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Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond

Global Policy Watch - 27. August 2020 - 19:17

A snapshot of the ongoing work at the United Nations in times of crisis

by Bodo Ellmers

Download this Briefing (pdf version).

This briefing paper looks at the financing for development (FfD) work at the United Nations in 2020, an exceptional year due to outbreak of the global coronavirus crisis in the spring. Following this shock, FfD became a highly relevant issue on the UN agenda. The FfD process as originally scheduled was redesigned, with the FfD Forum originally scheduled for April cut down from four days of face-to-face meetings to a virtual session that lasted for just one hour. An official outcome document was adopted anyway, however free of concrete commitments that would match the needs of coping with the crisis.

In late May, Canada, Jamaica and the UN Secretary-General took the initiative to convene the High-Level Event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond, which saw unprecedented participation by heads of states and governments, and eventually led to the foundation of six thematic working groups mandated to develop policy options on pertinent FfD topics – such as debt relief and illicit financial flows – or even wider sustainable development issues such as growth, labor, and the rather abstract concept of recovering better.

This briefing paper is a snapshot that maps, summarizes and briefly analyses the work on FfD at UN level that took place in 2020, until mid-August. In doing so, it aims to create more transparency about this important UN workstream, help to disseminate its preliminary outcomes, and mobilize and enable more actors to participate constructively in this work. A strong and effective multilateral response to the crisis, with the UN at its center, will be crucial to mitigating the impact of the coronavirus crisis and ensuring a speedy recovery.

Contents

Introduction – an extraordinary year for FfD

The crisis’s impact on development finance

The UN’s FfD agenda revamped

The 2020 virtual FfD Forum

The FfD forum outcome document

Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond

The six Discussion Groups and their work

Group 1: External Finance and Remittances, Jobs and Inclusive Growth

Group 2: Recovering Better for Sustainability

Group 3: Global liquidity and financial stability

Group 4: Debt Vulnerability

Group 5: Private sector creditors engagement

Group 6: Illicit Financial Flows

Conclusion

Introduction – an extraordinary year for FfD

The coronavirus crisis took the international community by surprise. If the year 2020 had been business as usual at the United Nations, the Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development (IATF) would have presented their monitoring report – the Financing for Sustainable Development Report – in draft format in February.1 Eventually, governments and other stakeholders of the informal group “Friends of Monterrey” would have retreated to a conference hotel in Mexico for a few days in March, to discuss what to get out of the 2020 Financing for Development Forum, which was scheduled to take place in April, as it had done each year since 2016.

Diplomats in New York would have started to negotiate a brief outcome document for the annual FfD Forum, and some government negotiators would have insisted to delete most concrete commitments during the process, resulting in a vague and unambitious product whose most elaborate element would have been the new mandate for the researchers working on the following year’s IATF Report. In April, the global FfD community would have gathered at UN headquarters in New York to exchange views for a week. And from May to December, not much would have happened, until the annual FfD-process cycle would have begun again. But then COVID-19 developed into a full-scale global pandemic, and became a game changer for the UN’s financing for development agenda.

The last thing that happened as planned was the publishing of the draft IATF report in early March.2 The monitoring exercise in the draft report identified backsliding in many key FfD areas, and consequently, the report conveyed strong messages around the guiding theme “arrest the backslide”. It fit well for purpose, as the 2020 FfD Forum was supposed to be the first of the “Decade of Action” to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Even before the coronavirus crisis hit humanity as an unprecedented global triple crisis (health, economic, financial crisis), SDG implementation had not been track. The UN planned to address this by calling on the international community to scale up and speed up their efforts for the remaining ten years of Agenda 2030, including in the key area of financing for development, among other things a cornerstone of the SDG’s “means of implementation”. The draft IATF report pre-corona crisis assessed the state of play in all FfD action areas and established stagnation or even setbacks in many areas. This was the dire state of affairs before the onset of COVID-19.

The crisis’s impact on development finance

The coronavirus crisis then turned out to be a ‘perfect storm’ for development finance3 – an unprecedented event, in which all sources of development finance dried up simultaneously:

  • Domestic tax revenue decreased naturally, as the lockdowns froze almost all economic activity, and some countries even gave tax breaks to relieve pressure on private economic actors.
  • Foreign private capital exited developing countries in record volumes and in record speed in March 2020, with nearly 100bn US-dollars being transferred to ostensibly safer havens in just one month.
  • Export revenue collapsed due to a combination of overall lower trade volumes, and lower prices especially for commodities. One day in late March, the oil price even fell below zero.
  • Workers’ remittances fell due to a massive surge in unemployment, affecting especially workers in more precarious jobs that are often done by migrants.
  • Only official development assistance (ODA) was not showing a clear trend yet. Some donors, such as the UK, announced massive cuts, while others, like Germany, recorded substantial increases.

While revenue collapsed, public spending needs to be increased massively. Both the IMF4 and the UN5 estimated that developing countries (or emerging markets) would need an extra 2.5 trillion US dollars to cope with the crisis. Whereas richer countries are able to respond to such a crisis with gigantic rescue packages, financed by debt-financed fiscal expansion and monetary expansion by central banks, poorer countries are naturally unable able to mobilize domestic resources to the same extent. Alone the fiscal support financed by budgetary measures accounted for 8.3 % of advanced economies’ GDP by June 2020; this is 6.6 percentage points higher than in the global financial crisis. Developing countries in turn could mobilize just 2.0 % of their much smaller GDP.6 It soon became obvious that COVID-19 would not merely cause a humanitarian disaster in poorer countries, it would also sound the death knell for the UN’s fragile Agenda 2030, unless the international community made extraordinary efforts towards a coordinated and effective response leaving no one behind.

