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Livelihoods of millions in East and Southeast Asia at risk from Swine Fever epidemic

UN ECOSOC - 2. Juli 2019 - 18:21
The rapid spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) across East and Southeast Asia is threatening the food security and livelihoods of millions of households in the region which rely on pig farming, The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, reported on Tuesday.
Kategorien: english

The United Nations is at the Center of the Iran Nuclear Deal. Will It Also Be the Site of Its Unraveling?

UN Dispatch - 2. Juli 2019 - 17:46

The United Nations is at the center of the Iran Nuclear Deal.

It was a series of robust international sanctions passed by the UN Security Council that first brought Iran to the negotiating table. And then, it was an action of the UN Security Council that lifted those sanctions and formally enshrined the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.  Finally, it is the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, that was tasked with monitoring and verifying Iran’s compliance with the deal.

But now that the United States has pulled out of the deal and Iran is taking steps to renege on its obligations under the JCPOA, the UN may be the venue where the entire deal unravels.

The IAEA verified on Monday that Iran has begun stockpiling enriched uranium beyond the limits permitted in the deal.  This may force Europe to trigger a dispute resolution mechanism created under the deal — but doing so could spark the beginning of the end of the nuclear deal.

At the United Nations, process often dictates outcome.

The formal process by which the Iran nuclear deal dies is pretty straightforward. Under the terms of the deal, there is a dispute resolution process that can be triggered by any party to the agreement should they believe there is a violation. And it is here that the Trump administration my have shot itself in the foot by formally withdrawing the United States from the deal. Since the USA is no longer part of the deal, it cannot trigger a first step in the process that could lead to the re-imposition of UN sanctions — the “snap back” of sanctions as it is known.

It is now up to the remaining parties to the deal,which includes Germany, the U.K., France, Russia and China to trigger this dispute resolution mechanism. Russia and China are unlikely to do so, which leaves the ball firmly in the United Kingdom and France’s court. But as recently as last week, both France and the United Kingdom were vigorously defending the deal at the Security Council, calling it a cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime.

Still, a move by Iran to exceed its stockpile limits or worse, begin enriching uranium above the 3.67% enrichment levels may force the UK and France’s hand. And once they trigger that dispute mechanism, it could be as little as 65 days before the pre-deal UN sanctions are snapped back into place.

Since the US pulled out of the deal, it has no say in the intermediate steps that occur between triggering the dispute mechanisms and before a Security Council vote to snap back sanctions. European parties to the deal could delay or prevent the process from making its way to the Security Council — but it would be exceedingly hard to do so if Iran remained in non-compliance by enriching uranium beyond proscribed levels.

The final step in this process is would be a vote at the Security Council. Significantly, this vote is not to re-impose sanctions. Rather, it is to continue sanctions relief.  This is because when the deal was reached it was assumed that the Iran would be more likely to breach the agreement than any veto-wielding member of the Security Council. Accordingly, the United States wanted to hold the power to veto in the event of Iran’s non-compliance. Now, should the dispute make its way to the Security Council, a vote on continuing sanctions relief would almost certainly face a US veto, which would formally kill the JCPOA.

Just as the UN gave birth to the JCPOA, it could be the venue for its demise as well.

Key decisions made at the UN in the coming weeks could spell the end of what was not long ago hailed as a triumph of diplomacy.

Go Deeper –> in this episode of the Global Dispatches podcast nuclear security expert and host of the Things that Go Boom podcast Laicie Healey explains what comes next in the escalating crisis with Iran, including whether or not there are still pathways to a re-negotiated nuclear deal. 

 

Get the Global Dispatches Podcast ​iTunes  |  Spotify  |  Stitcher  | Google Play Music​  | Radio Public

The post The United Nations is at the Center of the Iran Nuclear Deal. Will It Also Be the Site of Its Unraveling? appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Sanitary products still too expensive

D+C - 2. Juli 2019 - 14:29
Kenya has scrapped the tax on menstrual products, but they are still too expensive for rural women

In addition to lowering the tax, the Kenyan government has been setting aside funds to distribute free sanitary towels to teenage girls in school since 2011. However, the programme has seen implementation challenges with supplies often running out.

Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day) is a global advocacy platform that brings together non-profit organisations, government agencies, the private sector and the media to promote good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) for all women and girls. In 2016, MH Day published the study “Menstrual Health in Kenya”. It found that 65 % of Kenyan women and girls were unable to afford sanitary towels.

The study further showed that two out of three women in rural Kenya receive menstrual hygiene articles from sexual partners. This means that a majority of women in the countryside depend on men for managing their menstruation. Some women even engage in sexual activity with the sole aim of receiving the necessary menstrual products in exchange.

The lack of menstrual products often stops girls from going to school when they have their period. Therefore, many rural women use homemade alternatives to industrially produced sanitary towels. There are also some local products, but local manufacturers still have to contend with taxes charged on raw materials. Additionally, new low-cost disposable sanitary pads from China have entered the market. But the quality of pads that go for under a dollar is questioned. Anyway, about one third of Kenyans live on less than two dollars per day.

Wanjiru Kepha, director of the Kenyan chapter of Huru International, a non-governmental organisation that provides reusable sanitary pads for school-going girls, raises another issue: women living in remote rural areas where there is poor infrastructure have to deal with the “extra costs of transport” to get to towns in order to buy pads, he says. This can “triple the price of the product.”

Issac Sagala is a journalist and media trainer. He lives in Nairobi.
bwanasagala@gmail.com

Links

Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day):
https://menstrualhygieneday.org/

MH Day Study 2016: Menstrual Health Kenya.
https://menstrualhygieneday.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/FSG-Menstrual-Health-Landscape_Kenya.pdf

Huru International:
https://huruinternational.org/

 

Kategorien: english

Taking gender in trade more seriously

OECD - 2. Juli 2019 - 11:20
By Ann Linde, Minister for Foreign Trade, Sweden This blog is part of a special series marking the 3 July 2019 launch in Geneva of the joint OECD/WTO publication Aid for Trade at a Glance The 2030 Agenda strengthens the prominence of international trade as both a goal of and a means to sustainable development. It also … Continue reading Taking gender in trade more seriously
Kategorien: english

The US health-care system is not worth copying

D+C - 2. Juli 2019 - 10:04
Health care is a good example of the need to complement market dynamics with prudent state action

Policymakers love to emphasise the efficiency of markets, but in the health sector, this is the wrong approach. If market dynamics, in themselves, led to the best results in this field, the USA would be the model every other country would be copying. Its health-care system is almost entirely market-driven – and more so than the systems of other rich nations.

