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PRESS RELEASE – Vague promises won’t solve global crises

Global Policy Watch - 17. Juli 2020 - 0:30

versión en español

On 16 July, this year’s virtual UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development came to an end. The HLPF is the premier UN body to monitor the annual progress on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) worldwide. The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated inequalities and further endangered development gains already at risk prior to the global pandemic. Millions of people globally are already suffering from hunger and poverty and now lives and livelihoods are threatened as a result of the vast socio-economic effects of COVID-19. Among the objectives of the 2020 HLPF includes identifying how the international community can respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in a way that will support achievement of the SDGs in the remaining “Decade of Action” to go until 2030. But the fact that Member States failed to adopt a strong Ministerial Declaration is extremely disappointing and does not match the enormous challenges ahead.

“The HLPF continues to be among the most attended of all UN meetings, with participation from Member States, civil society and the corporate sector”, says Barbara Adams, President of Global Policy Forum in New York. “However, the quantity in participation and profile is not matched by the quality of actions and policy commitments from Member States to ensure the transformation all agree is needed.” During the HLPF only “a sequence of airy promises” were made “which are no adequate response to the global crisis”, according to Global Policy Forum’s director Jens Martens.

All this is in sharp contrast to the call for coordinated, multilateral action from UN Secretary-General António Guterres. According to him, a minimum of 10 percent of the Global GDP (Gross Domestic Product) – approximately 9 billion USD – would be needed to finance such an effort. Martens: “This is another lost day for global multilateralism – in a situation, where it would be needed more than ever.”

The lack of concrete political action also reflects the limited mandate of the HLPF, which is restricted to a plethora of reports and reviews. Civil society organizations like the Global Policy Forum are therefore demanding to strengthen the HLPF substantially or to replace it by a stronger body with more competencies under the auspices of the UN General Assembly. Member States started a HLPF review process last year, but decisions are postponed to next year. “Member States have it in their power to correct these weaknesses by transforming the UN from a stage on which to perform into a political space in which to be held accountable”, says Barbara Adams, GPF.

For interview requests or further questions please contact:
Barbara Adams at barbaraadams(at)


HLPF: The High-level Political Forum is the central UN body for global sustainable development, open to all 193 Member States as well as to civil society organizations. It is mainly in charge of monitoring the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To that aim, Member States present so called Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) to facilitate the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. This year, 47 countries submitted their reports.

GPF: Global Policy Forum is an independent policy watchdog that monitors the work of the United Nations and scrutinizes global policymaking. GPF promotes accountability and citizen participation in decisions on peace and security, human rights, social justice and sustainable development. One of its main programmes is Global Policy Watch (GPW), a joint initiative of Social Watch and Global Policy Forum. It aims to keep members of global civil society informed about crucial global negotiations in the areas of financing for development, sustainable development, and UN reform.

More information on:

The post PRESS RELEASE – Vague promises won’t solve global crises appeared first on Global Policy Watch.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Migration as opportunity: innovation, policies and practice

ODI - 17. Juli 2020 - 0:00
A discussion of the different types of programmatic and policy interventions that can maximise migration’s socioeconomic benefits.
Kategorien: english

World off track in meeting 2030 Agenda, UN deputy chief warns, calls for solidarity in COVID-19 recovery

UN ECOSOC - 16. Juli 2020 - 23:38
The world was off track in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, even before the COVID-19 crisis erupted, but can get back on course by increasing investment in public services, showing solidarity on financing, and “reshaping” how people work, learn, live and consume.
Kategorien: english

Kosovo, Serbia and Rising Authoritarianism in the Balkans

UN Dispatch - 16. Juli 2020 - 17:09

Since the Kosovo War of 1999, the status of Kosovo as a country independent of Serbia has not been resolved. Many countries, including the United States and most of Europe, recognize Kosovo as an independent country. But others do not–including Russia, which has blocked Kosovo’s aspirations to join the United Nations.

This has been the status quo for many years. But in recent months there has been some renewed momentum in diplomacy intended to find an agreement that would satisfy both Serbia and Kosovo and lead to Kosovo’s formal independence.

To that end, on June 24th, The president of Kosovo set off for Washington, D.C. for high level talks at the White House. But mid-air, the flight turned around when a special court unsealed an indictment against him for war crimes committed decades ago during the war.

This indictment is the latest wrinkle in the long effort to secure an international agreement over Kosovo’s status. Another key issue is ongoing protests in Serbia and that country’s ongoing democratic backsliding.

On the line with me to explain the significance of these recent events in the Balkans is Jasmin Mujanović . He is a limited term professor of political science and policy studies at Elon University and host of the Sarejvo calling podcast.

