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SDG-Report 2019 - Vier Jahre Agenda 2030: Die Politik ist am Zug!

Global Policy Forum - 24. Oktober 2019 - 16:53

Vier Jahre sind seit der Verabschiedung der Agenda 2030 mit ihren 17 Zielen für eine nachhaltige Entwicklung durch die Vereinten Nationen vergangen. Zum vierten Mal veröffentlichen zivilgesellschaftliche Verbände und Netzwerke einen Bericht zum Thema »Deutschland und die globale Nachhaltigkeitsagenda«. Wie in den vergangenen drei Jahren kommen die Autor_innen zu dem Ergebnis: Um die nachhaltigen Entwicklungsziele noch zu erreichen, muss die Politik umdenken, umlenken und ehr-geiziger handeln. Denn neue Studien und der aktuelle Report des UN-Generalsekretärs zeigen, dass es in vielen Bereichen zu wenige Fortschritte und in manchen sogar Rückschritte gibt, etwa bei der Bekämpfung des Hungers. Die Zahl der Menschen, die unter Hunger leiden, hat im dritten Jahr in Folge zugenommen. Es besteht die Gefahr, dass die international vereinbarten globalen Ziele bis zum Jahr 2030 nicht erreicht werden.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Podiumsdiskussion: Vier Jahre Agenda 2030 - Die Politik ist am Zug

Global Policy Forum - 24. Oktober 2019 - 16:08

Im Rahmen einer Podiumsdiskussion mit Vertreterinnen und Vertretern aus Politik und Zivilgesellschaft am 4. November 2019 in Berlin stellen das CorA – Netzwerk für Unternehmensverantwortung, Der Paritätische Gesamtverband, Deutscher Kulturrat, Deutscher Naturschutzring, Forum Menschenrechte, Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung, Global Policy Forum Europe, Klima-Allianz Deutschland, Plattform Zivile Konfliktbearbeitung, Verband Entwicklungspolitik und Humanitäre Hilfe und Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband ihren SDG-Report 2019 "Vier Jahre Agenda 2030: Die Politik ist am Zug!" vor.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Massive Protests are Leading to a Political Crisis in Chile

UN Dispatch - 24. Oktober 2019 - 16:03

What began last week as a protest against a fare hike in for the Santiago, Chile metro system has morphed into a broad social movement against increasing economic inequality in the country. And it has been violent. So far, at least 18 people have been killed.

From an international perspective, these protests are coming at an inopportune time. Santiago is hosting the next major global climate change conference, COP25, in early December. And prior to that, in mid November, the city is playing host for the APEC summit on Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Needless to say, the government of Sebastian Pinera is coming under increased pressure to address the concerns of the protesters. But as my guest today explains, so far the actions taken by his government have really only exacerbated this ongoing crisis.

Estafania Labrin Cortes is a Chilean reporter for the newspaper The Clinic. When I caught up with her from Santiago on Wednesday October 23, protests were still ongoing.

We kick off this conversation discussing the series of events that lead to the spontaneous eruption of nationwide protests. We then have a longer conversation about what is driving increasing inequality in Chile — indeed it has one of the highest degrees of wealth inequality among the world’s major democracies. As Estafia Labrin Cortes explains, this is partly due to legacies from the Pinochet dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s.

If you have 25 minutes and want to learn what caused these protests, how they spread so quickly and learn some of the broader international implications of this crisis in Chile, have a listen

Get the Global Dispatches podcast Apple Podcasts  | Google PodcastsSpotify  |  Stitcher  | Radio Public

The post Massive Protests are Leading to a Political Crisis in Chile appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Our correspondent was found dead

D+C - 24. Oktober 2019 - 15:57
We mourn the death of our Zambian colleague Humphrey Nkonde

Humphrey was deeply committed to the area he covered and took interest in its communities. He was eager to serve the public by providing information and was involved in investigative journalism.

He started to contribute to D+C in 2016, reporting on many relevant issues. His most recent article was about what reduced rainfalls mean for food security and electric-power supply.

We do not know the circumstances of his death. Given that we are based in Frankfurt, we cannot do any meaningful research. However, we gather from reports on African websites, that the police found Humphrey's body and buried him immediately. Apparently, his family members say that he died by suicide, but his colleagues and his employer, Mission Press, a Catholic outfit, are unconvinced.

We know that he was planning to attend a conference on investigative journalism in Hamburg shortly before he died. We find it bizarre that someone should take his life briefly before embarking on an important trip abroad. Humphrey had told members of our team that he was excited about the conference and eager to attend.

None of our team members has an in-depth understanding of Zambia, nor do we know Ndola. We do know, however, that in many countries, people would read a situation like this as a journalist having been murdered because he was about to reveal secrets that some powerful person or group did not want to become public. In such places, his family's suicide theory would be interpreted as a response to further threats of violence. 

It does not make sense for us to speculate about what happened to Humphrey from afar. We find it troublesome that we are living in times in which violence against journalists is increasing in many countries. As far as we can tell, Humphrey's death requires further investigation.  (E+Z/D+C)

The full list of Humphrey’s D+C contributions:

Kategorien: english

Indispensable transformation

D+C - 24. Oktober 2019 - 15:02
The global agriculture must become climate-neutra

Agriculture is not only a driver of climate change, it is also among the victims. Drought, flooding and extreme weather are becoming ever more common. In developing countries in particular, farmers need to consider modifying their practices. Innovation, including digitalisation, offer new opportunities. Traditional knowledge will often prove a good starting point. Smallholders in developing countries, however, tend to lack access to the competent advice, cutting-edge knowledge and financial services that might allow them to invest in innovation. Infrastructure tends to be inadequate, moreover, and that is equally true of the regulatory environment in many countries.

