for policy makers throughout the world and development actors in particular is the important role that tackling inequality can have in attenuating the economic and social effects of the pandemic. These estimates show that while economic growth may falter, governments have an extraordinary responsibility in terms of not only acting counter-cyclically to spur growth – ideally prioritising investments that facilitate a green transition in accordance with the Paris agreements– but also by consciously and aggressively supporting the livelihoods of people in the lower parts of the income distribution. This particularly involves deepening and expanding social protection as a priority, and strengthening other well known inequality-reducing policies like progressive taxation and investments in rural infrastructure.  Dampening the unequal effects of the pandemic and making sure that economic measures are, overall, inequality-reducing need to be at the core of the policy response.

Mario Negre is an economist and senior researcher with the programme Transformation of Economic and Social Systems at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).

Daniel Gerszon Mahler is an economist and a Young Professional in the Development Data Group at the World Bank.

Christoph Lakner is a Senior Economist with the Development Data Group at the World Bank.

This Current Column is part of a special series that is exploring the developmental and socioeconomic consequences of the corona crisis. You can find more articles like this on The Current Column’s overview page.

Kategorien: english

Demands for equality and justice

D+C - 18. Juni 2020 - 15:36
How BLM is making the USA great, though not in a way that Trump would appreciate

Racism in the USA is a serious issue. The death of George Floyd at the hands – or more precisely under the knee – of the Minneapolis police was yet more proof. A lot must change in the USA.

However, many simple clichés about racism in the USA are too simple. Nuances need to be considered. I think the following points are important:

  • Yes, the number of black people killed by the police is disproportionately high, and so is their incarceration rate, but no, police violence and excessive criminal sentencing do not only concern them. White people are affected too, and the poorer they are, the worse the impacts are. Class and race issues tend to overlap.
  • It is true that affirmative action has not solved the problems in the USA, but no, it was neither meaningless nor cynical. What it did was to create a prosperous black middle-class, the children of which again benefit from affirmative action. To a considerable extent, racism in the US among poor white people is about not being able to benefit from affirmative action while prosperous children of black dentists or lawyers do benefit.
  • Yes, racist attitudes of individual persons matter, but no, that is not what hurts black students most. Structural racism is more important. Black communities all too often are only being served by worse public schools than white neighbourhoods. These schools have fewer teachers per student and less resources in general. On the other hand, if a black child manages to perform well nonetheless, there are opportunities, not least thanks to affirmative action. At the same time, prosperous parents of whatever skin colour often opt for private schools to ensure their children are taught well. To some extent, prosperous black kids then get easier access to top universities thanks to affirmative action. Again, class and race interact in important ways.

It is true that racism persists in awful ways, but no, the general public in the USA is not entirely neglecting the problem. To some extent, there is awareness in Europe too, but we are lagging behind. My impression, moreover, is that the UK and France are ahead of Germany in accepting that there is a problem. In Germany, we like to pretend that we don’t have a problem because our minority communities, apart from the Turkish one, are so small they are almost invisible.

There is racism in other world regions too. I’ve lived in India for a while and founded it striking that racism was actually worse there than in Germany. Upper caste Hindus have irritating patterns of looking down on others – Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis, immigrants. African students told me they felt quite uncomfortable in India. Media reports from China indicate that things may be even worse there, but I have no personal experience.

It is true of course, that black people are underrepresented in US politics, but no, their representation is not irrelevant. Exclusion of specific social groups can actually be worse in Africa itself. At D+C, we once had an intern whose father was from Kenya. She pointed out to me that a Luo – Raila Odinga – could not become president of Kenya. By contrast, another Luo – Barack Obama – became president of the USA.

I think it is absolutely necessary to spell out the harmful legacies of slavery and colonialism, but I also think that we need to consider racism in nuanced and detailed ways. Simply blaming the West is insufficient. In a way that Trump will probably never understand his nation is actually assuming the role of world leadership right now. The protests that erupted there have spread to many other countries – and even forcing the UN to consider racism within its system. It is amazing that a police killing in Minneapolis has sparked protest movements internationally. The British public is now discussing atrocities of the colonial era, and mainstream German media are beginning to look for systemic racism in our country. 

To a considerable extent, BLM is thus making the USA a global leader again – though not in a way President Donald Trump or white supremacists would appreciated. One of the most surprising things is that the protest  movement has become multiracial. When BLM emerged during the Ferguson protests six years ago, it was a black movement.  

On the other hand, had Trump carried out the violent clampdown he was tweeting about, Beijing would have felt free to send the military into Hong Kong. His approach has failed. In a most unusual way, US generals are now openly displaying their disapproval of Trump. One reason is that they do not want racism to undermine the cohesion of the troops. Many soldiers are black (about 17 %), and so are about 8 % of the military leadership.

That does not change anything about racism is awful. That is true of the personal as well as the systemic variety. US society remains unacceptably racist – but as the past two weeks have shown, it is also a leader in challenging racism. Yes, I agree, the progress that has been made in race relations in the USA since the civil-rights movement was slow and not as far-reaching as needed.

