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Summer readings on cash transfers and social protection

Brookings - 19. Juli 2022 - 23:46

By Ugo Gentilini

The first semester of 2022 generated a wealth of research on social protection. Having reviewed about 500 papers on the theme since January, let me share a rapid selection of 40 exciting materials across 10 themes that you may want to take with you on vacation.  

1. Health and nutrition 

A meta-analysis by Manley et al. found that cash transfers reduce both child stunting and wasting, but only by 1.3 percent. Morais et al. show that compared to municipalities with low cash-transfer coverage, Brazilian areas with high coverage reduced AIDS incidence between 4.4-13.1 percent. Globally, a systematic review of the effects of cash transfers and other programs on HIV by Stoner et al., concludes that “Cash transfer [and] programs that incentivize school attendance among adolescent girls and young women show the greatest promise.” A review by Ahmed et al. documents the positive effects of cash in reducing “neglected tropical diseases” (leprosy, schistosomiasis, and soil-transmitted helminthiasis). Roelen and Rodriguez summarize the effects of cash transfers on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) outcomes. And Cygan-Rehm and Karbownik show that in Poland, a one-off cash transfers conditioned on prenatal visits decreased fetal deaths and improved birth weight

2. Education

A meta-analysis of conditional cash transfers on education by García and Saavedra shows that there are clear effects on schooling, little impacts on learning, and relatively high costs of implementation. Evans et al. have a handy Excel database of more than 100 studies on the matter

3. Economic returns 

Aizer et al. stress the need to consider benefits over time: “Once the positive long-run benefits to children are considered, many safety net programs are cost-effective … . Limiting the time horizon for cost-benefit calculations … often fails to take this into account.” In Rwanda, Taylor et al. estimate the economic multipliers of cash transfers in the context of Congolese refugees and find that “an additional refugee getting cash increases annual real income in the local economy by $205 to $253, significantly more than the $120-$126 … each refugee receives.” 

4. Brain and stress 

A study on cash transfers in the U.S. by Troller-Renfree et al. found that children with mothers receiving larger cash benefits showed better brain development (effect sizes = 0.17 to 0.26) compared to infants with mothers receiving lower cash amounts. Jaroszewicz et al. show that cash transfers can augment stress among beneficiaries. This is because transfers operate within an ecosystem of hopes, dynamic needs, pressures, and expectations—all of which amplify and exert more psychological pressure when a windfall of cash materializes. What happens when you provide a lump sum of cash, psychosocial support, or both cash and support? In Niger, Bossuroy et al. detect positive effects across these three treatment arms, but interventions with a psychosocial component were most cost-effective.  

5. Crises

A cocktail of three concomitant crises is prompting governments around the globe to set out 5,000 social protection measures: There are 3,856 social protection measures in response to COVID-19 in 223 economies; an additional 730 programs established by 41 countries for displacement caused by the war in Ukraine; and a further 221 measures countering soaring prices of food, fuel, fertilizers, and other items in 84 economies (updated version out in a few days). 

Beyond quantitative trends, what are we learning from evaluations and implementation of those responses? I lay out a range of lessons and reflections on cash transfers in pandemic times

A trio of studies on Cameroon (Levine et al), Greece (Tramountanis and Levine), and Colombia (Ham et al) shed light on various factors preventing integration of humanitarian assistance and social protection for displaced populations. Development initiatives estimate that 21 percent of humanitarian aid is now cash-based, but only 0.6 percent of total assistance is channeled via national governments. And such “parallel” systems are also evident in Ukraine, as Stoddard et al. document. 

6. Politics and trust 

“State capacity alone is insufficient. Vitally, national and local political dynamics shape the ways in which this state capacity is deployed in program implementation.” That’s a key takeaway from Laver’s edited book on the politics of distributing social transfers in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Ghana, Kenya, Bangladesh, and Nepal. What happens when conflict erupts in the middle of program implementation? In South Sudan, Budjan et al. investigate the diverging fates of participants that got the grant and those that didn’t: The latter displayed reductions in consumption and trust, suggesting psychological repercussions due to the program’s cancellation. 

7. Child labor 

A review by ILO and UNICEF found that that about 60 percent of the 62 examined studies report “unambiguous reductions in children’s engagement in productive activities” (i.e., economic activities and/or household chores). Marcillo et al. show that in Colombia, cash transfers help keep children in school, but “women are the ones who compensate for the lost labor at home when older children stay longer in school.” And Sviatschi shows that in Peru, participation in conditional cash transfers reduced child labor and this, in turn, decreased coca production by 34 percent.  

8. Gender 

A review of 70 systematic reviews on social protection and gender by Perera et al. found that having explicit gender objectives leads to higher effects than setting broad goals, but there can be some adverse and unintended consequences. A brief by Peterman and Roy offers practical tips on adapting cash transfers to prevent and mitigate gender-related intimate partner violence. And in India’s Bihar state, Gelb et al. show that women cash beneficiaries who are illiterate and living in a household with no smartphone have a probability of reporting the use of digital payments of below 4 percent.  

9. Access to benefits

Immervoll et al. show that among eight high-income countries, there is only a limited gap between social protection coverage provisions accorded to standard versus “nonstandard” workers (i.e., self-employed, part-timers, and those in unstable wage employment). De Schutter’s report on the “non-take-up” of social protection programs illustrates that program awareness, application information, cumbersome processes, and stigma can hamper program access by eligible populations. And the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows that forcibly displaced populations often have access to social protection “on paper,” but not in practice

10. Design choices

Hammad navigates key transfer-related choices, like determining transfer values, timing, duration, frequency, and digital vs. manual payments. In Niger, Bossuroy et al. compare the cost-effectiveness of alternative “graduation” models on economic and psychosocial outcomes, while Premand and Barry found that parenting trainings were more effective than cash alone on early childhood development. Dwyer et al contrast 87 programs in high– vs. low- and middle-income countries and found that cash transfers in advanced economies have steeper benefit “cliffs.” Grosh et al. have a new edited volume on targeting in social assistance placing an emphasis on the role of delivery systems in shaping targeting outcomes. Della Guardia et al. illuminate the animosity, resentment, and divisions within communities in Chad. And in Kenya, Haushofer et al. argue that reaching the most “impacted”—as opposed to the most “deprived”—might be societally beneficial. 