We kick off with discussing the Kosovo-Serbia talks and then have a conversation about the implications of rising authoritarianism in Serbia.

Get the podcast to listen later Apple Podcasts  | Google PodcastsSpotify  |  Stitcher  | Radio Public

The post Kosovo, Serbia and Rising Authoritarianism in the Balkans appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Giving refugees a voice

D+C - 16. Juli 2020 - 15:40
An independent refugee-led online newspaper keeps residents of the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya informed





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The newspaper is called Kanere, short for Kakuma news reflector. It is currently produced on a shoestring budget with small funds from donor organisations.

A modest print run supplements the online presence once per month. Copies are made available in public spaces in the four sections of the Kakuma camp and the nearby Kalobeyei camp, which together house nearly 200,000 refugees.

Since its founding in 2008, Kanere has reported events in the camp and advocated for refugee rights. It reports regularly on the camp’s chronic water shortages, frequent crime and corruption of aid staff. Previous issues focused on the Covid-19 pandemic, the legal rights of refugees and the alarming suicide rate among female residents, as rapes and sexual assaults are rife.

The reports have produced results: Kanere’s articles on sexual assaults and gun violence have led to increased police patrols and installation of street lights. After Kanere criticised the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which administers the camp, for being unavailable to residents, UNHCR set up field posts where refugees can meet staff members.

Much of the coverage remains controversial, particularly for UNHCR. When Kanere was founded, UNHCR refused to cooperate and in fact harassed journalists involved. UNHCR was accustomed to having a monopoly on information and declined to fund Kanere as long as it remained independent.

Kanere was initially funded by a Fulbright Research Grant from the US Institute of International Education. It has since acquired the status of an NGO under Kenyan law. The news outlet continues to seek funding from humanitarian and development organisations.

Kanere currently has 17 reporters earning little or no pay. The team is multinational; the Kakuma camp has refugees from 19 countries, including South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and Ethiopia. The staff’s diversity enables coverage from different viewpoints and across language barriers. Most staff members have prior experience in journalism.

Working conditions are difficult. Editors and reporters work from home, as the newspaper lacks an office. The team shares five laptops and a few old cameras and video recorders. Electricity and internet data transmission are costly, and power cuts are frequent.

Moreover, Kakuma is hot all year and often has water shortages. When the rain comes it is often heavy, flooding rivers, blocking roads and damaging homes made of mud bricks and corrugated iron. But the hard work has its rewards: “It is very challenging to report in Kakuma but the Kanere team is dedicated and trusted within the refugee communities,” says Gind Ibrahim, Kanere’s Kenyan reporter.


Qaabata Boru, an Ethiopian journalist, is the founder and editor-in-chief of Kanere. He currently lives in Canada and edits the newspaper remotely.






Kategorien: english

Facets of a despot

D+C - 16. Juli 2020 - 14:42
A photo exhibition marks a first tentative attempt by Ugandans to come to terms with the past under Idi Amin

Widely known as the “butcher of Africa”, the dictator Idi Amin is considered the epitome of the brutal despot. During his eight years in power, from 1971 to 1979, he sent between 300,000 and 400,000 people to their deaths. He ordered innumerable foreigners, above all Indian traders, to be expropriated and expelled.

During his reign, Amin was escorted everywhere by a team of state photographers. Hundreds of thousands of pictures were taken – because the dictator understood the power of public presence. Until recently, those photographs were believed lost. But in 2015, archivists at the Ugandan state broadcaster discovered a hoard of thousands of images. Since then, experts from various universities have digitised 25,000 of the 70,000 negatives found. The 200 photos included in the Uganda National Museum’s exhibition “The Unseen Archive of Idi Amin” are only a small selection.

The exhibition is intended to show “different facets of Idi Amin’s personality”, explains visitor-support team member Anne Kakho. Amin’s term of office is presented in timelines. One shows official photographs: the dictator in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate in 1972, meeting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 1973, and greeting Emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa from the then Central African Empire shortly afterwards.The second timeline shows lots of pictures of everyday life in Uganda in the 1970s. An information panel flanking the display tells the visitor: “The seventies were a time of cultural creativity, a time of love, music and a new life.” Here it becomes clear how the dictator garnered support. He is seen as a musician playing an accordion, as a dancer at a cultural event and as a boxer in the ring.

The third timeline attempts to capture the horror of Amin’s rule: empty torture chambers, public executions and the deportation of Indian merchants. Another exhibition panel points out the paradoxical picture presented by “paralysing horror and a vibrant public life”.