Many other countries, however, have made less progress. What other western capital city has seen so many people of colour in top cabinet positions in the past 20 years as Washington did? Of course it makes a difference to have role models like Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Barack Obama, Susan Rice or Loretta Lynch. And it is a very healthy trend that protests in the USA are now resonating all around the world.

Kategorien: english

COVID-19 and the SDGs

Global Policy Watch - 18. Juni 2020 - 15:26
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the global sustainability agenda

By Jens Martens, Bodo Ellmers and Vera Pokorny

Download this Briefing (pdf version).

The COVID-19 pandemic and the policies with which governments have responded to it have had a serious impact on the global sustainability agenda. While the full extent of the pandemic and its impacts cannot yet be assessed, there is an evident risk that the pandemic will jeopardize the achievement of the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their entirety.

Preliminary forecasts by the United Nations, the World Bank and other international organizations warn that the already fragile progress made in reducing poverty and malnutrition over the past decades will be reversed. The inevitable global economic downturn, already begun, does not spare any country. Unemployment has risen dramatically along with new forms of precarious employment. Measures to combat global warming and the extinction of species threaten to move down on the list of political priorities. Falling state revenues and growing debt will limit the fiscal space for policy action from the global to the municipal level.

For each of the 17 SDGs, this briefing summarizes preliminary estimates on the actual or likely impacts of the global coronavirus crisis, using a few specific examples. It illustrates that the 2030 Agenda will not be reached and its Sustainable Development Goals will not be achieved if they are not systematically taken into account in all policy responses to the crisis.

No Poverty

The global number of people living in poverty is rising for the first time in 30 years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdown. Day labourers, agricultural workers and employees in small and medium-sized enterprises in the informal sector are particularly affected. From one day to the next, they were deprived of their livelihoods by the worldwide lockdown measures. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that around 1.6 billion workers in the informal sector worldwide have been affected. The income of informal sector workers has already fallen by around 60 percent in the first months of the crisis.1 This is particularly devastating in countries that lack an adequate social security system. According to ILO figures, 73 percent of the world population lack sufficient coverage.2 While in 2018, the estimated number of people in extreme poverty, that is, on less than US$ 1.90 per day, was 759 million, the numbers are on the rise again. Initial estimates published by the UN University suggest that the number of people living in extreme poverty could rise by 85-420 million as a result of the global economic recession (with a decline in average per capita income of 5-20 percent).3 Thus, the number of people living in extreme poverty could exceed 1 billion this year.

Zero Hunger

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has cautioned that the coronavirus crisis could become a global food crisis unless rapid action is taken to protect the most vulnerable, maintain global supply chains and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the entire food system.4 The number of chronically malnourished people had already been rising again since 2015, to 821 million in 2018.5 There is a risk that this trend will now be exacerbated by the effects of the coronavirus crisis. In many regions, the shortage of fertilizers, seeds and veterinary medicines on the one hand, and the decline in demand on the other, have had a significant impact on agricultural production. This is further compounded by climate-related crop failures and damage, including the locust infestation in East Africa. According to the Global Report on Food Crises 2020, 135 million people currently suffer from acute food insecurity and famine.6 The UN World Food Programme (WFP) predicts that an additional 130 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020 due to the crisis.7 The head of the WFP warned of “famines of biblical proportions"; a quarter of a billion people could suffer acute starvation.8

Good Health and Well-being

The goal of ensuring a healthy life for all people of all ages is most directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. By mid-June 2020, the WHO counted more than 7 million infected persons and more than 400,000 registered deaths.9 The continued failure to adequately implement SDG 3 in recent years is now taking its toll. This is particularly true of Target 3.c, to significantly increase health financing and the recruitment of health workers, and Target 3.d, to strengthen the capacities of all countries in the areas of early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks. To make things worse, even before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, austerity policies had already caused a reduction in public health spending and deterioration in health care provision in many countries. This situation will deteriorate further as a result of the global economic recession, and this even applies to rich countries such as the United States, where at least 27.5 million people were not covered by health insurance prior to the crisis. Because many employees in the USA are insured through their employer, the rapid rise in unemployment means that up to 43 million people may lose their insurance coverage in the USA alone.10 For many chronically ill people, this is essentially a death sentence.

Quality Education

In response to the pandemic, schools and universities all over the world were temporarily closed. According to UNESCO, over 1.6 billion school and university students in 194 countries were affected by the pandemic by the beginning of May 2020.11 This has social and economic consequences far beyond the educational role of the schools and the period of the actual closures.12 For example, 370 million children did not receive school meals in April 2020 due to school closures. UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore warned:

"School is so much more than a place of learning. For many children it is a lifeline to safety, health services and nutrition. Unless we act now – by scaling up lifesaving services for the most vulnerable children – the devastating fallout caused by COVID-19 will be felt for decades to come."13

