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Time to consider ‘multidimensional poverty’ and ‘inequality’ in Fiji and the wider Pacific

EADI Debating Development Research - 14. Juni 2022 - 9:15
By Kim Andreas Kessler The recent adjustment of Fiji’s estimated poverty rate by the World Bank has caused controversies. While it is important to scrutinise this key figure, policy dialogue and policymaking should not miss the bigger picture. Economic poverty is only one dimension of poverty. Besides this, considering inequalities is crucial to evaluate Fiji’s …
Kategorien: english, Ticker

EDD 2022: CPDE to advocate for civil society partnerships for an effective COVID Recovery

CSO Partnership - 14. Juni 2022 - 8:49

The CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness will again join the Global Village in this year’s European Development Days (EDD) with a stand titled: Partnering with Civil Society for an Effective COVID Recovery: Why Inclusive Partnerships with CSOs will ensure that the Effectiveness Principles support COVID Recovery.

To be held on the 21st and 22nd of June at Brussels Expo, EDD’s Global Village is an opportunity to find out about projects, reports, and activities supported by the European Commission around the world,

This year’s EDD will carry the theme, “Global gateway: Building sustainable partnerships for a connected world.” The programme consists of 90+ sessions co-created with the EDD community.

In line with this year’s theme, CPDE will focus on the role of partnerships in responding to the most pressing global challenge we face today: recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The importance of inclusive partnerships to implement effectiveness principles

CPDE will be exhibiting on the topic of health. The stand aims to showcase the importance of partnering effectively with civil society to ensure robust recovery from the pandemic by drawing on CPDE’s comprehensive research study on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 response.

In 2020 and 2021  CPDE gathered stories from communities bearing the brunt of the pandemic, which face the risk of being further marginalised. These expose how measures taken to mitigate the impact of the pandemic have been used to silence critical voices and hinder civil society participation. Recommendations from CSOs will also be featured, outlining steps that will pave the way for sustainable recovery.

Glenis Balangue, CPDE’s Capacity Development Coordinator, will be the stand facilitator in Brussels as she coordinated the research study, World in Lockdown, Development on Hold: A special CPDE report on the (in)effectiveness of the Covid-19 response.

The stand champions the idea that effectively partnering with Civil Society as part of COVID recovery requires laws and measures on Covid response to uphold human rights norms – freedom of assembly and mobility, the right to privacy, and opportunities to participate. CSOs play a crucial role in the pandemic response through service delivery, monitoring, advocacy, etc., and need an enabling environment, including access to affordable technology, to effectively perform their work.

What will CPDE’s stand consist of?

CPDE will organise two presentations each day (morning and afternoon) of the research study and its recommendations and invite 2 to 3 contributors to the study’s survey to share their own experiences while engaging with EDD attendees.

In addition to the presentations, CPDE representatives will have copies of the study on hand as well as a video presentation and will invite feedback from EDD attendees on the subject matter through continuous interactive polling via a pre-prepared survey that aims to crowdsource innovative ideas on bolstering CSO partnerships in COVID-19 recovery. The results will be projected on the booth itself, allowing participants to see emerging patterns.

Stay tuned to the event via CPDE’s Twitter and website! #

 

*EDD and the Global Gateway

The European Development Days (EDD) isare Europe’s leading forum on international partnerships. Organised by the European Commission, the forum brings key actors together to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

Global Gateway is the new European Strategy to boost smart, clean and secure links in digital, energy and transport and strengthen health, education and research systems across the world. It stands for sustainable and trusted connections that work for people and the planet, to tackle the most pressing global challenges, from climate change and protecting the environment, to improving health security and boosting competitiveness and global supply chains.

The post EDD 2022: CPDE to advocate for civil society partnerships for an effective COVID Recovery appeared first on CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

7 ways to accelerate implementation of the AfCFTA

Brookings - 13. Juni 2022 - 23:52

By Francis Mangeni, Andrew Mold

Despite the groundswell of popular support expressed for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), concerns have grown about the slow progress of its implementation in recent months. Contrary to expectations, 2021 did not start with a bang, but with skepticism among senior trade officials, which also spilled over to the private sector. Trading was put on hold as negotiations dragged on, particularly on rules of origin and tariff schedules—an indictment that technical level processes had not kept pace with the political decisions.

What, then, should happen to take the AfCFTA to the next stage to become a functional agreement? We propose the following:

1. Don’t wait for the conclusion of the negotiations.

As per the decision of the trade ministers in February 2022, trade should not wait until the outstanding rules of origin surrounding textiles and clothing, automobiles, and sugar (which constitute only around 12 percent of the total traded products) are resolved. It would be relatively easy for customs officials to exclude these items (on a temporary basis) from benefiting from the AfCFTA tariff reductions. Meanwhile, the outstanding negotiations should be fast-tracked by adhering to the new work program for completion this year.

2. Focus initially on the largest continental traders.

Studies concur that large companies are responsible for the bulk of trading globally (e.g. Freund, 2016 and OECD, 2017). This is true on the African continent too—exports tend to be highly concentrated, with a few “super exporters” dominating trade volumes (Matthee et. al., 2018). According to a study undertaken by United Nations Industrial Development Organization using transaction-level trade data over the period 2009-2013, the top 1 percent of trading firms in Africa account for over 75 percent of the total value of exports (Edwards, 2020). Given this degree of concentration, governments and business associations should form representational groups to allow these larger companies to address the challenges that they confront in cross-border trade. In this way, they could form a powerful body to pressure for full implementation of the AfCFTA, much as larger companies did in the creation of the European Single Market in the 1980s and 1990s (Mold, 2021).