The exhibition makes no attempt to appraise events. That is left entirely to the viewer. At the end of the museum visit, Ugandans are invited to leave their thoughts and feedback in writing. For the moment, the aim is to keep this a domestic dialogue.

The public response to the exhibition is generally very positive, even if the feedback is highly diverse, says Anne Kahko. “One family wanted us to take down the displays, saying they were an insult to the present government.” Some of Idi Amin’s children have also visited the exhibition and they loved it. His youngest son, Jaffar Amin, was even willing to contribute to the exhibition, offering more photos and lots of stories from the time. The organisers take note of everything. They now see this as just a beginning; they are planning a major exhibition in the future.

The way the images are presented reflects many Ugandans’ attitude towards Idi Amin. Very few see him exclusively as the brutal butcher he is perceived to be abroad. Visitor Irene Aikuru believes “he killed no more people than other presidents of this country, no more than the present president. He was just totally unsophisticated and did not conceal anything. He displayed his cruelty openly – that was the difference”.

The format of the exhibition, which allows visitors to see the side of Idi Amin that they wish to see, also says something about how little has been done in Uganda to deal with the past. There has been no reappraisal of the past, no public commemoration of war victims, no acknowledgement of the suffering endured by the civilian population. So this exhibition, with its focus on dialogue, is a ground-breaking event.

The exhibition ran until mid-February 2020 in Kampala and is scheduled to move on to many more venues.

Isabella Bauer is a freelance journalist and adviser specialised in East Africa, Southern Africa and Germany.

Kategorien: english

PRESSEMITTEILUNG - Mit vagen Versprechen löst man keine globale Krise

Global Policy Forum - 16. Juli 2020 - 13:26

Bonn/New York, 16 Juli 2020

Heute endet in New York das Hochrangige Politische Forum (High-level Political Forum, HLPF) der Vereinten Nationen – das höchste UN-Gremium für globale Nachhaltigkeitsfragen. Infolge der Corona-Pandemie fand das Forum virtuell statt und stand auch thematisch ganz im Zeichen der Krise. Denn die ist nicht nur eine Gesundheitskrise, sondern stürzt Millionen von Menschen weltweit, die bereits in Armut leben, in eine noch größere Misere. Das Forum wollte Wege finden, wie der Wiederaufbau nach Corona in Einklang mit der UN-Agenda 2030 und ihren 17 Zielen für nachhaltige Entwicklung (SDGs) erfolgen kann. Doch das Ergebnis ist enttäuschend und wird der immensen weltweiten Herausforderung nicht gerecht.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Revisiting the peace versus justice debate

D+C - 16. Juli 2020 - 12:44
Demands for criminal accountability can be an obstacle to peace

The ongoing debate over peace versus justice is well-known in conflict resolution. Experience has shown that after a political resolution or military victory, peace agreements are negotiated among the parties to the conflict. These peace agreements usually contain not only restorative measures but also retributive actions to deal with suspects of atrocious crimes.

Criminal accountability of international crimes may take different forms:

  • national prosecutions where states prosecute international crimes under domestic law,
  • hybrid courts which feature domestic and international composition and usually operate within the jurisdiction where the crimes occurred, and
  • international courts such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) whose legal mandate is to hold perpetrators of international crimes individually responsible under international law.

While the mandate of the ICC is clear, it is noteworthy that the Court’s founding document, the Rome Statute, gives the prosecutor the discretion not to initiate an investigation if, after considering the gravity of crime and interests of victims, she concludes that it would not serve the interests of justice. How does this provision affect people coming to grips with the past or even ongoing violence? Should the phrase be construed broadly enough to include the interests of peace?

The preamble of the Rome Statute establishes a presumption against deferring to peace processes once a state is unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute international crimes. It provides that the ICC’s mission is to ensure prosecution of “the most serious crimes of concern to the international community“ in order to “put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes“. If the court were to defer to political negotiations or peace processes, it would be acting adversely against its own duty to end impunity for the gravest international crimes. Besides, if the court acts on the duty to prosecute without considering any political arrangements or negotiations, this may likely deter gross human-rights abuses.

Unprosecuted crimes

Afghanistan has experienced civil war for decades. Thousands of civilians have been and continue to be victims of atrocious crimes, some of which fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC. According to a report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in December 2019, “civilian causalities surpassed 100,000 in the past ten years”. The number of causalities over the past four decades has certainly surpassed the million mark. Moreover, sexual violence has been reported to be widespread and extensive. Lack of documentation of most gender-based and sexual crimes has led to numerous cases going unreported and thus unprosecuted, leading to a pervasive culture of denial.

