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The French response to the Corona Crisis: semi-presidentialism par excellence

GDI Briefing - January 19, 2038 - 4:14am

This blog post analyses the response of the French government to the Coronavirus pandemic. The piece highlights how the semi-presidential system in France facilitates centralized decisions to manage the crisis. From a political-institutional perspective, it is considered that there were no major challenges to the use of unilateral powers by the Executive to address the health crisis, although the de-confinement phase and socio-economic consequences opens the possibility for more conflictual and opposing reactions. At first, approvals of the president and prime minister raised, but the strict confinement and the reopening measures can be challenging in one of the European countries with the highest number of deaths, where massive street protests, incarnated by the Yellow vests movement, have recently shaken the political scene.

Categories: english

A conversation with Mohammed Adjei Sowah, mayor of Accra

Brookings - 4 hours 26 min ago

By Anthony F. Pipa, Kaitlyn Pendrak

February 4, Anthony F. Pipa, senior fellow in the Brookings Global Economy and Development program, hosted Mayor Mohammed Adjei Sowah of Accra, Ghana. The two spent time discussing Accra’s commitment to equitable and sustainable development, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch the whole conversation here or read the highlights below.

Since Mayor Sowah was appointed in 2017 by Accra’s Metropolitan Assembly, he has been working toward equitable and green growth and development in Accra.

Sanitation, a large priority of Mayor Sowah, has long been an issue in Accra, at the nexus of public safety, public health, the informal economy (which employs about 75 percent of Accra’s residents), and emissions contributing to climate change. While this issue impacts all of Accra, it affects Accra’s various communities in different ways, and the solutions must be dynamic so that certain communities are not left behind. Mayor Sowah emphasized that inclusivity and equity remain at the core of his administration’s work.

Aligning the city’s development and budget frameworks to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) helped maintain those principles amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Accra also committed to publishing a Voluntary Local Review (VLR) to report on its progress towards equity and sustainability. Accra is an active participant in global city networks, including C40 Cities and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. Mayor Sowah described the value of his international engagement, to share ideas, pool resources, and build alliances against cross-border challenges such as COVID-19 and climate change.

Categories: english

Open Dialogue is Key for Sustainability

SCP-Centre - 8 hours 30 min ago

A graduate of economic geography with an interest for online marketing, Felix Schumacher believes that maintaining an open and ongoing dialogue with all groups in society is the key to a sustainable life. As part of the CSCP, he looks forward to mobilising the power of multi-perspective approaches in changing things for good.

Why did you apply to work for the CSCP?

I have a background in geography and economic geography, two fields that gave me access to new viewpoints on sustainability. During my studies, I worked part-time in online content marketing and was looking for a way to link my educational background and work experience in an impactful way. A few months as an intern at the CSCP were proof that this is where impact happens, so here I am.

 What are the projects that you are most excited about?

Already during my internship, I started working on the HOOP project. Being involved right from the start is a unique opportunity to see how a project kicks-off, takes shape, and starts having real impact. We work with eight lighthouse cities and regions in boosting circular, bio-waste economy models, but with very different approaches. Building bridges, managing data, and enhancing stakeholder engagement are all topics that I feel very excited about.

In your view, what are the main ingredients for a sustainable life?

Though there are many facets, I think that being open for dialogue is the main component. People have different needs and face different challenges. To make sustainability work for all, we need to make concepts relatable to all the different groups in society. Finding the right balance and making change happen while considering multiple perspectives is complex and yet one of the main ingredients for a sustainable life.

For further information, get in contact with Felix Schumacher.

Der Beitrag Open Dialogue is Key for Sustainability erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Categories: english, Ticker

Transforming natural resource governance: Break silos, sharpen politics

Brookings - February 23, 2021 - 7:45pm

By Norman Eisen, Michael Jarvis, Suneeta Kaimal, Daniel Kaufmann, Kelsey Landau, Robin Lewis, Allison Merkel, Mario Picon, Erica Westenberg

The political dimensions of natural resource governance are more prominent than ever. Rising threats to democracy, including surging populism, repression of civil society, and shifts in global power form an intimidating backdrop. This context will affect the levers of change that those seeking to promote effective natural resource governance must use. At the same time, there are opportunities to seize, including a growing global consensus of the imperative to address the climate emergency and state capture, and decolonize development by ending the systemic injustices and racism that plague the extractive sector.

To address these political challenges and capitalize on these opportunities, the natural resource governance community must evolve. We need to deepen and broaden coalitions at the local, national, regional, and international levels. We need to be politically savvier. We need to examine different ways of collaborating; consider merging efforts and institutions; and recognize when it is best to lead, follow the leadership of others, or move beyond the traditional single-leader model.

Confronting geopolitics and state capture

Meeting the twin objectives of defending gains and advancing resilient and sustainable governance of natural resources requires navigating geopolitical realities and political economy considerations. In an environment of intensified competition for natural resources, where gains made on transparency, civic space, and governance standards are under threat, the natural resource governance field must more proactively and effectively engage key geopolitical players. China serves as a case in point. China’s significant demand for natural resources, increasing presence in resource-rich countries, and dominance in the global rare earth minerals market show its prominence and centrality in the global natural resource governance space. Participants at the dialogue identified China as a priority actor for engagement.