The UN’s FfD agenda revamped

Multilateral coordination was hampered when officers up to head of state level moved home to work, and international flights or any physical meetings were now no longer possible. In 2009, to address the last major financial crisis, the UN convened an extraordinary global Summit, the “UN Conference at the Highest Level on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development”, at UN headquarters in New York. A similar response was not possible under the conditions of a global pandemic. Nevertheless, some parties, and especially civil society organizations (CSOs), called early on for an UN Economic Reconstruction and Systemic Reform Summit, aiming to foster multilateral consensus on the immediate crisis response but also to exploit – in the spirit of ‘never miss a good crisis’ – the political window of opportunity to pursue long overdue reforms of the international financial architecture.7

In the early months of the pandemic however, no new opportunities were created. The immediate consequences for the UN-FfD process were:

  • The Friends of Monterrey retreat in Mexico got cancelled.
  • The IATF went back to the drawing board, and revised the 2020 FSD report in a way as to reflect the coronavirus crisis.
  • An FfD Forum outcome document was negotiated and eventually adopted, however in the new style of ‘zoom and whatsapp diplomacy’, avoiding physical meetings.
  • After several weeks of back and forth, it was decided that the FfD forum would, albeit virtually, and in a massively abridged format, with just one hour of speeches, instead of the originally scheduled four days of interactive dialogue.
  • To complement the FfD Forum, the President of ECOSOC announced the addition of an extra informal meeting to the UN’s agenda, to be held on the 2nd of June 2020, “with a focus on needs on the ground and concrete financing options for Member States”.8

The 2020 virtual FfD Forum

The FfD Forum is, in the UN’s own terms, “an intergovernmental process with universal participation mandated to review the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and other financing for development outcomes and the means of implementation of the SDGs.”9 The virtual event, which lasted for just one hour saw speeches by the ECOSOC President (Mona Juul from Norway), by UN Secretary General António Guterres, by the President of the UN General Assembly (PGA) (Tijjani Muhammad-Bande of Nigeria), and by GAVI’s chairwoman Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former Nigerian Finance Minister. ActionAid International chairwoman Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda spoke for CSOs, while the private sector representative was Jay Collins of Citigroup. No representatives of UN Member State governments spoke or intervened in the event. And as there was no dialogue, it was difficult to sense what positions individual Member States and UN negotiation groups would take towards FfD in the new context of the coronavirus crisis.10

Remarkably, while the outcome document has been weak on ambition and largely free of concrete agreements, the speeches were relatively bold. In particular, ‘debt’ was high on the agenda. The official summary states that “A debt standstill and targeted relief were stressed unanimously as preconditions for recovery in developing countries”.11

In what was probably the highlight of the virtual Forum, for the first time since assuming office, UN Secretary General Guterres explicitly endorsed the creation of “a mechanism to address sovereign debt restructuring in a comprehensive and coordinated manner that takes account of the need for countries to step up their efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals”, thereby backing a long-standing demand for international financial architecture reform by the G77 and CSOs working on debt justice. Guterres also called for the extension of the debt moratorium offered by the G20 to all developing countries that request forbearance, including middle income countries, and stressed the need for actual debt relief. To ensure that governments have sufficient liquidity, he called on the IMF to issue additional Special Drawing Rights.

Mona Juul also stressed the need for action on debt and recalled steps and proposals already made. Moreover, she emphasised the need for action on tackling illicit financial flows, and reminded participants of the gendered impacts of the crisis, as it was often women who were taking strains.

Decisive action on debt featured in the speeches of Okonjo-Iweala and Gumbonzvanda, too. The former also stressed the need to provide vaccines at affordable prices and strengthen health systems, while the latter raised awareness for inequalities in the context of COVID-19 as poverty, race and gender all mattered for the impact of the crisis. She demanded to address the underfunding of public services, curtail illicit flows, promote progressive taxation including a COVID-19 wealth tax, and, for rich countries, deliver a USD 500bn aid package to help poor countries cope with the crisis. The President of the General Assembly (PGA) called for international solidarity, supported the call to honor ODA commitments, and reminded participants to continue implementing the Agenda 2030 under the new conditions of the COVID era. He stressed the need for all creditors to participate in debt relief efforts. Citigroup’s Jay Collins wanted to keep capital markets open and retain private sector participation in debt standstills on a voluntary basis.

Despite their brevity, the speeches at the April virtual FfD Forum gave clear signals for priority areas in which action was needed, and thereby set the pace for the following events, in particular the new FfD process in the era of COVID-19 that emerged. The spaces at the Special Event on “Financing a Sustainable Recovery from COVID-19” on the 2nd of June were primarily used by representatives of international institutions, who presented the work they had been doing to address the crisis.12 Priority areas mentioned in April had been reinstated, but otherwise little news was added.

The FfD forum outcome document

The FfD Forum outcome was supposed to be a “programme of action … the first universally agreed UN set policies to finance COVID-19 response and recovery”, reads the official announcement on the UN website.13 This sounds bold, but with regards to the magnitude of the crisis and the challenges that the international community faced, the outcome was a huge disappointment.

The preamble raises high expectations, and refers to the double challenge to find the resources to finance the existing SDG agenda and the new crisis response needs, stating: “We are determined to advance bold and concerted global action to address the immediate social and economic impacts and achieve a quick, inclusive and resilient recovery, while keeping in sight the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”14 However, a number of powerful governments blocked every action-oriented agreement, so that not a single concrete action is agreed upon.

Thus, the FfD forum outcome document only contains vague declarations of intent, e.g. to develop disaster risk financing strategies and instruments (para 6). On tackling the new debt crisis, the document just welcomes steps taken by IMF and World Bank to provide additional liquidity, and the debt

service suspension initiative (DSSI) agreed earlier by the G20, and vaguely states that the Member States will “continue to address risks of debt vulnerabilities”, without going into any detail. Donors are called upon to honor their ODA commitments, without clear steps or a timetable for how the targets will be met being outlined.15

On taxation, the UN Member States just acknowledge “that any consideration of tax measures in response to the digitalization of the economy should include a thorough analysis of the implications for developing countries”, obviously referring to the parallel process on digital taxation ongoing under the leadership of the exclusive circle of the OECD. On illicit flows, members re-commit to address challenges in combatting them, without getting anywhere near detailed statements (para 14). As regards private finance, the outcome “welcome(s) the growing interest in sustainable investment”, and Member States commit to creating an enabling environment and incentivizing greater sustainable investment in developing countries … to ensure a sustainable recovery from the pandemic” (para 16). Perhaps the most noteworthy, if not only, concrete outcome was that the IATF was mandated to address the impact of the pandemic in the 2021 Financing for Sustainable Development Report.

The negotiations around the FfD outcome were overshadowed by the disputes between China and the USA about many things, but here in particular about the role of the WHO. The first draft had contained a passage that policy action would take place “with the World Health Organization at the forefront”, which got deleted as the negotiations proceeded. US president Trump had criticized the WHO for being too China-friendly.16

Also deleted was an explicit reference to considering capital account management in paragraph 10, despite the obvious fact that effective capital controls could have prevented the massive outflow of capital from developing countries in March. On debt, the passage “through existing channels” was added to the commitment to address debt vulnerabilities. That was counter-productive because it lowered the expectations on governance reforms in a context where it was already obvious that existing channels were no longer up to the task, and that no existing channel can ensure much-needed and widely demanded private creditor participation in debt relief programs.