The questions of justice and dealing with past atrocities remains unanswered. In the past, the Afghan authorities and the international community both favoured and promoted “peace first, justice later“. This policy encouraged more violence and promoted a state of impunity. While there have been efforts to deal with past human-rights abuses through various transitional justice mechanisms, Afghanistan has continued to experience cycles of conflict. National prosecution efforts have been inefficient at best. The Afghan government has sometimes initiated investigations, but these have lacked impartiality and independence. Adding to the problem, investigators often lack the capacity to carry out investigations.

In November 2017, the prosecutor sought authorisation from the Pre-Trial Chamber of the Court to initiate formal investigations into crimes against humanity and war crimes in Afghanistan. Under the Statute, the ICC has jurisdiction over crimes committed on the territory of a member state, regardless of the nationality of the accused. The investigations in Afghanistan will also target US nationals, specifically the US military forces and employees of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In April 2019, the Pre-Trial Chamber denied the prosecutor this request ruling that an investigation into Afghanistan would not be in the interest of justice.

This was the first time that the Court implored this argument. The Pre-Trial Chamber concluded that opening investigations would only create unrealistic expectations from victims and possible hostility towards the Court. The Court cited limited prospects for success due to such factors as the “volatility of the political climate surrounding the Afghan scenario“ and the likely lack of cooperation by the countries involved. However, if this argument is to be accepted, arguably, no investigations in any situation would ever be started.

Expectedly, the prosecutor filed an appeal against this decision. The Appeals Chamber rightfully reversed the problematic ruling made by the Pre-Trial Chamber and authorised the Court’s prosecutor to investigate possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan since May 2003. The ruling was endorsed by many international justice and human-rights advocates and hailed as a true hope for victims of the conflict. It reaffirmed the Court’s essential role of granting justice to victims even when all other criminal accountability options are in vain.

The Afghanistan situation before the ICC is a recent example of potential discord between peace and justice. Demands for criminal accountability should never impede ongoing peace efforts. The Appeals Chamber decision should not be seen as a hindrance to the ongoing intra-Afghan peace talks between the parties to the conflict since the absence of accountability for grave international crimes can have a lasting negative impact on efforts to achieve peace.

Darleen Seda is a Kenyan lawyer who specialises in human rights and international criminal law.

Kategorien: english

ODI Bites: Africa beyond Covid-19

ODI - 16. Juli 2020 - 0:00
We explore what new approaches and enhanced forms of collaboration will need to be built between Africa, Europe and beyond.
Kategorien: english

Gender and Ethnicity pay gap statements 2020

ODI - 16. Juli 2020 - 0:00
A 2020 review of our gender and ethnicity pay gaps, featuring actions we are taking to eliminate this in the coming years.
Kategorien: english

First person: COVID-19 stories from the world of work

UNSDN - 15. Juli 2020 - 18:21

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world in ways we could hardly have imagined. Everyone has been affected and everyone has a story to share. At the International Labour Organization, we wanted to hear first-hand from people in the world of work. So, we contacted them and asked:

How has the virus affected their work?
How are their countries responding?
What have they learned from this experience so far?

We spoke to government officials, business owners and essential workers, those working from home and those who have lost their jobs, young people just starting their first job and retirees-turned-volunteers. Their stories paint a gripping picture of how COVID-19 has affected the world of work and what the response has been.

Click on a video to virtually travel from New York to New Zealand, from Dubai to Douala. And come back often as we continue to add more COVID-19 stories from the world of work.

Read more about the ILO’s COVID-19 response:
How are countries responding to the COVID-19 pandemic
The impact of COVID-19 on the informal economy
COVID-19: Action in the Global Garment Industry

Source: ILO

Kategorien: english

Launch of First Online Global Course on Sport and the SDGs

UNSDN - 15. Juli 2020 - 17:56

 A new, freely available online course launched this month will help individuals and organizations harness the potential of sport in their work towards sustainable development. 

With more governments and organisations around the world recognising sport as an enabler of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), sport is increasingly being used as a tool to address issues ranging from health and education to employment and conflict resolution. 

But, despite the increasing use of sport and growing perception of its value, individuals and organisations have limited opportunities to learn how to maximise sport’s positive impact. 

To address this gap, the International Platform on Sport and Development, the Australian Government and Commonwealth Secretariat have collaborated to support the development of a free online course on Sport for Sustainable Development. 

Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing effective policies and programmes marks the release of the first ever, free massive open online course focused on Sport for Development. 

Designed to meet the needs of a variety of learners, including government officials, intergovernmental and sports organisations, public policy experts, the private sector and civil society organisations, the course allows learners to explore aspects of programme design and, implementation, and understand how to measure the impact of policies and programmes. The course also allows learners to explore key concepts on sport and gender equality, disability, human rights, social inclusion, peacebuilding and safeguarding. 