Gender Equality

The coronavirus crisis has hit women particularly hard and increases the already existing socio-economic disparities. Worldwide, almost 70 percent of the personnel in care and nursing professions are women.14 Moreover, women do three times as much unpaid care work as men. It is mostly women who take care of the sick, whether professionally, for generally low wages, or within the family as unpaid labour. Women are therefore more exposed to the virus and carry a higher risk of infection. As the capacity of health systems is absorbed by their need to respond to the pandemic, the availability of sexual and reproductive health services is reduced, which can lead to an increase in maternal and child mortality. However, the problems reach far beyond health care and nursing. A large share of women worldwide work in informal employment and in precarious jobs. As a result, women more often lack social protection, quickly lose whatever income they had and are thus disproportionately affected in economic terms.15 The worldwide quarantine measures have also led to a significant increase in domestic violence.16

Clean Water and Sanitation

The rapid spread of the coronavirus has demonstrated the importance of hygiene measures and access to clean water. However, 40 percent of the world’s population, roughly 3 billion people, still lack the means to wash their hands with soap at home.17 The United Nations has called it a "global hygiene crisis" that has also affect hospitals and health care facilities: One in six of these facilities do not have the necessary hygienic facilities. As a result, every tenth patient falls ill with an avoidable infection during treatment.18 The containment of the coronavirus pandemic is massively impaired by the lack of clean water and sanitary facilities.19 In order to reduce the risk of new COVID-19 waves, and to prevent future pandemics, public infrastructure for water supply and sanitation needs to be expanded considerably, especially in poorer regions.

Affordable and Clean Energy

The months-long closure of production facilities as a result of the lockdowns in combination with reduced public and private transportation usage has led to a decline in energy demand. This also had an impact on oil prices, which have experienced a particularly drastic drop as a result of the dispute between the OPEC cartel and Russia over the limitation of production volume. In the USA, prices even plunged into the negative category in April due to an oversupply of crude oil. World market prices have remained at low levels since, despite the agreement of oil exporting countries to reduce production. At the beginning of May 2020, at US$ 25-30, they were more than 50 percent lower than at the beginning of the year. While this makes the environmentally harmful production of shale oil fracking and tar sands exploitation less profitable, it also means lower gasoline prices. From an ecological point of view, this is bad news, because it makes the transition to clean, especially renewable energies and electromobility less economically attractive. On the other hand, for low income groups the access to affordable energy (SDG 7.1) might improve in the short term as a result of the fall in oil prices.

Decent Work and Economic Growth

The coronavirus crisis has led to an unprecedented slump in economic activity. In its World Economic Outlook of April 2020, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted a global recession, with the world economy as a whole contracting by 3 percent. Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, growth of 3.3 percent had been forecast for 2020.20 The economy of the European Union is expected to shrink by 7.4 percent. Latin America might face the worst recession ever with minus 5.2 percent. Low Income Developing Countries (LIDCs) would avoid recession according to the IMF estimates, growing by 0.4 percent. However, according to SDG 8.1, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) should reach an annual growth rate of at least 7 percent, which they are going to miss by a wide margin (although in principle the adoption of GDP or economic growth as a measure of development is highly controversial).

The coronavirus pandemic and recession are accompanied by massive job losses. The ILO expects that the lockdown phase in the second quarter of 2020 has already led to the temporary loss of 305 million full-time jobs. The consequences are even worse for some 2 billion workers in the informal economy, who are left without any social security, and many of whom have lost their livelihoods as a result of the global lockdown.21

Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

The vulnerability of the globalized world economy with its complex supply chains was mercilessly exposed by the coronavirus crisis. Early on, the impact of the coronavirus crisis in China led to worldwide production problems for complex products such as cars, for which needed components could no longer be circulated and delivered just in time as usual. As the pandemic has continued, and spread, countries all over the world have closed factories. Nearly all countries introduced travel restrictions and closed borders. International air traffic was reduced to a minimum. It remains to be seen whether the deglobalization trends predicted by some will materialize, with companies cutting back on supply chains after the crisis, repatriating production processes.22

The international division of labour in the production of essential health care goods has proven to be particularly problematic. Even rich countries have had problems meeting their demand for medical equipment and sanitation products on the world market after some producing countries temporarily suspended exports our of national self-interest. Poor countries were de facto excluded from access to essential products by the price explosion that came with the increase in demand. This, too, led many countries to reconsider which goods should be produced in a sovereign manner at the national level.23

Reduced Inequalities

The long-term effect of the coronavirus crisis on the distribution of income and wealth is still difficult to quantify. The stock market plunge in March initially led to a huge destruction of wealth that has hit the rich. By the second half of March, the market capitalization of listed companies worldwide had fallen by 25 percent.24 However, stock markets recovered quickly after central banks around the world began to inject fresh money into the economy, driving stock prices back up.

By contrast, the massive job losses caused by the pandemic and resulting closures could increase levels of inequality in the long term. The ILO expects income losses for workers of between US$ 860 billion and US$ 3.4 trillion.25 Workers at small and medium-sized enterprises, precarious workers and day labourers are the hardest hit. Migrant workers are also affected, which will drastically reduce remittances to their families in their home countries. In countries such as El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and Nepal, among others, remittances are a very significant source of revenue, surpassing levels of official development assistance (ODA).