Kategorien: english

Cost of living crisis hits poorest the hardest, warns UNCTAD

UN ECOSOC - 19. Juli 2022 - 23:13
Billions of people are facing the greatest cost of living crisis in a generation due to rising food and energy prices amid rapid inflation and increasing debt, leaving the most vulnerable consumers in a dire situation, said the UN trade and development body, UNCTAD on Tuesday.
Kategorien: english

‘Moment for Nature’ essential to beat back threats, spur climate action

UN #SDG News - 19. Juli 2022 - 21:59
With less than eight years remaining to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the President of the UN General Assembly convened a ‘Moment for Nature’ debate on Tuesday to examine the interconnected environmental threats hampering efforts to achieve sustainable development. 
Kategorien: english

Invest in development as an effective antidote for future crisis - 19. Juli 2022 - 16:54
It is vital that much needed support for Ukraine does not come at the expense of funding international development, prevention, peace and resilience-building efforts, write Ulrika Modéer and Thomas Gass.
Kategorien: english

Global challenges require global responses

D+C - 19. Juli 2022 - 16:29
Humanity’s common future depends on sovereign governments cooperating to ensure prudent global governance

The judges have thus made it yet a bit harder for President Joe Biden to implement his climate agenda, which is stuck in the Senate (see Katie Cashman on They did not consider how transformative global heating is. They also ignored that Congress established the EPA five decades ago precisely because legislators then – unlike many Republican ones today – accepted that modern society’s long-term viability depends on environmental health. A world power that does not do its part in rising to the most urgent global challenge, however, obviously lacks credibility.

Global solutions for global problems

Humanity is facing global challenges that individual nations cannot effectively rise to on their own. Global heating, ensuring financial stability and managing migration are only three examples. The idea that sovereignty allows a national government to do as it pleases within its borders is outdated.

This principle helped to restore peace after the devastating Thirty Years’ War in Germany four centuries ago, but the big conflict then was between Catholics and Protestants. Sovereignty meant both could exist side-by-side, though not in the same country. The feudal lords decided which camp their land and people would adhere to.

By contrast, the big issues today transcend borders. What happens in one place, affects others, so cooperation is indispensable. That does not make national governments obsolete, just as national governments do not make subnational governments obsolete. A well-run nation state needs well-run municipalities and districts and perhaps other administrative levels too.

The useful principle of subsidiarity

A useful principle of Catholic social teaching is called subsidiarity. Its point is that, whatever a lower-level entity can handle on its own, should be left to that entity, with higher level authorities only being in charge of things that would otherwise be unmanageable. Indeed, the EU has a pattern of pooling sovereignty that way to manage things like foreign trade, the common currency and – to an increasing extent – climate action.

Such cooperation is beneficial. Britain has opted out, and its economy is now performing below the European average. Power is being centralised in London once again, and the country’s social fabric is disintegrating. The next prime minister may manage to rebuild some trust, but restoring Britain’s international standing will take time.

We cannot rise to global problems without pooling sovereignty. All countries must play their part. High-income countries are the most prosperous, dominate most international financial institutes and are over-represented in the UN Security Council. The USA, moreover, is by far the strongest military power. No doubt, the high-income countries must do more to rise to their responsibility. Other countries, however, matter too. Big emerging markets are actually quite strong, but are disorganised as a group. Low-income countries, moreover, too rarely speak with one voice.

A lesson from the 17th century

What is absolutely clear, however, is that the Russian approach to global governance is destructive. Trying to impose one’s ideas on a neighbour by military means leads to disaster – which is exactly why sovereignty was invented in 17th century Germany. As I have argued before, the attack on Ukraine is actually an attack on humanity as a whole (, destabilising the international order, driving up food and energy prices and making indispensable global cooperation more difficult.  

Hans Dembowski is editor in chief of D+C Development and Cooperation / E+Z Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit.

Kategorien: english

Living in the land of others

D+C - 19. Juli 2022 - 14:57
Leïla Slimani’s novel “In the country of others” casts a light on colonial mentality and the diverse facets of not belonging

The young French woman Mathilde meets her husband Amine in 1944 during the celebrations marking the liberation of Alsace by the French army. The handsome officer is one of 35,000 Moroccan soldiers who fought alongside the French against the German occupation. The two marry. Happy to escape the confines of her bourgeois parents’ home in Alsace and anticipating a completely different, exotic life, the adventurous Mathilde moves to Morocco with Amine. He has inherited a piece of land from his father and the couple plans to create a farm on it, with orange trees, wine and cereals, and start a family.

Temporarily, the couple lives with Amine’s mother and siblings in the medina, the old town of Meknès. The city is divided into two parts at the time: the medina, with its maze of narrow streets, where the Moroccan community lives, and the modern Ville Nouvelle, where the French colonialists have their stylish homes.

Life on the farm also fails to live up to Mathilde’s dreams. Amine tries hard to transform a barren piece of land outside Meknès into fertile soil. In her letters home to her sister Irène and her father Georges, however, Mathilde seeks to impress them both by portraying the life she leads as an exciting adventure.

She finds it difficult to adapt to local customs and culture. As an immigrant French woman, she is not bound by the strict rules of Moroccan society – she drives a car, sends her daughter to a Christian school, moves freely through the city – but being married to a Moroccan, she is treated with disdain by French colonial society. At the same time, Amine, torn between different role expectations, turns increasingly into a tyrannical patriarch demanding observance of the laws and taboos of traditional Moroccan society. Mathilde soon realises that she is expected to live by a rigid moral code. “That’s just the way it is here” is Amine’s brusque response when she rails against injustices.