Featuring contributions from around the world, the course shares lessons learnt, best practice and top tips from policy makers and practitioners, helping learners to explore different approaches to Sport for Development from those delivering sport-centred programs on a day-to-day basis. 

Recognising the important role that sport can play in promoting learning and meaningful engagement at national, regional and international levels, Fiji’s Dr. Robin Mitchell, President of the Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) and Executive Board Member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said the course will be a vital addition to the field. 

“This course provides an exciting opportunity for all those in the Pacific and around the world interested in learning how to take action and use sport to make a positive impact. In the Pacific sport is being used by governments, organisations and communities as an enabler of change. Today, more than ever, sport is becoming an important tool to support the communication of information and to teach children, young people and adults. By harnessing the positive power of sport, we have an opportunity to shape the development of ideas, opinions and actions – both at home and abroad. I would encourage anyone interested in learning how they can use sport as a tool to support the advancement of the sustainable development agenda, to sign up for this course.” 

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “The longstanding work and engagement of the Commonwealth Secretariat in support of collaboration among our member countries to develop policies and programmes on sport and development have yielded valuable perspectives and practical understanding of how life opportunities for people from all backgrounds can be improved through well-designed and adaptable strategies. 

“Our focus is on extending the benefits of sport to more people, from more diverse backgrounds, more often. This course offers leaders, practitioners, and young people alike superb professional development opportunities to build their skills and develop highly effective policies and programmes which enable the potential of sport as a force for good to be realised fully and inclusively in the countries of the Commonwealth – and more widely.” 

The collaboration between the International Platform on Sport and Development, the Australian Government and the Commonwealth Secretariat to develop the course is underpinned by each organisation’s focus on providing accessible opportunities for learning. 

“Recognising the need to increase access to resources and educational opportunities for a wide and varied audience, this course focuses on helping learners to understand how to effectively integrate sport into policies and programmes to advance the SDGs. In an era where the face-to-face delivery of sport has been disrupted and threatened, this course helps audiences to think critically, and understand how to leverage sport, drive innovation and challenge the status-quo,” explained Gunnar Hagstrom from the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and member of the International Platform on Sport and Development Steering Board. 

For more information on the course and to sign up, please visit the International Platform on Sport and Development 

The International Platform on Sport and Development, the Australian Government and Commonwealth Secretariat would like to thank all those who contributed to the development of the course, including the Expert Reference Group and the academic team. 


About The Partners 

The International Platform on Sport and Development 

Sportanddev is the leading hub for organisations and individuals using sport for development to share knowledge, build good practice, coordinate with others and create partnerships. For more information about Sportanddev visit 

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) 

The Australian Government supports sport for development and sports diplomacy programs that strengthen international connections, build safer communities, and facilitate the participation of women, girls and people with disability. For more information about the Australian Government visit 

Commonwealth Secretariat 

The Commonwealth Secretariat supports member countries to achieve development, democracy and peace. The Secretariat’s work helps to grow economies and boost trade, empower young people, and address threats such as climate change, debt and inequality. For more information about the Commonwealth Secretariat visit 

For more information, please visit:

Source: FutureLearn

Kategorien: english

Building a Resilient Future for Asia after COVID-19: How can ADB help?

OECD - 15. Juli 2020 - 16:15
By Yasuyuki Sawada, Chief Economist and Director General, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, Asian Development Bank, Cyn-Young Park, Director for Regional Cooperation and Integration, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, Asian Development Bank, Rolando Avendano, Economist, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, Asian Development Bank This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing … Continue reading Building a Resilient Future for Asia after COVID-19: How can ADB help?
Kategorien: english

Failing grades

D+C - 15. Juli 2020 - 14:41
Chile’s teachers give low grades for the early results of online classes for schoolchildren

The survey (“Teaching during the health crisis: the teachers' perspective”) finds that only 9 % of teachers believe that most of their students have the habits to study autonomously, and only a quarter believe that their students have the necessary skills to use distance work applications.

Teachers also say that on average they are able to have frequent contact with only half of their students. Almost two-thirds (63 %) say their students do not have access to the internet, but only 8 % of teachers compensate for that deficiency by sending physical materials to students’ homes. The nationwide survey, taken in late April, has 3,176 respondents – all of them classroom teachers, mostly in cities and mostly in primary and secondary education.

Magdalena Claro, director of the Catholic University's Observatory of Digital Educational Practices and one of the study's authors, says the results show disparities in the ability to use the internet to access primary and secondary education. “While some will incorporate new digital tools, others will be very disengaged from the educational system,” she says.