Socio-economic factors significantly influence how badly individuals are affected by the crisis. In multi-ethnic countries such as the USA, for example, there are large differences in the mortality rates of coronavirus-infected people, with African-Americans in particular disproportionately affected.26

Sustainable Cities and Communities

More than 3.9 billion people – half the world’s population – were affected by the lockdown decisions of their governments in April 2020. But for many of them, the appeals to stay at home and keep at physical distance seem cynical. After all, more than 1 billion people worldwide live in densely populated slums or informal settlements.27 Many live in cramped conditions and often have no access to the most vital public services such as water, sanitation and electricity. The slums are a perfect breeding ground for viruses.
The same is true for the overcrowded refugee camps in countries such as Bangladesh and Greece, where the occupants are forced to live in inhumane conditions. In mid-May, the WHO confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in one of the camps in Bangladesh, where 1 million Rohingya are crammed together in a very confined space.28 In refugee camps, the demand for physical distancing is a farce, and the risk of a rapid spread of the virus is inevitable.

Sustainable Consumption and Production

The global disruption of supply chains and the closure of shops and restaurants has had a significant impact on consumption and production. On the one hand, long term provisioning and even panic buying of some items became widespread all over the world, which drove up prices for essential goods. At the same time, many food banks received less food for redistribution to people in need, as supermarkets had hardly any goods left to donate. In some countries, agricultural products were destroyed to a considerable extent because the channels to the final consumers were interrupted. In the USA, Dairy Farmers of America, the country’s largest dairy cooperative, estimated that farmers had to pour away up to 14 million litres of milk every day in April. A single chicken producer destroyed 750,000 unhatched eggs every week.29 On a more positive note, the shortening of supply chains and a greater focus on regional products also present an opportunity for more sustainable consumption and production patterns – provided these trends survive the crisis.

Climate Action

Greenhouse gas emissions continue to be influenced by economic output, despite all political declarations of intent and technical attempts to decouple the two. Consequently, the closure of entire sectors of the economy in the spring of 2020 naturally also resulted in less emissions. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels will decrease by 8 percent in 2020.30 This means that some countries would, completely unexpectedly, reach their national CO2 emission targets. This is true for Germany, for example, where CO2 emissions are expected to fall by 50 million tonnes in 2020.31

Nevertheless, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere continues to rise, albeit at a slightly reduced rate. At the beginning of May 2020, the Mauna Loa measuring station in Hawaii reported a new record of over 418 ppm (parts per million).32
Moreover, according to the UN the greenhouse gas reductions will be short-lived.33 When air and vehicular traffic and manufacturing production resume, emissions might even increase faster than predicted before the coronavirus crisis because necessary innovation and transformation processes have been stopped or slowed down. The ailing aviation industry is already lobbying against taxes on aviation fuel, which are planned as part of the new EU Green Deal.34 The car industry is demanding state-subsidized purchase premiums.35 In contrast, this year’s UN climate summit in Glasgow, which should have pushed forward the global climate agenda, has been postponed.36

Life Below Water

For the world’s oceans, the coronavirus crisis could have positive effects, at least in the short term. A study by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) suggests that the temporary slowdown of economic activities due to the crisis, as well as reduced traffic on the seas and lower demand for marine resources, could give the oceans the "much-needed breathing space" to recover from pollution, overfishing and the effects of climate change.37 However, ecologists warn of a reverse trend: the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a boom in plastic waste. Hygiene regulations and the falling price of oil and the plastics produced from it threaten to undo years of progress in the prevention and recycling of plastics.38

Life on Land

While there are still different hypotheses about the origin of the novel coronavirus, an increasing number of ecologists warn that the probability of pandemics increases with the continued destruction of ecosystems and biodiversity. Josef Settele, who co-chaired the work on the Global Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) on the state of ecosystems and biodiversity, points out that "shrinking habitats and associated behavioral changes in animals contribute to the risk of transmitting diseases from animals to humans."39 The vast majority of pathogens are still to be discovered, the risk of future pandemics remains high.

The majority of the targets for SDG 15 were derived from the Aichi targets of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and should be met by 2020. Negotiations are therefore currently underway to develop a post 2020 global biodiversity framework. However, the first draft is not nearly transformative enough to stop the global loss of biodiversity, even by UN estimates.40 The Manager of the UNDP Global Programme on Nature for Development, in response to the coronavirus crisis is therefore calling for a "Marshall Plan for Nature", a plan that would invest in the protection, restoration and sustainable management of biological diversity.41 The Conference of the Parties, at which the new framework was to be adopted, was scheduled to take place in China in October 2020. It was postponed indefinitely.

Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

In many countries, the coronavirus pandemic has led to an unprecedented restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms, many of which were temporary and appropriate. But some countries have seen measures where crisis management has been just an excuse for further restricting freedom of speech, opinion and the press.42 Within the EU, the rule of law has been further undermined in already critical cases such as Hungary and Poland. Moreover, conspiracy theories are booming during the pandemic, which has resulted in attacks on ethnic minorities, for example on Muslims in India.43

Another controversial issue is the use of tracing apps. These can slow down the spread of the virus, as they make it possible to determine with whom infected persons have come into contact. However, the recorded information can also be misused. Amnesty International warns that some governments are using the coronavirus crisis as an instrument to expand digital surveillance of the population, thereby undermining human rights.44

Global Partnership for Sustainable Development

The coronavirus crisis is a particularly hard blow for the potential to finance sustainable development in the long term. Wealthy countries responded to the pandemic and resulting lockdown with enormous stimulus packages, financed by a mix of fiscal and monetary policy measures. This initially mitigated the impact on their populations. However, deficit spending is driving up public debt levels and is starting to cause debt sustainability concerns, which could lead to budget cuts in the years to come, unless mitigated by other measures. Alternative policy measures to austerity that are already being discussed include wealth taxes,45 corona-bonds46 and debt cancellations.47

The countries of the Global South are particularly affected by the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis. Many of them have little fiscal space and are very dependent on external financing. The rapid decline in commodity prices has resulted in a drastic decline in export revenues (UNCTAD estimates that this will amount to US$ 800 billion in 2020). Declining remittances from migrant workers to their home countries (the World Bank expects a decline of 20 percent to around US$ 445 billion)48 will also cause a loss in revenue. Many currencies have already been devaluated against the US dollar. In this situation, the countries of the Global South would have to repay the enormous amount of US$ 2.7 trillion in sovereign debt in 2020 and 2021.

The international community has already adopted a first initiative related to the exacerbating debt problems. The G20 offered to let 73 low income developing countries suspend payments on bilateral loans for the rest of the year. This is insufficient, however. If the debt burden is to remain sustainable in the long term, actual debt cancellation is needed, and private and multilateral creditors would also have to be involved.49

In addition, the IMF, regional development banks and various UN organizations have set up aid programmes for poorer countries in record time.50 However, in most cases, the "aid" consists mainly of new loans (not grants) and therefore threatens to increase the debt burden even further. In other cases the support consists of reprogrammed funds that are taken from other areas to finance specific measures in the health sector. This will negatively impact those other areas and will delay the financing of the corresponding development goals.

If the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is to be continued even under the conditions of the coronavirus crisis, the richer countries must make achieving the SDGs an integral part of all measures taken at home, and mobilize additional official development assistance for the particularly affected countries of the Global South.

Further information

Coronavirus portal of the United Nations
https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus

WHO coronavirus website
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Global Policy Watch (English/Spanish)
https://www.globalpolicywatch.org

Notes:

1 https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/employment-promotion/informal-economy/publications/WCMS_743623/lang–en/index.htm

2 https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/social-security/lang–en/index.htm

3 https://doi.org/10.35188/UNU-WIDER/2020/800-9

4 http://www.fao.org/2019-ncov/q-and-a/impact-on-food-and-agriculture/en

5 http://www.fao.org/hunger/en/

6 https://www.fsinplatform.org/sites/default/files/resources/files/GRFC_2020_ONLINE_200420.pdf

7 https://de.wfp.org/pressemitteilungen/wfp-chef-warnt-vor-hungerpandemie-wegen-covid-19-vor-un-sicherheitsrat

8 https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/04/1062272

9 https://covid19.who.int/

10 https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/10/us-health-insurance-layoffs-coronavirus

11 https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse

12 https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse/consequences

13 https://www.wfp.org/news/futures-370-million-children-jeopardy-school-closures-deprive-them-school-meals-unicef-and-wfp

14 https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/311314/WHO-HIS-HWF-Gender-WP1-2019.1-eng.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

15 https://www.unwomen.de/helfen/helfen-sie-frauen-in-der-corona-krise/corona-eine-krise-der-frauen.html

16 https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/04/1061052

17 https://www.unwater.org/water-facts/handhygiene/

18 https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/fact-sheet-handwashing-soap-critical-fight-against-coronavirus-out-reach-billions

19 https://www.unwater.org/coronavirus-global-health-emergency/

20 https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/Issues/2020/04/14/weo-april-2020

21 https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_743036/lang–en/index.htm

22 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2020-02-29/why-deglobalization-is-accelerating-bloomberg-new-economy

23 https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/corona-arme-laender-ohne-masken-beatmungsgeraete-medikamente-kein-geld-kein-schutz-a-00000000-0002-0001-0000-000170435656

24 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_stock_market_crash

25 https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—dgreports/—dcomm/documents/briefingnote/wcms_738753.pdf, S. 5.

26 https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/05/health/coronavirus-african-americans-study/index.html

27 https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2019/goal-11/

28 https://www.nzz.ch/international/das-coronavirus-erreicht-das-wohl-groesste-fluechtlingslager-der-welt-ld.1556763

29 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/11/business/coronavirus-destroying-food.html

30 https://www.iea.org/reports/global-energy-review-2020/global-energy-and-co2-emissions-in-2020

31 https://www.dw.com/de/corona-krise-deutschland-schafft-klimaziel-f%C3%BCr-2020-pandemie-merkel-deutschland-co2-covid-19/a-52862238