Several participants noted that while China has often dominated the conversation (in large part due to its outsized role in global supply chains), those conversations have been about China rather than with China-based stakeholders. Dialogue participants called for adding another, newer dimension to engagement with Chinese standards and with Chinese stakeholders: in particular, more engagement with the Chinese government and company representatives in countries where they are extracting. Participants suggested that adding to the existing mix a new approach encouraging transparency and accountability on reputational or business grounds could be more effective for improving natural resource governance than a normative, moralistic one. Another key shift in perspective is to see the geopolitics from an Asian vantage, not just a US-EU-UK centric lens.

More generally, to appropriately analyze the interaction between corruption risks, political economy, and governance issues, a number of participants emphasized the need to understand and diagnose state capture—a pervasive form of high-level political corruption whose dynamics vary across settings. This may help transparency and accountability activists and reform agents to clearly identify obstacles to economic diversification, energy transition, and effective and equitable public health measures. Moving forward, implementing radical transparency in both industry (including state-owned enterprises) and government regarding natural resources and climate and environmental risks; eliminating tax loopholes, subsidies and bailout handouts for the fossil fuel industry; and advancing political finance reforms and reviewing the role and responsibilities of the U.S. oil majors in international initiatives such as the EITI must be priorities.

Combating repression of civil society

The pandemic has provided ample opportunity for states to abuse COVID-19 related restrictions to ramp up internet surveillance and restrict freedoms of assembly, association, and expression. As a result, many transparency and accountability advocates face increasing safety concerns. Yet, some international NGOs are struggling to maintain access to and political cover for these local actors.

New action within the natural resource governance field is needed to reinforce at-risk actors. While civil society actors often bear the brunt of risks for engaging with government, investors, IFIs, the G7, and G20, there must be a shared responsibility for protecting these activists by calling out bad actors and leveraging the power of investors, states, institutions, and corporations as appropriate. Political support should come from a wide range of groups at both the local and international levels, and from those with the power to influence government behavior.

Growing the coalition and strengthening alliances

COVID-19 has broadened the gap between groups operating on the local level and those functioning on a national or international level. Even before the pandemic, divides between local civil society organizations and national or international NGOs perpetuated the idea that policy discussions are high-level, technical exchanges between public officers and professionalized institutions.

Many participants expressed concern that the natural resource governance community has not done enough to collaborate across strategic vertical alliances within the natural resource governance field and horizontal alliances with other fields and movements. On the former, actors in the field believe that IFIs, local civil society organizations, national and international NGOs, and governments must unite on common objectives and improve information-sharing channels. On the latter, international and national groups must also find ways to engage more effectively with on-the-ground social movements such as those on human rights, gender, taxes, and climate in order to create a lasting change that is informed by and helps meet the needs of locally led, broad-based coalitions. Rather than co-opting those movements, natural resource governance actors should complement broader movements that will have spillover benefits for good governance of natural resources.

Advancing the agenda ahead

Throughout this three-part series, we have highlighted some of the trends, challenges, and opportunities that researchers, activists, and policymakers may examine to reimagine the sector. The call is to be clear and bold. Timid efforts and insufficient focus risk decreasing the effectiveness and credibility of the natural resource governance field.

Join us in this effort—share your ideas for specific collective actions using #futureofNRG and participate in our survey on natural resource governance priorities. The Leveraging Transparency to Reduce Corruption team will be publishing a series of blogs from a variety of voices that further examine these priorities and identify solutions.

Read the first two entries in this series here and here.

Categories: english

17 Rooms: A new approach to spurring action for the Sustainable Development Goals

Brookings - February 23, 2021 - 7:00pm

This report describes a new approach to stimulating cooperative action toward the Sustainable Development Goals. As an experimental method for SDG convening and problem-solving, 17 Rooms aims to surface practical next steps within each goal while also stimulating productive connections across all goals. In its early incarnations, 17 Rooms has proven useful at multiple scales of action, ranging from local communities to the global level. The approach can be just as effective for experts immersed in U.N. frameworks as for community practitioners who operate free of international policy jargon. This report takes stock of the 17 Rooms initiative as of early 2021 and captures emerging insights for a broader community of readers who might be interested in collaborating moving forward.

Executive summary

A core motivation for establishing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 was to break from business-as-usual. As the past year’s COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing global crises have only underscored, a more just, sustainable, and inclusive world requires new forms of action, technology, and partnership at all levels–spanning business, science, government, and civil society. The need for innovation extends to the process of problem-solving itself. Every country and local community needs its own efforts to work through multi-stakeholder debates and priorities. Specialist constituencies require opportunities to gather and hash out technical issues in depth. Spaces for policymaking and deliberation need not be rigidly formal. Many problems simply need creative environments for people to float ideas and explore cooperation on next steps, away from the pressures of microphones and public spotlights. In September 2018, the Brookings Institution and The Rockefeller Foundation convened the first experimental 17 Rooms session, on the eve of the U.N. General Assembly, to spur progress within each SDG and bridge insights across goals. After only a few years of quick evolution, the initiative has tapped into widespread interest in new approaches to advancing the SDGs, through both a global flagship process and a widely-accessible offshoot dubbed “17 Rooms-X” (or “17 Rooms-U” for universities).

What is 17 Rooms?