On paper, Chile is a good candidate for a nationwide experiment in online schooling. Some 87 % of Chilean households have internet access, according to the government’s 2017 Internet Access and Usage Survey, the most recent one available. But internet coverage is only part of the picture when it comes to delivering education effectively. For one thing, the coverage total includes internet plans for smartphones, but smartphones generally have insufficient bandwidth for online classes.  

Moreover, while 56 % of Chilean households have internet plans that are suitable for distance learning, the broadband service often fails when two or more people are online simultaneously. A further issue arises when a household has only one computer for multiple users. These factors have combined to give online primary education in Chile a bumpy start.

Paola Estrada, a teacher and mother in the Valparaiso region, knows these problems first-hand. Since the schools shut down, she has conducted classes from her dining room. Her 10-year-old son seems to be drifting, dealing with an unreliable signal and often losing interest in coursework. “I can only keep an eye on him for 30 minutes," Estrada says.

Similar scenes play out in the Muñoz household, some 700 km south in the Biobío región. The family has an above-average internet plan. But the signal often fails when both pre-teenage children and their father, who works from home and is often in video conferences, are online. “The other problem is that we have one computer for both children and have had to prioritise the classes of one over the other,” says Paula Muñoz. “When we can, we also use cell phones."

Such problems are not unique to Chile in the Coronavirus era, and may well be temporary. But to children in important learning years, the interruption to classroom routines may prove to be a significant disturbance to their education.

Javier A. Cisterna Figueroa is a journalist in Concepción, Chile.


Teachers survey concerning distance learning, May 2020:

Chilean Internet Access Study:



Kategorien: english

Build back better

D+C - 15. Juli 2020 - 14:26
IEA wants stimulus money to drive climate protection

Energy demand and carbon emissions plummeted this year due to the economic halt. Recovery offers a window of opportunity to “build back better” – the unofficial motto of sustainable disaster recovery. Fatih Birol, the executive director of the IEA, has appealed to member countries to make 2019 the peak year in energy-related carbon emissions by using recovery funding to advance clean energy. António Guterres, the UN secretary General, has endorsed that message, pointing out that “clean energy puts countries on safer and healthier footing”.

As the example of the USA in the 1930s showed, government spending can lead an economy out of a depression, even if that spending is based on significant public debt. Investments in infrastructure are particularly useful because they not only create short-term employment, but also lay the foundation for long-term prosperity.

Today, the smart thing is to invest in climate protection and adaptation. Rele­vant projects include retrofitting housing stock for renewable energy, building bicycle-transport networks or implementing nature-based solutions for flood protection. Stimulus money can be used to build smart power grids or to convert industrial facilities in ways that allow them to use clean energy. Experts warn policymakers not to repeat the mistakes made after the global financial crisis of 2008, when short-sighted bailouts benefited fossil-fuel intensive industries and exacerbated the global problem of climate change. Instead, governments should have focused on the jobs and industries of the future.

Unfortunately, several countries are already showing signs of repeat failure. The Guardian reported in early July, for example, that the USA had given loans worth at least $ 3 billion to some 5,600 fossil-fuel companies, including coal-based power plants and oil drillers. US President Donald Trump denies the science of climate change, and his administration serves the special interests of ecologically destructive industries. Trump pretends that environmental protection hurts economic growth, but shows no interest in long-term sustainability. His science denial and focus on short-term business data, moreover, have led to fast opening up after lockdown, allowing Covid-19 infection numbers to rise dreadfully in the USA in July. The worsening pandemic may thus well erase the economic advantages of opening up too fast.

The US administration’s destructive stance became evident once more during a virtual global conference that the IEA held in early July. On the upside, energy ministers from 40 of the most energy-consuming countries took part, indicating their interest in accelerating the transition to renewable energy in the context of the Covid-19 recovery.

The EU, for example, recently released its € 1.85 trillion, seven-year recovery plan, which will invest in green industries and technologies. China and India also made promising announcements. Multilateral institutions, including the IEA, would do well to keep pressure on governments to live up to such pledges. In regard to climate protection, the EU, China and India so far have tended to be behind schedule, rather than pressing ahead fast with urgently needed action (for the example of India, see Aditi Roy Ghatak in Focus section of D+C/E+Z ­e-Paper 2020/04).

Low-income countries, by contrast, typically lack the fiscal space to adopt stimulus programmes of their own. The international community should support their indispensable climate action.