32 https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/monthly.html

33 https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/04/1062332

34 https://corporateeurope.org/en/2020/04/coronawash-alert

35 https://www.handelsblatt.com/politik/deutschland/autohersteller-streit-um-kaufanreize-ig-metall-chef-und-oekonomen-warnen-vor-neuer-abwrackpraemie/25821972.html?ticket=ST-1893201-QoBmKuFDtyKOn6naXGO0-ap1

36 https://unfccc.int/news/cop26-postponed

37 https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/05/1063832

38 https://www.ecowatch.com/coronavirus-plastic-waste-2645831072.html and https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/04/world/coronavirus-plastic-waste-pollution-intl/index.html

39 https://www.riffreporter.de/flugbegleiter-koralle/pandemie-interview-settele-spangenberg/

40 https://www.cbd.int/doc/c/efb0/1f84/a892b98d2982a829962b6371/wg2020-02-03-en.pdf

41 https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2020/applying-the-hard-lessons-of-coronavirus-to-the-biodiversity-cri.html

42 https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/03/19/human-rights-dimensions-covid-19-response#_Toc35446578

43 https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/05/01/coronajihad-only-latest-manifestation-islamophobia-india-has-been-years-making

44 https://www.amnesty.de/informieren/aktuell/covid-19-digitale-ueberwachung-gefaehrdet-unsere-menschenrechte

45 https://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/inland/finanzierung-der-corona-krise-spd-erwaegt-vermoegensabgabe-16706319.html

46 https://www.dw.com/de/corona-bonds-euro-bonds-die-eu-und-die-musketiere-und-die-schulden/a-52975322

47 https://erlassjahr.de/news/iwf-und-weltbank-fordern-zu-schuldenerlassen-fuer-arme-laender-auf/

48 https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2020/04/22/world-bank-predicts-sharpest-decline-of-remittances-in-recent-history

49 https://www.ips-journal.eu/regions/global/article/show/the-global-south-needs-debt-relief-4286/

50 For further details see: https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/107-links-and-resources/53193-die-globale-coronakrise-weltwirtschaftliche-auswirkungen-und-internationale-reaktionen-ein-update.html

The post COVID-19 and the SDGs appeared first on Global Policy Watch.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Meet Anna Hilger, the New Project Manager in the Sustainable Business and Entrepreneurship (SBE) Team

SCP-Centre - 18. Juni 2020 - 14:50

Anna, a former project manager in an innovation lab as well as in the fashion industry, will support the team mainly in the area of sustainable digitalisation, with a focus on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). Driven by her passion to combine the digitalisation agenda with sustainability goals, Anna looks forward to generating positive change for society and business alike.

Why did you apply to work for the CSCP?

Sustainability has always been of high relevance for me personally, which is why at a certain point I also realised that I wanted to make it a focus of my professional work, too. In this context, applying to work for the CSCP was a great opportunity to start this journey. In my current position, I find it especially important that sustainability is strongly interlinked to digitalisation, which ideally should be self-evident in the future in order to make sure that we leverage digitalisation to achieve more sustainability while making digitalisation more sustainable itself. In addition, I am also looking forward to our projects that focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), so that we can jointly create solutions that benefit companies and society alike. Lastly, I am appreciative of the CSCP’s international team, with diverse background and skill sets, which allows us to tackle sustainability from different perspectives.

What would you highlight from your past experience and how does that relate to the CSCP?

Previously, I have worked with and for several SMEs in different industries. This experience is especially helpful for my work in the CSR.digital project, where SMEs are the main focus. I have been lucky to always have worked in innovative environments, experiencing different teams, but also various software solutions and project management approaches. I intend to bring all this experience in and build on it further. Moreover, sustainability is deeply embedded in my private life too, with topics such as food waste and improving mobility being the main focus of my engagement. This adds a lot of passion into the work that I do at the CSCP

Your impressions on the CSCP so far?

I am very impressed by the way work is conducted at the CSCP and how collaboration is steadily kept in mind at all instances. As I joined during the peak of the Corona lockdown, I was also surprised with how good the CSCP is at working remotely and finding creative and engaging ways to do that. This is not only very sustainable, but also in line with current trends such as New Work and the aim to achieve more while retaining a better work-life balance

What are the topics/projects that you are most excited about in your new job?

I am very keen on thinking of digitalisation and sustainability together and also analysing promising new business models that emerge from thinking of these two aspects in interlinked ways. I am also very curious about exploring the New Work concept and I look forward to have a positive impact on that.

For further questions, please get in contact with Anna Hilger.

Der Beitrag Meet Anna Hilger, the New Project Manager in the Sustainable Business and Entrepreneurship (SBE) Team erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

The PathoCERT Project: Improving Emergency Responses for More Resilience

SCP-Centre - 18. Juni 2020 - 14:14

Pathogen contamination occurrences are challanging to detect and trace: They can occur anywhere, may be caused by various reasons, and can easily spread through water causing large-scale contaminations. Our new project, PathoCERT (Pathogen Contamination Emergency Response Technologies), which launches in fall 2020, aims to address a key question: What can be done to respond quicker and better to the pathogen contamination events and thus safeguard our health and the environment?