Apart from the climate crisis, humanity is facing another huge challenge. How will we feed the growing world population? According to the most recent edition of the World Hunger Index, which is compiled every year by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide, two international non-governmental organisations, the number of those suffering hunger has been growing in the past three years and has now risen to more than 820 million globally.

At the same time, humanity is actually producing enough food to sustain 7.6 billion people. Distribution is not up to task. The situation is particularly bad in places rocked by civil strife. However, many peaceful countries in Africa do not manage to produce enough food for their people either. Harvest losses because of extreme weather compound the problem. Many people cannot afford to buy imported goods. International food aid is not available to all of them, and it is no sustainable solution the first place. It is irritating, moreover, that tons of unused food end in the garbage bins of rich nations. At the same time, there are considerable post-harvest losses in disadvantaged countries, especially regarding rice and wheat. The main reason is poor storage facilities, with pesticides and fungi thriving in moist and hot settings.

Industrialised nations have the funds, the knowhow and everything else they need to transform their agriculture and make it climate friendly. What they lack, is the political will. Powerful interest groups oppose change. The challenges are even greater in many developing countries because they lack the wherewithal – from money for investments to relevant knowledge, from basic infrastructure to sophisticated logistics for marketing farm produce.

To improve rural standards of living, it is not only necessary to make farming as environment-friendly and productive as possible. Small-scale urbanisation in remote areas will help. Small and mid-sized towns can specialise in processing agricultural goods as well as in providing services to farmers. Jobs can be generated that way. If more people find livelihoods in their home regions, migration to megacities will slow down.

These are complex challenges. We are facing global problems that require global solutions. The rich nations must not let developing countries down.  Otherwise, neither climate protection nor food security will be feasible.

Sabine Balk is member of the editorial team of D+C Development and Cooperation / E+Z Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit.

Kategorien: english

Public-private cooperation in the agricultural sector

D+C - 24. Oktober 2019 - 13:13
Multinational seed companies are working with the government hand in hand

In most cases, these actors are interconnected, and multinational seed corporations are driving many projects. There is a huge number of public-private partnerships in which private-sector companies cooperate with governments to advance their own economic interests.

One example is the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). It presents itself as an African initiative, but it is primarily financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the US development agency USAID. AGRA works closely with Grow Africa, a consortium of over 200 companies whose goal it is to increase private-sector investments in and profits from agriculture in Africa.

In this context, it is important to note that the seed industry has declared Burkina Faso a target country for the introduction of genetically modified varieties. Despite the spectacular flop of genetically modified cotton, which was supposed to be resistant to a particular kind of caterpillar, the government wants to bring genetically modified black-eyed peas to the market in the near future.

Furthermore, experiments are currently under way in Burkina Faso, relying on advanced methods of biotech­nology. Gene-drive technology, for example, can change the genetic make-up of entire populations of species. It is being used to make mosquitos sterile in order to reduce the mosquito population and thereby slow the spread of malaria. Civil-society organisations oppose this approach, pointing out that the experiments are being carried out without the prior consent of the local people and against national and international biosecurity agreements. (ls)

Kategorien: english

Traditional seeds are under threat

D+C - 24. Oktober 2019 - 11:32
Industrial and genetically modified seeds are on the rise in Burkina Faso

Like other West African countries, Burkina Faso is a highly agricultural nation. The sector generates 35 % of the gross domestic product and employs four out of five working people. Most of them are smallholders, and many produce primarily for their own consumption. Their livelihoods depend on farmland and seeds. Therefore seeds and the traditional way in which they are used and managed are vital to the nutrition of rural people. This is the basis of existence.

Farmers’ traditional means of using, propagating, breeding and exchanging their seeds are under serious threat. Large seed companies are aggressively campaigning for the use of industrial and genetically modified seeds and forcing their way into the market. They are receiving support from government programmes and laws that play into their hands, as well as from a variety of other actors and donors in the country’s agricultural sector (see box).

In 2006, Burkina Faso passed a law regarding plant seeds. Although it recognises both traditional and “improved” seeds, it promotes almost exclusively the distribution of commercial seeds, primarily by establishing intellectual property rights on varieties and strongly regulating production and trade. Traditional varieties are only affected marginally. However, the law does not address farmers’ rights to keep, use and exchange seeds within their own networks. It does restrict farmers’ rights to certified varieties which are protected by intellectual property rights.

In official discourse, the traditional seed system is seen as inferior. Publicly and privately financed programmes are heavily advertising the commercial system in the countryside. The government is subsidising the production of certified varieties, presenting them as the solution to a variety of problems that farmers face, including ever shorter rainy seasons as well as regional and temporal changes to rainfall patterns. The country is feeling the impacts of the climate crisis. Another argument is that commercial varieties supposedly lead to higher yields. What is not mentioned, is that they require the use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides.