The results are utterly unconvincing however. The USA spends a greater share of its national income on health care than any other prosperous nation, but its life expectancy is below prosperous nations’ average. If you don’t trust me, you might trust Paul Krugman, an American winner of the Nobel prize in economics.

There are several reasons why markets tend not to deliver the best results in health care. One of them is monopolist power. Indeed, the business model of major pharma producers depends on the patents for innovative medications. As long as the patents are in force, the owner need not fear competition. This is a recipe for high drug prices.

Countervailing forces can put a check on prices of course. One example is when the buyer is in a monopolistic position too. That is so where a single health insurance dominates the market or where the government provides health care to the majority of the people. Indeed, US President Donald Trump was aware of this truth and toyed with the idea to empower Medicare – the governmental health-insurance programme that covers senior citizens in the USA – to negotiate prices with drug companies. The idea made sense, but Trump did not follow up words with action. Again, Krugman understands these issues better than I do.

In the USA, supply of patented drugs is monopolised, but the demand is not. There are so many different health insurances that none of them can negotiate forcefully. In advanced nations with strong governmental health-care systems, such a large share of demand is in a single hand. Accordingly, bargaining becomes possible – and drug prices tend to be lower. 

Another reason why the interplay of supply and demand does not work well in health care is that the customers are, almost by definition, ignorant – and desperate too. The classical example of markets is the famers’ market. People can easily tell good apples from rotten ones, and if apples are too expensive they will opt for pears or peaches instead. Sick people, however, normally need a doctor’s diagnosis to know what is wrong with them, and they’ll trust the expert’s opinion on what therapy they need. If they are told they need heart surgery, they cannot opt for something cheaper instead. In this sense, health-care markets are inherently not transparent. Market efficiency, however, depends on transparency.

The most important reason for market failure in health care, however, is that masses of people simply cannot afford the health services they need unless proper social-protection policies are in force. European nations developed various systems of government-sponsored health insurances that ensure universal coverage. These systems are an expression of solidarity and serve social stability. They lead to better results than the market-driven US model.

Last year, I discussed challenge of chronic diseases with Zafrullah Chowdhury, the veteran health-care activist from Bangladesh. He pointed out that his country does not have “a government-run national health service that covers everyone as is the case in Taiwan, Iran or Britain, for example”. He went on to say: 

“Instead, we are copying the American model of private health care. Global institutions like the World Health Organization and the World Bank are paying too little attention to health economics. I think European donor governments should promote, at the global level, the kind of governmental health care that works so well in their own countries. The challenge is twofold. Services must not only become available, but affordable too. The free market does not deliver that. To cover everyone, solidarity is more important than competition.”

Government guaranteed universal health coverage, by the way, does not only help the poor. It contributes to prosperity of society in general. The reason is that, if not treated properly, health problems unnecessarily diminish the economic productivity of patients – plus they prevent the relatives, who take care of them, from earning money.

Kategorien: english

The Consumer Insight Action Panel on Circular Economy Is Now Open – Express Your Interest Today!

SCP-Centre - 2. Juli 2019 - 8:58

Looking for new and insightful approaches to enable change towards the circular behaviours that really matter? Today is your chance to express your interest to become a club member of the Consumer Insight Action Panel.

EU policies and decision-makers have recognised the importance of understanding and integrating consumer knowledge and behavioural insights into the circular economy transition. Despite the importance of consumer insights, there is little research or action on behaviour change with specific regard to the circular economy, and the need to consider behavioural and consumption aspects is still largely overlooked within circular strategies.

To address this gap, the CSCP and Sitra are setting up the Consumer Insight Action Panel, as part of their contribution to the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform Coordination Group a joint initiative by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee. The objective of the Consumer Insight Action Panel is to translate consumer needs and behavioural knowledge with specific regard to the circular economy in Europe into impact-oriented and consumer-relevant policy recommendations, business innovations and civil society actions towards the circular economy. In other words, our main objective is to enable change towards circular behaviours that really matter.

This new European initiative is designed to support the transition to the circular economy by generating, applying and testing consumer behavioural insights in circular strategies for textiles, plastics and electronics. The Expression of Interest is now open and 30 organisations will be selected to join the initiative.

The work will be carried out in clubs, which are exclusive groups of high-level stakeholders committed to leading the work of generating and integrating consumer behavioural insights into successful circular economy strategies. Each club will be sector-focused and composed of max. 10 members, including businesses, policy makers, NGOs, researchers and cities, dedicated to exchange knowledge, benchmark existing solutions, prototype and test innovations and lead the circular consumer interface work. The sectors of focus will be textiles, electronics and plastics. You can find more details about the Consumer Insight Action Panel here.

Due to the limited number of spaces in the initiative, club members will be selected through an open Expression of Interest process, to ensure a fair, transparent and high-quality selection procedure. Are you interested in joining an exclusive group of pioneering stakeholders driving behavioural knowledge and behaviour change towards the circular economy transition in Europe? Are you keen to have access to beyond state-of-the-art knowledge on behavioural insights and behaviour change in view of your concrete circular economy challenges? Interested in contributing to the development and improvement of circular policies, business innovation and CSO initiatives? Express your interest now, we are looking forward to working with you. Expressions of Interest can be sent until 31 July 2019.

The Consumer Insight Action Panel is a non-profit initiative of the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP) and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.

Send your Expression of Interest here.

For more information please contact Mariana Nicolau.

Der Beitrag The Consumer Insight Action Panel on Circular Economy Is Now Open – Express Your Interest Today! erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

G20 Osaka Progress on International Trade

T20 - 2. Juli 2019 - 7:45

Dennis J. Snower

According to widespread reports on the G20 Osaka Summit in the media, the G20 achieved little if anything on international trade. What received most media attention was that the G20 Leaders’ Declaration stopped short of denouncing protectionism. The resulting impression was that the G20 had achieved little, that G20 initiatives stand in opposition to national interests, and that the G20’s shared sense of purpose has been lost amidst the resurgent inward-looking politics of many countries today. This impression is seriously misleading and unconstructive. It strengthens the widespread misconception that G20 multilateralism regarding international trade is necessarily in conflict with national goals and that international trade tends to favor the affluent few at the expense of the neglected many. This misconception is the outcome of a zero-sum narrative, whereby one country’s gain from international trade is another country’s loss. It is a dangerous misconception, since it leads voters to support politicians who use international trade as an excuse for pursuing socially divisive policies that make it impossible to spread the gains from globalization among all population groups.  