In any case, the IEA deserves praise for promoting the clean energy agenda. A decade ago, it still had a reputation for promoting fossil fuels and underplaying the potential of renewable energy. Its change of tune is welcome. Pressure from major institutional investors, including pension funds and insurance companies, helped to make it happen. They know that business needs sustainability. The US administration should pay attention to them too.

Katie Cashman is the climate-action director of 2811, an environmental civil-society organisation in Chile. She is expressing her personal opinion in this comment.

Kategorien: english

Je kiffe la petite Chinoise de Courbevoie que j’ai dragué sur Badoo

UN Food and Hunger - 15. Juli 2020 - 12:57

Lorsqu’on est célibataire dans une ville comme Courbevoie, on n’a pas vraiment de réelles occasions de pouvoir trouver des femmes libres et intelligentes. Elles sont toutes mariées ou déjà en couple.

Je pensais que ma seule chance de trouver une nana dans le coin était de m’inscrire sur Badoo et de me faire à l’idée que je n’aurai droit qu’à des plans cul discrets, avec certaines de ces femmes déjà en main. Persuadé qu’il n’y avait plus vraiment de femmes célibataires dans cette ville, c’est alors la seule option que j’envisageais.

Mais lorsque j’ai visité les profils des nanas inscrites sur ce site de rencontres, je me suis rendu compte que je me trompais sur toute la ligne, car il y avait un sacré paquet de filles libres et célibataires, à la recherche du grand amour.

Je me suis très vite dirigé vers le profil d’une superbe petite asiatique de 27 ans, Mia, dont l’annonce m’a immédiatement plu.

Elle disait être sur Courbevoie depuis seulement quelques mois et qu’elle cherchait à élargir son cercle d’amis, que ce soit des hommes ou des femmes.

Une occasion réelle d’apprendre à se connaître et pourquoi pas…lier une amitié nouvelle si aucune affinité sexuelle ne se fait ressentir.

J’ai alors pris mon courage à deux mains pour lui envoyer un message via Badoo.
Je la félicite sur son profil complet, sur ses belles photos et sur son annonce et lui explique que j’aimerai vraiment lui faire découvrir les endroits les plus intéressants de notre ville, voir de notre région.

Nous avons rendez-vous ce soir pour prendre un verre et faire notre première rencontre.
Je suis dans tous mes états !
Souhaitez-moi bonne chance !

The post Je kiffe la petite Chinoise de Courbevoie que j’ai dragué sur Badoo appeared first on

Kategorien: english

A new intergenerational compact

D+C - 15. Juli 2020 - 12:38
Once more, Covid-19 shows that care work is largely left to women – and that must change

The German care system places on families the primary burden of caring for children, the elderly and incapacitated relatives. Legal regulations perpetuate the traditional division of labour. Most care providers are women.

However, more and more women earn money so they are no longer able or willing to do unpaid care work. Ever more families are forced to outsource care, either to institutions such as day-care centres, schools or nursing homes, or to privately-hired domestic helpers, including au pairs or live-in carers.

Increasingly, immigrant women are doing the care work. Border closures during the Coronavirus lockdown, however, showed that immigrants can neither be present all the time, nor can they protect themselves consistently from work-related risks.

In short, the German system for providing nursing care and support has reached its limits. Policies on the matter were already deficient in the sense of not meeting social needs before the pandemic. Current regulations do not require care workers to have appropriate skills, nor do they drive the creation of a nationwide network of professional providers.

Jens Spahn, Germany’s federal health minister, wants to remedy the shortage of skilled staff in hospitals and nursing homes by recruiting trained nurses from Mexico and the Philippines. Such efforts highlight systemic deficiencies. Without change, the care system is unsustainable.

One consequence of the current policy is that migrant care workers – most of them women working with temporary permits – tend to labour in difficult circumstances which sometimes are actually illegal. Nonetheless, they are essential workers who are supposed to keep the care system running, thereby reinforcing the illusion that German women can easily make family life and professional careers compatible.

This system, moreover, exploits a wealth and wage gap between Germany and migrants’ home countries (see Richa Arora in the D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2020/06, Debate). Private-sector companies and state agencies in Germany are trying to pay as little as possible when managing their care obligations. The current system basically shifts responsibility to subcontractors and to women from foreign countries. An implication is that those countries lose skilled workers. The women’s families are affected in particular. It makes sense to say that care work is being extracted from the economies concerned in the same way that raw materials are exploited. Some accurately speak of international “care chains”. Ultimately, children, dependent relatives and people with disabilities end up without support because the caregivers have left. That mostly happens in the global South and eastern ­Europe, of course.