Diverse and well adapted

Despite the aggressive campaigns, the vast majority of farmers in Burkina Faso still uses the traditional land races that have been bred over generations. As Melaku Worede, the Ethiopian scholar, and other dissident scientists and non-governmental organisations like FIAN have been pointing out for a long time, landraces actually suit local needs (see D+C/E+Z 2012/03, p. 102). Indeed, traditionally used varieties amount to a biological treasure trove, which offers suitable cultivars for all kinds of weather and locations. Farming communities have been breeding for centuries, and further breeding means adaptation to changing conditions. The famers know what variety to use in which circumstances. Some cope with draught, others with pests. The biodiversity of the crops keeps smallholdings resilient. At the same time, commercial breeders use traditional seeds to include desired characteristics in their products.

It is thus not surprising that, according to official data, 80 % of Burkina Faso’s farmers rely on traditional land races. Smallholders are preserving the agricultural biodiversity they and their ancestors have always depended on. In view of the climate crisis, this approach makes sense. The weather is becoming increasingly volatile, and extreme weather situations occur more often than in the past. As in other countries, that is happening in Burkina Faso. Commercial seed may indeed deliver higher yields, but prudent use of landraces ensures that farmers are very unlikely to lose an entire harvest.

Farming communities have sophisticated seed systems, not only for traditional and local varieties, but also for varieties from other regions and so-called improved varieties. The farmers manage their seeds according to traditional practices and knowledge. The system is ruled by traditional conventions and collective community rights.

Because of the close relationships farming communities have to plants, animals and nature in general, and because of the central importance of these natural resources to their way of life, farmers have certain rights to seeds and varieties. These rights have been enshrined worldwide, for instance in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). The UN-Declaration on the rights of peasants, that was adopted in 2018, confirms these rights. However, these rights are not recognised by all countries, and even where they are recognised, the implementation of respective laws may remain unconvincing.

With support from civil-society organisations, farmers’ associations in Burkina Faso are fighting for the government to implement their international rights, particularly ITPGRFA Article 9 on the rights of farmers. Thanks to their efforts, the parliament passed a law regarding access to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. The law contains provisions addressing how profits from the use of these resources are to be distributed. One chapter explicitly governs the rights of farmers and puts Article 9 of the ITPGRFA in force in Burkina Faso.

On this basis, legal provisions that recognise and effectively protect the traditional seed system must now be passed. Farmers get the right to keep, use and trade their seed varieties. Regulations must then be accompanied by policy measures and public research. Producers, moreover, must focus on the needs of small-scale agriculture. Maintaining the traditional seed system in its entirety is the only way to preserve Africa’s enormous diversity of species and varieties and the knowledge of its farming communities.

Lucien Silga is the coordinator of the international human-rights organisation FIAN in Burkina Faso.

Kategorien: english

A local solution for data collection

Devex - 24. Oktober 2019 - 11:30
Kategorien: english

Happy World Development Information Day! #devinfoday - 24. Oktober 2019 - 8:51

The UN dedicates its own anniversary on 24 October to Development Information. Since 1972 we celebrate World Development Information Day. Let’s party!

“Information and communications technologies have the potential to provide new solutions to development challenges, particularly in the context of globalization, and can foster economic growth, competitiveness, access to information and knowledge, poverty eradication and social inclusion.” General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/65/141 )

The General Assembly in 1972 established World Development Information Day to draw the attention of the world to development problems and the need to strengthen international cooperation to solve them (resolution 3038 (XXVII)). The Assembly decided that the date for the Day should coincide with United Nations Day, 24 October, which was also the date of the adoption, in 1970, of the International Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade.

The Assembly deemed that improving the dissemination of information and the mobilization of public opinion, particularly among young people, would lead to greater awareness of the problems of development, thus, promoting efforts in the sphere of international cooperation for development. More

Kategorien: english

Deportation to Syria could mean death for women, children and LGBTQ refugees in Turkey

UN Dispatch - 23. Oktober 2019 - 16:34

Ed note. This is a guest post from:  Deina Abdelkader, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan isn’t limiting his assault on neighboring Syria to attacking Kurdish troops that run the country’s northern region. He says the 3.6 million Syrians now living as war refugees in Turkey may also be returned “to their own homes” once northern Syria is wrenched from Kurdish control.

This could be an empty threat. After eight years of welcoming people fleeing Syria’s civil war, the Turkish public is beginning to turn against Syrian refugees. Erdogan may see anti-refugee rhetoric as a way to boost his popularity, which is slumping due to recession in Turkey and years of controversial power grabs.

But if the Turkish president does deport Syrian refugees, he won’t be sending them to a “safe zone,” as promised. These extremely vulnerable people would be deported into the lines of combat in this contested, oil-rich zone.

The forgotten half: Women Syrian refugees

In my experience researching minorities at risk in the Middle East, governments dealing with mass migration often overlook the particular challenges facing the most vulnerable refugees: women, children and LGBTQ people.

The Syrian refugees in Turkey are majorly Sunni Muslim – the same faith that predominates in both Turkey and Syria. However, Syrians are ethnically and linguistically different than Turks.

Syrian refugees differ from the broader Turkish and Syrian public in another way, too: 75% of them are women and children, according to the global nonprofit Migration Policy Institute. Between 2011 and 2017, more than 224,000 babies were born in Turkey to Syrian refugee families. Those children are now stateless, granted neither Turkish nor Syrian citizenship at birth.

Syrian women refugees suffer more discrimination and racism in Turkey than their male counterparts, research shows.

This is partially due to a big gap in Turkish language acquisition: 20% of Syrian refugee women complained that lack of language causes exclusion and discrimination, U.N. survey data from 2016 shows, compared to 13% of men.