3. Prioritize the elimination of barriers to imports.

The perception among a lot of observers and African Union member states is that the AfCFTA is essentially about promoting exports. But in fact, it is just as much about promoting imports—every additional U.S. dollar’s worth of intra-African exports must be matched by a dollar of intra-African imports. Indeed, in all the simulation work carried out on the AfCFTA, the calculation of welfare benefits hinges on larger (and cheaper) volumes of imported goods and services (See Abrego et. al (2020) for a discussion of the way the different studies calculate the welfare benefits). A further consideration is that several African countries enjoy sizeable positive trade balances with the rest of the continent and can thus manage the political economy of immediately increasing their imports from the rest of the continent (Table 1).

Table 1: Countries with largest positive intra-African trade balances (> $100 million), 2019 (merchandise trade only) Exports Imports Trade balance South Africa 23,803 10,309 13,494 Nigeria 9,561 2,642 6,919 Egypt 4,385 1,840 2,545 Djibouti 2,260 311 1,949 Congo, Dem. Rep. of the 3,946 2,805 1141 Senegal 1,672 938 734 Algeria 1,958 1,271 687 Tanzania, United Republic of 1,767 1,332 435 Eswatini 1,849 1,464 385 Togo 584 246 338 Angola 1,819 1,486 333 Benin 771 580 191 Morocco 2,054 1,864 190 Mauritania 477 322 155

Source: Calculated from UNCTADStat (2021).

4. Initiate more public awareness campaigns.

To provide a coordinated response to the new trade and investment opportunities opened by the AfCFTA, with the assistance of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and other international organizations, signatory states have been developing national and regional AfCFTA strategies–over 45 of Africa’s 54 AfCFTA signatories have either completed or are in the process  of completing them. While important documents, they have nonetheless remained largely confidential in many countries. Greater consideration should be given to publicizing these strategies through social and traditional media platforms to raise awareness about the AfCFTA among all stakeholders (e.g., chambers of commerce, private sector associations, and the general public).

5. Take some simple operational steps.

There are some simple operational steps that could be taken to visibly accelerate AfCFTA implementation. For instance, the logistics and supply chain industry could be encouraged to use AfCFTA documents for their operations. Similarly, customs authorities can insist on companies registering for exportation under the AfCFTA rules of origin. Member states of regional economic communities with functioning free trade areas like the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, East African Community, Economic Community of West African States, and the Southern African Development Community can immediately agree to add the AfCFTA logo to the customs documents used for regional trade. This will demonstrate to all traders that the AfCFTA is operational.

6. Lead by example.

There needs to be a “demonstration effect” once the AfCFTA is implemented to prove that it can quickly foster greater intra-African trade. As pointed out by Mold (2020), a lot of the countries that have already ratified the agreement have contiguous borders. Tariff reductions could quickly lead to enhanced trade between these neighboring countries. Which leads to our final point…

7. Showcase success stories.

The next mid-year African Union Summit, to be held in July, can inject further impetus into the AfCFTA by showcasing the continent’s readiness to trade. Countries that have put in place the documents and procedures for processing consignments under the AfCFTA regime should be publicly acclaimed to the world as open to do business. The summit should stress the importance of value addition and diversification in intra-Africa trade, and direct regulatory (especially customs) authorities to operationalize the export and import procedures of the AfCFTA.

This list is not exhaustive and there are surely many other things that the AfCFTA institutions, member states, private sector groups, and other stakeholders can do to accelerate the implementation of the AfCFTA. The important thing is to maintain the momentum. Regional integration is like riding a bicycle–if momentum is lost, you fall off. The key is not to lose sight of the long-term goal to liberalize intra-African trade and investment over the course of the next decade and continue to make purposeful steps in the right direction.

Note: The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations nor the AfCFTA Secretariat.

      
Kategorien: english

The EU and the Glasgow Dialogue: advancing a balanced approach to loss and damage

GDI Briefing - 13. Juni 2022 - 14:15

The EU postulates global climate action leadership in the European Green Deal. This Policy Brief takes the findings of the latest IPCC report as a starting point to discuss the implications for the EU's role in the global governance of climate change with a particular focus on Loss and Damage policy and financing. It argues that the pertinent Glasgow Dialogue series provides the EU with an opportunity to demonstrate leadership by supporting the design of enhanced integrated approaches to climate risk governance and finance that better address Loss and Damage, and by putting adaptation and Loss and Damage on top of the COP27 agenda in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, in November 2022.

Kategorien: english

The EU and the Glasgow Dialogue: advancing a balanced approach to loss and damage

GDI Briefing - 13. Juni 2022 - 14:15

The EU postulates global climate action leadership in the European Green Deal. This Policy Brief takes the findings of the latest IPCC report as a starting point to discuss the implications for the EU's role in the global governance of climate change with a particular focus on Loss and Damage policy and financing. It argues that the pertinent Glasgow Dialogue series provides the EU with an opportunity to demonstrate leadership by supporting the design of enhanced integrated approaches to climate risk governance and finance that better address Loss and Damage, and by putting adaptation and Loss and Damage on top of the COP27 agenda in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, in November 2022.

Kategorien: english

Mexico claims to pursue a “feminist” foreign policy

D+C - 13. Juni 2022 - 12:42
In Mexico, government rhetoric on women’s rights is better than what women experience in daily life

Mexico is known for femicides (see me and Sheila Mysorekar on www.dandc.eu). In 2020, 948 women were murdered – 2.7 % more than in 2019.