All in all, the official outcome of the 2020 FfD Forum was a missed opportunity. The opportunity presented by UN Member States having been convened anyway to debate economic and financial affairs could and should have been used to agree on bold and concerted actions to put FfD at work in the coronavirus crisis. But governments did not find a consensus, no such action was finally agreed. The sense of disappointment was obviously shared, not just by CSOs, but also by senior management of the key UN bodies, which might explain the much bolder and concrete policy suggestions the UN Secretary General and PGA made during the virtual FfD Forum on April. The actions mentioned were the actions needed.

It could be argued that the failure was due to the challenging conditions in which negotiations took place – by the uncertainty caused by the rapidly changing external environment and the challenges of moving from face-to-face to virtual negotiations. The delegates could have easily reacted to it by simply agreeing an early date for the Fourth International Conference on Financing for Development at highest political level, the successor to the Monterrey/Doha/Addis Ababa series of FfD conferences, which is overdue to be held. However, there was no consensus on the if and when it would be held, so the decision was deferred for another year.

But, while unanimous consensus on bold actions was not immediately achievable in April, many UN Member States found that loitering for a whole year in the midst of an unprecedented global humanitarian and development disaster was not an option. Contrary to the response to the global financial crisis in 2008/09, political leadership in this situation was not exercised by the traditional great powers, whose governments showed little interest in coordinating the multilateral response.

Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond

The initiative to set up an extraordinary process came from Canada and Jamaica, in cooperation with the UN Secretary-General. Rather spontaneously, they convened the “High-Level Event (HLE) on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond”, scheduled to take place on the 28th of May 2020. Chaired by Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, and Andrew Holness, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, the HLE convened a for – FfD standards – record number of political big shots, including many heads of states from larger countries that were usually just represented at ministerial level, even at the International FfD Summits, such as the latest one in Addis Ababa in 2015.17

The impressive participation is evidence of the relevance of having a substantial high-level FfD discussion in the new context of the COVID era. Germany was represented at the event by Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Italy by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. The French President Emmanuel Macron and the Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, at least sent video messages. On top of this, all major international organizations participated at the highest level, including the IMF (Georgieva), World Bank (Malpass), OECD (Gurría), the UN (Guterres) of course, and, surprisingly, also the European Union, separately represented by the President of the European Commission (von der Leyen). Furthermore, countries of the South were represented by prominent Heads of States.

South Africa, also holding the presidency of the African Union, was the first to speak. President Ramaphosa picked up from the debates at the FfD Forum. To address the debt crisis, the international community should start with an across-the-board debt standstill, followed by targeted debt relief, and setting up a debt workout mechanism, i.e. developing a comprehensive solution to structural issues in the international debt architecture. The African Union supported the UN Secretary General’s call for a global response package amounting to at least 10 % of the world’s GDP. This would imply more than 200 billion US dollars of support for Africa.

European heads of state were positive about the need for international cooperation, but remained vague and non-committal, procrastinating over concrete steps. Angela Merkel announced that Germany would work for the full realization of the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), including for private creditor participation in debt relief, and requested to check the need for further action on debt at the end of the year. She expressed Germany’s support for additional steps at the IMF, namely a Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocation (knowing that these are currently not possible due to lack of support by the de facto IMF veto power USA).18 She stressed the need to tackle corruption and illicit financial flows, and that the crisis should also be seen as an opportunity and recovery should be in line with the SDGs and the climate treaties.19 The President of the European Commission, von der Leyen, supported the view that the recovery should be green, digital and just. She presented the idea for a Global Recovery Initiative linking investments and debt relief to the SDGs.

France cited scaled up support to health systems and to Africa as priorities (including debt restructuring). Macron also announced that France would host a Summit of Public Development Banks to take place in November this year. Costa Rica gave strong support to the issuance of SDRs and stressed the need for the reform of the global finance order, driven by solidarity. Norway, Japan and Italy emphasised their support for the DSSI. Japan and the UK flagged, among others, their financial support to the IMF’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT), which enabled the IMF to write off some loans owed to the IMF by its borrower countries.

Norway furthermore emphasized the need to curtail illicit financial flows, and pointed to the work of the new FACTI panel at the UN that had been set up with the strong support of the Norwegian ECOSOC presidency.20 Kazakhstan, as chair of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, stressed that all developing countries should have access to debt-to-health swaps to gain the fiscal space needed to cope with the crisis.

In addition, a bold statement was also made by Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados, which also holds the chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Mottley pointed to the urgency of taking decisions, warning that “time is not our friend … we will be asked what we did in the period of COVID”. The HLE should help to ensure that poorer people and smaller countries did not become collateral damage to the larger countries. She pointed out that the international financial architecture created 75 years ago was no longer up to the task, sidelining too many countries when it came to access to concessional finance, or debt relief. Debt instruments needed to ensure that countries affected by disasters could suspend debt payment. Pakistan, which had earlier presented its own proposal for a debt relief initiative, once again made it clear that developing countries didn’t have the fiscal space to respond to the crisis that richer countries enjoyed.

Similar statements on the need for debt relief, SDR issuance, and creating fiscal space were made by other heads of countries speaking at the summit, including Belarus, Colombia, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, St Lucia and Togo – as well as by civil society – including for example society speakers from Oxfam and the International Trade Union Confederation. Oxfam also flagged the need to introduce new solidarity taxes to raise money for crisis response, including a new financial transaction tax, and restated the demand to hold an International Summit on Economic Reconstruction next year that could actually make fundamental decisions.

Interestingly, very few speakers trusted that the private sector could play a significant role in the crisis response going beyond its participation in debt relief initiatives. This was a significant deviation from the hegemonic view in the pre-COVID FfD dialogue in recent years, which had attributed the primary role in development finance to private finance, and had degraded public finance to a supporting role in blended financing instruments leveraging private finance. Only Singapore spoke out in this regard.

Donald Kaberuka, the Special Envoy of the African Union, made it clear that the key criteria of success was whether the international community managed to mobilize additional finance to address the crisis: “At the end of the day, the key issue is additionality: fresh, new financing”. He criticized the current multilateral response, which was mainly frontloading disbursements by the multilateral development banks, as an unsustainable strategy that would backfire in future years.