Even so, 73% of Syrian refugee women told the U.N. that they feel safe in Turkey. That may be related to their resettlement in cities and towns across Turkey, primarily in Istanbul, where they usually live in poor neighborhoods.

Those areas surely feel secure compared to war-torn Syria. They are safer, too, than refugee camps along the Turkish-Syrian border, where rape, human trafficking, prostitution and child marriages have all been reported, according to OBC Transeuropa, a think tank.

Half of all Syrian female refugees were under the age of 18 when they were displaced by war to the Turkish border area.

Children in al-Bab, northern Syria, which was seized from the Islamic State by Turkey and Syrian opposition fighters last year, May 29, 2018.
AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis LGBTQ Syrian refugees: An untold story

Turkey’s Syrian refugee community includes other marginalized groups that would face unique dangers back home, including gay, lesbian and trans people.

The exact number of LGBTQ Syrian refugees displaced across the region is unknown, human rights groups say. But Syria – like much of the Middle East and North Africa region – is a dangerous place to be gay.

Homosexuality is illegal in Syria, and both the government and terror groups like the Islamic State persecute sexual minorities. Being gay is culturally unacceptable according to traditional Islamic mores.

Though Turkey does not criminalize homosexuality, it is not always safe for LGBTQ Syrian refugees, either. Gay Syrians have suffered physical and verbal attacks, often with little response from law enforcement or the government.

In August 2016, Muhammed Wisam Sankari was found mutilated and killed in Istanbul, two days after he went missing. Sankari had told police he feared for his life after having previously been abducted, tortured and raped by unknown attackers, according to reports.

Recent crackdowns by the Turkish police in Syrian refugee communities, have been detaining and deporting thousands of Syrian refugees, including LGBTQ people.

The Turkish government denies that it is forcibly returning refugees to a war zone, which would be illegal under Turkish and international law.

Fighting continues in northeast Syria near the Turkish border despite a U.S.-brokered ceasefire.
AP Photo/Emrah Gurel

For LGBTQ Syrians, going home may be a death sentence.

In August 2019 a transgender Syrian woman named Ward told The Guardian newspaper that she feared being deported to the Turkey-Syria border because the al-Nusra terrorist group, a branch of al-Qaida with 5,000 to 10,000 fighters in western Syria, would kill her.

Ward was deported days later. She was last seen in late August being forced into the trunk of a car by militants in Syria, according to the Guardian report.

Collateral damage

Erdogan’s stated purpose in invading Syria is to rid its northern region of the Kurdish Worker’s Party – an armed militia and political party known as the PKK – and create a “buffer zone” between the two countries.

The PKK has been a thorn in Turkey’s side for the past 41 years.

With Syrian government support, PKK leader Abdallah Ocallan has been threatening the Turkish government with a Kurdish separatist insurgency long before Erdogan’s presidency.

The United States, like Turkey, considers the PKK to be a terrorist organization.

But in Syria the U.S. had, until its recent military withdrawal, allied itself with other secular and progressive Syrian groups, namely the Syrian Democratic Forces.

The Kurdish minority in northern Syria, as in nearby Iraq, has long been stuck between Ocallan’s armed militia, the Turkish government and their own authoritarian leaders – used and abused, my research finds, by politicians seeking to further their own regional agenda in the Mideast.

Returning Syrian refugees to this battleground would make them the “buffer” between these warring forces, turning more vulnerable people into collateral damage of a greater geopolitical war.


Deina Abdelkader, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Lowell

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The post Deportation to Syria could mean death for women, children and LGBTQ refugees in Turkey appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

New ILO research identifies policies to tackle poverty and inequality

INCLUDE Platform - 23. Oktober 2019 - 15:50

Combining active labour market policies with income support makes both measures more effective in tackling poverty and helping people find decent work, a new report finds.

ADDIS ABABA (ILO News) – Strategies to increase access to decent work and tackle poverty are significantly more effective when active labour market policies (ALMPs) are combined with income support, according to a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

What’s more, the analysis found that while income support and ALMPs both had drawbacks when implemented in isolation, when combined “the beneficial effects tend to be unequivocal”.

The new report What works: Promoting pathways to decent work , looks at the role of ALMPs (such as training, career advice and start-up support) in emerging and developing economies, and how they can help people overcome labour market obstacles when combined with income support.

“Gainful employment remains the most reliable way of escaping poverty”, the report says, and people who receive this combined support have greater chances of finding a job and the employment they get is generally of better quality. Such integrated packages can also reduce skills mismatches, increase labour productivity, and help workers cope with the labour market consequences of economic crises, technological change, climate-related changes and seasonal variations.

“Countries which increase income support find that the effectiveness of their ALPMs also increases, and when spending on ALMPs is increased the impact of income support is also magnified,” states the report “What’s more, if properly designed and executed these policies can become self-financing in time.”

“The effects on poverty eradication of the right combination of income support and active labour market policies cannot be overestimated,” said Verónica Escudero. “Together, they can affect not only unemployment but underemployment and informality too.”

The report advises that certain conditions are required for an integrated approach to be effective, notably, sufficient resources, sufficient institutional capacity to administer the policies, and the full involvement of the social partners – workers’ and employers’ organizations – as well as governments.

The report includes as range of analytical tools and outputs and examines in detail two successful, ‘combined’ schemes, the Workfare Programme in Mauritius and the national Social Emergency Plan (PANES) in Uruguay.