For several years, the number of court cases concerning domestic violence has been increasing, which, to some extent, may show that many women have the self-confidence to dare to file charges and refuse to suffer in silence. However, victims say that state agencies are not doing enough to protect them. Feminists definitely found it infuriating that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador spoke disparagingly about the women’s rights rallies that are held ­every year on 8 March.

His government nonetheless claims to be pursuing a feminist foreign policy that is guided by principles of gender justice and human rights. It is proud of a gender-parity reform it implemented and points out that women are serving in more positions of political leadership than in the past. The current federal cabinet has 19 members, of whom eight are women. Eight of 31 Mexico’s states are run by female governors. According to the national statistics agency INEGI, one in four mayors is a woman. These numbers show that female leadership is no longer exceptional, but gender parity has not been achieved.

Clues offered on the government’s website

In 2020, Marcelo Ebrard, the foreign minister, declared that, since the government was feminist, it’s foreign policy was so too. Women’s rights activists appreciate the general stance, but wonder what “feminist” policy actually means in practical terms. The Federal Government’s website offers some clues. It mentions:

  • a foreign policy with an eye to gender issues,
  • parity within the ministry and the diplomatic service,
  • a safe and violence-free institution,
  • visible equality and
  • intersectional approaches.

Mexico certainly deserves praise for assuming leadership and becoming the first Latin American country to emphasise gender issues in its foreign policy. It is up to debate, however, to what extent a government can promote things abroad which it has not achieved at home. Gender parity is not Mexican reality, and the human rights of women – especially to live unencumbered by violence – cannot be taken for granted.

The other website buzzwords obviously refer to the ministry itself, and there clearly is room for improvement. The share of women in leadership positions in the foreign service (heads of embassies and consulates, for example) has not changed since the minister made his statement. It is not quite 30 % and shows that women’s carreer opportunites have not improved since the feminist policy was adopted.

Earlier this year, the foreign ministry had to withdraw a man it wanted to appoint ambassador to Panama. There were abuse accusations, and a highly effective social-media campaign demanded that a molester must not become ambassador. It was striking, however, that Panama objected to the candidate, so the decision was not really inspired by Mexico’s feminist policy.

The ministery is indeed making efforts to raise awareness of female achievements. It is publishing biographies and profiles of outstanding women in the foreign service. Moreover, it is running seminars to make officers understand gender issues. They are expected to respond more sensitively to cases of violence and abuse – not only within their own ranks, but just as well when people turn to Mexico’s embassies and consulates abroad. A recent case of sexual abuse in Qatar was revealing, however. The minister became aware of his female officer’s plight only because of public outrage, but then did support her in legal terms.

In expert jargon “intersectionality” means that discrimination must be considered in cross-cutting ways, taking into account both sexism and racism for example. Questions arise concerning how migrant women from different ethnic and indigenous groups are treated and whether they are separated from daughters and sons when transiting through the country. Not only in regard to migration, various shortcomings still mark daily life in Mexico (see my comment on www.dandc.eu).

Virginia Mercado is a researcher at the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México (UAEMex) and an instructor in peace and development studies.
virmercado@yahoo.com.mx

 

Up date 16 June 7:30 pm Frankfurt time: Viriginia Mercado made us aware of two more women having been elected governor earlier this month. They have not taken office yet, but will increase the share of female leadership soon. The elections took place after our June issue of the Digital Monthly went online. It included Viriginia's comment. 

Kategorien: english

A two-wheeled transition to sustainable transport

GIZ Germany - 13. Juni 2022 - 9:15
: Fri, 10 Jun 2022 HH:mm:ss
Using bicycles to achieve climate targets: GIZ is encouraging bicycle use through its projects, supporting people, the environment and the economy in the process.
Kategorien: english

Die Nachfrage der Welt nach Wohlergehen mit weniger Ressourcen befriedigen

GDI Briefing - 13. Juni 2022 - 9:12

Bonn, 13. Juni 2022. Anfang dieses Monats trafen sich die Staats- und Regierungschefs der Welt in Stockholm, um den 50. Jahrestag der Konferenz der Vereinten Nationen über die menschliche Umwelt zu begehen. Die Konferenz betonte die Umweltdimension nachhaltiger Entwicklung und beschloss, die Welt auf den Weg zu einem gesunden Planeten und Wohlstand für alle zu bringen - trotz zahlreicher globaler Krisen und einer beispiellosen ökologischen Verschlechterung. Inger Andersen, Generalsekretärin der Stockholm+50-Konferenz und Exekutivdirektorin des UN-Umweltprogramms, forderte „einen neuen Kompass für das Wohlergehen“, um das Verständnis der Menschheit von Fortschritt und Wohlstand zu überdenken.

Dieses Postulat ist weniger utopisch, als es auf den ersten Blick scheint. Der jüngste Bericht des Zwischenstaatlichen Ausschusses für Klimaänderungen (IPCC) hat überzeugende Beweise dafür vorgelegt, dass Wohlstand und Wohlergehen auch mit einem erheblich reduzierten Ressourcenverbrauch möglich sind. Nachfrageseitige Maßnahmen verdienen dabei besondere Aufmerksamkeit – auch in Ländern mit niedrigem und mittlerem Einkommen. Der IPCC ermittelt ein Treibhausgasminderungspotenzial von 40-70% für Maßnahmen auf der Endverbraucherseite (z. B. energieeffiziente Geräte, Gebäude) sowie zahlreiche Vorteile für verschiedene Ziele der nachhaltigen Entwicklung (SDGs). Beispiele hierfür sind eine längere Lebenserwartung und eine bessere Gesundheit aufgrund geringerer Luftverschmutzung, aktivere Mobilitätsentscheidungen und der Zugang zu sauberer Energie. Um diese Vorteile zu nutzen und sie mit dem Ziel des Wohlergehens für alle in Einklang zu bringen, ist eine systematischere Verknüpfung von Strategien und Programmen für nachhaltigen Konsum und nachhaltige Produktion (SCP) erforderlich.