The 28th of May High-Level Event on Financing for Development in the COVID-Era was a timely and remarkable event which attracted a record number of Heads of States from developed and developing countries alike. In doing so, it proved that the UN can be a highly relevant convening space. A space that has the advantage over the G20 that it is fully inclusive, i.e. that all the world’s nations have a space at the table, and even the non-governmental stakeholders have good access. Moreover, a space that has the advantage over the IMF that the mandate is much broader – including also human rights, and sustainable development in its broadest sense, and that power and voting rights are more equally distributed.

However, one downside of the HLE was that no concrete additional actions or measures had been agreed and announced. Representatives of governments and international institutions welcomed the (insufficient) steps already taken elsewhere, e.g. in the G20, and to some extent showcased the actions that their states and institutions were already taking. Little was achieved to get anywhere near the funding and debt relief targets that the UN had announced earlier: the 2.5 trillion USD package composed of additional aid, debt relief, and special drawing rights.

Intended as such or not, the HLE was not a pledging conference contributing to creating the fiscal space needed in the COVID era. Its value was primarily to kick off a long overdue intergovernmental process about necessary global economic governance reforms at United Nations level. To pursue these reforms, six thematic working groups have been founded, with the mandate to explore reform options along relevant thematic axes or streams.

The six Discussion Groups and their work

The six Discussion Groups (DG) founded after the HLE reflect the priority interventions that came up during the HLE’s debates. Namely

  • the need to find an urgent solution to the new wave of debt crisis (DG4)
  • the challenge to involve private creditors in debt relief efforts (DG5)
  • the need to curtail illicit financial flows and plug a black hole that impedes the recovery (DG6)
  • the urgent need to provide liquidity to countries in need so that necessary imports can be financed (DG3)
  • the more fundamental question how to raise external finance and secure jobs and growth in the COVID era and beyond (DG1)
  • and the cross-cutting affair of how to “recover better” from the devastating crisis, in a way compliant with the Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement (DG2)

The six discussion groups of the FfD in the COVID-19 era process

Group 1: External Finance and Remittances, Jobs and Inclusive Growth

Group 2: Recovering Better for Sustainability

Group 3: Global liquidity and financial stability

Group 4: Debt Vulnerability

Group 5: Private sector creditors engagement

Group 6: Illicit Financial Flows

States, head each of the groups and provide political leadership. In most cases, the chair(wo)men are Ambassadors from Permanent Representations at the UN in New York. Some DGs have up to four co-chairs. The UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Financing the 2030 Agenda (Mahmoud Mohieldin) and his office play an overall coordinating role.

The process runs in two phases: In Phase 1 that lasts from June to September, each group is to hold three virtual meetings. The key output of the groups should be an option paper to be presented at the first key milestone, the Ministerial Meeting on the 8th of September. This meeting will kick off the second phase of the working group process, whose modalities are currently undefined. At a new high-level meeting on the 29th of September, on the margin of the 75th UN General Assembly, the heads of states will be reconvened to take “a decision”21 on the menu of options.

The remaining part of this briefing paper gives a rough overview of the working group’s work so far. All documentation that has been officially disclosed can be found in the sub-section of the UN website dedicated to the process, which also contains a subsection for each of the DGs where their information can be found.22

The working modalities

The working modalities were presented at a virtual ‘soft launch’ of the DGs on the 24th of June. They have multi-stakeholder character. Each of the discussion groups is composed of representatives of Member States that have an interest in the issue. Private sector and a limited number of civil society participants have been invited to join the groups. Civil society participation is facilitated zby the CSO FfD group, in some case complemented by outreach of DG members or staff. Secretariat support is provided by UN bodies, mainly UN DESA (here primarily the Financing for Sustainable Development office), UNCTAD, and the UNDP. At least two co-chairs, all representatives of Member

Group 1: External Finance and Remittances, Jobs and Inclusive Growth

Member State Co-Leads: Bangladesh, Egypt, Japan, Spain

Member State Participants: Cabo Verde, China, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Russia, South Africa.23

UN Entity Focal Point: UNCTAD

Discussion Group 1 combines a larger number of development finance flows, or action areas of the traditional Financing for Development process. The first co-leads’ working note released on the 22nd of July indicates that the group discusses

  • Private finance and investment, including foreign direct investment, and financial instruments to mobilize private finance
  • the role of public investment remittances
  • the role of Official Development Assistance and other officially supported resources to the SDGs

  • decent jobs and inclusive growth – this, however, with a strong focus on social protection.

What is remarkable in the working note is the strong focus on and abundant space devoted to private finance – as opposed to public finance – within the complex of external finance that the group is mandated to the discuss. The note suggests that mobilizing private finance is a central necessity for recovery and SDG-financing, calls to “develop scalable pipelines of investment-ready projects” and recommends the use of guarantees and even tax incentives to promote private investments. The latter would further reduce countries’ fiscal space. In doing so, the note follows a discourse that was prevalent at the OECD and EU ahead of the COVID19 era, exactly at a time when OECD and EU Member States had rediscovered the role of the active and developmental state during the crisis. Only some caution is raised, e.g. when the note warns about the need to assess the cost of blending versus other financing mechanisms.

The note also finds that 87 % to 91 % of infrastructure investment is public investment. One recommendation is to (re-)capitalize public development banks (PDBs) appropriately, and to ensure that their governance structures “reflect the current political economy”. The costs of remittances should be reduced through greater competition and through digital technologies. The ODA part calls for honoring of commitments, and for using reverse graduation processes to ensure access to concessional finance. The recommendations on social protection are most remarkable. With regard to the limited coverage of social protection systems caused by the inability to finance them in poorer countries, the note suggests a Global Fund for Universal Social Protection financed through global financial transaction tax and digital tax.

The first virtual meeting of the group took place on the 28th of July and attracted more than 120 participants. Interventions at the meeting contributed complexity, e.g. by adding even more types of flows such as diaspora financing to the DG‘s list. There were strong pushes to honor ODA commitments, and for the state to create better incentives to direct public and private finance to sustainable development. The following meetings are scheduled for the 14th and 27th of August.