Instead of perpetuating this pattern, Germany’s Federal Government should overhaul its approach to care provision. The new approach should take into account requirements of global development, among other things. Moreover, Germany’s governmental social-protection insurances should cover all people doing private care work, whether for children, the aged or incapacitated persons. Payroll taxes would have to be collected accordingly.

Moreover, it would make sense to set up a global social-security fund. Carers in rich and poor nations alike deserve pensions, child benefits and unemployment benefits when needed.

The care crisis cannot be solved by exporting it or by making it invisible. What we need instead is a new intergenerational compact that enables people to combine employment and care work. Employment and care work must be compatible for all – for women and men, for rich and poor, for migrants and those who stay in their home countries. Moreover, reforms are needed to provide greater financial rewards and non-material recognition to those who do care work.

A first step would be to include all related efforts such work in the calculation of gross domestic product. GDP measures prosperity, which, to a large extent, is based on care work. So far, national income statistics give no clear picture of who wins and who loses in the current settings. Nor do they make it clear which activities are “system-relevant”, especially in a global context. The burden of care work is not shared in a fair manner – to the detriment of young women’s professional development all over the word. Moreover, the impacts on the economic development of countries in the global South are negative too.

Universal access to free public education, health care, clean water, sanitation and domestic energy systems must be guaranteed worldwide. Otherwise, any future crisis comparable to the Covid-19 pandemic will intensify existing social inequalities.

Almut Schnerring and Sascha Verlan jointly wrote a book with the title “Equal care”. It was published by Verbrecher Verlag (Berlin, 2000) and is only available in Germany.
They also launched an action day for civil society:
“Equal Care Day”:

Equal Care Manifesto:

Kategorien: english

Descent into Hell

D+C - 15. Juli 2020 - 11:55
Tragic tale of a young Nigerian’s life wrecked by an ill-fated love affair

The plot has a fairy-tale ring to it: a young woman from a wealthy family is persuaded not to jump off a bridge by a simple poultry farmer, and the two fall in love. However, it very quickly becomes apparent that this is no fairy-tale novel. The reader watches as Chinonso embarks on a road to self-destruction, giving up his life for the woman he loves. In places, it is painful to read on – but it is even harder to put the book down.

From the outset it is clear that the family of Chinonso’s lover, Ndali, finds her relationship with an uneducated man unacceptable. Chinonso makes a living from raising chickens and growing a few crops. Which in 2007 – the year in which the book is set – also makes him an undesirable suitor in the eyes of the Nigerian upper class. Chinonso is not only mocked and ridiculed but receives dire threats. His response is to make plans to study for a degree in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. An old school friend – in an apparent act of kindness – helps him make the preparations. Chinonso sells every­thing he has – the family compound, his home and his chickens – before even telling his lover of his plans. He wants to return to Nigeria as an educated man with excellent job prospects.

On the outward flight, Chinonso realises something is wrong when he meets fellow Nigerians who give grim descriptions of the country his friend portrayed as a promised land. During the stopover in Istanbul, he finds his friend is no longer reachable. He has disappeared and most of Chinonso’s money has gone with him.

“An Orchestra of Minorities” is Obioma’s second book and, like his debut novel, was shortlisted for the prestigious British Man Booker Prize (see Sabine Balk, Summer Special, E+Z/D+C e-Paper 2019/08). The story is inspired by true events. Obioma himself studied in Northern Cyprus and met many compatriots who had lost money to middlemen.

Europe, the land of promise, becomes a nightmare for Chinonso. The young man, with no great ambition, wanting only to be with the love of his life, becomes a broken wreck, stranded in a hostile country.

Chinonso is a bit like his livestock, the helpless chickens he has farmed since early childhood. Along with many other stranded souls, he belongs to the “minorities of this world whose only recourse was to join this universal orchestra in which all there was to do was cry and wail”.

At many points in the book, the protagonist remains silent, resigned to his fate – which sometimes infuriates the reader. When Chinonso realises he has been cheated, he does not tell his lover and does not ask for help. He is ashamed and tries to overcome his problems alone. That proves to be a mistake because before long there is no way at all he can contact Ndali.

Even his “chi”, his guardian spirit, who is the narrator of the story, cannot prevent that. In the Igbo culture to which the protagonist belongs, everyone has a chi. Hearing the story from the chi is sometimes amusing but the excursions to the spirit world can be exhausting, especially for a reader with little knowledge of Igbo language and culture.

From the outset, the narrative perspective makes it clear there is virtually no chance of Chinonso’s life turning around. Readers who tend towards Weltschmerz and pessimism will find plenty to feed their world view in this book.

Obioma, C., 2019: An Orchestra of Minorities. Little, Brown and Company.

Kategorien: english


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