There is a very different, more productive and hopeful interpretation of the G20 Osaka results on international trade. The G20 Leaders’ Declaration called for “free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment, and to keep our markets open. International trade and investment are important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development” (§8). This statement must be understood in terms of the overarching theme of the Japanese G20 Presidency: “… we will strive to create a virtuous cycle of growth by addressing inequalities and realize a society where all individuals can make use of their full potential. We are resolved to build a society capable of seizing opportunities, and tackling economic, social and environmental challenges, presented today and in the future, including those of demographic change.” These aims are consonant with the theme of “recoupling” of the T20 Summit in Tokyo: In the light of the danger that economic prosperity can become decoupled of societal prosperity, the G20 should focus on societal prosperity – the wellbeing of individuals in thriving communities – and seek to recouple economic prosperity with social wellbeing. See, for example, the following T20 Policy Briefs: 

This broad theme is reiterated in the notion of Society 5.0: “We share the notion of a human-centered future society, which is being promoted by Japan as Society 5.0” (§10).

If the recoupling theme is taken seriously, it has far-reaching implications for the global governance on international trade, infrastructure investment and taxation. In particular, the goal of recoupling means that the promotion of international trade is not an end in itself. Rather, trade is an instrument to promote human wellbeing within flourishing societies within our planetary boundaries. In the future, this will require the G20 countries to measure the gains from trade not exclusively in terms of GDP across countries, but also take environmental sustainability, human empowerment and social solidarity into account. For instance, if a readjustment of global value chains raises the value of worldwide goods and services, but destroys natural and social capital, then the resulting gains from trade would be represented as the difference between the increase in manufactured capital and the decrease in natural and social capital. This idea is captured in the statement “We strive to realize a free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade” (§8). In this context, it is important to emphasize that international trade does not take place in a vacuum. To generate maximal gains from trade, appropriate fiscal, monetary and structural policies are required at the national level. This is an area where multilateral trade agreements must be well coordinated with national macroeconomic policies. 

Relevant T20 Policy Briefs in this area include the following:

The G20 Summit was also the occasion for historic action to reduce protectionist barriers. The EU and the South American economic bloc Mercosur concluded a massive trade agreement, the EU’s largest trade deal to date. The agreement covers a market for goods and services covering nearly 800 million consumers, the greatest number of people covered by a trade agreement thus far. This agreement comes in the aftermath of recent EU trade agreements with Canada, Mexico and Japan, all concluded since President Trump took office. 

This development is to be understood in the light of a new approach to international trade governance that is gradually taking shape among major trading nations. The new approach is summarized in the following statement from the Leaders’ Declaration: “we recognize the complementary roles of bilateral and regional free trade agreements that are WTO-consistent” (§8). Instead of an explicit attempt to bring all trade agreements under the aegis of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the G20 aims to make regional trade agreements consistent with the broad framework of WTO agreements. Acceptance of this principle could have a significant influence on the design of future trade agreements, helping the world economy enter into harmonious rule-based trading system. Within this system, countries that pursue protectionist policies would witness are structuring of global value chains to their detriment. 

Furthermore, the Leaders’ Declaration also recognized the need to reform the WTO in order to broaden gains from international trade. The Declaration reaffirmed “support for the necessary reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to improve its functions… We agree that action is necessary regarding the functioning of the dispute settlement system consistent with the rules as negotiated by WTO members” (§8). A major issue to be addressed will include making the WTO capable of providing a level playing field for market economies and state capitalist systems. T20 Policy Briefs dealing with WTO reform include 

WTO rules have thus far focused on produced goods, giving far less attention to services, particularly electronic services. This is a large and ever-growing gap in trade governance, since service trade currently comprises most of the growth in international trade. Furthermore, the new digital age is blurring the boundary between goods trade and services trade, since the export and import of goods is commonly combined with a variety of digital services. On this account, it is unfortunate that services trade is governed by a different body of international rules than goods trade. The G20 Leaders’ Declaration addresses these problems, reaffirming “the importance of interface between trade and digital economy, and note the ongoing discussion under the Joint Statement Initiative on electronic commerce, and reaffirm the importance of the Work Programme on electronic commerce at the WTO” (§12). 

T20 Policy Briefs relevant to trade in digital services include

The rapidly evolving developments in e-commerce require a more flexible and experimental approach to policy than was needed for trade in manufactured goods in the past. Accordingly, the Leaders’ Declaration states, “To further promote innovation in the digital economy, we support the sharing of good practices on effective policy and regulatory approaches and frameworks that are innovative as well as agile, flexible, and adapted to the digital era, including through the use of regulatory sandboxes” (§11). 

Thereby the G20 Leaders’ Declaration provides a useful, urgently needed framework for the continued governance of international trade, specifying the appropriate division of responsibilities on the national and international levels and providing a vision for the required collaboration between national and international trade policies. 

The post G20 Osaka Progress on International Trade appeared first on G20 Insights.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

How to make property tax work for local governments in poorer countries

ODI - 2. Juli 2019 - 0:00
Poorer countries need to step up domestic revenue mobilisation efforts. Making property tax work for local governments could go a long way to help.
Kategorien: english

Monday’s Daily Brief: US-DPRK relationship reset, ‘Horrific’ Kabul bombing, Anti-conscription plan in Syria, Climate change heat stress, Security Council in Iraq

UN ECOSOC - 1. Juli 2019 - 23:48
This Monday, we cover: Guterres welcomes possible US-DPRK diplomatic upgrade; Taliban attack hits schools; UN-Syria action plan on child soldiers; Climate change heat stress impacts economy; and first-ever Security Council visit to Iraq. 
Kategorien: english

The HLPF – a blueprint for more democratic global governance? Not yet.

Global Policy Watch - 1. Juli 2019 - 23:45

This article references content included in the 2019 Spotlight Report, available for download at https://www.2030spotlight.org. There will also be a side-event at the HLPF on 11 July, 9:30am-11:30pm at Baha’i International Community, 866 UN Plaza, New York. See the invitation here.