The couple encounters rejection from both the Moroccan community and French colonial society. Even when Mathilde tends to the sick in the poor local farming community and slowly gains their trust, it becomes clear that she will always remain an outsider. She and Amine do not belong anywhere. Their children also suffer humiliation and racism. Their daughter Aïcha is ostracised by her French classmates. Nevertheless, urged by Mathilde, she invites them to her birthday party, only for a humiliating scene to ensue when one of the girls demands to be taken home by the “chauffeur” (Amine) – and Amine makes no attempt to correct her mistake.

Politically, the post-war years in Morocco are marked by the fight for independence from France. There is violence from both sides, assaults on Protectorate Authority buildings and on French landowners’ farms. Mathilde and Amine find themselves caught between the fronts. Moroccan nationalists are suspicious of Amine because he served in the enemy’s army. When Aïcha asks her father whether they are with the good guys or the bad guys, he points to an orange tree onto which he had grafted a lemon branch for Aïcha: “We are like your tree, half lemon, half orange. We are not with ­either side!”

The novel is a polyphonic mosaic of characters and their lives: in addition to the Christian, educated French woman Mathilde and her Moroccan husband Amine, there is his mother Mouilala, a traditional Muslim woman who attends to her sons’ needs like a maidservant, Mourad, Amine’s former comrade-in-arms, and the gynaecologist Dragan, a Hungarian Jew who ended up in Morocco after escaping from the Nazis.

Key characters include Selma, Mathilde’s teenage sister-in-law, who defies convention and openly protests at her older brother’s patriarchal violence, and Omar, who has always been overshadowed by his older brother Amine and becomes a radical nationalist in the wake of the independence movement. Slimani tells the story from each person’s perspective, without judging or condemning.

Slimani herself was born in 1981 in Rabat, Morocco, and grew up in a well-to-do family where French was spoken. Her mother was a doctor, her father an economist, who served as the country’s minister of economic affairs from 1977 to 1979. In 1999, Slimani moved to Paris to study at the renowned Sciences Po institute of political studies and has worked as a journalist for the weekly magazine “Jeune Afrique” since 2008. In 2016, she was awarded the Prix Goncourt for her novel “Chanson douce” (published as “Lullaby” in the UK and “The Perfect Nanny” in the United States). She turned down the post of minister of culture offered to her by President Emmanuel Macron in 2017 in order to continue working as a writer. In an interview on the publication of her book “In the country of others”, she explains that she always has a sense of living in the country of others, whether she is in Morocco or in France.

This novel is the first part of a trilogy in which Slimani plans to retrace the history of Morocco from 1945 to 2015. And she will do so by drawing on her own family history. Mathilde and Amine are inspired by her maternal grandparents. In the second part of the trilogy, Slimani wants to tell her mother’s story.

Slimani, L., 2022: In the country of others. London, Penguin Books.
(Original title “Le pays des autres”, published in 2020 by Gallimard, Paris).

Dagmar Wolf is the editorial assistant at D+C Development and Cooperation / E+Z Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit.

Kategorien: english

RoA-AP, CPDE Asia launches first hybrid Regional Meeting & Workshop

Reality of Aid - 19. Juli 2022 - 10:38

As the pandemic continues to diminish the already inadequate support and assistance from development cooperation actors in addressing the world’s most pressing issues, there is an increasing gap between the world’s wealthiest nations and the least developed and developing nations in terms of pandemic recovery. Thus, there is a need to intensify the work in ensuring a people-centered, rights-based and climate-resilient recovery and development for the region’s marginalized and vulnerable sectors. The Reality of Aid […]

The post RoA-AP, CPDE Asia launches first hybrid Regional Meeting & Workshop appeared first on Reality of Aid.

Kategorien: english

G20 Should Establish a Standalone Disability Working Group for the Next India’s G20 Presidency

#C20 18 - 19. Juli 2022 - 6:09

To influence G20 countries to adopt gender equality, disability, and social inclusion (GEDSI), C20 Gender Equality and Disability Working Group (GEDWG) will hold a side event entitled “Promoting Disability and Gender Equality in the G20 Policies and Commitments To Ensure Inclusive Economic Growth” in Nusa Dua, Bali on July 20, 2022.

“We have been preparing for this event since April and it involves international women with disabilities activists, national women’s activists, and organizations of persons with disabilities,” said Risnawati Utami, Sous-Sherpa C20, on Friday, July 15 2022.

Most G20 countries have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). It means they must fulfill the rights of persons with disabilities and ensure non-discrimination and gender equality.

However, according to GEDWG Coordinator Mike Verawati, the G20 countries have not implemented the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which are legally binding, especially on international economic development.

“As a strategic international economic forum, the G20 should adopt disability rights and their intersection with gender into policies by aligning the principles of the UN CRPD. The G20 must commit to track spending to promote inclusion in national and international development cooperation,” said Mike.

She continued that this commitment not only to implement the rights of persons with disabilities and gender equality, but also to increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of G20 members by around 1 to 7%.

Nidhi Goyal, the UN Women Executive Director’s advisory group, also expressed her urgency. “The human-centered approach must ensure that no one is left behind, even to the most vulnerable like women with disabilities. Opportunities for women with disabilities have been fewer to the right for education and livelihoods,”

She urges the G20 to focus on inclusion and decent work across gender and disability, equity in access to health care, disaster response, climate justice action plans, and digital transformation.

To include women with disabilities, Goyal delivered essential points to note:

  • acknowledgment,
  • accessing the situation,
  • building capacities like providing training, and
  • action with a form of commitment to have inclusive, representative, and contributive growth.

Finally, the C20 GEDWG urges that disability rights issues be included in the existing C20 Gender Equality Working Group and expanded into a standalone Disability Working Group for the next India’s G20 presidency.