Es ist eine politische Herausforderung, zu einem angemessenen Verständnis von Wohlbefinden zu gelangen, insbesondere in Ländern mit niedrigem und mittlerem Einkommen. Bislang bietet die Messung der mehrdimensionalen Armut die fortschrittlichste Orientierung. Ihre Anwendung auf die SCP bedeutet, dass wir feststellen müssen, welche Produkte und Dienstleistungen wir wirklich brauchen, um ein gesundes, menschenwürdiges Leben zu führen, ohne uns um die Grundbedürfnisse zu kümmern. Länder auf allen Entwicklungsebenen müssen dies mit Blick auf die Gerechtigkeit sowohl innerhalb der Gesellschaft als auch zwischen den Ländern herausfinden.

Nachhaltiger Konsum wird in Ländern mit niedrigem und mittlerem Einkommen bereits praktiziert, z.B. beim Energiesparen, bei der gemeinsamen Mobilität, bei dezentralen digitalen Märkten, bei Reparatur- und Recyclingdiensten oder bei innovativen Start-ups zur Wiederverwendung von Plastik. Diese Praktiken werden jedoch häufig in informellen und marginalisierten Umgebungen mit Armut, prekären Arbeitsbedingungen und Umweltgefahren umgesetzt. Die Herausforderung besteht darin, solche Praktiken auszuweiten und sie mit den wirtschaftlichen Bestrebungen und Präferenzen der Verbrauche*innen einer wachsenden, urbanisierten Mittelschicht in Einklang zu bringen. Dann kann ein positiver Kreislauf in Gang gesetzt werden, in dem sich SCP und Entwicklung gegenseitig verstärken, indem sie durch tragfähige Unternehmensinnovationen, menschenwürdige Arbeit und verbesserte Gesundheit wirtschaftliche Vorteile schaffen.

Förderliche Faktoren sind wohlbekannt!

Vier Faktoren, die einen solchen positiven Kreislauf begünstigen, sind bereits gut bekannt:

Erstens der strategische Aufbau von Infrastrukturen und lebenszyklusorientierten Produktdesigns, die nachhaltige Entscheidungen ermöglichen, z. B. bei Verkehrssystemen, Gebäuden und Nutzungen. Zweitens: Integrierte Ansätze, die auf lokale und regionale Märkte abzielen, um lokale Konsummuster (z. B. von Modelabels und Lebensmittelprogrammen) mit Produktionsprozessen und Wertschöpfungsketten zu verbinden. Drittens: Aufwertung bestehender nachhaltiger Praktiken und entsprechende Innovationen in der informellen Wirtschaft, z. B. Reparatur- und Wiederverwendungsinitiativen. Viertens: Förderung von Normen des Wohlbefindens gegenüber Normen der Konsummaximierung und der Bequemlichkeit. In vielen Ländern mit niedrigem und mittlerem Einkommen sind solche Normen noch in der Entwicklung begriffen, und die Vorteile nachhaltiger Entscheidungen lassen sich angesichts der sichtbareren externen Umweltauswirkungen leicht nachweisen.

Politische Rahmenbedingungen müssen Wohlstandsnormen mit Konsum und Produktion in Einklang bringen

Einzelne Verbraucher*innen oder Unternehmen werden nicht in der Lage sein, diese Veränderungen systematisch allein zu erreichen. Es bedarf entsprechender politischer Maßnahmen, um die Rahmenbedingungen für Konsum und Produktion zu ändern und damit die Strukturen jenseits der individuellen Verantwortung für den Konsum von Waren und Dienstleistungen anzupassen.

Die Ergebnisse des Stockholmer+50-Gipfels bieten nun einen universellen Bezugspunkt. So wie der historische Vorgängergipfel von 1972 die Grundlage für das internationale Umweltrecht bildete, kann der Gipfel den Ton für eine normative Neuausrichtung auf das menschliche Wohlergehen und die Gesundheit des Planeten angeben. Dieser Rahmen muss auf allen Ebenen der Gesellschaft mit Leben gefüllt werden. Es sind differenzierte politische Ansätze erforderlich, um das Wohlergehen der verschiedenen Gesellschaftsschichten zu fördern.

Während arme ländliche Haushalte ihren Konsum möglicherweise noch steigern müssen, um beispielsweise die Unterernährung zu überwinden, braucht die wachsende städtische Mittelschicht Anleitung und Anreize, um sich auf nachhaltigen Konsum und kohlenstoffarme Alternativen umzustellen. Kontextspezifische Forschung zu den Rahmenbedingungen für SCP und praktische internationale Zusammenarbeit können gemeinsam sowohl die Kalibrierung als auch die Anwendung eines globalen Kompasses für das Wohlergehen unterstützen. Dies wird die Macht und das Potenzial von nachfrageorientierten Lösungen erschließen.

Kategorien: english

Die Nachfrage der Welt nach Wohlergehen mit weniger Ressourcen befriedigen

GDI Briefing - 13. Juni 2022 - 9:12

Bonn, 13. Juni 2022. Anfang dieses Monats trafen sich die Staats- und Regierungschefs der Welt in Stockholm, um den 50. Jahrestag der Konferenz der Vereinten Nationen über die menschliche Umwelt zu begehen. Die Konferenz betonte die Umweltdimension nachhaltiger Entwicklung und beschloss, die Welt auf den Weg zu einem gesunden Planeten und Wohlstand für alle zu bringen - trotz zahlreicher globaler Krisen und einer beispiellosen ökologischen Verschlechterung. Inger Andersen, Generalsekretärin der Stockholm+50-Konferenz und Exekutivdirektorin des UN-Umweltprogramms, forderte „einen neuen Kompass für das Wohlergehen“, um das Verständnis der Menschheit von Fortschritt und Wohlstand zu überdenken.