Group 2: Recovering Better for Sustainability

Member State Co-Leads: Fiji, Rwanda, United Kingdom and European Union

Member State Participants: Algeria, Bangladesh, Belize, Brazil, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Haiti, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Mexico, Morocco, Republic of Korea, Saint Lucia, South Africa, Russia, Spain and Sweden

UN Entity Focal Point: UNDP

Discussion group 2 covers the broadest and most abstract theme. It has also amassed the largest number of member state participants, with a disproportionate representation of countries from developed countries, especially Europe, as compared to other groups. The group’s theme leans on the currently fashionable “build back better” theme used across the UN system, which aims to promote recovery policies aligned with the SDGs and Agenda 2030. At the soft launch of the working groups, several speakers flagged that the recovery should be green and resilient, and should help to reduce inequalities.

The group’s level of the ambition is not entirely clear. The official summary from the first meeting first keeps expectations low, stating that “the policy recommendations should be practical and pragmatic proposals that will find the necessary political will and can be easily implemented”. But it goes on to state that “the recovery should bring about structural changes that create decent jobs, and harness technology for a new development model of social inclusion, equity, environmental sustainability and should have a focus on local needs”. The latter obviously implies a more fundamental revamp of the development model pursued in recent decades. In any case, appropriate financing strategies and options should be added to policy recommendations. According to the official summary, the first (virtual) meeting counted 124 total participants, which would make it the largest of the Discussion Groups.

Ahead of the second meeting, which took place virtually on the 5th of August 2020, a “Draft Summary of menu of policy options” was circulated to invitees. The 18-page document was compiled following inputs received by group participants. It contains in total 244 policy recommendations for different financial sources (such as tax or private investment), different sectors (such as agriculture or health), and different actors ranging from the local governments to central banks and international organizations. The compilation is an informative compendium of contemporary thinking on financing for sustainable development – or at least of the thinking of those stakeholders represented in the group.

Due to the strong representation of UN Member States from developed countries, especially from the EU, the options very much reflect the discourse that took place at EU level in Brussels during recent years: sustainable finance strategies centered around more ‘sustainable’ private investment, in which the state plays a reductionist role as a market regulator, i.e. by providing soft-law standards for a “green taxonomy”. The paper indicates that both more thematic focus and more diverse group membership would be useful for the group.

The second meeting of the group on the 5th of August again counted more than a hundred participants. The question of thematic focus remained challenging. Some representatives demanded an even further expansion of the scope to missing areas such as trade, but finally a decision was made to narrow the policy recommendations down to a shortlist of about 20 or so, at the discretion of the co-chairs.

Group 3: Global liquidity and financial stability

Member State Co-Leads: Costa Rica and Maldives

Member State Participants: Antigua and Barbuda, China, Colombia, Haiti, India, Kazakhstan, Malawi

UN Entity Focal Point: ECA in representation of the Regional Economic Commissions

The third discussion group on global liquidity and financial stability has a much narrower thematic focus than the previous two groups. It discusses a matter of key concern for developing countries as they, in March 2020, fell victim to the fastest and largest wave of capital flight that ever happened within such a short timeframe. However, the group faces two challenges. The first one is how to distinguish its discussion topic from those of Discussion Groups 4 (debt vulnerabilities) and V (private creditor participation). To address these challenges, the Groups 3, 4 and 5 held their first meeting jointly on the 16th of July. Only the second meetings were held separately, in the case of Group 3 on the 5th of August.

The second challenge is how to secure good participation. The overall number of participants has not been overwhelming to start with, and initially no single developed country joined the group. Neither did private sector actors. This is unfortunate as it had already been mentioned at the soft launch event that the treatment of developing countries by private rating agencies had been a devastating blow to their governments’ efforts to stabilize their finances during the crisis, so there would be a need to bring them to the table. Canada and Russia participated in the second meeting, though.

The second meeting of the Group discussed the impact and feasibility of a number of options based on a technical input prepared by the Secretariat (i.e. UNCTAD). First and foremost were the issuance and reallocation of Special Drawing Rights, a proposal that featured strongly in HLE statements in May. This proposal is deemed the most useful overall. It is however the one where political feasibility (‘ease of adoption’) is shaky as its implementation implies overcoming the current reluctance of the USA’s veto power in the IMF Executive Board. In this light, alternatives such as capital account management, addressing liquidity shortages through new swap and repo arrangements between central banks, and the role of IMF emergency lending facilities and regional financing arrangements are also on the group’s agenda.

The group also discussed the innovative proposal to establish a Multilateral Development Fund called FACE (Fund Against COVID Economics), managed by the World Bank or several Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) together. FACE would fund concessional long-term loans to developing countries, free of structural conditionalities. It would be financed by contributions of the most powerful economies, and match developing countries’ own resources devoted to post-COVID recovery. FACE should provide financing to the tune of 3 % of a beneficiary country’s GDP, which sounds ambitious but is well below the fiscal stimulus that most richer countries have already spent at home.

Other participants mentioned that IMF gold sales could generate fresh resources. The establishment of a global rating agency could overcome some of the challenges related to dependence on private rating agencies. One participant stressed that the different policy options were not mutually exclusive.

Group 4: Debt Vulnerability

Member State Co-Leads: Netherlands, Pakistan and the African Union

Member State Participants: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Brazil, Cabo Verde, China, Ethiopia, France, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Russia and the United States of America

UN Entity Focal Point: DESA and UNCTAD

Group 4 picked up a central topic of the May HLE, the question if and how much debt relief is needed, and for whom. The starting point for the group is the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), which was launched in April. The first phase of the DG’s work, until the Ministerial Meeting in September, is mainly to discuss how to expand the DSSI – with expansion being possible in terms of scope (more debt categories included), eligibility (including (some) middle-income countries), and duration (standstill longer than end2020). The second phase from September onwards should be devoted to discussing more fundamental reforms related to lending and borrowing and debt restructuring, including of the international financial architecture.

Already at the soft launch, some players argued that there was a need to go beyond debt suspension – a debt operation that simply frees-up liquidity – towards actual debt cancellation, as only cancellation could address a fundamental state of insolvency that many countries might have entered into due to the COVID shock. One of the co-chairs, Pakistan, had made its own proposal for a debt relief initiative earlier this year, which secures strong political leadership for the group. One of the group’s co-leads has made clear that the key principle to guide the group’s work was that debt could not stand in the way of development. Remarkably, even a major economic power from developed countries announced to join the debt vulnerabilities groups, with the intention to contribute constructively and pursue concrete outcomes, to limit the use of confidentiality clauses in debt contracts so that they become more transparent, and to refrain from collateralized debt contracts which make debt restructurings more difficult.