17 Rooms offers an efficient way of convening natural allies, ideally promoting enough familiarity to enable collaboration and enough diversity to spark new ideas and pathways to action. Each Room is a working group focused on one of the 17 respective SDGs. Early years of experimentation have surfaced some core design principles:

  • All SDGs get a seat at the table: Each 17 Rooms process respects unique priorities within goals while recognizing interdependencies between goals.
  • Take a next step, not the perfect step: Rooms focus on actionable ideas within an SDG that are “big enough to matter and small enough to get done” over a 12-18 month horizon.
  • Engage in conversations, not presentations: Convenings celebrate informal discussions among peers, with institutional agendas at the door, focusing on what could be best for an issue, not for an organization.
Creating value

When combined, these design principles empower participants to:

  • Advance concrete actions: All Rooms are tasked to consider what is needed and what participants can do over the following 12-18 months. Outputs might range from influencing a research initiative to creating an analytical tool, a communications campaign, a policy shift, a strategic plan, or even a new entity.
  • Form novel insights: When participants working on common problems share their perspectives from different backgrounds, organizations, and sectors, unique forms of group learning occur, both within and across Rooms.
  • Foster pragmatic communities: A collaborative quest for action grounded in recognition of diverse outlooks appears to generate a shared sense of energy and opportunity.
17 Rooms flagship

The highly curated annual 17 Rooms flagship focuses on global-scale SDG challenges. It has formed a “tip of the arrow” advancing the overall thinking of what the methods can be and providing lessons to inform community-level syndication efforts. As of 2020, the flagship includes five distinct phases: (1) organizers identify and work with moderators to select a substantive focus within an SDG and suitable participant composition for each Room; (2) each Room convenes to share perspectives and develop a draft document that outlines actionable ideas to advance progress within their SDG; (3) Rooms learn about other Rooms’ priorities, share feedback, and explore common areas of interest; (4) each Room presents its key insights in a lightning round series of presentations; (5) Rooms chart their own course to impact, with support from the secretariat team, which also identifies crosscutting insights and discussions that generated the greatest enthusiasm and opportunities for follow-up. An internal learning process concurrently enables the initiative to keep updating itself every year.

17 Rooms-X

17 Rooms has also proven valuable at local levels, as a tool for thinking practically about the SDGs at any scale of community or geography. Remarkably, a range of 17 Rooms offshoot experiments have already taken place, with minimal guidance from the Brookings Institution or The Rockefeller Foundation. Universities have so far been the first movers in piloting their own “17 Rooms-U” efforts, while a variety of municipalities, companies, and other organizations have also expressed interest in convening their own processes in the near future.

These experiments have shown a variety of ways in which a 17 Rooms-X process can:

  • unlock information regarding the diverse SDG interests and activities that might already be embedded across a community,
  • leverage the SDGs as a tool for common conversations across groups that might otherwise struggle to connect across professional vocabularies and organizational reference points, and
  • offer a method for spurring cooperation among people who might not otherwise have the chance to do so.

17 Rooms-X offers a device for stimulating bottom-up awareness and cooperation across the many perspectives and interests that are all pertinent to sustainable development, while also creating a bridge between local grassroots activities and tradition-al institutional SDG stakeholders.

What next?

In 2021, the 17 Rooms initiative will keep updating its methods and codifying insights through a new cycle of experimentation. The annual global flagship—“version 4.0”—will continue as a virtual international process until COVID-19 is better under control and in-person convenings are again safe. Meanwhile, the secretariat will provide more systematic support to offshoot efforts, including the launch of a beta toolkit and community of practice, so that partners can more easily share learnings and insights across their own “17 Rooms-X” processes.

If you are interested in joining the 17 Rooms community of discovery, design, and implementation—whether by hosting a 17 Rooms-X process or something else—please email the 17 Rooms secretariat at

Download the full report


Categories: english

Why Some Countries Just Can’t Quit Coal

UN Dispatch - February 23, 2021 - 5:18pm

We know that countries around the world sometimes favor coal because it is cheaper. But new research aims to pinpoint some of the political forces that drive continued investment in coal.

Jan Steckel, along with his research collaborator Michael Jakob, are coordinating a series of global case studies to understand the non-economic factors associated with investment in coal-fired power. The series includes over a dozen countries with collaborators from all corners of the world using a political-economy framework developed by Jan Steckel and Michael Jakob’s team at the Mercator Institute.

Their research examines what interests and actors that make investment in coal (or divestment) politically so attractive. And in so doing, they also identify possible entry points for policies that nudge countries away from coal.

Jan Steckel is head of the working group on climate and development at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change. He joins us from Berlin to discuss this research.

Their framework is published online here, and one of the case studies is published here.


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Today’s episode is part of series of episodes that showcase the research and work of the Sustainable Energy Transitions Initiative. SETI is an interdisciplinary global collaborative that aims to foster research on energy access and energy transitions in low and middle-income countries. Currently, SETI is housed at Duke University, where it is led by Professors Subhrendu Pattanayak and Marc Jeuland. To learn more about SETI, follow them on Twitter @SETIenergy.

The post Why Some Countries Just Can’t Quit Coal appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Categories: english

Can Bulgaria catch the digital wave? Defining the policy priorities

Brookings - February 23, 2021 - 4:55pm

By Anwar Aridi, Daniel Querejazu

Bulgaria is on the periphery of Europe, both geographically and economically. Could the wave of new digital technologies help bring the country closer to its European peers?