The Report the broader research project


This post was originally published on the website of the ILO, which you can find through this link.

Het bericht New ILO research identifies policies to tackle poverty and inequality verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Internet as the gateway to the future of work in Ethiopia

INCLUDE Platform - 23. Oktober 2019 - 13:22

The future of work (FoW) creates new job opportunities, but unless measures are taken, only a select group will benefit. Internet access is a precondition for many manifestations of FoW and can be considered the gateway to knowledge, a conduit for systems and a linkage facilitator. Therefore, our main policy advice to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is to invest in open Internet access for all Ethiopians.

The future of work

The nature of work and the workplace are rapidly changing. From the rise of the gig-economy, facilitated by online platforms such as AirBnb, Uber, and Etsy, to artificial intelligence applications in healthcare capable of identifying abnormalities on medical scans, society and the labour market are transforming. Much of the existing research conducted on the FoW is oriented towards Western labour markets. Little is known about the FoW trends in Sub-Saharan Africa – a unique setting that will house over a quarter of the world’s under 25 population by 2030. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 10 to 12 million youths enter the labour market each year, while annual job creation falls short by 3.1 million. Failure to capitalize on this demographic dividend has resulted in large scale youth unemployment, a phenomenon that is not without consequences, as bleak job prospects and poor living conditions have been linked to civil unrest and migration within and out of Africa.

While the FoW trends offer unparalleled opportunities, at the same time, they threaten to exacerbate inequalities, as the gap widens between those with the capacity to adapt to the changing circumstances and those who lack the means to do so. Informed policy interventions with targeted investments are imperative to harness the potential of the FoW and ensure decent jobs for all. In addition, trends associated with the FoW are not equally applicable in all settings. We identified mechanization, online platforms, big data and artificial intelligence as the four FoW manifestations most likely to play a role in Ethiopia’s agricultural sector in the coming years.

Four manifestations of FoW – in brief Mechanization: 70% of the Ethiopian labour force is employed in the agricultural sector, a sector characterized by smallholder farming with only 0.7% of plots currently using agriculture machinery. The mechanization of farming will not only increase productivity, but has the potential to create job opportunities, both up and downstream.

Online platforms: Over 80% of Ethiopia’s 3.8 million active social media users are between 18 and 34 years of age, and online platform usage will only increase as the young population grows. Social media has the potential to facilitate linkages between young people and other stakeholders, as well as the life-long learning that the FoW requires.

Big data: In 2015, Addis Ababa housed over 700 computer technology companies and 95 software businesses operating both domestically and abroad. Large-scale agricultural datasets hold the power to reform and optimize agricultural processes, for instance, by advising regions on fertilizer use or mapping the effect of environmental degradation.

Artificial intelligence (AI): The first AI solutions for the agricultural sector based on visual recognition software are rapidly emerging, including smartphone applications that detect crop diseases based on photos. These AI applications can have significant spillover effects in other sectors.

With the exception of mechanization, all of the manifestations of the FoW in Ethiopia will require Internet access. Internet access is no longer a luxury, but a vital necessity for growth and development, not only at a national and international level for governments and large multinationals, but for entrepreneurs and individuals such as smallholder farmers as well. In the coming decades, the Internet will function as a vital medium for knowledge exchange and linking stakeholders with connectivity, forming an integral part of the way systems function. Open Internet access not only holds great potential for transforming the labour market, increasing productivity, and creating new job opportunities, it can contribute to other sectors as well, including governance, healthcare, education and services. For this reason, above all, the Dutch MFA should prioritize supporting inclusive, sustainable and open Internet access for all Ethiopians. Other recommendations include investing in building local digital knowledge, using the full potential of existing data, creating a data market and promoting knowledge sharing through open access online courses. Women, the illiterate, and people in rural areas must be included when implementing these recommendations to ensure that existing inequalities are not increased.

Interested in reading the full policy brief? You can find it here.

About the research The future of work (FoW) is shaped by trends deriving from the ongoing interaction between technological innovation and societal development. However, these trends are highly debated and more research is needed on this topic. The Sustainable Economic Development Department and the Social Development Department (DDE/DSO) track of The West Wing – a think tank of students and young professionals – conducted a case study on the manifestations of the future of work in Ethiopia, with a focus on the agricultural sector, to fill knowledge gaps on employment in Sub-Saharan Africa. The central goal of this year-long project was to draft recommendations for the Dutch MFA that would allow young Ethiopian smallholder farmers to benefit from FoW in an inclusive way.

DDE/DSO track of the West Wing 2018–2019

Het bericht Internet as the gateway to the future of work in Ethiopia verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Why it is so difficult to leave the EU

D+C - 23. Oktober 2019 - 13:09
Deconstructing myths about the European Union





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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is the top Brexiteer. He prominently campaigned for leaving the EU, and he is now responsible for making it happen. The irony of the matter is that he obviously is uncomfortable with the idea of Britain’s Parliament closely scrutinising his policies. He unlawfully suspended Parliament some weeks ago, but that decision was blocked by Britain’s Supreme Court.

Next, he insisted on keeping negotiations with the EU secret, so it really only became obvious late in the game that he was giving up red lines the British government had previously insisted on. It is actually quite bewildering that Johnson now wants to establish a customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. He used to rule out such a decision categorically.