Group 3, 4 and 5 held their first meeting jointly on the 16th of July. Especially middle income countries such as South Africa supported the expansion of debt standstill agreements to other countries. The need to work with new debt swaps was also mentioned: a share of a country’s foreign debt would be forgiven in exchange for investments in, for example, the Sustainable Development Goals. Many expressed their support for the DSSI, and repeated their call that private creditors should participate in the DSSI. Others found that multilateral creditors should participate, a call which triggered debate as some were arguing that it would have an impact on credit ratings and borrowing costs of the MDBs concerned.

The debate about World Bank participation continued at the second meeting, on the 6th of August. This meeting was mainly a panel discussion, where experts presented policy options. These included among others debt buyback facilities, different versions of debt swaps, and also the idea of enforcing comprehensive debt relief through UN Security Council Resolutions (following the precedent of Iraq in 2005), or a debt restructuring framework building its decisions on the human rights based approach. The experts’ input enriched the discussions. A Member State representatives, however, reminded the group of the need to come to an agreed set of options within a very short timeframe.

Group 5: Private sector creditors engagement

Member State Co-Leads: Antigua and Barbuda and Senegal

Member State Participants: Brazil, China, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Morocco, Saint Lucia

UN Entity Focal Point: DESA

The participation of private creditors in coordinated debt relief initiatives was mentioned as a central necessity at the HLE in May. Cancellation or at least suspension of payments, not just to bilateral creditors but also to private creditors, is needed on the one hand to create additional fiscal space, and on the other to ensure fair burden sharing among creditor groups. Countries like China and international institutions like the World Bank called early and explicitly for private creditor participation, including at the discussion groups’ soft launch. The challenge for the group is that, until now, calls for voluntary private sector participation have not yielded any positive results, and enforcing private sector participation is difficult in light of the absence of effective institutions that can tackle sovereign insolvencies.

The group met jointly with Groups 3 and 4 on the 16th of July, and the second meeting on the 6th of August was held back-to-back with Group 4. Private rating agencies (Moody’s) and the major commercial banks’ lobby association (the Institute of International Finance, IIF) had been invited and participated in the group early on. The official summary of the first meeting states that, to facilitate private participation in debt relief in the short or long run, “co-chairs saw room for discussions on legal support mechanisms, debt buyback facilities, debt swaps for investments, and reprofiling of debt, including the use of state-contingent instruments”.

The question of how to ensure private creditor participation remains unanswered until now. A developed country with strong financial industry presence in its economy, advocated voluntary participation. It was also argued that bankers’ and fund managers’ fiduciary responsibilities and the possible reactions by credit rating agencies made private sector participation difficult. When leading academics spoke at the second session, the tendency was to explain that private creditor participation wouldn’t happen voluntarily, which leaves mainly the two policy options to either bail-out or buy-out private creditors with public monies (through debt buy-back facilities or the provision of IMF loans, or to create effective institutions that make comprehensive, speedy and orderly debt workouts possible, i.e. to create a sovereign debt workout mechanism.

The IIF itself has produced a term-sheet for private participation in the DSSI, but to no effect in practice. Concerns about how private creditors might react have so far even stopped a large number of DSSI-eligible countries from requesting the bilateral debt standstill that they could enjoy. Representatives of Member States expressed their discomfort with the fact that non-participation by private creditors essentially implied a de facto bail-out. Savings from the DSSI as well as fresh resources provided by the IMF were financing installments paid to private creditors, instead of creating the fiscal space needed to combat COVID-19.

Group 6: Illicit Financial Flows

Member State Co-Leads: Barbados and Nigeria

Member State Participants: Algeria, Bahamas, China, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Liberia, Luxembourg, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Russia and South Africa

UN Entity Focal Point: DESA

Curtailing illicit financial flows (IFFs) has also been identified as a priority area when it comes to creating fiscal space and mobilizing financing to cope with the COVID crisis. Several heads of state referred to it at the HLE, and the Ambassador of Nigeria stressed at the soft launch of the discussion groups that, to be effective, IFFs had to be addressed at both ends, in source countries as well as in their destination countries. Such a comprehensive approach requires international cooperation. Nigeria volunteered to co-chair the group, together with Barbados.

Discussion Group 6 runs parallel to an expert panel on Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI), which deals with similar topics. This panel was established at the UN earlier this year and has started its operations. Since then, several consultations have taken place within FACTI’s work, background papers have been commissioned, and the experts had discussions among them. By late September 2020, they are expected to present their interim report. Thus DG6 could build on this work. The relationship between FACTI and DG6 has, however, not been made fully clear so far.

The discussion group met virtually for the first time on the 17th of July 2020. A background document had been circulated earlier to group participants – the group has strong developing country participation. The background paper reminded readers of existing agreements, especially those in the UN’s Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the UN Convention on Corruption (many of which await proper implementation). It also mapped current discourses in areas such as withholding taxes, transparency and integrity, and structural shortcomings that need to be addressed to curtail IFFs. Delegates raised a wide range of options, relating to e.g. tax governance, such as the need to set up an intergovernmental tax body at UN, or develop a UN Tax Convention, anti-corruption and asset-recovery measures, or beneficial ownership transparency and anti-money laundering standards.

The second meeting of DG6 took place on the 10th of August 2020. By that time, a matrix of 35 policy options had been compiled, based on the inputs by Member States and other stakeholders. The matrix distinguished between short-term (implemented this year), mid-term and long-term actions. One topic that remained controversial was to what extent the group should build its recommendations on previous work done by regional UN bodies such as ECLAC and UN ECA, and to what extent on that done by parallel organizations with restricted membership, e.g. the OECD.

Another issue discussed that was relevant to all groups was to what extent the options suggested by the group needed to be consensus positions or simply aggregations. The topic of DG6 is particularly sensitive as neither the definition nor the scope of “IFF” is fully agreed, and IFFs are of substantial economic relevance, both for the countries who ‘lose’ them, as well as for the countries who ‘gain’ them, or for economic actors within these countries. Despite the large number of developing countries in the group, member state interventions only came from developed countries or G20 members, as well as CSOs and UN organizations.