While access to the internet has greatly expanded in recent years and the ICT sector has grown to become the country’s top export in services, Bulgaria still lags the rest of Europe when it comes to the adoption of digital technologies. Poor digital literacy and skills, low levels of investment in research and development (R&D), and incomplete digitization of public services are holding the country back.

This might paint a grim picture, but there is huge potential for improved growth and productivity should such digital transformation occur. The seeds of this transition are already growing in technology-based Bulgarian firms like Nexo, a cryptocurrency fintech startup; Gtmhub, a SAAS OKR platform with clients across Europe and the U.S.; and Dronamics, which launched one of the first drone delivery UAV fleets in Europe. But is that enough?

Leveraging the framework developed by the World Bank’s recent flagship report “Europe 4.0: Addressing the Digital Dilemma,” we can identify some of the key policy priorities for economy-wide digitization. The report distinguishes between three types of digital technologies, each of which requires a different policy approach to accelerate digital adoption among firms, while ensuring that smaller firms are not left behind.

Figure 2. Policy priorities for addressing the digital challenge facing Bulgaria

Source: Authors’ own compilation

Transactional technologies, such as e-commerce platforms, lower information asymmetries and provide digital infrastructure to match supply and demand. With fewer than 15 percent of Bulgarian enterprises selling online, well below the European Union average of 26 percent, e-commerce is one of the most promising growth sectors given the small size of the domestic Bulgarian market.

  • Bulgaria should first prioritize improving digital literacy and building trust in digital transactions, which are factors that greatly limit the size of the domestic e-commerce market. Almost one-quarter of Bulgarians have never used the internet, and consumers still lack trust in online transactions.
  • Resolving last-mile delivery challenges is the next step for unlocking the e-commerce market. Delivery markets have only recently started to support local e-retailers with dedicated domestic and cross-border services. Bulgaria is the only EU member where the national postal service is not among the top three carriers of business-to-customer deliveries in the domestic market.

Informational technologies, such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and cloud computing leverage the exponential growth of data, falling costs of computing, and improved access to digital infrastructure to offer new services. Bulgarian firms have low rates of adoption of informational technologies, with only 6 percent of firms using cloud computing and 7 percent using big data in 2018, both well below the EU averages.

  • First, Bulgaria should focus on opening up public data and finishing the digitization of government services. The country has recently established a new state agency for e-government (SEGA) and set up an open data portal, but the implementation of both proved to be challenging. These priority areas have the potential not only for improving public service delivery, but also for expanding the domestic market for local digital service solution providers.
  • Second, develop the digital startup ecosystem to help Bulgarian entrepreneurs grow their startups, raise risk capital, and access technical and managerial talent and new markets. The Bulgarian ecosystem, while developing and vibrant, is far from maturity. Risk capital is generally available, but the pipeline of new investable startups developing advanced digital technologies is still relatively small.

Operational technologies, such as smart robots, 3D printing, and the Internet of Things (IoT), lower the costs of production by integrating data with industrial equipment. While employment has been growing in Bulgaria’s technology-intensive industries, robot intensity (as measured by the number of robots per 1,000 workers) is less than 1 percent, one of the lowest rates in the EU, which makes this category the most challenging for the country.

  • Bulgaria should double its R&D funding to meet its targets; it’s currently at 0.7 percent of GDP, well below the 1.5 percent target of 2020. Bulgarian public research institutions are underfunded, their researchers are underpaid, and few resources are available to tech transfer.
  • Technology adoption support policies have delivered and should be continued. In the last 10 years, the country has achieved large productivity improvements driven by technology adoption, yet Bulgarian firms are still among the least digitized in Europe.

Finally, the country needs to improve the supply of basic and advanced digital skills. In 2019, only 30 percent of Bulgarian adults had basic or above basic overall digital skills compared with an EU-27 average of close to 60 percent. Investing in digital skills is likely to be increasingly important going forward, especially as the country reports a net loss of skills to emigration and the competition for frontier digital skills in Europe is only expected to intensify. The COVID-19 pandemic has further uncovered shortcomings in Bulgaria’s digital readiness; over 10 percent of the pupils in the country did not have devices that would allow them to fully participate in distance learning.

Bulgaria has an opportunity to deepen its integration with European peers and upgrade its economy through embracing the digital wave. The incoming government (following the upcoming spring 2021 elections) will have an array of competing investment decisions and policies to kick-start the post-pandemic economic recovery; digitization must be top on the list.