The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)), which governments adopted in September 2015, have been announced as a “supremely ambitious and transformational vision … of unprecedented scope and significance”.

Since 2015 the Civil Society Reflection Group (CSRG) has been monitoring how governments and international organizations have been implementing the 2030 Agenda. As part of this role the CSRG is presenting a series of papers at the 2019 High-level Political Forum, all of which identify obstacles and suggest solutions, as well as the Spotlight Report on Reshaping Governance for Sustainability.

People still believe in the UN

People still turn to the UN as the arbiter of peace and justice, but recent years have seen calls for its workings to be brought up to date. Barbara Adams from Global Policy Forum, argues that work on the 2030 Agenda, could set in train a new generation of global governance.

Part of the thinking behind the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs was to bring together the UN’s different programming strands to foster real change. Adams believes the 2030 Agenda can be the UN game-changer, by addressing the root causes of poverty and conflict and confronting how UN policy space is being held hostage to powerful interests, public and private. She writes to:

  • Use the 2030 Agenda as the impetus for the UN General Assembly to reassert its role as adjudicator across policies, sectors and institutions.

The next phase of SDG monitoring: moving from quantitative to qualitative assessment

The first phase of the HLPF monitoring of the SDGs has concentrated on quantity, with countries reporting on progress in achieving SDG targets. Monitoring now needs to concentrate on quality, says Adams.

  • Monitoring should look at quality of SDGs results. This may require the need for ‘trade-offs’ between targets, and to transcend national boundaries, as solutions can be regional and global.
  • Monitoring should adopt a ‘rights-based approach’ for poverty elimination, and providing housing, sanitation, etc., and for trade and debt agreements.

While the UN family has embraced the SDGs and is working to raise awareness, implementation has been over-dependent on a win-win, ‘pay-to-play’ dynamic that is prevalent around the UN and ignores negative impacts such as inequalities, greenhouse gas emissions, or lack of labour standards. Instead,

  • Monitoring should incorporate benchmarks, and actions to prevent governments or corporations glossing over negative impacts and must highlight obstacles and include democratic financing strategies.

The 2030 Agenda – the promise of new global governance hampered by a power imbalance in the UN

For UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres the 2030 Agenda has the potential to “overcome the deficit of trust” that people have in the UN by creating multilateral governance forms that bring the UN closer to people’s everyday lives.

This aspiration is thwarted by the current form of the UN, where most influence is in the hands of the Security Council, which itself is dominated by five veto-wielding permanent members (P5). The major UN funders, which overlap with the P5, have leveraged their power and influence to keep the UN out of their policy priorities, particularly in trade and investment, undermining not only the ability to achieve the SDGs but also the democratic multilateralism the UN represents.

This is compounded by the severe lack of UN funding – in 2017 it received US$48.3 billion (compared to global military expenditure of US$1.7 trillion). These financial strictures impact its human rights work in particular: while the 2030 Agenda takes a strong human rights perspective, the UN human rights’ work receives a mere 3.7% of the total UN regular budget.

  • Essential to democratic multilateralism is a thorough restructuring of how the UN is funded.

Economic dominance should be answerable to human rights principles

Another block to change within the UN has been the decision-making power that some countries or corporations have. Time after time financial deregulation or lowering environmental protection has restricted populations’ human rights. When countries sign trade and investment policies with stronger economies, this often restricts that freedom for action in the domestic sphere. In addition, there are two economic mechanisms: the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and the International Investor Agreements (IIAs), in which States de facto sign away human rights in return for investment, that make it more difficult to achieve the SDGs.

  • There is an urgent need for a systemic reform of the ISDS and the IIAs, to protect communities’ rights to seek remedies to protect their economic, environmental and human rights interests.
  • Additionally, the ability of investors to sue States should be removed.

Changing UN thinking

Many echo Guterres’ belief that now is the time the UN could change. While in the 2030 Agenda Member States committed themselves to addressing “disparities of opportunity, wealth and power”, it has often been difficult to get the stronger players to do so. The UN has tried many approaches – adopting ‘win-win’ partnerships between stakeholders, or associating with power centres, such as big business, regionalism, or South-South cooperation – but often finds itself the looser.

There are concerns about the inherent power imbalance within the UN, where outside economic interests determine or disproportionately influence policy, and that by adopting the rubric “doing good business is doing good” the UN is veering too strongly towards a market-based approach. Trying to correct power imbalances by persuading the most powerful to share their power is not a long-term solution, and fails to address “those left behind”, a key tenet of the 2030 Agenda.

To remedy this

  • Economic policymaking must be anchored in, and guided by human rights’ standards, and economic reforms must advance, not inhibit human rights. Governments, International Financial Institutions, and private actors must adhere to UN Human Rights Council Principles 13: International assistance and cooperation; 14: External influence and policy space; 15: Obligation of public creditors and donors; and 16: Obligations of private creditors.
  •  
  • A primary task of a revitalized General Assembly should be to examine the impact of the current investor preference view on the GA and on UN work. This could begin to unravel the systematic asymmetry of control by the big private and public powers.
Kategorien: english, Ticker

FABLE Upcoming Report and Policy Outreach

UN SDSN - 1. Juli 2019 - 21:56

The Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land Use and Energy (FABLE) Pathways Consortium met for its 4th Consortium Meeting from 4 to 7 June 2019 at the SDG Center for Latin America and the Caribbean (SDG Center for LAC) in Bogota, Colombia. More than 50 participants from the FABLE Secretariat (composed of SDSN, IIASA, and EAT), the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the Food and Land Use Coalition, and 14 FABLE country/regional teams worked on advancing the high-level technical analysis of FABLE which will feed into FABLE’s first report which will be published in July.

FABLE Consortium meeting participants (4-7 June 2019 in Bogota). Photo: courtesy of the Centro de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible para América Latina y el Caribe (CODS)

The FABLE Consortium had the great honor to count Ana Maria Hernandez, Chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), amongst its participants. IPBES provides policy relevant knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem services to inform decision making. Ana Maria highlighted that nature can be conserved, restored and used sustainably while simultaneously meeting other global societal goals through sustainable pathways fostering transformative change. In addition, she invited FABLE to be part of the IPBES national assessments leveraging FABLE’s integrated analysis and link to the SDGs.