Over the years, disruptive events, such as earthquakes, flash-floods, accidents or attacks on our infrastructures have shown us how deeply our security and health can be affected. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has also shed new light on existing communities’ vulnerabilities. Such events remind us how fundamental it is to move towards a more resilient society and become more future-proof.

The PathoCERT project, which focuses on Europe, injects new momentum into this background with a focus on a collaborative approach towards improving our prepardeness to unsettling economic, environmental, and social circumstances. The project builds upon the expertise of an interdisciplinary team composed of 23 members: 21 European-based partners, universities, first responders’ associations, SMEs, NGOs, research centers, and utility providers and two South Korean partners.

The PathoCERT project will strengthen the coordination capability of first responders in handling waterborne pathogen contamination events. It will do so by increasing their  capabilities and situational awareness, thus allowing faster control and mitigation of emergency situations and their negative impacts. At the same time, the project will assess how local communities can be supported to best anticipate, cope, and recover from these emergencies.

The CSCP together with the project partners will set up six Communities of Practice – in Cyprus, Greece, Spain, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, and South Korea – to reasearch upon local stakeholders’ requirements and citizens’ needs as well as to investigate and increase the acceptance level about the use of novel technologies and processes.

The PathoCERT project is funded by the European Union as part of the Horizon 2020 framework.

For further information, please reach out to Francesca Grossi.

Der Beitrag The PathoCERT Project: Improving Emergency Responses for More Resilience erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Developing countries need grants not more debt to recover from the Covid-19 crisis

EURACTIV.com - 18. Juni 2020 - 14:01
Piling on more debt on to the shoulders of developing countries will not help them recover from the Covid-19 crisis, write Isabelle Brachet and Maria Jose Romero.
Kategorien: english

CSR.digital Sustainably Competitive Launches on 2 July 2020

SCP-Centre - 18. Juni 2020 - 13:11

The kick-off event will take place online with an exciting agenda including speakers from NRW-based Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), the NRW Minister for Economy and Digitalisation NRW, Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart as well as digitalisation and sustainability experts.

CSR.digital, the first ever Centre for Digital Responsibility in North-Rhein Westphalia (NRW), aims to serve as a hub for addressing important digitalisation aspects within the SME sector in the state. In particular, the project will focus in supporting SMEs to successfully adapt sustainability as part of their digital responsibility strategy and leverage digitalisation to stregthen their resilience. The centre aims to do so in close collaboration with economic, social and civic actors in NRW.

During the kick-off event, a detailed description of the aims and scope of the project will be presented and planned activities will be shared and discussed with SME representatives as well as other relevant organisations.

An interview with the NRW Minister of Economic Affairs Prof.Dr. Pinkwart concerning the role of sustainability and digitalisation and how it impacts SMEs, particularly in crises times, is also planned.

Moreover, the project team is happy to host a very diverse and interesting panel of speakers and topics:

  • Roland Schüren, a regional bakery chain owner, will open the discussion round and share insights on the role of innovation, digital tools and e-logistics for his and other companies
  • Myriam Jahn, CEO at the Internet of Things (IOT) company ‘Q-loud’ will bring this popular topic closer to the project audience and point out how their product can create added value for the industry
  • Saskia Dörr, expert on Corporate Digital Responsibility will share insights on the theoretical background and specific application cases for SMEs
  • Stephan Grabmaier, expert in the field of New Work will discuss the relevance of this concept and its evolvement during the Covid-19 crisis

The panel will also respond to questions from the audience and the discussion feedback will be channelled in the project’s upcoming work.

If this sounds interesting and you would like to be part of the CSR.digital kick-off event, please register here.

The project CSR.digital – Sustainably Competitive is funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs of NRW via the EFRE fund.

For further information, please contact Anna Hilger

Der Beitrag CSR.digital Sustainably Competitive Launches on 2 July 2020 erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Information and communication technology in the lives of forcibly displaced persons in Kenya

GDI Briefing - 18. Juni 2020 - 10:46

This report examines how forcibly displaced persons use information and communication technologies (ICTs) in Kenya. Focusing on the role and potential of ICT with regard to mobility and inclusion, this paper studies the needs of forcibly displaced persons and seeks to understand how technology could help to meet these needs. The study identifies success factors concerning the deployment of ICT services, which potentially support the lives of forcibly displaced persons. Based on this analysis, we formulate policy recommendations for organisations who want to deploy ICT services for forcibly displaced persons in Kenya. Since living conditions and access to technology differ in urban, rural and camp environments, the research was conducted in Nairobi, the Tana Delta County and Kakuma Refugee Camp. Our results are based on data collected through a mixed-method approach. Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 90 forcibly displaced persons in Nairobi, Kakuma Refugee Camp and the Tana Delta County. Twenty-four organisations providing ICT services in Kenya were interviewed to provide a practitioners’ perspective. The creation of the interview guides and the codebook for the analysis were developed based on the e-governance framework developed by Verdegem and Verleye, who have identified important conditions for a successful uptake of ICT services, namely awareness, perception, access and usability.
Primary policy and practice recommendations include:
- Organisations should avoid doing with ICTs what is already efficiently done in-person. For example, in Kakuma people just walk to the clinics, and are happy to do so. There is not a need for a digital health information solution in this instance – this frees up organizations to focus on using ICTs to solve problems that cannot be effectively solved in-person. These findings indicate critically thinking about ‘digital by default’ strategies.
- For things like health information and education, organizations can take advantage of existing networks that communities have established on platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook. The main advantage that NGOs and refugee organizations can bring in this case is helping make sure information is valid, and helping community organizations prevent rumours from spreading. Indeed, a major risk with health information in particular is that anyone can say anything on a social network, so helping communities validate information is critical.
- We learned through the interviews that refugees’ awareness of different organizations’ online tools was limited. Generating a user base starts with awareness-raising strategies, which appear to be successful through personal contacts. Going directly to a village or to a certain community, and to work with community-based organisations and community leaders as ambassadors, appear to be the best option to reach out to the respective target group.