Writer : Sita Mellia

Kategorien: english, Ticker

UN and partners meet to address ‘critical’ state of global food crisis

UN #SDG News - 18. Juli 2022 - 23:25
Scaling up climate resilience across food systems is among the actions needed to counter rising hunger and malnutrition, UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid said on Monday, at a special meeting to address the global food crisis. 
Kategorien: english

Leapfrogging is rare: Technology upgrading by firms is mostly continuous

Brookings - 18. Juli 2022 - 20:42

By Xavier Cirera, Diego Comin, Marcio Cruz

Since Joseph Schumpeter’s pathbreaking work, technology has been recognized as the center of economic growth and development. Technologies used by firms are central to the process of creative destruction. But despite this centrality, there is no comprehensive body of data across countries and sectors that allows measuring where the frontier is, how far firms in developing countries are from it, and what technologies firms use in their day-to-day operations.   

In “Bridging the Technological Divide,” the seventh volume of the World Bank’s Productivity Project, we analyze the first round of the Firm-level Adoption of Technology (FAT) survey data. This is a new survey instrument aiming to measure the technology used by firms. The new methods and data collected through our survey instrument allow practitioners and policymakers to look inside the “black box” of technology adoption by firms and identify key constraints to the digital transformation. Specifically, the book analyzes data from more than 13,000 firms in 11 countries,* across a variety of regions and income levels, and measures more than 300 technologies applied to general and sector-specific business functions. The FAT data opens new avenues of research on technology, such as the relationship between task outsourcing and technology adoption. This survey empirically validates some already known facts, for example the positive relationship between technology and productivity at the firms and country level. Importantly, our data also dispels some myths about technology adoption and use.  

One such myth is related to the higher frequency of leapfrogging in new technologies. However, in reality, technological progress is a continuous and accumulative process. It is a process that requires firms to progressively acquire the capabilities to adopt more sophisticated technologies.  

Better measures of technology adoption can help policymakers design more effective policies and dispel myths, such as the frequency of leapfrogging. 

The diffusion of mobile phones is a prominent example frequently cited to illustrate the process of leapfrogging. The first mobile phone call was made in the early 1970s, but it was not until the 2000s that the technology started to diffuse rapidly across middle- and lower-middle-income countries, disrupting the diffusion of fixed-line telephones. Low-income countries jumped directly to the new technology. Using large firms as a proxy for early adopters of technology, the analysis of the FAT data shows that the pattern observed in firms’ use of mobile versus fixed-line phones is consistent with leapfrogging (see Figure 1). Small firms (late adopters) are almost as likely as large firms (early adopters) to adopt mobile phones in business operations.   

Figure 1. Evidence of leapfrogging is observed when comparing the diffusion of fixed-line telephones versus mobile phones 

Source: “Bridging the Technological Divide,” 2022.

However, this pattern does not hold for other technologies. In fact, leapfrogging is not commonly observed across most new technologies used by firms. For example, when looking at technologies such as: a) design, for wearing apparel or b) merchandising, for retail (Figure 2), we find a different pattern from above. The figure shows that the likelihood of adopting more sophisticated technologies (the orange, the red, and the yellow lines, respectively) increases with firm size (the proxy for the time of adoption) and follows the order of sophistication of the technologies available—as identified by sector experts over the design of the FAT survey ex-ante. More sophisticated technologies are much less adopted by small firms.    

Figure 2. Technology upgrading is mostly a continuous process 

Source: “Bridging the Technological Divide,” 2022. 

Overall, the results from the FAT survey support the hypothesis that technology upgrading is mostly a continuous process. This pattern is common across new technologies in business functions in different sectors —agriculture, manufacturing, or services. The pattern also holds for technologies used in tasks that are common to all firms, such as business administration, planning, sales, and quality control. An important policy implication is that governments should keep prioritizing actions toward building capabilities that facilitate technological upgrade, from the perspective of a continuous and gradual process. Opportunities for leapfrogging may still exist, but they tend to happen under very specific conditions and are unlikely to generalize across most technologies or significantly bridge the technological divide. 

*Note: Bangladesh; Brazil (only the state of Ceará); Burkina Faso; Ghana; India (only the states of Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh); Kenya; the Republic of Korea; Malawi; Poland; Senegal; and Vietnam.

Kategorien: english

What can policymakers in countries receiving Ukrainian refugees learn from other countries’ experiences?

Brookings - 18. Juli 2022 - 20:32

By Dany Bahar

With the number of Ukrainian refugees reaching over 5.6 million people at the time these lines are being written, this is a crisis that deserves smart long-term policy design to help both the refugees and their receiving communities. 

In many cases, the conventional wisdom dictates that recent refugee arrivals, such as Ukrainians in Poland or Moldova, will go back to their home countries sooner rather than later. While this is certainly the hope, the reality is that in many cases refugees tend to settle outside their home countries for long periods, if not entire lifetimes. Syrian refugees started fleeing in 2011, and over 10 years later, they still constitute one of the largest refugee groups on earth. Venezuelan refugees, who started fleeing in masses after 2014, are still growing in number. 

Thus, the perception that refugees will remain for a short period is often what drives policies that could be, in fact, counterproductive. An example is Syrian refugees in Turkey, who arrived starting in 2011. At first, the policy denied their right to work, perhaps driven by the perception that Syrians would go back to Syria soon enough, alongside the misperception that their participation in labor markets would be detrimental to the labor outcomes of locals. A few years later, in 2016—when it was clear that Syrians were not going back anytime soon—the Turkish government started giving its Syrian refugee population work permits. Previously, the millions of Syrians living in Turkey had no choice but not to work or to work in informal labor markets.  

Another example is Venezuelan refugees in Colombia. Colombians showed a desire to design policy right from the beginning of the flow. Early on, Colombia gave Venezuelans the Special Stay Permit (or PEP, its acronym in Spanish), a special visa that gave Venezuelans full access to labor markets alongside access to health and educational public services. However, the PEP was notorious for its short duration of only two years (though, de facto, renewable). Anecdotally, Venezuelans struggled to get jobs with the document, often because firms did not know about it and in many cases the two-year horizon was too short for firms to hire an employee. However, Colombia—having learned this lesson—is now implementing a 10-year protection status to all the Venezuelans in the country that will replace the PEP. 