Categories: english

ILO urges better policies to protect workers, businesses, as digital platforms proliferate

UN ECOSOC - February 23, 2021 - 3:19pm
The UN International Labour Organization (ILO) on Tuesday highlighted the need for enhanced international policy cooperation to provide decent work opportunities and foster sustainable business growth in the digital economy.
Categories: english

¿Es sostenible el reciclaje? Propuestas para conciliar los aspectos sociales, ecológicos y económicos en Argentina

GDI Briefing - February 23, 2021 - 1:13pm

Las crisis económicas de Argentina han provocado el aumento de trabajadores informales, muchos de los cuales se dedican al reciclaje urbano. A raíz de la pandemia Covid-19 y la consiguiente disminución de empleo formal, cabe esperar un aumento más acusado del número de trabajadores informales. En principio, el aumento de la actividad de reciclaje es positivo, dando lugar a un proceso de organización en cooperativas autogestionadas e incluso organizaciones de segundo grado con alto poder de incidencia en las políticas públicas. No obstante, más allá de los logros alcanzados en los últimos años, todavía las condiciones laborales de la gran mayoría de los recicladores urbanos no responden, por lo general, a la definición de «trabajo decente» de la OIT.
Por lo tanto, es importante preguntarnos cómo se puede crear un sistema de reciclaje en Argentina que sea sostenible en el sentido de involucrar simultáneamente su dimensión  social, medioambiental y económica. El objetivo de nuestra investigación, basada en entrevistas cualitativas con las partes interesadas, es recoger y sintetizar las ideas y las expectativas de diversos actores del sector del reciclaje en el área metropolitana de Buenos Aires. Esto nos permitió identificar cuatro ámbitos principales de conflicto, así como de  posible intervención en pos de encontrar soluciones consensuadas.
En primer lugar, el trabajo de reciclaje urbano en Argentina funciona como red de protección social, como ocurre en muchos países en los que hay pobreza persistente. Esta situación exige la búsqueda de un equilibrio entre mantener la función social del sector y compatibilizarlo con los criterios de eficiencia establecidos en otros sectores. Debido a las asimetrías de poder que hay entre las grandes empresas y los recicladores urbanos individuales, puede haber riesgo de exclusión de estos últimos en caso que la actividad se vuelva un negocio rentable.
En segundo lugar, los recicladores urbanos reintroducen materiales en el ciclo de los recursos y reducen la presión sobre los vertederos, por lo que generan efectos externos positivos. Independientemente de la posibilidad de poner en valor los materiales recuperados, este trabajo merece ser retribuido económicamente en términos de la prestación de un servicio público. El hecho de garantizar y hacer efectivo este reconocimiento, supondría un avance importante para garantizar ingresos decentes, así como un  amplio reconocimiento social de la valiosa contribución realizada en forma cotidiana por estos trabajadores.
En tercer lugar, el conocimiento y la experiencia de los recicladores urbanos ofrecen un gran potencial para innovar desde la base, por ejemplo, dando un uso productivo a materiales que en la actualidad no se comercializan en el mercado. Con la colaboración de otros actores, como las universidades, y la provisión de recursos y apoyo mediante la eliminación de trámites burocráticos, se podría escalar el impacto positivo de estas innovaciones populares.
En cuarto lugar, y como tema transversal, toda solución que pretenda aprovechar el potencial del reciclaje urbano para mejorar la sostenibilidad económica, ecológica y social del sector de residuos exige una atenta exploración de la dimensión económica y política. La pluralidad de los intereses que hay en juego produce incentivos que, en muchos casos, no favorecen la eficiencia económica y bloquean recursos que podrían utilizarse para mejorar los programas de reciclaje. La reforma de estos incentivos exige un análisis minucioso de los múltiples órganos de poder y las posibles coaliciones para promover cambios.

Categories: english

Process tracing the term limit struggle in Malawi: the role of international democracy promotion in Muluzi's bid for a third term

GDI Briefing - February 23, 2021 - 11:09am

Attempts to circumvent presidential term limits in African countries show a puzzling variation of success or failure. This variation is due to both international and domestic factors. However, how these interact is not yet well understood. This article analyses how international donors and organisations intervened in the attempted term limit circumvention in Malawi from 1999 to 2003. It differentiates between different types of instruments used by donors in democracy promotion, and, by doing so, contributes to the question whether donors in term limit struggles can contribute to genuine democratic consolidation. It employs deductive process-tracing based on an analysis of primary media sources and interviews conducted during field research. The results show that erosion of party support as a proximate and a strong civil society response as a mediate factor were important in saving Malawi’s term limit. Aid conditionality and democracy promotion by donors and international organisations exerted influence on both factors.

Categories: english

Neue Stimme für Menschenrechte und gute Regierungsführung

GDI Briefing - February 23, 2021 - 10:40am

Der Amtsantritt von Präsident Joe Biden markiert eine Kehrtwende weg von der Regierungsführung des Vorgängers. Anstelle der abgeschotteten "America First"-Strategie von Donald Trump wird Bidens Team die Zusammenarbeit mit multilateralen Organisationen wieder aufnehmen und zu den unter Barack Obama unterzeichneten Abkommen zurückkehren. Als Teil der außenpolitischen Agenda der Vereinigten Staaten wird auch die Entwicklungszusammenarbeit eine größere Rolle in der Biden-Regierung spielen.

Categories: english

COVID-19 and the Economic Stories of our Time

EADI Debating Development Research - February 23, 2021 - 9:48am
By Simon Mair What is the economy? Speaking to the NGO Our Economy, one interviewee described the economy as “a giant blob or mass that feels like it has its own consciousness.” In popular and academic discussion of the economy it can seem like we’re talking about a child or pet that we have to …
Categories: english, Ticker

WHO slams rich states for hogging vaccines - February 23, 2021 - 7:15am
The World Health Organization on Monday (22 February) blasted wealthy countries for not only hogging Covid vaccines but in doing so, hindering the pathway for poorer nations to get them too.
Categories: english

Putting 'Policy Coherence for Peace' at the Heart of the EU's Approach to External Crises and Conflicts

GDI Briefing - February 22, 2021 - 4:38pm

The adoption of the EU’s Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 will bring profound changes to the set-up of the EU’s instruments for crisis prevention, conflict management and peacebuilding in fragile and conflict-affected countries, which aim to improve the EU’s ability to engage in these contexts. However, reforming the EU’s financial instruments alone is not sufficient to address key underlying challenges. What is needed is an overarching strategic framework that puts policy coherence for sustainable peace at the centre of EU crisis prevention, conflict management and peacebuilding.