Dieses Postulat ist weniger utopisch, als es auf den ersten Blick scheint. Der jüngste Bericht des Zwischenstaatlichen Ausschusses für Klimaänderungen (IPCC) hat überzeugende Beweise dafür vorgelegt, dass Wohlstand und Wohlergehen auch mit einem erheblich reduzierten Ressourcenverbrauch möglich sind. Nachfrageseitige Maßnahmen verdienen dabei besondere Aufmerksamkeit – auch in Ländern mit niedrigem und mittlerem Einkommen. Der IPCC ermittelt ein Treibhausgasminderungspotenzial von 40-70% für Maßnahmen auf der Endverbraucherseite (z. B. energieeffiziente Geräte, Gebäude) sowie zahlreiche Vorteile für verschiedene Ziele der nachhaltigen Entwicklung (SDGs). Beispiele hierfür sind eine längere Lebenserwartung und eine bessere Gesundheit aufgrund geringerer Luftverschmutzung, aktivere Mobilitätsentscheidungen und der Zugang zu sauberer Energie. Um diese Vorteile zu nutzen und sie mit dem Ziel des Wohlergehens für alle in Einklang zu bringen, ist eine systematischere Verknüpfung von Strategien und Programmen für nachhaltigen Konsum und nachhaltige Produktion (SCP) erforderlich.

Es ist eine politische Herausforderung, zu einem angemessenen Verständnis von Wohlbefinden zu gelangen, insbesondere in Ländern mit niedrigem und mittlerem Einkommen. Bislang bietet die Messung der mehrdimensionalen Armut die fortschrittlichste Orientierung. Ihre Anwendung auf die SCP bedeutet, dass wir feststellen müssen, welche Produkte und Dienstleistungen wir wirklich brauchen, um ein gesundes, menschenwürdiges Leben zu führen, ohne uns um die Grundbedürfnisse zu kümmern. Länder auf allen Entwicklungsebenen müssen dies mit Blick auf die Gerechtigkeit sowohl innerhalb der Gesellschaft als auch zwischen den Ländern herausfinden.

Nachhaltiger Konsum wird in Ländern mit niedrigem und mittlerem Einkommen bereits praktiziert, z.B. beim Energiesparen, bei der gemeinsamen Mobilität, bei dezentralen digitalen Märkten, bei Reparatur- und Recyclingdiensten oder bei innovativen Start-ups zur Wiederverwendung von Plastik. Diese Praktiken werden jedoch häufig in informellen und marginalisierten Umgebungen mit Armut, prekären Arbeitsbedingungen und Umweltgefahren umgesetzt. Die Herausforderung besteht darin, solche Praktiken auszuweiten und sie mit den wirtschaftlichen Bestrebungen und Präferenzen der Verbrauche*innen einer wachsenden, urbanisierten Mittelschicht in Einklang zu bringen. Dann kann ein positiver Kreislauf in Gang gesetzt werden, in dem sich SCP und Entwicklung gegenseitig verstärken, indem sie durch tragfähige Unternehmensinnovationen, menschenwürdige Arbeit und verbesserte Gesundheit wirtschaftliche Vorteile schaffen.

Förderliche Faktoren sind wohlbekannt!

Vier Faktoren, die einen solchen positiven Kreislauf begünstigen, sind bereits gut bekannt:

Erstens der strategische Aufbau von Infrastrukturen und lebenszyklusorientierten Produktdesigns, die nachhaltige Entscheidungen ermöglichen, z. B. bei Verkehrssystemen, Gebäuden und Nutzungen. Zweitens: Integrierte Ansätze, die auf lokale und regionale Märkte abzielen, um lokale Konsummuster (z. B. von Modelabels und Lebensmittelprogrammen) mit Produktionsprozessen und Wertschöpfungsketten zu verbinden. Drittens: Aufwertung bestehender nachhaltiger Praktiken und entsprechende Innovationen in der informellen Wirtschaft, z. B. Reparatur- und Wiederverwendungsinitiativen. Viertens: Förderung von Normen des Wohlbefindens gegenüber Normen der Konsummaximierung und der Bequemlichkeit. In vielen Ländern mit niedrigem und mittlerem Einkommen sind solche Normen noch in der Entwicklung begriffen, und die Vorteile nachhaltiger Entscheidungen lassen sich angesichts der sichtbareren externen Umweltauswirkungen leicht nachweisen.

Politische Rahmenbedingungen müssen Wohlstandsnormen mit Konsum und Produktion in Einklang bringen

Einzelne Verbraucher*innen oder Unternehmen werden nicht in der Lage sein, diese Veränderungen systematisch allein zu erreichen. Es bedarf entsprechender politischer Maßnahmen, um die Rahmenbedingungen für Konsum und Produktion zu ändern und damit die Strukturen jenseits der individuellen Verantwortung für den Konsum von Waren und Dienstleistungen anzupassen.

Die Ergebnisse des Stockholmer+50-Gipfels bieten nun einen universellen Bezugspunkt. So wie der historische Vorgängergipfel von 1972 die Grundlage für das internationale Umweltrecht bildete, kann der Gipfel den Ton für eine normative Neuausrichtung auf das menschliche Wohlergehen und die Gesundheit des Planeten angeben. Dieser Rahmen muss auf allen Ebenen der Gesellschaft mit Leben gefüllt werden. Es sind differenzierte politische Ansätze erforderlich, um das Wohlergehen der verschiedenen Gesellschaftsschichten zu fördern.