In addition, taking advantage of the geographical location of the meeting and of the expertise of our host institution, the SDG Center for LAC, a policy dialogue on Colombia was organized bringing together governmental representatives from the National Planning Department, the Environment and Sustainable Development Ministry, and the Agriculture and Sustainable Development Ministry as well as from Colombia’s Agricultural Association, and from FOLU Colombia. The speakers discussed Colombia’s most important public policy challenges for the consolidation of sustainable agricultural systems and how FABLE’s technical analysis and FOLU’s complementary activities could contribute to Colombian decision-making around these topics.

About FABLE

In late 2017, SDSN and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) launched the Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land Use and Energy (FABLE) Pathways Consortium to bring together leading research institutions forming more than 20 country and regional teams. Members of the consortium collaborate to develop integrated long-term pathways towards sustainable land-use and food systems consistent with the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. The FABLE analyses will also assess international spillover effects to ensure that national pathways are consistent with global objectives. The FABLE Consortium is also part of the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU).

Country teams participating in the FABLE Consortium and FOLU focus countries (light green) (created with Mapchart).

Kategorien: english

SDSN Newsletter — June 2019

UN SDSN - 1. Juli 2019 - 21:20
Welcome to SDSN’s June 2019 Newsletter!

2019 Sustainable Development Report Launched 
SDSN and Bertelsmann Stiftung published the Sustainable Development Report 2019 including the SDG Index and Dashboards. It outlines progress by countries on their achievement of the SDGs. The report calls for six major transformations that help countries organize SDG implementation: skills and inequalities, health and wellbeing, clean energy, land-use and food systems, cities, and digital technologies.

FABLE Updates: Consortium Holds 4th Meeting in Bogotá to Finalize Upcoming Report
The Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land Use and Energy (FABLE) Pathways Consortium met on 4-7 June hosted by the SDG Center for Latin America and the Caribbean in Colombia. The discussions focused on the technical analysis developed by the country teams. Ana Maria Hernandez, Chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and senior representatives of the Colombian government and civil society addressed the meeting.

Mapping the Renewable Energy Sector to the SDGs: An Atlas 
SDSN has partnered with the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, and Equitable Origin to create a shared understanding of how the renewable energy sector can contribute to the SDGs. For each SDG, the Atlas explores potential opportunities and impacts from renewable energy project development, and provides recommendations for companies to better align their conduct to the Sustainable Development Agenda.

Consultation on EU SDG Index held with EESC 
SDSN and its partners – the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) – organized a workshop in Brussels to present the objective of their EU project which will lead to the release of the “2019 Report on Europe and the SDGs” (which will include an EU SDG Index and Dashboards) in October. The SDSN presented the results from the first round of consultation conducted in May as well as first preliminary findings from the study.

SDSN in the Media Upcoming SDSN Events

The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development organized by the UN will be held from 9-19 July, 2019, and is the official forum to review progress towards the SDGs. SDSN will be participating with a number of side events as marked below (**). Read the full scope of SDSN’s HLPF events here.

**The Critical Role of Non-Official Data in Monitoring & Implementing SDG 16
Organized by SDG 16 Data Initiative, UNITAR, International IDEA
8 July | New York, USA

Launch of the Sustainable Development Report in Spain
Organized by SDSN Spain (REDS)
10 July | Madrid, Spain

Responding to Fall Armyworm in Asia (E-Conference)
Organized by SDSN Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems
10-12 July | Online

**The Role of Spillover Effects in SDG Implementation
Organized by SDSN and GIZ
15 July | New York, USA

**The Role of Governments in Building Modern Data Ecosystems for Sustainable Development
Organized by SDSN TReNDS
15 July | New York, USA

**Long-term Pathways for the Implementation of the SDGs: The Governance Implications
Organized by SDSN, the OECD, and the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the UN
16 July | New York, USA

**Stakeholders Meeting on Timely Data for the SDGs
Organized by SDSN, the World Bank, UN Statistics Division, and Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data
18 July | New York, USA

View full list of events

Other News
  • Last month, SDSN supported the German Government’s pre-HLPF Conference in Berlin.
  • Climate & energy project collaboration opportunities were announced by the SDSN USA network.
  • SDSN’s Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems network hosted a fully-online conference on nutrition-sensitive agriculture from 3-5 June. Read the conference outcomes here.
  • Penn State University, an SDSN USA member, is partnering with Project Drawdown to host a conference on climate change research and action this September. Submit an abstract by 15 August.
  • Read about a new initiative from the United Nations, SDSN TReNDS, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, and the World Bank to tackle timely data gaps here.
  • The Science Platform Sustainability 2030 (wpn 2030), co-hosted by SDSN Germany, calls for participation for the further development of the German Sustainability Strategy. The scientific consultation is open until 31 July.
  • UN DESA released a call for “voluntary SDG Acceleration Actions” to be featured leading up to the SDG Summit in September, submit your work today!
  • SDSN Director Jeffrey Sachs participated on a panel at the CogX festival in London with Mariana Mazzucato, Kate Raworth, and Bill Janeway.
  • Jim Williams, US DDPP Director, is leading an “Energy Systems Management” Masters program at the University of San Francisco. Share with your network or apply for your masters degree today.
  • UN Habitat published the SDSN co-hosted IPCC Cities and Climate Change Conference proceedings which include highlights about the key gaps in the climate change and cities research agenda.
  • Learn more about SDSN TReNDS’ expert group and read about recent news from the data for development community on sdsntrends.org.
  • SDSN Leadership Council member Inger Andersen was recently named as Head of the UN Environment Programme.
  • The SDSN USA network presented their new US Pathways work being done at the RE-AMP network’s annual meeting.
  • SDSN partner, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), met with SDSN Leadership Council member Johan Rockström on 18 June to discuss how we can enhance sustainable farming within planetary boundaries.
  • SDSN Leadership Council member Naoko Ishii gave the opening remarks at the 56th Global Environmental Facility Council Meeting at the World Bank on 11 June.
  • Patricia Espinosa, SDSN Leadership Council member, gave a speech entitled “Carbon Markets that Put a Price on Carbon are Crucial for Climate Action” at UN Climate Change on 3 June.
SDSN and Partners are Hiring
Kategorien: english

Open Position: US Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Intern

UN SDSN - 1. Juli 2019 - 20:44
ABOUT SDSN

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has been operating since 2012 under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.  It is directed by Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, SDG Advocate, and has offices in New York, Paris, and New Delhi.