Thus, countries receiving Ukrainians today should not be guided by the possibility that their stay will be temporary, and instead provide a regular migratory status that is not short-lived.  

It is crucial to have policies in place to provide refugees with full access to labor markets and full freedom of movement. In reality, we all know that keeping people from working in the formal sector forces them to work in the informal sector (which is often large in developing countries). This is a lose-lose proposition, as informal sector workers usually get paid lower wages and do not pay income taxes. None of these are preferred outcomes for a government. Moreover, having the right to work in many cases is not enough. Finding a job is hard for everyone, let alone for people who just arrived in a new country, often without knowing the language and without large enough networks to facilitate the job-matching process. Therefore, putting forward policies that help the matching between employees and employers (many of which I discussed here) could be of great help. 

Finally, it is crucial to devote the (limited) funding not only toward very much needed humanitarian assistance, but also toward investments in integration efforts. Funding, whether it comes from the international community (as it should) or from public funds, can be a game changer for integration when properly invested in hosting communities. Why? Because hosting communities⁠—in response to the increase in their population⁠—will need to expand their infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, roads, telecommunications, and more. These investments in public goods improve overall productivity of local workers and firms. Importantly, funding should also flow in the form of credits to the private sector so that firms can expand appropriately and thus hire more workers. A great example is the 2018 program by the Colombian government to provide credit lines worth $30 million—as part of a larger investment package worth over $200 million—through the national development bank, Bancoldex, to finance capital investments to the private sector in areas with significant inflows of Venezuelan migrants. Using the most basic economic model—the same one some people use to explain why wages should go down when immigrants arrive—a proportional increase in investment (increasing the capital stock) would offset any negative impact of migration on wages. In practice, it will allow local firms to adapt to higher demand, hire more workers, and even take advantage of the skills of the newcomers.  

Ukrainian refugees can tremendously contribute to the countries that are welcoming them, but this requires the right policies to be in place. To do that, it is important to look at the evidence and not be misled by misperceptions, as well as learning from the experiences of other countries. Only this can convert a challenge into an opportunity.  

Kategorien: english

Three ways to close the gender data gap

OECD - 18. Juli 2022 - 17:24

By Deirdre Appel, Clearinghouse Community Manager, PARIS21 and Fatoumata Ngom, Policy Analyst, OECD, Development Co-operation Directorate

Less than half the data needed to monitor SDG 5, “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, is available. Gender data are about much more than sex-disaggregated data. According to the UN Statistics Division, they include data that affect women and girls exclusively or primarily, they span a wide range of socio-economic issues, and they provide meaningful insight into differences in wellbeing across women and men, and girls and boys. Failing to capture and measure gender issues with sound and timely data when designing policies, leaves the most vulnerable further behind. More and better gender data contribute to more equitable and gender-informed policy, all of which contribute to sustainable economic prosperity for all.

The post Three ways to close the gender data gap appeared first on Development Matters.

Kategorien: english

Why There’s a Resurgence of Armed Conflict in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

UN Dispatch - 18. Juli 2022 - 16:32

In November 2021, a rebel group known as M23 carried out a series of surprising attacks in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. By the spring and summer of 2022, M23 had captured even more territory in this region.

These attacks caught many by surprise because the M23 was believed to be largely defunct. But nearly 10 years later, the group is now engaged in battles with the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo for control of strategic locations in eastern DRC.

My guest today Kwezi Mngqibisa is a Research Associate at the Center for African Diplomacy and Leadership at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. We kick off discussing the background of the M23 rebel group, before having a broader discussion about its apparent re-formation and why a persistent failure to address the legitimate grievances of people in the eastern DRC are fueling conflict in the region.


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Transcript lightly edited for clarity

What is the M23 of the Democratic Republic of Congo and why are they against the central government? 

Kwesi Mngqibisa [00:03:18] After many years of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which led to the seminal 2002 South African government initiated and facilitated talks in Pretoria, the country in the Democratic Republic of Congo went through a transition that saw the government in Kinshasa, the capital, attempt to extend the sovereign footprint of the state to different parts of the country that had not enjoyed central governance. These efforts were not always met with success. They faced a lot of challenges. Among those challenges was the fact that there were regional grievances that were not met. In an effort to ensure that those with grievances at the regional level would lay down their weapons, integrate the militias into the national army, and come part of the regional makeup of the country led to the March 23rd, 2009, agreement that sought to address the grievances that they had and also disarm and demobilize and reintegrate into society and the military, hence the moniker, the M23 movement. It is the regional groupings and militias whose grievances they felt had not been implemented or executed in terms of the March 23 agreement of 2009. So that, in essence, is where the moniker and the causes of the existence of the group, which we discussed today, the M23.

What are the demographics of the M23 group in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:04:54] So M23 is a group that formed because they essentially rejected the March 23rd, 2009, peace agreement with the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Is there a particular ethnic makeup that’s relevant to the M23 group?

Kwesi Mngqibisa [00:05:16] Well, many observers have actually taken the form of identifying them as a grouping made up of Congolese Tutsis, which is considered to be a group that is dominant by location in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. But when we look and trace the makeup of this group and preceding groups that operate in the same geographic space which you find in the North and South Kivu, we basically are seeing a group that goes that extends beyond the concerns of these Congolese Tutsis, which in part is to say that they are being excluded from the governance of the country, that they’ve been excluded from the economic opportunities that come from the mineral rich part of the country that they come from, which is the eastern DRC. So, yes, there might be dominance of the minority Congolese Tutsi grouping, however, we have seen that it actually takes the form of all those that have been excluded or that have got meaningful grievances on the conduct of the national government in Kinshasa and of course, the continued state of unrest that we see in the eastern DRC.

What did the M23 do from 2011 to 2013?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:06:26] So this is a group that came on my radar as a journalist who covers the United Nations back in like 2012, 2013, when they mounted a very effective military campaign against Congolese forces. Can you just explain what was that campaign back in 2011 to 2013?