Categories: english

COVID-19 | A conversation inside our newsroom

Devex - February 22, 2021 - 4:38pm
Categories: english

Africa faces a hard choice on the SDGs under COVID-19

Brookings - February 22, 2021 - 4:15pm

By Kasirim Nwuke

COVID-19 has made it extremely difficult to mobilize the resources needed for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the time left to their target date of 2030. Indeed, as the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) reported in July 2020, the current rate of progress on the SDGs in Africa is insufficient to meet the targets. Several other recent reports echo UNECA’s view.

Given these difficulties and the new challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, African countries should consider reducing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from the current set of 17 to a smaller much more manageable set that fully recognizes this new world, and redirect many of those efforts to fighting the crisis at hand. To be clear, African countries should not abandon the SDGs altogether. However, given the significant overlap between the SDGs and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, “The Africa We Want,” I argue that efforts should be more focused on achieving Agenda 2063, which has a longer time horizon than the SDGs, which end in nine years.

Meeting the targets of the SDGs was a great challenge for African countries right from their adoption in 2015. Since March of 2020, the implementation challenge has been made even more difficult by the pandemic, given COVID-related lockdowns resulting in slowed economic growth—including an estimated 3 percent contraction of sub-Saharan Africa’s economy in 2020. Already, major economies such as Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt are either in recession or experiencing very slow growth. Continued poor export performance limits the possibilities of growth, although the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could provide new growth impetus. Assistance promised by the G-20 and multilateral and regional financial institutions has not materialized to the extent hoped for.

Thankfully, many COVID-19 vaccines have been approved. Some have even been designed with a lower price point in mind to encourage their accessibility in the developing world. As vaccine administration has commenced in a number of countries, the world may be on the cusp of emerging from the pandemic. Africa’s priority now must be to inoculate all her citizens and “build back better.” Building back better demands pragmatism and realism. Realism requires a careful review of all commitments, separating “desireds” from “achievables.” Pragmatism requires a rethink of the SDGs to reduce them from the current 17 goals with 169 targets to a much more achievable set.

A smaller set of achievable goals will enable policymakers in Africa and elsewhere to protect, to the greatest extent possible, the successes of the recent past in health, education, food security, and poverty. Leaders should then redirect these efforts and consider different priorities to ensure better livelihoods in the long run to fighting the immediate crisis.

Thus, African policymakers should limit borrowing, expand fiscal space through enhanced domestic resource mobilization (including aggressive blocking of leakages),and redirect a reasonable share of available own resources to COVID-19 and managing out its economic impacts. While helpful, aid will not be enough to fill investment gaps in health, education, and poverty reduction. Fortunately, African countries have a roadmap for strengthening their health sector in the 2001 Abuja Declaration wherein they committed to allocate no less than 15 percent of their annual budget to the health sector, and progress is ongoing.

Importantly, COVID-19 revealed as never before the grave consequences of Africa’s scientific and technological dependence, although the technological gap has been long-known. Building back better will require African countries to increase domestic spending on science, technology, and innovation (STI) and aggressively expand STI partnerships. Success in this area will place African countries in a good position to successfully confront the next pandemic.

Finally, African countries must, as a matter of urgency, develop their own pharmaceutical manufacturing sector before the next pandemic arrives. The African Union’s Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa provides a good framework to achieve this goal if it can be operationalized.

Thus, while progress towards the SDGs has been laudable, African governments and their peoples might be better served with a reconsideration of the SDGs under COVID-19. Indeed, focusing on the issues noted above will continue momentum towards them in the long term, creating jobs, improving health outcomes, reducing poverty, and, ultimately, placing Africa on a footing from which it can achieve the Aspirations of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Categories: english

The SDGs are our compass for bolstering Africa’s long-term COVID recovery

Brookings - February 22, 2021 - 4:14pm

By Amina J. Mohammed

We welcomed 2020 with great expectations for Africa’s promising future. Barely three months into the new decade, though, the SARS-CoV-19 virus, through devastating health impacts and resultant lockdowns, has damaged economies, destroyed jobs and livelihoods, reversed development gains, and still threatens to push up to an additional 115 million people back into extreme poverty in 2020 alone. The impacts on the world’s most vulnerable people have been enormous, with twice as many people projected to be at the brink of starvation. Humanitarian needs have skyrocketed by 40 percent this year. Next year, 235 million people worldwide may need humanitarian aid and protection. Progress to improve the lives of people everywhere, through the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), will be derailed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the shaky foundations on which the global and regional economy is built and exacerbated deep-seated imbalances in our economic and social structures. However, like any disruptive force, COVID-19 presents us with an opportunity to re-imagine a better future through our response—a fairer and more equal world. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is aligned with the African Union Agenda 2063, remains the best framework for doing just that.

These extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Before the pandemic, the financing gap to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals was $2.5 trillion per year. Now, as we set up stimulus packages, the focus must be on directing these unprecedented investments to foster inclusive and sustainable growth, meeting the needs for decent jobs, social protection floors, and connectivity for a green transition and to spur innovation—leaving no one behind.

In this way, recovering better requires drawing lessons from the current pandemic to support and bolster the SDGs. These lessons call for investing in African green transition, including smart agriculture, renewable energy, and sustainable infrastructure, to bounce back better from the current socio-economic crisis, but also to prepare for the threats posed by climate change. By connecting the almost 590 million Africans who are without electricity through renewable energy investments and by developing the infrastructure to connect people and markets, we must build a platform for a sustained green recovery that takes profit of a young, creative labor force, creates jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities, expands human capital, and empowers the digital transformation of the continent.

We must keep an inclusive focus and improve access for girls to education, and youth- and women-led SMEs to markets and financing. Important steps toward this goal include providing financial and technical support to women’s cooperatives and better connecting them to international markets. Moreover, urgent prerequisites to curb the pandemic and build back better include women’s inclusion in decision-making, the fight against gender-based violence, the provision of skills and resources, and social protection systems that take women’s needs into account.

Women and girls are central to achieving each and every one of the 17 SDGs and building a prosperous, resilient future.

We must rethink the financial architecture, with innovations under the Addis Ababa Action Agenda for Financing for Development, with a focus on ending illicit financial flows, notably by strengthening tax administrations and enabling effective tax collection, as well as encouraging international finance to help de-risk private investments needed to accelerate progress towards the SDGs in the Decade of Action. This must be a multi-stakeholder endeavor including the private sector and philanthropic organizations alongside governments and international development partners.

We need to redress the inherent asymmetries in financial markets and ensure a level playing field for countries with good macro fundamentals, no matter the level of development. Since the crisis, only two African countries have been able to access new funds at reasonable terms. Countries with good macro fundamentals have been bypassed and have not been able to refinance their obligations, while developed countries with high debt-to-GDP ratios are able to raise funds in international markets.

With over $11 trillion in assets and $2.3 trillion annually in investments worldwide, public development banks at all levels—multilateral, regional, and national—need to be part of the solution to increase the volume and impact of investment towards recovery and achieving the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. Development banks must play a key role in de-risking investment, crowding in private finance in developing and emerging markets, turning billions into trillions needed to finance the transition to sustainable development.

Now, more than ever before, international cooperation can and must play a crucial role in ensuring that Africa recovers better, implementing the vision of the SDGs during this Decade of Action. Rules and institutions governing trade, finance, and technologies must enable Africa’s aspirations of building a peaceful, secure, and prosperous continent. As U.N. Secretary-General Guterres often reiterates, when Africa succeeds, the world succeeds.

Categories: english

Agenda 2030 y nexos entre seguridad de agua, energética y alimentaria: el caso de Huexca, Morelos

GDI Briefing - February 22, 2021 - 10:48am

La Agenda 2030 establece una visión ambiciosa de desarrollo humano en tiempos de cambio ambiental global y climático, y constituye un acercamiento integral al nexo entre seguridad de agua, de energía y alimentaria (nexo-AEA). Al analizar el caso del río Cuautla en Morelos, tomamos la gobernanza hídrica como punto de partida para investigar si los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible 2030 se han convertido en un detonador de transformación de sostenibilidad y gobernanza local. A partir de un Análisis de Red Social (ARS), basado en 33 entrevistas de expertos y actores sociales, así como investigación de campo, se examinó el conflicto que emergió con la termoeléctrica en Huexca, Morelos. Concluimos que los cambios principales en la gobernanza hídrica en México fueron atribuibles a cambios impuestos desde el nivel nacional. Asegurar la resolución de conflictos del nexo-AEA requeriría de la incorporación y el anclaje de la Agenda 2030 en las estrategias nacionales y locales sectoriales, mediante la asignación del presupuesto y la participación de la población en las actividades políticas estatales y locales.

Categories: english

Mit dem Lieferkettengesetz zu sozialer Gerechtigkeit?

GDI Briefing - February 22, 2021 - 10:03am

Kurz vor dem Welttag für soziale Gerechtigkeit der Vereinten Nationen am 20. Februar einigte sich die Bundesregierung, das im Koalitionsvertrag vorgesehene Lieferkettengesetz in den Bundestag einzubringen. Der Welttag erinnert an die Erklärung zu sozialer Gerechtigkeit für eine faire Globalisierung, die von den Mitgliedsstaaten der Internationalen Arbeitsorganisation (International Labour Organization, ILO) 2008 beschlossen wurde. Darin wurde festgehalten, dass Arbeit keine Ware ist, und Staaten, Arbeitgeber und Arbeitnehmer innerhalb von Landesgrenzen - und im Zuge der Internationalisierung der Wirtschaft auch darüber hinaus - gemeinsam gute Arbeitsbedingungen schaffen sollen. Die Erklärung verweist damit auch darauf, dass Unternehmen in Deutschland oder Europa, die ihre Produkte oder Komponenten aus globalen Lieferketten beziehen, eine wichtige Rolle bei der Umsetzung einer fairen Globalisierung zukommt. Bisher wurde in Deutschland vor allem auf freiwillige Maßnahmen von Unternehmen gesetzt, die durch staatliche Anreize, wie die Einbindung von sozialen und ökologischen Kriterien in die öffentliche Beschaffung, unterstützt werden. Das geplante Gesetz soll große deutsche Unternehmen verpflichten, bei ihren direkten Zulieferern auf die Einhaltung der Menschenrechte zu achten. Damit ist die Bundesregierung dem ‚smart mix‘ aus Anreizen und Verpflichtungen für ein nachhaltigeres und damit auch sozial gerechteres Wirtschaften einen Schritt nähergekommen.