Während arme ländliche Haushalte ihren Konsum möglicherweise noch steigern müssen, um beispielsweise die Unterernährung zu überwinden, braucht die wachsende städtische Mittelschicht Anleitung und Anreize, um sich auf nachhaltigen Konsum und kohlenstoffarme Alternativen umzustellen. Kontextspezifische Forschung zu den Rahmenbedingungen für SCP und praktische internationale Zusammenarbeit können gemeinsam sowohl die Kalibrierung als auch die Anwendung eines globalen Kompasses für das Wohlergehen unterstützen. Dies wird die Macht und das Potenzial von nachfrageorientierten Lösungen erschließen.

Kategorien: english

Can The Monkeypox Outbreak Be Contained?

UN Dispatch - 13. Juni 2022 - 8:55

According to the World Health Organization, there have been over 1,000 confirmed cases of Monkeypox across 29 countries — mostly in Europe and North America. The actual number of cases circulating in the population is likely much higher.

We are in the midst of an outbreak of Monkeypox, which is rarely found outside of West Africa.

My guest today, Dr. Eric Toner, is a Senior Scholar at The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. We kick off discussing what exactly Monkey Pox is and how spreads before having a broader conversation about ongoing efforts to contain this outbreak. As Dr. Toner explains, many of the unique qualities of Monkeypox — including that we already have an effective vaccine against it —  suggests that this outbreak is very much containable.

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Transcript lightly edited for clarity

What is Monkeypox?

Dr. Eric Toner [00:02:14] So monkeypox is a viral illness that is a cousin of smallpox that is native to Central and West Africa, but which has rarely caused infections outside of Africa. It’s been known since, I think, the 1950s. It’s called monkeypox because it was first identified in a monkey but monkeys are not the reservoir for the disease. The reservoir for the disease is rodents. And for the last decade or more, it has been endemic in West Africa, meaning there are constantly some cases and scattered outbreaks through West Africa, to a large extent in Nigeria but not exclusively in Nigeria. There are two main strains of monkeypox. One from the Congo region which tends to be a much more severe disease with a fairly high mortality rate of about 10%. The milder strain is the West African strain, and that is the strain that we’re all dealing with now and that historically has had a fatality rate of about 1% although in the cases that have occurred outside of Africa, the fatality rate has been nearly zero.

How does monkeypox spread?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:03:44] And what do we know about how it is spread?

Dr. Eric Toner [00:03:50] So it is primarily spread by direct physical contact with either the lesions, the pox themselves, or with bodily fluids from an infected person. So that could be respiratory droplets, saliva, or it could be other bodily fluids, so it requires close contact. It’s not something that is spread through the air over long distances. It’s not like COVID.

What is the difference between the two strains of monkeypox?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:04:24] So what accounts for the sharply divergent mortality rates for monkeypox? You said one was about a 10% mortality rate, which is really high. The other is about 1% in Africa and a mortality rate outside of Africa that is, as you said, virtually zero.

Dr. Eric Toner [00:04:45] So there is a genetic difference between the two strains, which we believe is the cause of the more severe disease in the Congo basin as opposed to the West African strain. The probable reason that mortality rates are lower in the developed world is that we have modern health care with all that comes with that in terms of ability to treat the symptoms, for IV fluids, for whatever is needed to take care of patients should they get very sick. So that probably explains the difference between the 1% mortality in West Africa traditionally and what we’re seeing now.

Has monkeypox ever spread outside of Africa before?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:05:38] And before this current outbreak, how common were outbreaks of monkeypox outside of Africa?

Dr. Eric Toner [00:05:46] It was very rare. It would happen occasionally, we had an importation of a single case of monkeypox here in Maryland not too long-ago last year, and that was a traveler from Nigeria. And so usually the cases that have occurred have been isolated cases of a traveler from an endemic area who got infected there, traveled home, and got sick and was diagnosed. Sometimes, very rarely, there would be some secondary transmission that is, somebody else in their family who had close contact might get sick but actually that was quite rare. We did have one outbreak in the U.S. couple of decades ago that was related to rodents that were imported from Africa that then infected some other rodents and eventually 47 people got infected, but they were all mild disease and there was little or no secondary transmission.

Why is this monkeypox outbreak spreading further than previous outbreaks?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:07:07] Hmm. So, this current outbreak seems much bigger, frankly, than any other outbreak outside Africa we’ve seen in many, many years. What do we know so far about how this outbreak has spread?

Dr. Eric Toner [00:07:27] Well, the current outbreak is being spread largely through close sexual contact, primarily among men who have sex with men and where the index case was, we don’t know for sure. There was an initial case in London in a man who had traveled from Nigeria, but we don’t know if that was the first case because there’s no evidence that perhaps this has been spreading longer than we initially knew. But of the thousand confirmed cases, almost all of them are young men who have sex with other men. And many of the cases are related to either parties or raves or saunas or activities in which there was sexual contact with multiple partners, unknown partners so this seems to be the primary driver of the epidemic so far. There have been a few handfuls of cases in women, primarily household contacts but so far, we are not seeing significant evidence of transmission outside of this particular network.