Last night, the House of Commons agreed to seriously consider the deal he struck with the EU, but it insisted it needed more time than Johnson was willing to grant for scrutinising the implications and  passing necessary legislation for implementation. The prime minister wanted to ram everything through Parliament in a mere three days. According to British law, the normal time MPs must have to consider international treaties is 21 days. Frustrated with Parliament not accepting his timeline, Johnson has now paused debate on the matter, which shows that he really does not want that debate to happen in depth.

The underlying reason is probably that there are other disruptive implications apart from the new customs border. No, the Brexiteers’ campaign promises of frictionless trade with the EU in the future will most certainly not come true. It has become obvious in the past three years, that exiting the EU is far more complex than Johnson and his political allies ever acknowledged.

They always painted the EU as a bureaucratic monster that was eating away at members’ sovereignty without providing any serious benefits. What they overlooked is that pooling sovereignty serves member countries’ interests and enhances their global standing. The myth of the emerging superstate does include a grain of truth, but it is vastly overblown.

The current Brexit drama provides a good opportunity to consider how the EU became what it is today. It turns out that myth of the superstate is not the only distorting narrative. Reconsidering others is interesting too.

The historian Kiran Klaus Patel does an excellent job of deconstructing three such myths. He shows that, while there is some substance to the ideas of the EU being a peace builder, a driver of prosperity and a potential world power, there never was a master plan to make any of these things  happen. What now looks as though it was a preconceived goal was typically a side-effect of action taken. EU history often evolved in incremental steps in response to various crises.

Patel is a professor at the University of Maastricht. His book “Projekt Europa” was published in German by C.H. Beck last year. Cambridge University Press is preparing an English translation that is scheduled to appear in April 2020.

Let’s take a brief look at some the three myths Patel deconstructs. As he shows, the EU did serve a peace-building function, but it did not play an important role in reconciling the war-torn continent immediately after 1945. At the time, many different international organisations were established to promote peace. The first precursor of what is now the EU, the European Community for Coal and Steel, was only started a decade later and it had a mere six members: West Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The same countries soon started two other communities, pooling their policymaking on nuclear technology and establishing a common market. Only by the end of the 1950s, were the three communities merged, and Euratom was long believed to be the most important component. Only in the 1990s did the European Community become the EU.

In regard to peacebuilding, this community was actually somewhat ambivalent in its early years, according to Patel: on the upside, it reinforced trust and cooperation among its members, tying them closer together and turning Germany and France, the former enemies, into close allies. On the downside, the Soviet Union and its allies considered it a reinforcement of the western block. In the early 1980s, by contrast, the EU insisted on maintaining trade relations with the Soviet block and thus mitigated Washington’s re-escalation of the Cold War to some extent.

In Patel’s eyes, the EU only really became a major peacemaker in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union by offering perspectives to Eastern European countries. EU enlargement proved very important in ensuring peaceful transitions.

Patel does not elaborate on the Good Friday agreement that ended the Northern Ireland troubles in the late 1990s. This international peace treaty was based on the fact that, thanks to the EU’s single market, no hard border was needed anymore between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Leaving the EU thus undermines the preconditions of peace, which is why the EU insisted on not introducing a new hard border on the island. Johnson’s acceptance of a customs border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain is historically awkward, to put it mildly, and the consequences remain to be seen.

In regard to economic affairs, Patel does not deny that the European Community was always useful, but he argues convincingly that it was not a driver of growth in the early years. In his assessment, economies were expanding fast due to opportunities provided by post-war reconstruction and the introduction of new technologies. National governments, however, used the European Community to manage difficult transitions. For example, joint agricultural subsidies cushioned off rural change, slowing down the pace at which smallholder farming was becoming unviable. In a similar sense, inner-community migration, especially from southern Italy to industrialised cities in northern member countries, reduced social tensions as well as labour market bottlenecks.

As for making the EU a world power, Patel not only elaborates how this aspiration was always tampered by pragmatism, but also shows that the USA was generally supportive of its allies’ regional integration for geostrategic reasons. Washington may sometimes have found “Brussels” to be a difficult partner during the Cold War, but its stabilising impact on western Europe was most valuable. Over time, the EU became a powerful player in trade affairs with an increasing influence in other policy fields. However, it still is basically a non-entity in military matters. NATO is quite obviously much more important. So why did a six-member community of West European countries evolve into the dominant supranational organisation in Europe and a global model of regional integration? According to Patel, there were several important differences from other international organisations:

-  The EU and its precursors were not merely intergovernmental organisations, but had strong supranational components which concerned administration, legislation and judicial matters. Right from the start, there were joint commissions that administered the joint policies, and they were later merged into one commission. Moreover, there was binding joint legislation that all member countries had to implement. A joint court of law ensured that this happened. In other words, the member countries pooled sovereignty and that made their community especially effective.

- The EU and its precursors played a crucial role in economic policymaking. Building the common market, which in the long term proved to be the most important initiative, meant that market- relevant regulations had to be coordinated. Such regulations have an immediate bearing on people’s lives. Accordingly, major industries, lobby groups and trade unions paid close attention. This community increasingly mattered in citizens’ eyes.

For these reasons, the  late-comer among international organisations increasingly overshadowed competitors. In particular, the European Free Trade Organisation proved a less coherent and weaker initiative, so Britain, Ireland and Denmark switched sides in the early 1970s. Since then, ever more countries have joined the EU. In spite of the Brexit referendum, it has proven surprisingly resilient.