Im Nationalen Aktionsplan „Wirtschaft und Menschenrechte“ formulierte die Bundesregierung 2016 erstmals ihre Erwartungen an die freiwillige Einhaltung menschenrechtlicher Sorgfaltspflichten durch Unternehmen sowie staatliche Beiträgen zum Schutz der Menschenrechte, wie einer nachhaltigen öffentlichen Beschaffung. Als sich Ende 2020 abzeichnete, dass nur eine Minderheit deutscher Unternehmen freiwillige Maßnahmen zur Wahrung der Sorgfaltspflicht gegenüber Menschenrechten entlang ihrer internationalen Lieferketten ergreift, forderten Akteure aus Politik, Zivilgesellschaft und Wirtschaft unternehmerische Sorgfaltspflichten endlich auch gesetzlich und verbindlich zu verankern. Mit der Umsetzung folgt Deutschland einem Trend ähnlicher Gesetze, z.B. in Frankreich und Großbritannien, die den Schutz von Menschenrechten entlang internationaler Lieferketten zunehmend verpflichtend machen. Ist damit der Beitrag von Deutschland und deutschen Unternehmen zu einer fairen Globalisierung erfüllt und werden staatliche Maßnahmen wie eine nachhaltige öffentliche Beschaffung überflüssig?

Zum einen ist das geplante Lieferkettengesetz der Bundesregierung weit weniger ambitioniert als von vielen die sich dafür einsetzen erhofft. Es soll nur für eine kleine Zahl sehr großer Unternehmen gelten, die Sorgfaltspflicht soll nur die erste Stufe der Lieferkette betreffen und ökologische Kriterien werden voraussichtlich nicht einbezogen. Zudem ist man vom Klagerecht für Betroffene abgerückt. Damit steht zu befürchten, dass die tatsächliche Veränderung unternehmerischen Handelns gering ausfällt.

Zum anderen wäre auch ein umfassenderes Gesetz nur ein Element des ‚smart mix‘. Lieferkettengesetze sind Bausteine einer fairen Globalisierung, die Unternehmen dazu verpflichten, Managementsystemen für soziale und ökologische Aspekte in ihren Lieferketten aufzubauen. Wichtiger noch als mögliche Bußgelder bei Verstößen sind die Maßnahmen, die in Unternehmen umgesetzt werden, um die eigene Lieferkette zu verstehen und mit allen Akteuren an der Verbesserung von Arbeitsbedingungen und den Folgen unternehmerischen Handelns zu arbeiten. Von diesen Veränderungen kann auch die nachhaltige öffentliche Beschaffung profitieren. Vorgaben öffentlicher Auftraggeber an soziale und ökologische Aspekte in internationalen Lieferketten sind für viele Bieter in Vergabeverfahren schwer zu erfüllen, wenn sie selbst unzureichende Erfahrungen mit diesen Aspekten ihrer Lieferkette haben. Erhöhter Aufwand und zusätzliche Kosten sowie ein unzureichendes Angebot in vielen Produktgruppen sind die Folge. Durch die Limitierung auf die erste Stufe der Lieferkette ist der potenzielle Effekt des aktuellen Vorschlags für ein deutsches Lieferkettengesetz geringer, als wenn Unternehmen ihre gesamte Lieferkette, über Komponenten bis zu den Rohstoffen, in den Blick nehmen müssten.

Lieferkettengesetze decken darüber hinaus lediglich ein Minimum an unternehmerischer Verantwortung ab. Die Ziele der ILO-Erklärung zu sozialer Gerechtigkeit gehen über die Wahrung der Menschenrechte hinaus. Faire Löhne, soziale Absicherung sowie gesunde und sichere Arbeitsbedingungen stehen im Zentrum der ILO-Erklärung und sind nicht explizit Teil der Überlegungen zu einem deutschen Sorgfaltspflichtgesetz.

Die Europäische Kommission plant bereits eine Vorlage für ein EU-weites Lieferkettengesetz. Es bleibt zu hoffen, dass diese ambitionierter ausfällt, ökologische Kriterien einbezieht, Betroffenen ein Klagerecht einräumt und für mehr Unternehmen gelten wird. Davon unabhängig können staatliche Akteure ihre Bemühungen um eine nachhaltige öffentliche Beschaffung verstärken, um das Ziel von sozialer Gerechtigkeit und einer fairen Globalisierung zu erreichen.

Categories: english

EU envisages €1 billion aid to Ivory Coast to meet sustainable cocoa laws - February 22, 2021 - 7:05am
The European Union envisages providing around one billion euros over six years to aid Ivory Coast's cocoa sector as it adapts to EU supply chain laws due to be introduced later this year, its envoy in Abidjan said.
Categories: english


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