What is the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) doing to slow the spread of monkeypox?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:08:58] Given that the cases are so far, you know, relatively few: we have about 1000 confirmed cases but there are probably others, presumably, that are out there in the population that we don’t know about anymore. And given that, it’s relatively difficult to spread compared to something like COVID and also that its fatality rate is virtually zero, it seems to me that monkeypox right now, at least and we’re speaking on Tuesday, June 7th, seems like almost like a like a low stakes test for how we might approach containment of an emerging epidemic like this. What have we seen thus far, for example, from the World Health Organization in terms of confronting this this outbreak?

Dr. Eric Toner [00:09:51] I think the W.H.O. having learned lessons from COVID and other outbreaks, Ebola, for example, has jumped on this very aggressively. I think they are working with the 27 or 28 countries that now have cases, supporting their efforts to track cases, start investigations, do contact tracing. So, W.H.O.’s major role in this effort is primarily one of coordination and support. And in most of the countries that have been affected so far during this current epidemic outside of Africa are all relatively wealthy countries or most of them are, so they have fairly robust public health systems. And those systems are working hard to identify their cases, test them, isolate them, quarantine where that’s necessary and vaccinate. One of the advantages of monkeypox is that we have both effective vaccines and effective treatments. Most of the time, treatment is not needed but the vaccine has been administered to several thousand people so far around the world who have been in contact with people who have had identified cases.

How is the United States responding to rising cases of monkeypox?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:11:30] And so it seems like the emerging strategy is one in which health authorities seek to test suspected cases, isolate those who have confirmed positive cases and their contacts, and then maybe do that kind of ring vaccination of those who might be suspected contacts or secondary contacts of infected individuals. Are we seeing that system snap into place, say, here in the United States at a pace that suggests to you that this, in fact, will be contained?

Dr. Eric Toner [00:12:09] I am really quite confident that it will be contained and yes, the system has snapped in place, I think, very, very quickly. I think the CDC and the state health departments have done a good job of getting in and being very responsive, doing what’s needed to be done without being unduly alarmist with it. I think their messaging has been pretty good, better than their messaging around COVID, for example, which is to say there’s important information that certain people need to have, and that health care providers and public health officials need to have but it’s important to emphasize that this is not a threat to the general public, and this is not a gay disease. Rather, it is a disease that right now is affecting a particular network of people.

What is the treatment for monkeypox? Is there a vaccine for monkeypox?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:13:10] But chances are in the not-too-distant future, unless it’s successfully contained very quickly, presumably it has or will spread in many other different kinds of populations.

Dr. Eric Toner [00:13:23] Yes, I think that that is likely to be the case. I do think it can be contained fairly quickly, but if not, then it will spread. You know, it is probably a relatively easy disease to contain in contrast to HIV, for example, and certainly in contrast to COVID. For the most part, the people who are infected know they’re infected because they have symptoms, and they tend to be symptoms that would drive one to health care. So, in contrast to HIV, for example, where there are no symptoms for many years, people who are infected can be identified pretty quickly. So, I do think it’s containable. Also, in contrast to HIV, we have an effective vaccine that works even after somebody has been exposed, which is very unusual. We have very few vaccines that work after a person’s been infected but for the pox viruses, these vaccines do work if administered within a few days.

Could this outbreak of monkeypox be related to the reduction in routinely administered smallpox vaccines?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:14:36] So I’ve seen some commentary suggesting that, at least in part, this outbreak may be a consequence of the fact that the smallpox vaccine is no longer routinely administered. You know, for listeners, smallpox was eradicated in like 1980 after a massive effort by the World Health Organization, by the United Nations, by national governments. So, smallpox has been wiped off the face of the earth and so there hasn’t been a need for the routine and mass vaccinations against smallpox. And as you said, smallpox is related to monkeypox. So, do you buy that theory that a reduction in mass vaccinations of smallpox has perhaps contributed to this outbreak of monkeypox?

Dr. Eric Toner [00:15:26] I think it probably is true that with waning vaccination in the population, there’s more opportunity for the virus to be exported from Africa to other places. I think it’s also true that it probably relates to the outbreak that’s been going on in West Africa now for a number of years. In Africa they have a young population and the vast majority of people have not been vaccinated against smallpox so there’s fertile ground for this virus to spread.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:16:08] I mean, is one policy implication, therefore, that vaccinations against smallpox should be ramped up, particularly in Africa?

Dr. Eric Toner [00:16:18] I don’t think so, because the ring vaccination approach works so well. There’s no need for mass vaccination. The current vaccine that’s approved for use in monkeypox is a safe and effective vaccine but like any vaccine, there are potential side effects and potential risks. And so, I don’t think it would be justified in trying to vaccinate the entire population. Just what is being done, what should be done is vaccinating those people who have had close contact with known cases.

How far might this outbreak of monkeypox spread?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:17:02] So, you’ve sort of reassured me and I think most of the audience that this in places that are higher income, that have more robust health systems, this is very much an easily containable challenge. To what extent might monkeypox, however, be spread to countries, to health systems that are less robust, that are less strong? And what might the international community do, if anything, to support those health systems as they potentially prepare to confront monkeypox arriving within their borders?

Dr. Eric Toner [00:17:46] So I would assume that monkeypox is being exported to other regions in which it’s not endemic. So far, we’re not seeing that reported to any great extent in the information that’s being released by W.H.O. but that may be because surveillance systems aren’t yet picking it up. So, I do think it is likely that we will see more cases in other low- and middle-income countries that don’t have the same resources as the high-income countries that are mostly being affected now. I think the thing that would help the most is making sure they have vaccine available. And so W.H.O. can play an important role in helping to ensure that all countries have access to the vaccines that are effective against monkeypox.

Are there enough smallpox vaccines to aid in slowing the spread of monkeypox?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:18:54] And are there like sufficient stocks of that vaccine, to your knowledge, or is it something that could be easily ramped up in production relatively quickly?