Patel’s book explains why. It elaborates how the EC started in the 1950s and grew into the EU by the mid-1990s. It does not discuss more recent crises. Brexit, refugees and sovereign debt do not figure. Nonetheless, the author’s insights help to understand what the EU is today and why it has proven so resilient. The most important point is that it serves members’ interests. Another is that its institutional setup and decision-making processes are flexible enough to rise to challenges. Indeed, Patel shows, that the EU’s history is best understood as a series of successful responses to crises rather than as the implementation of a rigid master plan.

The historian expresses the evidence-based hope that the EU is not about to disintegrate, but more likely to evolve into an even more important supranational organisation. As in the past, he expects such a development to be marked by fuzzy compromises and sudden innovations rather than to be guided by strict principles.

The truth is that the EU has a lot of shortcomings but also a lot of strong points. It is a complex and multi-layered supranational organisation in which national governments still play decisive roles. At the same time, it makes many things easier for them. Extricating a member from this union is very difficult and has massive consequences. It is nothing that should be rushed with a superficial insistence on “getting Brexit done”.


Patel, K. K., 2018: Projekt Europa. München: C.H. Beck.
English translation (“Project Europe”) 2020 forthcoming and scheduled for April: Cambridge University Press. 

Kategorien: english

Accelerating Change Towards the Sustainable Behaviours That Really Matter – The Academy of Change Publishes Final Report

SCP-Centre - 23. Oktober 2019 - 12:22

At the end of July 2019, the Academy of Change (AoC) completed the final milestone of the first round – a capacity building programme on behaviour change for more sustainable living patterns. The results of the programme have been impressive as we have been able to narrow down the elements of a successful behaviour change intervention as well as design, implement and test three pilot interventions on the ground. This journey and other learnings from the project have been captured in AoC’s recently published final report.

AoC is a unique professional development journey to help NGOs build their skills to enable more sustainable behaviour within their target groups, allowing them to integrate evidence-based knowledge about the underpinnings of behaviours into their strategies and projects. Through this project we have –

  • Enabled networking and peer knowledge exchange among NGOs based on their needs and experiences
  • Facilitated direct testing of behaviour change interventions on the ground and in partnership with local NGO partners
  • Co-developed sustainable behaviour change pilots in different countries around the world.

In the recently published final report, ‘Accelerating change towards sustainable behaviour that really matter – with NGOs and beyond’, you can learn about the first two years of the Academy work, the tools developed and the results achieved. We invite you to join us in developing successful approaches to enable a good life within the limits of a sustainable planet.

And finally our latest announcement! We are happy and excited to share that the first round of AoC will be followed by a second round where we aim to double our outreach and impact. If you’re curious and are part of an NGO covering sustainability and climate topics, then sign-up for our newsletter and drive the change together with us!

AoC is the CSCP’s programme on sustainable behaviour designed for future leaders working on climate change and sustainability in the NGO sector. It is a non-profit initiative of the CSCP, Behaviour Change, funded by the KR Foundation.

For more information on the AoC programme, please contact Mariana Nicolau.

Der Beitrag Accelerating Change Towards the Sustainable Behaviours That Really Matter – The Academy of Change Publishes Final Report erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Re-engineering the value chain

D+C - 23. Oktober 2019 - 12:09
Twiga is improving livelihoods by linking smallholder banana growers to informal urban retailers in Nairobi

What difference is Twiga making in the lives of smallholder farmers?
Twiga ensures they have access to a fair and transparent marketplace via mobile phone, resulting in higher prices for their goods. In the past, they often lost money, time and products because sales depended on multiple layers of brokers to get their goods to wholesale vendors and then retail markets. Each middleman took a cut that ate into their family’s income. Twiga offers higher and more stable prices than middlemen. To date we have about 17,000 farmers in our network.

What difference are you making in the lives of informal retail grocers?
We deliver quality goods to their doorstep. Before, fresh-produce vendors had to get up at 4 am and head to the wholesale market. Now, Twiga is bringing the goods they need directly to their shops and stalls. We have a network of about 6,000 vendors. We currently cover about 40 % of a typical informal retailer’s offerings. Our prices are actually 10 % to 20 % below those in wholesale markets, with consistently high quality.

In what sense does Twiga depend on digital technology?
Twiga’s approach is to “re-engineer” the agricultural value chain. We use digital technology to empower the farmers we source from as well as vendors we deliver the goods to. We process data in real time. Moreover, Twiga is cooperating with financial-service providers who rely on digital devices, so vendors can now finance regular purchases with loans that are interest-free for the first three days. Our e-commerce platform allows informal grocers to place orders, view their order history and plan future orders.

Twiga started out with distributing bananas. Why is this fruit strategically important?
Well, Nairobi consumers love bananas and spend about 2.5 % of their disposable income on them. Bananas rot fast, moreover, so it is important to market them fast. We link farmers and retail vendors efficiently.

In what sense is your distribution system better than the conventional wholesale supply chain?
Twiga has built digital systems that allow us to process data in real time so we can continuously adjust prices and routes responding to what is on offer and what is demanded. We now provide many of the farm produce vendors want, including potatoes, tomatoes, onions, water melons and many other goods. On top of that, we also distribute staple foods like sugar, rice and maize. Our product range also includes milk, juices and even sweets. It covers about 75 % of what urban households buy. We keep broadening the range of products, so we are becoming ever more valuable in our partners’ eyes.