Kwesi Mngqibisa [00:06:50] With all due respect, we are looking at a military enemy, or at least a militia that finds weaknesses in the FARDC, which is the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who are under resourced, who have got meaningful constraints in terms of command and control, but perhaps more importantly, who somehow, because of their own conduct, lack the credibility and legitimacy to be seen as a credible provider of public safety and security of the people of the eastern DRC. The campaign you are referring to of the years 2011 to 2013 was when it was quite adamant and clear that the existence of the international community’s forces under the umbrella of the United Nations was no longer providing the guarantees of safety and security of the citizens of the eastern DRC. So, the plan back then was that with the United Nations having successfully accompanied the Democratic Republic of Congo into two successive Democratic transitions, the last one being in 2012, there was no effort to actually hand over some of the security and public safety responsibilities of that international body. Now, this meant that these undertrained, under-resourced, lacking in credibility and legitimacy units of the government of the DRC would actually be in a position to very much be a law unto themselves. Since the year 2002 and the first elections in 2005, there had never been an attempt by the administration in Kinshasa to actually ensure the extension of civil authority in the form of local government. So, the only institution that exercised power and that actually represented the authority of Kinshasa was the military. So in the absence of civil authority and an underprepared armed forces, it was considered as there was nothing else, that the various ethnic groups, the various militias, the various political entities with grievances against Kinshasa would do other than to seize the moment and try to fill the potential vacuum that would have been left by the United Nations, handing over the responsibilities for public safety and security in the eastern DRC to the underprepared armed forces of the DRC.

What is the Force Intervention Brigade in the UN Peacekeeping force and what role did they play in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:09:10] So that is the context in which the M23 was able to mount a military campaign that resulted for a time in the capture of the largest city in the region of Goma. And then at a point, the United Nations re intervened and strengthened its forces, including, which was unique from the United Nations perspective, adding what was known as a force intervention brigade to the U.N. peacekeeping force, allowing it to take offensive action, which is kind of rare for U.N. peacekeeping. And it’s my understanding that this force intervention brigade did a very good job in routing the M23.

Kwesi Mngqibisa [00:09:51] It is one of the unique contributions, I believe, from the African continent to the United Nations, collective responsibility to ensure global peace and security. If you look into the composition of the International Force Brigade, it is made up almost exclusively of the Southern African Development Community, SADC, originally in southern Africa that is made up of South Africa, Malawi, and Tanzania. The reason why the International Force Brigade had this particular composition, it is because this original body actually took a decision in its own summit to actually say that the insecurity that emanates from the eastern DRC has the potential of undermining regional peace and security in the southern African region emanating from Central Africa. So, because the Democratic Republic of Congo is also a member of the SADC, the Southern African Development Community, so they then requested the United Nations to endorse a plan whereby they actually articulated how to deal with the negative forces that were found in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. So, the M23 found itself under the microscope and the military response that would come now from these SADC countries with the support of the United Nations in terms of Chapter six and Chapter seven of the United Nations, the kind of military operation and response and posture of the International Force Brigade is not something that the United Nations would do. But for the very first time with success, we saw a regional body from this part of the continent actually partnering in defining the terms in which the best attributes of the United Nations will continue to provide support to the government of the DRC was the International Force Brigade under the cover of U.N. endorsement will be in a position to deal decisively with this negative group.

Why is the M23 active again in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:11:40] So it was a highly effective response for the reasons you articulated that it was an African led armed forces operating under the auspices of the United Nations and they routed the M23. And I have to admit, this is where I thought the story of the M23 had ended. Yet here we are almost ten years later talking again about the M23. How is it and why is it that we are seeing a resurgence of this group in recent months?

Kwesi Mngqibisa [00:12:12] I don’t think it’s correct to say it’s a resurgence, because the assumption we would attach to that statement would say that whatever were the grievances and real reasons why we had an M23 a decade or so ago had been addressed. But that is where the problem is. The military response of the International Force Brigade did not translate to the same level of commitment on their investment by the international community and specifically including the United Nations, on ensuring that there is a proper governance framework and infrastructure that is inclusive and credible in the DRC. So, you could never address political challenges only with a military response. And in part that is what actually happened. The International Force Brigade almost nearly dismantled the military’s sharp end of the spear that is the M23. But the conditions that have necessitated the M23 to exist, and forget about the ethnic nature of the actors involved or the grievances that have been communicated, when the DRC government finally addresses the extension of its sovereignty to every part of the country where there are civic authorities, there are government infrastructures, there is cooperation between the local and the regional and the capital, we will then be in a position to find solutions, but to simply expect that a military response will do away with the problem is exactly how we started. It’s almost nine years now where the International Force Brigade has been active, but once more primarily because the military response, we are not going to be in a position to pacify. I mean, what has been happening in the last couple of days in a variety of African regional bodies, the East African community, the economic community of Central African States, the International Conference of the Great Lakes, all of them working together with the Rwandan authorities and the DRC authorities to say what other things you had committed to. The phrasing that is easy to consume and use in our conversations is to stay pacify. How do we pacify the DRC? What are the types of mechanisms and structures that had been put into place that worked well with the military response of the FBI, the International Force Brigade? We are talking here of joint intelligence committees; we are looking at joint peace and security and community that comes from these bodies. Now, these are the things that should have been done nine years ago consistently so in order to make sure that you do not only look outside in the community and only a military handover, but you are also looking at building up the governance capacity of the civic authorities of the DRC.

What attacks have the M23 committed recently?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:14:55] Yet these things didn’t happen and so now we’re in the state that we are in now. Can I have you just explain what’s happened since November of last year in terms of the M23 renewing attacks in the DRC and also potentially in response to Uganda, also moving troops into the region.