Dr. Eric Toner [00:19:05] There are large stocks of the vaccine. Most of them are owned by the US government and to a lesser extent by other governments. Whether or not the US would be willing to donate or share those vaccines, I don’t know, but there are millions of doses that are either housed within the US national stockpile or under contract with Bavarian Nordic.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:19:38] That’s the company that creates it?

Dr. Eric Toner [00:19:40] That is the company that makes the vaccine. There are other smallpox vaccines which are made in other countries, and I don’t know about their availability. First of all, I don’t know about the stockpiles they have. I doubt that they’re very large and I don’t know anything about the ability to quickly ramp up. I suspect they can’t ramp up that quickly. You know, there’s a significant lead time in producing vaccines, particularly when they haven’t been producing them every day. They have to get a factory line going and that might involve hiring people. It’s not a just press a button and start making more of this stuff but I think there are enough vaccines to get started and probably enough to control the outbreak worldwide because this is not going to explode like COVID did. If this is not quickly contained, it will grow, but it’ll grow slowly because it’s not that transmissible, because it has a long incubation period and because people will seek health care when they get sick, even in low-income countries, and can easily be isolated. So, I’m not that worried.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:21:25] Along those similar lines of not being too worried, do the biological facts of this disease in that it spreads relatively slowly suggest to you that even in low-income countries, in low resource settings, it probably won’t present too much of a strain to health systems?

Dr. Eric Toner [00:21:46] I don’t think it’ll present a strain to health systems. What I do think can be a problem and it could even be a problem in high income countries such as the United States is in the ability to test people for it. The test is not simply a nasal swab or a blood test. It involves taking a specimen from one of the pox, one of the pustules on the skin and that has to be done carefully so that the person taking the specimen does not get infected. So, it involves wearing personal protective equipment. The specimen has to be sent typically to a regional or national laboratory in places that have the capability to do the testing normally. And it takes time and it’s expensive. And I think probably many places don’t have easy availability of that testing. They probably have to send it to something like a W.H.O. regional laboratory. So, I think testing can be a bottleneck. In the days of the smallpox program, and we didn’t, for most part, test people, we just diagnosed them by looking at them. And you can do that with monkeypox, too, if it’s a classic case but many of the cases that we’ve seen over the course of the last few weeks have not been classic cases. They’ve been fairly mild. Many have not had fever. Many have only a single lesion, a single pox, rather than being covered in them. But what we don’t know is how contagious those people are who have that very mild disease. But for other people who have the more classic presentation, you can be pretty sure of diagnosis just by looking at the patient.

Will it be easy to contain this monkeypox outbreak?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:24:09] I guess maybe one policy concern or public health concern might be that, if you do have this testing bottleneck, that if it takes a while to get a test result back, and if you are basing your decision on whether or not to vaccinate an individual or their contacts on the positive result back, that that time lag could be sort of potentially problematic.

Dr. Eric Toner [00:24:32] Yes, it could be. What I think, from a policy standpoint probably makes the most sense in a country that doesn’t have the ability to do testing readily, is just to do ring vaccination based on a clinical diagnosis, based on just examining the patient. If a physician sees a patient and in his or her judgment, it looks like monkeypox, then, you know, in the setting of an outbreak, I would advocate for doing ring vaccination even without a laboratory confirmation.

What lessons from COVID can be applied to slowing the monkeypox outbreak?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:25:17] So lastly, what lessons from COVID might be productively applied right now in this early stage of the identification of this outbreak?

Dr. Eric Toner [00:25:32] Well, I think one of the lessons is around communication and the importance of communication being clear, honest about what you know, about what you don’t know, about what you need to find out, how you’re going to find that out. I think there’s a pair of lessons about the fact that we need to have more robust testing capability even in high income countries. We learned this lesson in COVID, and I think we’re getting to learn it again now with monkeypox, that we need to have an even larger network of laboratories that can do all kinds of testing. And I think it’s yet again another lesson about the importance of public health and that we need to invest in our public health systems because public health are the people who respond to things like this.

How will we know if the efforts to slow the spread of monkeypox are working?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:26:44] Lastly, and I think I just said lastly, but lastly, lastly, this time, in the coming days or weeks or even months, are there any inflection points that you’ll be looking towards that will suggest to you whether or not indeed this outbreak is being contained or conversely, if it is being spread with abandon.

Dr. Eric Toner [00:27:10] So what I’m looking for and hope I don’t find, are lots of cases for which we cannot find a connection to known chains of transmission. That is, people who have confirmed monkeypox and they don’t know where they got it and we can’t find out where they got it because that would indicate that there’s much more disease out there and there are other chains of transmission that we don’t know about. The other thing that I would look for is a change in the demographic pattern of the patients. So, if we start seeing lots of people who are outside the network of men who have sex with men, if we start seeing many more people like that, then that would also be an indication that there’s more transmission going on outside of that network.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:28:18] Well, Dr. Toner, thank you so much for your time. This is very helpful.

Dr. Eric Toner [00:28:22] Well, you’re very welcome and thank you for having me.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:28:25] And kind of reassuring.

Dr. Eric Toner [00:28:27] Oh, well good.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:28:31] All right. Thank you all for listening. Thank you to Dr. Toner, that was great. And yeah, I am somewhat reassured by his expert take that indeed, this is eminently containable. And of course, I’ll be following the trajectory of this outbreak as events unfold in the coming weeks and months. All right. We’ll see you next time. Thanks, bye!

The post Can The Monkeypox Outbreak Be Contained? appeared first on UN Dispatch.

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