The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) is an SDSN Solution Initiative co-founded with the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) to prepare national low-emission development pathways to 2050, consistent with limiting the rise in global temperatures to well below 2°C, as agreed in the Paris Agreement on climate change. The DDPP is conducted by 16 Country Research Teams composed of leading researchers and research institutions from countries representing more than 70% of global greenhouse emissions.

The project will now focus on supporting the development of long-term low-emission development strategies, as agreed in the Paris Agreement. Energy research institutions from other countries are welcome to join the project. For more information please go to the project’s website.

THE ROLE

The US DDPP Intern will support the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP), which seeks to understand and show how individual countries can transition to a low-carbon economy and how the world can meet the internationally agreed target of limiting the increase in global mean surface temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius (°C).

2020 is shaping up to be a watershed moment for climate policy in the United States.  The Green New Deal proposal, while needing improvement in some aspects, has reopened the national conversation about infrastructure and climate change, and galvanized support in some important constituencies.  At a minimum, it ensures that climate policy is an issue that all Democratic presidential candidates will have to address.  It also raises a key dynamic for climate action, namely the interaction of local action and federal policy.  Since the 2016 election, climate action has continued to advance in some places (e.g. California), while in others it has not, but nonetheless local opinion has moved in a favorable direction. If there is a new administration and congress in 2021, there will be ripe opportunities for federal, regional, and state collaboration on issues of climate policy and energy system transformation.  It is vital to lay the groundwork for that now, and many organizations are starting to do so.  The US Pathways project will address three major areas of challenges to climate policy and rapid energy system transformation in the United States: energy, jobs, and geospatial planning. The results of the US Pathways Project will include 2 regional scenarios and a series of white papers to articulate the current state of the transition across the US.

The intern will support the DDPP Project Manager in coordinating the activities of the US DDPP researcher team at Evolved Energy Research and aligning the analytical work that is underway with the SDSN USA Network which just launched last year.

PRINCIPAL RESPONSIBILITIES
  • Help in reviewing research teams’ analytical dashboards and develop guidelines to help stakeholder understand how to use the scenarios to impact change at various levels (regionally, state, and local)
  • Support the production of a Member database which outlines the relevant interests and projects underway at current SDSN USA member institutions
  • Perform research on deep decarbonization opportunities in other regions of the US
  • Identify key institutions to approach for membership to strengthen the network and this work
  • Help establish communication channels with SDSN USA Members about the US Pathways work and help to identify overlap of interest, capacity, and opportunity for the development of joint programs of work around the Green New Deal and decarbonization in the US more generally
DELIVERABLES
  • Develop guideline briefs for different stakeholders on how to use pathways (NGO, local gov’t, state gov’t, legislators, lawyers, public, universities)
  • Mapping of relevant current and potential SDSN USA Members to participate in US DDPP work
  • List of complimentary scenario exercises being done across the US and identify important political and analytical leaders in this space
  • 4 blogs published on SDSN website about Pathways project and relevant member’s project to kickstart collaboration among members
  • List of bridges between state and local efforts on decarbonization to identify key future partners in the Midwest and Southeast US
QUALIFICATIONS
  • Familiarity with MS Word, MS Excel, and WordPress
  • Strong writing and communication skills (copy-edit experience a plus)
  • Quick thinker, self‐starter, and attention to detail
  • Experience supporting the administrative and research needs of individuals working in non-profits and/or academia is highly desired.
  • Firm understanding and familiarity with decarbonization planning and modeling
  • Ability to work independently, while collaborating remotely with various stakeholders
  • Experience working with energy markets and/or decarbonization technologies preferred
CONTRACT TERMS:

Duration: July 15 – September 16, 2019

Compensation: $18/hour, (15 hours/week)

HOW TO APPLY:

To apply, please submit a resume and cover letter to Elena Crete at elena.crete@unsdsn.org.

Kategorien: english

Heat stress spike predicted to cost global economy $2,400 billion a year

UN ECOSOC - 1. Juli 2019 - 18:36
An increase in heat stress at work linked to climate change is set to have a massive impact on global productivity and economic losses, notably in agriculture and construction, UN labour experts said on Monday.
Kategorien: english

Entrepreneurship: is there a blind assumption that this is a new economic domain?

The Broker - 1. Juli 2019 - 16:37

The terms ‘entrepreneurs’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ have gained significant popularity in recent years, particularly in development, and it can be said that the ‘entrepreneurship domain’ is to a large extent formed. Despite this, leading authors and intellects are yet to agree on what exactly these terms mean and the parameters that hold this domain together. This uncertainty over what it is we are talking about is not only impeding our knowledge on the subject, it is affecting policy effectiveness and economic performance.

Kategorien: english

What’s Next Between the United States and Iran?

UN Dispatch - 1. Juli 2019 - 14:53

Events are unfolding rapidly between the United States and Iran. At time of recording, it was reported that Trump ordered and then called off a military strike against Iran in retaliation for the downing of a US surveillance drone over the gulf of Oman. Meanwhile, Iran is threatening to take actions that would put it in direct violation of the nuclear deal, otherwise known as the JCPOA and Europe is trying is darndest to hold the deal together.

There are a lot of moving pieces right now, so I wanted to bring you an episode that gives you some context and background for understanding and interpreting events as they unfold in the coming weeks and months. To that end, I could think of no better interlocutor than Laicie Heeley. She is the host of a fantastic podcast called Things That Go Boom. She just wrapped up her second season, which was all about the Iran Nuclear Deal. The podcast tells the story behind the Iran nuclear deal in a really interesting and entertaining way, and I’d urge people to check it out.

In our conversation today, we kick off discussing Europe’s efforts to salvage the deal and the tough position Europe finds itself in. And then we have a forward looking conversation about some of the key decisions that Iran, the United States and Europe will be forced to make that could determine whether this crisis leads to war.

 

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What’s up first?

The reason why Europe is trying to take steps to address Iran’s concern is because Iran stated, Europe if you don’t do something to bring us some of the benefits of this deal and address some of the sanctions pressure, then we are done and we are pulling out of the JCPOA. Europe has announced a new euro credit line to ease trade between the EU and Iran. This is a last-ditch attempt to keep Iran from leaving the deal.