Kwesi Mngqibisa [00:15:19] There are two schools of thought, but I think the dominant and most likely credible one, depending whether one is an optimist or not, is one: the international community, in the form of the United Nations has been engaged in discussions with the government of the DRC to say that after all the years that it has invested and deployed troops, the time had come for the international community, meaning the UN troops, the mission in the country to actually contract and then start discussing an exit plan. So, this was an indication for many people whose lives have been saved, whose lives have been normalized in the eastern DRC and other parts of the DRC, to say that, oh, goodness, we’re back again to 2012 whereby with the exit of the United Nations we shall be left and handed over to the FARDC. Why was this…

Mark L. Goldberg [00:16:07] I should say the FARDC is the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kwesi Mngqibisa [00:16:12] That’s correct and the reason why November was critical when the conversation of a UN exit was the fact that with the election of President Felix Tshisekedi, that we had started to see some semblance of normalization of political, diplomatic and security relationships between the DRC and its neighbors. So when the UN now indicated let us start the conversation, the president, in response to some random incidents or some incidents that had triggered this wave of so-called resurgence, he then declared the state of siege in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, whereby he actually literally gave the state of emergency powers to the military, where they would actually be receiving lots and lots of resources from the central administration in Kinshasa into the eastern DRC. So, this is now one of the things that actually made almost everybody jittery, whether they were a small militia with some districts under your control or people who have got historical unattended grievances against the national government to say that we are going back to 2012. So, we better prepare ourselves in order to be able to create some sort of semblance of our lives in the absence of the United Nations. That’s one way of looking into November how this party or this militia group now found a reason to actually reorganize itself in reason to go and try and acquire territory; a reason to intensify the ongoing illicit trade and trafficking and the rest of it.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:17:45] So that’s school of thought one. What’s the second school of thought that you believe might be contributing to this resurgence?

Kwesi Mngqibisa [00:17:54] The second school of thought is the Uganda angle. With President Tshisekedi coming in and normalizing diplomatic security cooperation relationship with its neighbors, one of the countries that he actually engaged with meaningfully was Uganda, which of course is also a country on the eastern border with the DRC, which has got negative groups operating in the eastern DRC. So, the government of President Tshisekedi of DRC and the government of President Museveni of Uganda, they actually developed a bilateral cooperation arrangement that would actually ensure that there was better coordination of intelligence, some joint military operations in order to flush out, capture some of these rebel groups that come from Uganda. Now, with that happening, basically everybody then in the eastern DRC was actually making the right reading that this is becoming a very militarized environment where there is absence of a political or a government’s response, hence it was easier for the groupings such as the M23 to actually make the case, saying that if we cannot take care of ourselves, we will find ourselves in a situation whereby the FARDC and some competing domestic and foreign, if not regional negative groups are going to compete with us for indeed the opportunity, the communication of grievances and of course, the actions of greed.

Are Rwanda, Uganda, and other competing military forces involved in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo because of the possibility to mine minerals there?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:19:18] And at least to me, from what I’ve read from various analysis of the situation, it seems that if you’re following this latter strain that the M23 attacks were perhaps spurred on by the fact that Ugandan forces were coming to the region. And if you believe that the M23 are supported in some way by the Rwandan government, one might view this current conflict as a competition over resources in the eastern DRC, gold and coltan and other minerals that are in the ground in the DRC that various groups over a long period of time have wrestled over.

Kwesi Mngqibisa [00:19:58] My diplomatic colleagues in their capitals in New York and elsewhere from Rwanda, from Uganda and many of the countries neighboring the DRC will basically deny that they actually have got troops or are in any way involved in the support or complicit in any of the activities that are taking place. And we could choose to believe them, or we could look more closely on what is happening on the ground. The reality of the matter is that successive interventions in the DRC have had to contend with grievances, meaningful ones, original system making where opportunity for great geostrategic considerations of countries that actually exploit the chaotic state that we find in that part of the DRC. It is going to take us a long time to find consensus on the exact nature or exact extent to which neighboring countries play a role. I always, having lived in that part of the world, I almost always air on the side that says if there are meaningful grievances, there will almost always be somebody who will sponsor your action. And I think that is what is continuously happening in the DRC. By the way, the M23 filled a vacuum of a grouping called the NDP. There was a gentleman Takada, I’ve just forgotten his name right now, and when he appeared to have lost his relevance, or at least some of his concerns somewhat addressed, I remember the special envoy of the UN and the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the African Union was former President Olusegun Obasanjo actually went to the eastern DRC to speak to Takada, scolding him for not executing what had been agreed upon from successive previous agreements. Now, the reality of the matter is that you might remove a group, but it will be replaced by the M23 and once more, if you do not address the governance issues, the grievances and the dual pipeline of greed and corruption and what have you, we will have a new entity coming to take over.

How can the UN, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and neighboring countries address the grievances of those living in eastern DRC?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:22:05] Well, I mean, what you’re describing sounds almost like a chicken and egg situation you have with legitimate grievances, which are exploited by armed groups, which are further exploited by greed. You have you know, it’s not proven, but perhaps there might be some links between the Rwandan government and M23. And perhaps M23 is smuggling lots of minerals out of eastern DRC into Rwanda where they’re exported and sold. And the situation seems to reinforce itself in a very problematic and vicious cycle.