Conclusion

The coronavirus crisis has been a game changer for the UN’s work on financing for development. The need to coordinate a multilateral response boosted the political relevance of FfD on the UN’s agenda, and on the international agenda as a whole. The fact that the steps taken by the G20 as a coalition were unimpressive and insufficient created space for the UN as a forum and platform for multilateral dialogue on FfD topics. The fact that no major power came forward to act as an honest broker in this crisis created space for smaller nations to take leadership roles, using their preferred forum, the United Nations.

The coronavirus crisis first hampered the course of the conventional FfD process a lot, especially the course of the annual ECOSOC FfD Forum in April, whose duration was reduced from four days to one hour, and the related negotiations on its outcome document. However, as the crisis evolved, it generated political awareness for FfD topics and provided an opportunity for an expansion of the FfD process. The High-Level Event “Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond” on 28 May 2020 attracted unprecedented engagement by heads of states. The foundation of six thematic multi-stakeholder working groups realized a long-standing demand by FfD experts, who have argued for having a more continuous engagement and more continuous political dialogue on FfD topics at the UN, rather than just a one-off event once a year in April.

The financing needs of coping with the coronavirus crisis are high, estimated for developing countries at an additional 2.5 trillion US dollar by both IMF and UNCTAD. In terms of concrete mobilization of resources, the UN’s 2020 FfD work has not achieved much so far. It did however create new political momentum for major reforms of the international financial architecture. At the time of writing, the discussion group process was still ongoing. An optimal outcome would be if the process were to contribute to both: on the one hand to creating the fiscal space which governments need immediately to cope with the crisis, and on the other hand to carrying out the overdue reforms of the international financial architecture that can make our societies and economies more crisis-resilient in the long run.

Notes:

1 For more information on the IATF, see: https://developmentfinance.un.org/

2 The draft IATF-Report is usually made publicly available for stakeholder consultation, but is no longer online since the final version has been released.

3 Reliable data for the economic impact is hard to find. International organizations made projections early on, but accuracy was and remains limited due to the uncertainty caused by the crisis. For an early assessment on the impacts (in German), see Ellmers, Bodo and Jens Martens (2020): Die globale Coronakrise. Weltwirtschaftliche Auswirkungen und international Reaktionen – ein Update. For a more recent assessment (in English) see OECD (2020): The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis on development finance.

4 https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2020/03/27/tr032720-transcript-press-briefing-kristalina-georgieva-following-imfc-conference-call

5 https://unctad.org/en/pages/newsdetails.aspx?OriginalVersionID=2315

6 Alberola, Enrique, Yavuz Arslan, Gong Cheng, Richhild Moessler (2020): The fiscal response to the COVID-19 crisis in advanced and emerging market economies;

7 CSOs continue doing so, cf. https://csoforffd.org/2020/07/14/statement-of-the-civil-society-ffd-group-including-wwg-on-ffd-for-the-general-debate-of-the-2020-hlpf/

8 United Nations (2020): Summary of the President of the Economic and Social Council of the forum on financing for development follow-up (New York 23 April 2020 and 2 June 2020, para 3)

9 https://www.un.org/development/desa/financing/what-we-do/ECOSOC/financing-development-forum/about-the-forum

10 The 2020 FfD Forum has been broadcasted on UN WebTV, a recording is available on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UNWebTV/videos/financing-sustainable-development-in-the-context-of-COVID-19/262387911595287/

11 United Nations (2020), para 2 https://www.un.org/development/desa/financing/sites/www.un.org.development.desa.financing/files/2020-07/A_75_93_E.pdf

12 For documentation of the event, see https://www.un.org/development/desa/financing/events/forum-fi ancing-development-meeting-financing-sustainable-recovery-COVID-19

13 https://www.un.org/development/desa/financing/post-news/2020-ecosoc-forum-fiancing-development-ramps-response-COVID-19

14 Para 3 of the outcome document; https://undocs.org/E/FFDF/2020/3

15 24 of 29 members of the OECD DAC missed the 0.7 % target for official development assistance in 2019

16 https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/04/11/coronavirus-fact-check-donald-trump-vs-world-health-organization/5128799002/

17 The documentation is available at: https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/hle-financing-development

18 SDRs are issued by the IMF and can be changed into hard currencies such as the U.S. dollar. SDR issuance is seen as a key option to increase liquidity for the countries that receive them.

19 Merkel’s statement is one of the few not on the UN website, but a summary is available here: https://www.bundeskanzlerin.de/bkin-de/aktuelles/un-konferenz-COVID-19-1756464

20 https://www.factipanel.org/

21 The term “decision” is used on the website. This term obviously leaves open what political or legal status the outcome of the head of state meeting shall have.

22 https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/financing-development

23 Information on member state participants is taken from the DGs’ official website: https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/financing-development. While these state that the list is continuously updated, it does not fully reflect the actual participants in DG meetings so far.

Acknowledgements: This briefing paper has been drafted by Bodo Ellmers, Director of the Sustainable Development Finance Program at Global Policy Forum. Sources used include publicly available documents, supporting materials circulated to Discussion Group members, and information shared by Discussion Group members and UN staff. The author would like to thank all those who shared information. The analysis and all remaining errors are the author’s own.

Published by: Bischö fliches Hilfswerk MISEREOR, Global Policy Forum Europe e.V. and Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung e.V., Brot für die Welt.

The post Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond appeared first on Global Policy Watch.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Wasser ist Leben – Ressource, Gemeingut, Menschenrecht?

Engagement Global - 27. August 2020 - 17:03
Auch eine Besichtigung der Berliner Wasserbetriebe war Teil der Veranstaltung. Foto: Engagement Global

Bei der SDG-Sommerakademie 2020, die von Dienstag, 18. bis Freitag, 21. August 2020, als Hybridveranstaltung in Berlin stattfand, drehte sich alles um den Themenkomplex Wasser und die 17 Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung.

Die 17 Ziele sind getragen von der Idee einer gemeinsamen Verantwortung aller für alle Menschen und den Planeten. Ziel 6 steht dabei für die Gewährleistung des Zugangs zu sauberem Wasser und sauberen Sanitäreinrichtungen für alle. Mit Ziel 14 wiederum strebt die internationale Staatengemeinschaft den Erhalt und die nachhaltige Nutzung der Meere an. Wasser als Quelle allen Lebens stand bei der Sommerakademie im Fokus.