European companies are the ones being targeted by US sanctions should they do business with Iran. On the other hand, Iran is threatening to enrich uranium above certain thresholds which directly threatens European security. So, Europe is being bullied on both sides.

Europe is in a terrible position. It is tough for them to take Iran’s side fully and cast aside long-standing allies. On the other hand, they could fully side with the Trump administration, throwing out a deal they worked for years to achieve. They did try that second effort at first, and Emmanuel Macron was engaged in trying to come to an agreement with Iran before Trump pulled out. But, it did not come together in time. It is important to remember that Europe negotiated this deal, and put in a great deal of effort to do so.

Iran is deciding whether or not it will enrich uranium above 3.67%, which is the amount allowed in the deal. Can you explain what that really means?

Let’s go back to 2012. We were in a similar position, but Iran’s stockpiles were much larger. People were speculating that Israel might launch an attack on Iran. The reason was, Iran was stockpiling 20% of rich uranium, which is this threshold that experts consider a tipping point. It is hard to go from zero to twenty, because there is a lot of enrichment that has to be done. However, getting from twenty to ninety is a lot easier.

Iran had agreed to ship that uranium out as part of the deal. They have been living with 3.67%, which is what you need for energy. Basically, Iran is threatening to go back to this place where they would go beyond 3.67% or 300 kg. This would take us back to where we were before the deal. Besides bombs, you would need 20% for medical isotopes such as chemotherapy or imaging.

If they start trying to get to 20%, that is when alarm bells go off.

Iran has said that they will need that 20% to power various reactors for energy and medical purposes. This is the same argument they were making before the deal.

How would you predict the world response?

We have two choices. The Trump administration will be driving this train in a lot of ways. The reason Iran is making these moves is as a reaction to the Trump administration. The US raised sanctions as far as they can go. Iran’s economy is hurting and they must do something. There are still things we can do to signal to Iran that we want to negotiate. We are at the point where there are not a lot of additional sanctions the US can enforce. However, we can raise military pressure and threaten military action. If you are for the strategy of maximum pressure, then you take that risk of going to war. Essentially, every military commander and head of the Pentagon has said it is not a good idea to go to war with Iran. So, we either have a war with Iran, or we re-enter something like the JCPOA, or we negotiate a new deal.

War seems like the probable outcome. What are some domestic political considerations in Iran that would suggest that some elements of the regime want to provoke the US?

Iran has an interesting political environment. Folks refer to the Ayatollah as the supreme leader and people assume this is a dictatorship situation and people do not have much say. That is an unfair assumption. Its ecosystem is complicated. For instance, the Washington Post journalist, Jason Rezaian who was held in Iran for 544 days, argued that he was taken captive because the revolutionary guard wanted to scuttle the Iran deal. So, there are competing factions.

What indicators will you look towards that suggest which outcome is more likely?

We will have to watch the Trump administration. When we see them sanctioning Javad Zarif or the Ayatollah – that is a provocative move. If we don’t want to escalate the pressure, then we want to see the opposite from the Trump administration. Increased pressure means they are willing to risk of war.

*******

Update: As of July 1st, reports show that Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile tops 300kg.

Shownotes by Lydia DeFelice

The post What’s Next Between the United States and Iran? appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Digital Governance through the G20 Osaka Leader’s Declaration

T20 - 1. Juli 2019 - 12:30

The underlying spirit of the G20 Leader’s Declaration can be summarized as follows:  “We share the notion of a human-centered future society, which is being promoted by Japan as Society 5.0” (§10). This vision, along with its implications for the G20, has been articulated in various T20 Policy Briefs (see, for example, Toward global paradigm change by Dennis J. Snower and Repurposing our Economies – and our Businesses by Colm Kelly. The message is that the G20 must focus on social prosperity – the wellbeing of people in thriving societies – and the G20 must seek to recouple economic prosperity with social prosperity. 

The implications of this message for digital governance is contained in the following part of the Declaration: “We will work toward achieving an inclusive, sustainable, safe, trustworthy and innovative society through digitalization and promoting the application of emerging technologies” (§10). “Cross-border flow of data, information, ideas and knowledge generates higher productivity, greater innovation, and improved sustainable development, while raising challenges related to privacy, data protection, intellectual property rights, and security. By continuing to address these challenges, we can further facilitate data free flow and strengthen consumer and business trust. In this respect, it is necessary that legal frameworks, both domestic and international, should be respected. Such data free flow with trust will harness the opportunities of the digital economy” (§11). 

“Data free flow with trust” combines two features that are vital for the stability of the new digital age: free flow of information and trust in that information by the users. This principle requires effective legal and regulatory systems that prevent the use of information without users’ consent and the manipulation of users’ opinions by external parties. The future of the free market system and the future of democracy depends on the implementation of this principle. Accordingly, the Declaration states, “In this respect, it is necessary that legal frameworks, both domestic and international, should be respected. Such data free flow with trust will harness the opportunities of the digital economy. We will cooperate to encourage the interoperability of different frameworks, and we affirm the role of data for development.” Some implications for policy making – particularly with regard the recoupling of economic and social prosperity – are suggested in the following T20 Policy Briefs, among others: 

How to Promote Worker Wellbeing in the Platform Economy in the Global South
by Ramiro Albrieu, Martin Rapetti, Urvashi Aneja, Krish Chetty

Bridging the Gap Between Digital Skills and Employability for Vulnerable Populations 
by Alessia Zucchetti, Cristóbal Cobo, Josephine Kass-Hanna, Angela C. Lyons

Leaving No One Behind: Measuring the Multidimensionality of Digital Literacy in the Age of AI and other Transformative Technologies 
by Alessia Zucchetti, Cristóbal Cobo, Josephine Kass-Hanna, Angela C. Lyons

It is highly significant that the G20 has agreed to accept the OECD Council Recommendation on Artificial Intelligence: “To foster public trust and confidence in AI technologies and fully realize their potential, we commit to a human-centered approach to AI, and welcome the non-binding G20 AI Principles, drawn from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Recommendation on AI.” 