Kwesi Mngqibisa [00:22:39] This is correct. The United Nations, for all its limitations and fault, has actually learned a lot from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The scenario that you are painting right now of what could possibly be reinforcing some of the activities that we see involving some of the countries that you have mentioned, have drawn the attention of the United Nations in the form of various monitoring groups and efforts whereby they actually go and do fact finding. But the reality of the matter is that fact might point out to who is at fault. The reality of the matter is that that fault is only spurred on by the opportunity created by the grievances that are not attended to. So, I think that as we now almost look at nearly ten years of the most effective response to armed groupings in the eastern DRC in the form of the International Force Brigade, that’s the time for a global body such as the United Nations has come to actually say what it is that it can learn as we start to see another wave of military inspired responses by the East African community. President Lourenco of Angola is said to have last week concluded some sort of agreement for the pacification of the eastern DRC. This agreement is said to have been signed by both President Kagame of Rwanda and the President Tshisekedi. If you look into what is contained in that particular agreement, the protocol of cooperation, it’s literally almost all of the things that those of us who have been working in that part of the world in observing from the year 1999 up until 2022, these are just piecemeal actions and interventions that we’re never carried through. And I think that what we would need to be looking at is how we put it, such as the United Nations could be now a protector of the normative frameworks that these countries have signed to; how it could actually look into the process of partnership between the peace and security elements in the form of the Security Council, as well as the peace and security elements of the multiple parties that are involved. Because at the end of the day, it is not going to be by sheer luck that we’re going to find solutions to the eastern DRC. It is going to be consistent work that is full at times of contradictions. But perhaps more importantly, that requires a dedicated and unyielding intervention that is collaborative on the part of the international community.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:25:05] To that end, are there concrete steps or concrete things that either the government or the international community could do in the short term, perhaps to address some of these grievances that give rise to armed groups?

Kwesi Mngqibisa [00:25:23] I spent some years studying the phenomenon that many of the United Nations family members as professionals always talk about. They talk about the importance of immediately disarming, demobilizing, and redecorating the armed groups. This is not necessarily what they need to do. The immediate things that the intelligence community in the United Nations needs to do is not to continue doing what they have been doing, but it is actually to apply the lessons that they’ve learned. It is about investing in communities and people rather than government institutions and authority. And I think that is very fundamental. We have seen this work well in some instances in some waves of intervention in the DRC. And I think that we look at the incarnation of the United Nations mission in the DRC and the current iteration of the United Nations has got those lessons, has those experiences. And I think that they are quite aware of what needs to be done. However, we are currently, the United Nations that is, is currently working on an exit strategy. Its focus is indeed on how and who to hand over some of the public safety and security goods that they’ve actually been rendering to the DRC. So, we are looking at right now the East African community. It is coming through with a military force of sorts to actually come in and once more confront the negative groups. The East African community wants to deal with them in a similar fashion, so to speak, as the International Force Brigade. I mean, all of these things are indicative that these international bodies have got the capacity to mend. But whether they can actually apply those lessons in order to do things differently still remains to be seen.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:27:13] Well, Kwesi, thank you so much for your time. This is very helpful.

Kwesi Mngqibisa [00:27:16] Thanks, Mark, for the opportunity.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:27:21] All right. Thank you all for listening. Thank you to Kwesi Mngqibisa for speaking with me. And we caught up between power outages in Pretoria, so I was very glad and thankful that the forces of the universe conspired to allow us to have this conversation when we did. And just one disclaimer that the views and opinions expressed in this conversation belong solely to those of us who expressed those views and opinions. All right. I’ll see you next time. Thanks, bye!

The post Why There’s a Resurgence of Armed Conflict in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

C20 TSFWG to Urge G20 Issuing Legally Binding Regulatory Framework for Sustainable Finance

#C20 18 - 18. Juli 2022 - 9:40

To strengthen policy recommendations to the G20 Finance Track and the upcoming C20 Policy Dialogue, Taxation and Sustainable Working Group held a meeting of national members to consolidate three issues, namely Taxation, Sustainable Finance, and Debt on July 13-14, 2022, at the Ashley Hotel.

The first day of the meeting resulted in tax policy recommendations, including asking the G20 and other countries to establish a United Nations agency on Global Taxes and demanding the OECD abolish the unfair tax burden on women, adopt progressive, redistributive and gender-equal taxation.

Meanwhile, on the second day of the meeting, TSFWG focused on strengthening recommendations for sustainable finance policies. The TSFWG Coordinator, Fiona Armintasari, said that the TSFWG strategy is to intervene in the agenda of the G20 Sustainable Finance Working Group, namely

  1. developing a transitional framework and increasing the credibility of financial institutions,
  2. promote sustainability instruments that focus on accessibility and affordability,
  3. policy levers to encourage the transition.

One of the recommendations is to urge the jurisdictions of the G20 member countries to issue a legally binding regulatory framework related to sustainable finance. Also, the TSFWG discussed its position regarding the carbon tax.

“In terms of the carbon tax, redistribution and pricing need special attention. TSFWG is concerned that the carbon tax will be imposed on consumers so that the prices of goods and services will rise. Companies can escape taxes and continue to emit carbon by throwing taxes on the prices of goods and services,” said Fiona on the second day of the meeting.

She also considered that a carbon tax rate that is too low is ineffective in stopping the use of carbon.

Herni Ramdlaningrum, Co-chair of C20, also opined on the global economic crisis. “To recover the global economy, developing and poor countries need independent funding support,” she said.

According to her, the state must strengthen its fiscal capacity in two ways, namely through the wealth tax system (the super-rich tax) and debt restructuring through debt reduction initiatives outside of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative/DSSI, the Common Framework/CF, and the IMF debt reduction restructuring. In addition, inequality can be reduced through a fixed rate mechanism on wealth values ​​above 10 million USD.

Finally, Fiona hopes that the G20 can concretely implement the TSWG policy recommendations.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Kenya’s Kuruwitu corals are back, thanks to local conservation drive

UN ECOSOC - 17. Juli 2022 - 6:46
A small, quiet village in Kenya has found a new purpose in the fishing industry through a successful marine coral conservation project, the first of its kind in the Marine Protected Areas of the western side of the Indian Ocean.
Kategorien: english

A safe space for Venezuela’s indigenous women

UN ECOSOC - 16. Juli 2022 - 6:22
Venezuela's rural, remote, indigenous communities have been particularly affected by COVID-19 and the country's socio-economic crisis; community gardens help Wayúu women from Rio Negro to make ends meet, and provide a haven from violence.
Kategorien: english

A short course in mobile storytelling

Devex - 16. Juli 2022 - 3:14
Kategorien: english

Financial tools for humanitarian response

Devex - 16. Juli 2022 - 3:10
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Financing the transition to net zero

Devex - 16. Juli 2022 - 3:09
Kategorien: english


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