Kategorien: english

What the EU should do for democracy support in Africa: ten proposals for a new strategic initiative in times of polarisation

GDI Briefing - 18. Juni 2020 - 9:42

The EU has made democracy support a stronger aspect in its relations with African countries since 2002. However, a broad range of political and economic dynamics within as well as outside of Europe challenge democracy and its supporters: the rise of non-democratic countries such as China, challenges to democracy within the EU, and global autocratization trends, which include African countries. While posing new challenges the EU needs to react to, these trends also reinforce the importance of continued support and protection of democracy abroad. In light of this changed context, the EU will need to fundamentally adjust its strategic approach and instruments towards democracy support in Africa. Against this background, this paper discusses reasons for the EU to continue and even strengthen its democracy support in Africa: societal demands in Africa and regional democracy norms; the relationship between democracy and sustainable development as well as the new geostrategic competition. The paper analyses how the EU’s support for democracy and human rights in sub-Saharan Africa has developed over the last decades in terms of its understanding of democracy support as well as its substance. The paper concludes by making ten proposals for reforming the EU’s democracy support in Africa. The reform proposals relate to a new narrative and more strategic approach to democracy support in light of the changed geopolitical setting, to addressing megatrends more explicitly through democracy support or to reforming the EU’s institutional prerequisites.

Kategorien: english

Training amid the coronavirus pandemic – from a film studio to e-learning

GIZ Germany - 18. Juni 2020 - 7:22
: Tue, 09 Jun 2020 HH:mm:ss
Across the globe, COVID-19 has forced schools to close and created challenges for education systems. But new forms of learning are allowing trainees in Armenia and Serbia to stay on course.
Kategorien: english

Masks for Darfur: co-production in Sudan to tackle the pandemic

GIZ Germany - 18. Juni 2020 - 7:22
: Wed, 03 Jun 2020 HH:mm:ss
In structurally weak regions, like Darfur in western Sudan, COVID-19 is a threat to the already struggling economy. Local craftspeople are now receiving support from the capital.
Kategorien: english

Ghana: new jobs and better wages thanks to fair clothing

GIZ Germany - 18. Juni 2020 - 7:22
: Wed, 19 Feb 2020 HH:mm:ss
The textile industry is becoming increasingly important to Ghana. With the support of international companies, businesses are increasing production while promoting fair working conditions.
Kategorien: english

Qalamoun in colour: neighbourhood rehabilitation in Tripoli

GIZ Germany - 18. Juni 2020 - 7:22
: Wed, 29 Jan 2020 HH:mm:ss
In Lebanon, locals and Syrian refugees live together in difficult circumstances. They are settling together in their neighbourhood and are reducing mutual prejudices.
Kategorien: english

Job creation, health care and public involvement in decision-making

GIZ Germany - 18. Juni 2020 - 7:22
: Tue, 21 Jan 2020 HH:mm:ss
Delivering rapid and tangible improvements in Libya while paving the way for long-term stabilisation.
Kategorien: english

International Green Week 2020: Climate-friendly solutions for sustainable development

GIZ Germany - 18. Juni 2020 - 7:22
: Fri, 17 Jan 2020 HH:mm:ss
Under the motto ‘Sustainability connects us all worldwide’, GIZ will be showcasing projects for sustainable growth in Berlin that are good for people and kind to the environment.
Kategorien: english

Providing skilled support – as a refugee expert in Pakistan

GIZ Germany - 18. Juni 2020 - 7:22
: Wed, 16 Oct 2019 HH:mm:ss
International cooperation offers a wide range of employment opportunities. Judit Demjén has been working as a refugee expert in Islamabad since 2018.
Kategorien: english

Helping the climate: joining forces for sustainable rice

GIZ Germany - 18. Juni 2020 - 7:22
: Mon, 23 Sep 2019 HH:mm:ss
Joining forces can stem climate change in agriculture. An alliance for sustainable rice shows how this can work – and farmers benefit too.
Kategorien: english

Creating arable land behind weirs in Ethiopia

GIZ Germany - 18. Juni 2020 - 7:22
: Mon, 16 Sep 2019 HH:mm:ss
Climate change, droughts and floods make arable farming virtually impossible in the Ethiopian lowlands. Weirs are used to collect the precious water and store it in the soil.
Kategorien: english

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