The OECD Recommendation is the first set of principles on the international use of AI that explicitly promotes the recoupling of economic and social prosperity. In particular:

  • “AI should benefit people and the planet by driving inclusive growth, sustainable development and well-being.
  • AI systems should be designed in a way that respects the rule of law, human rights, democratic values and diversity, and they should include appropriate safeguards – for example, enabling human intervention where necessary – to ensure a fair and just society.
  • There should be transparency and responsible disclosure around AI systems to ensure that people understand AI-based outcomes and can challenge them.
  • AI systems must function in a robust, secure and safe way throughout their life cycles and potential risks should be continually assessed and managed.
  • Organisations and individuals developing, deploying or operating AI systems should be held accountable for their proper functioning in line with the above principles.”

(OECD AI Principles)

Building on these principles, the OECD makes the following recommendations:

  • “Facilitate public and private investment in research & development to spur innovation in trustworthy AI.
  • Foster accessible AI ecosystems with digital infrastructure and technologies and mechanisms to share data and knowledge.
  • Ensure a policy environment that will open the way to deployment of trustworthy AI systems.
  • Empower people with the skills for AI and support workers for a fair transition.
  • Co-operate across borders and sectors to progress on responsible stewardship of trustworthy AI.”

Relevant T20 Policy Briefs on this subject include the following:

Transformation of Economic and Social Institutions for a New Era of Self-employment in High-income Countries
by Reiko Hayashi 

Fostering Human Dimension of the Digital Education
by Ilya Kiriya 

These principles are an important first step in addressing the major challenges that AI poses for societal wellbeing, including the following.  First, as people become more reliant on AI in their decision making processes, the ethical assumptions built into the AI algorithms will become increasingly important for meaningful human-machine interactions. Our thinking about ethical AI is still in its infancy, exposing us to implicit algorithm biases and unknown concerning our ethical expectations of machines. Second, given the huge bodies of information that machines gather about us, it is difficult to ensure that this information is not used to discriminate against people – for example, in hiring decisions and insurance claims – on the basis of inappropriate information.  Third, social manipulation through AI algorithms is already threatening to undermine the democratic process in many countries, including recent elections in the US, the EU and the Brexit referendum. Fourth, the combination of AI, ubiquitous cameras and facial recognition can permit a massive invasion of privacy by the state and large digital monopolies, setting the stage for large-scale social manipulation and oppression. These are all dangers whereby technological progress may become decoupled from societal wellbeing. The OECD principles serve to guide the development of AI with social cohesion, personal empowerment and environmental sustainability in mind. These principles thereby promote “recoupling” of economies and societies through “digital free flow with trust.” Thereby the G20 Japan 2019 has set the groundwork for a digitally enhanced human-centered society throughout the G20 members and beyond. 

The post Digital Governance through the G20 Osaka Leader’s Declaration appeared first on G20 Insights.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

The scale of the employment challenge for Africa

Global Policy Watch - 1. Juli 2019 - 12:22

SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

This article references content included in the 2019 Spotlight Report, available for download at https://www.2030spotlight.org. There will also be a side-event at the HLPF on 11 July, 9:30am-11:30pm at Baha’i International Community, 866 UN Plaza, New York. See the invitation here.

Introduction

The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)), which governments adopted in September 2015, has been described as a “supremely ambitious and transformational vision”. Since 2015 the Civil Society Reflection Group (CSRG) has been monitoring how governments and international organizations have been implementing these.

In his assessment of progress on SDG 8: Trywell Kalusopa of the African Labour Research Network argues that the current capitalist global financial and economic production system needs to undergo radical change before it will be possible to promote sustainable growth, full employment and decent work.

Reclaiming the socio- economic space for realizing SDG 8 in Africa

It had been assumed that Africa’s economic growth spurt, with countries recording rates of more than 7%, would help make SDG 8 in Africa a done deal. However, so far this growth has failed to bring about any concrete employment gains as 80% of the population continue to work in the vulnerable informal sector, and only 19% of the working population (excluding North Africa) are covered by social protection systems, and therefore cannot be described as enjoying decent work.

Some African economists have suggested this employment picture is a hangover from colonial capitalism, where the formal sector only constituted a small segment of the economy, with the rest under pre-capitalist modes of production; something which post-independence policies have failed to remedy. At present Africa’s dominant development economic model reflects an unbalanced production system, unable to absorb the vast numbers of the unemployed/ underemployed into the mainstream economy. This will hinder progress on SDG 8.

Finding out the scale of the problem

The 2017 Africa regional report on Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) stresses that in order to make inroads into changing the current system, policy-makers need a clear picture of the continent’s employment perimeters. Kalusopa says that the continent’s entire data collection and statistical systems need strengthening and to meld with SDG 8 targets in order to move forward on SDG8:

  • Governments need to collect disaggregated data by age, gender, income and geographical location so they can focus on groups that risk being left behind in the development process.
  • Employment-to-population ratios; vulnerable employment; the share of working poor (US$ 1 a day) in total employment; growth in labour productivity; gender equality, the future of work.

SMEs are a section of the economy with the potential to generate industrialization, entrepreneur revival and job creation, and thus contribute to SDG 8. More information is needed to assess this potential.

  • Governments should set up national data bases on the size and structure of the SME sector, including output, product range, employment and exports, and a competitiveness observatory.

Using all this data, governments, trade unions and business must join forces at national and regional levels to develop common methodologies for national labour market information systems. They must also draw up and assess national plans, all within the context of the SDGs.

Governments must then introduce:

  • Inclusive social protection for formal and informal workers; collective worker and employer representation and social dialogue; health and safety protection; environmental sustainability and equality at the workplace and beyond.

The informal economy and social protection mechanisms

The very high proportion of those in the informal sector in Sub-Saharan Africa means that most of the workforce, are exposed to unsafe working conditions, longer working hours, and uncertain, irregular and lower incomes. They are not protected by social security schemes or health and safety, and, maternity or other labour legislation, and as most are not unionised cannot bargain for better employment terms or protection from unscrupulous employers.

  • Governments should take immediate measures to formalise the informal economy and as a corollary should introduce social protection legislation for all workers, as this is crucial to achieve SDG 8.

New Social Contract

As a final demonstration of the aspiration to fulfil SDG 8, workers, communities, employers and governments should draw up a Social Contract:

  • This should include a universal labour guarantee for all workers, the respect for workers’ rights, decent jobs with minimum living wages and collective bargaining, universal social protection coverage, due diligence and accountability and transition measures for climate and technology.

Daphne Davies for Global Policy Watch

Kategorien: english, Ticker

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