Why are informal grocers so important?
The plain truth is that urban Africans depend on them. Cities are growing fast, and there typically are only very few formal shops and supermarkets. By aggregating the orders of thousands of informal grocers, we can improve quality and efficiency. We supply goods at attractive prices and at the right time.

If the pattern is the same across Africa, will your business model work in other places too?
Yes, 100 % in sub-Saharan Africa. We keep learning and perfecting our business model. In Nairobi today, a banana which is sourced only a few miles away costs the same as a banana costs in London after having been transported for thousands of miles. On the other hand, people in many African countries spend about 50 % of their disposable income on food, versus only 13 % in London. We are driving change to the benefit of farmers, grocers and consumers, and we plan to expand to other African cities soon.

How many people are you currently employing and what is your monthly turnover?
We have 500 employees, and our monthly turnover was about the equivalent of $ 1 million in spring.

Peter Njonjo is Twiga’s co-founder and chief executive. The interview was done by e-mail. Hans Dembowski first met him during a trip organised by DEG, the German development finance institution, which is supporting Twiga with loans because of the contributions the company is making to improving both urban and rural living. DEG belongs to KfW banking group.
Twitter: @njonjo2012

Kategorien: english

Earning a living with pottery

D+C - 23. Oktober 2019 - 9:31
To escape poverty, a young refugee started to sell self-made pottery in Uganda and succeeded

Molly has been living in Uganda for the past four years after fleeing from her home in Pajok, due to continued violence. As a refugee living in Arua in the West Nile region of Uganda, life has been very hard for Molly and her family with little to eat and dependent on humanitarian aid. These circumstances made her think about how to help herself.

She remembered that as a young girl she picked interest in pottery, paying keen attention to her aunt and mother making pots from clay. So she decided to start moulding pots and selling them for a living.  

In many African cultures, clay pots are very popular. They are used for storing cold water, decoration and preparing food. Locals in Uganda believe that food and sauce cooked in clay pots taste better than meals cooked in steel pans.

I asked Molly to describe pot moulding. “It starts with the extraction of clay soil which is only found along river banks or near swamps”, she said. Clay soil is smooth, soft and rich, and when moulded, it holds firmly together. “After digging out, we cover it for a day or two to make it moister and richer. After that, it is ready to be processed and can be given any form.” Among other things, Molly creates water pots, cooking pots, decorations, cups, flower pots and dishes. To make the pottery strong, durable and ready for sale, Molly burns them in hot fire.

According to Molly, many young girls want to learn from her how to mould pots. She willingly shows them how to do it. But, she explains, not everybody can mould pots, because the handicraft is a passion: “I am gifted. To me pottery is inspirational, creative, and I am motivated when clients come and buy my pots.”

Molly faces numerous challenges including scarcity of clay soil with land owners charging for every scoop. And the market is competitive because many refugees and host communities make pots. However, Molly and her family manage to make a decent living from the sale of their products. Moreover, Molly is a motivation and inspiration to many young refugees who may feel disempowered to rise up.

Gloria Laker Aciro Adiiki is a journalist and media trainer in Kampala, Uganda. She coordinates the Uganda Refugee and Migration Media Network and heads the Peace Journalism Foundation of East Africa.

Twitter: @GloriaLaker


Kategorien: english

Ministerial Meeting on UNEA Nitrogen Management Resolution

Women - 23. Oktober 2019 - 4:09

Launch of the United Nations Global Campaign on Sustainable Nitrogen Management, a High-Level Segment and Science – Policy – Political Dialogue to be held on 23 – 24 October 2019 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Member States recognized the urgency of addressing Nitrogen management in meeting air quality, water quality, climate, stratospheric ozone and biodiversity goals, while offering huge economic opportunities to reduce approximately SZOO billion of reactive nitrogen that is wasted every year; as well as reducing eutrophic zones affecting fishing and tourism industries. This resolution calls for sharing and making available existing information and knowledge in the development of evidence based and intersectorally coherent approaches in domestic decision-making towards Sustainable Nitrogen Management.

The overall objective of this campaign is to:
l. raise public awareness of Nitrogen challenges and opportunities by bringing together broad
participation and discussion, including; governments, science, policy, business, civil society,
2. promote appropriate training and capacity building for policy makers and practitioners in developing
widespread understanding and awareness of the nitrogen cycling and opportunities for action,
3. facilitate assessment of multiple environmental, food and health benefits of possible goals for improved
nitrogen management, quantifying the net economic benefits for food and energy production,
freshwater and marine environmental quality, air quality, greenhouse gas mitigation and
stratospheric ozone depletion mitigation.

The ultimate goal of the United Nations Global Campaign on Sustainable Nitrogen Management is to develop
a comprehensive global strategy on Nitrogen management.

Kategorien: english

An Overview of Emerging Disruptive Technologies and Key Issues

DEVELOPMENT - 23. Oktober 2019 - 0:00

The article provides an overview of emerging disruptive technologies. These technical innovations render existing technologies and social relations obsolete or radically altered, possibly driving harmful direct and indirect social, economic and ecological disruptions. Creating taxonomic order for technology innovations and being able to parse out their key features starts the path to governance. The article also shows that it is important to assess the agendas at play, enable clear horizon scanning and establish adequate Technology Assessment practices that can determine the significance of an innovation and the options and means to govern it.


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