30 Studierende unterschiedlicher Fachrichtungen und Dualstudierende der Berliner Wasserbetriebe nahmen an der Präsenzveranstaltung mit Expertinnen und Experten aus Zivilgesellschaft, Wissenschaft, Bund und kommunalen Wasserversorgern teil. 15 weitere schalteten sich punktuell online dazu.

Die Teilnehmenden gingen in Vorträgen, Diskussionen, Workshops und Exkursionen der Frage nach, wie ein Wandel zu mehr globaler Nachhaltigkeit und Gerechtigkeit möglich ist und welche Rolle sie dabei spielen können. Sie diskutierten unter anderem zu den Themen nachhaltiger Umgang mit Wasser, Klimawandel und Wasser, Wasser und Gerechtigkeit und lernten Beispiele guter Praxis aus Ländern des Globalen Südens und Nordens kennen.

Gertrud Falk von der Menschrechtsorganisation FIAN Deutschland bekräftigte zum Auftakt, dass Trinkwasser Voraussetzung für die Verwirklichung vieler Menschenrechte und Nachhaltigkeitsziele sei. Dennoch fehlte 2,2 Milliarden Menschen der ausreichende Zugang zu der lebenswichtigen Ressource. Außerdem machte sie deutlich, dass es sich bei der Verteilungsgerechtigkeit trotz sehr unterschiedlicher Wasservorkommen hauptsächlich um ein politisches Problem handele.

Manuela Helmecke vom Umweltbundesamtes erläuterte die Risiken, die durch den Klimawandel mit Dürrejahren und Starkregen für die Wasserqualität einhergehen. Sie zeigte auch, wie der Bund mit einem Stakeholderprozess dem schädlichen Eintrag von Spurenstoffen entgegenwirkt und gab den Teilnehmenden mit auf den Weg, vor allem Arzneimittelreste nicht in der Toilette zu entsorgen.

In einer Fishbowl-Diskussion diskutierten Vertretende aus Wissenschaft, Zivilgesellschaft, Wasserbetriebe und indigener Perspektive mit den Teilnehmenden die Fragen: Wie kann Wasser sowie dessen Qualität geschützt werden? Wie kann dessen Verfügbarkeit für die Umwelt sowie für alle Menschen unter Kriterien der globalen Gerechtigkeit sichergestellt werden? Im Zentrum stand in der Gegenüberstellung eines privatwirtschaftlichen zu einem gemeinwohlorientierten Ansatz das positive Beispiel der Rekommunalisierung der Berliner Wasserbetriebe. Eine Diskussionsteilnehmerin machte warnend auf das Extrem der Kommerzialisierung des Regenwassers in Bolivien aufmerksam. Ein Diskussionsteilnehmer wies unter anderem darauf hin, dass durch die Klimakrise die Wasserknappheit in bestimmten Teilen der Welt noch größer werde, was immer mehr Menschen zur Flucht zwinge.

In einem Design Thinking Workshop konnten die Teilnehmenden ihre Handlungskompetenzen erweitern. So entwickelten sie beispielsweise Ideen zur Sensibilisierung von Konsumentinnen und Konsumenten für ihren virtuellen Wasserkonsum durch die Wahl ihrer Produkte.

Die Veranstaltung wurde von der Außenstelle Berlin von Engagement Global im Rahmen des Programms Entwicklungspolitische Bildung in Deutschland (EBD) in Kooperation mit dem EPIZ-Zentrum für Globales Lernen e.V. durchgeführt und von den Berliner Wasserbetrieben unterstützt.

Kategorien: Ticker

Sander Chan wechselt zum Global Center on Adaptation

DIE Blog - 27. August 2020 - 15:43

 

Sander Chan, ©DIE

Dr. Sander Chan, Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Deutschen Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), wird zum Wissens- und Forschungszentrum des Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) in Groningen, Niederlande, wechseln. Ab September 2020 wird er dort die Forschung zu nichtstaatlichen Klimaschutzmaßnahmen leiten und sich dabei insbesondere auf die Rolle solcher Maßnahmen bei der Steigerung der Anpassungsfähigkeit und Widerstandsfähigkeit gegenüber den Auswirkungen des Klimawandels konzentrieren.

Sander Chan betont die Bedeutung des Engagements des nicht-staatlichen und privaten Sektors:

„Die derzeitige Politik reicht bei weitem nicht aus, um eine kohlenstoffarme und klimaresistente Zukunft zu verwirklichen. Jenseits der Regierungen sehen wir jedoch einen Aufschwung der Maßnahmen von Unternehmen, Investoren, zivilgesellschaftlichen Organisationen und lokalen Gemeinschaften, die alle mit Versprechungen zur Beschleunigung der Dekarbonisierung und Anpassung an den Klimawandel auftreten“.

Das 2017 gegründete GCA sucht Lösungen zur Beschleunigung von Maßnahmen und Unterstützung der Anpassung an den Klimawandel, von der internationalen bis zur lokalen Ebene. Das GCA arbeitet mit dem öffentlichen und dem privaten Sektor zusammen, um gegenseitiges Lernen und Zusammenarbeit für eine klimaresistente Zukunft zu gewährleisten.

Als Senior Researcher am GCA möchte Sander Chan starke Partnerschaften aufbauen:

„Die Herausforderung, sich an den Klimawandel anzupassen, weist eine Vielzahl komplexer Wechselwirkungen auf und erfordert interdisziplinäre und multimethodische Ansätze, um Wissenslücken zu schließen. Globale Forschungskooperationen werden der Schlüssel zum Schließen dieser Lücken sein.“

Chan wird weiterhin mit dem DIE verbunden bleiben und an der Forschung zur transnationalen Klimapolitik mitarbeiten. Er wird auch dem Kopernikus-Institut für nachhaltige Entwicklung an der Universität Utrecht als außerordentlicher Assistenzprofessor angegliedert bleiben.

Der Beitrag Sander Chan wechselt zum Global Center on Adaptation erschien zuerst auf International Development Blog.

Sander Chan to join the Global Center on Adaptation

DIE Blog - 27. August 2020 - 15:42

 

Sander Chan, ©DIE

Dr Sander Chan, Senior Researcher at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), will join the Global Center on Adaptation’s (GCA) Knowledge and Research Hub in Groningen, the Netherlands. From September 2020 on, he will lead research on non-state climate action, particularly focusing on the role of such action in increasing adaptive capacities and resilience to the climate change impacts.

Sander Chan highlights the importance of non-state and private sector engagement:

“Current policies fall far short of realizing a low-carbon and climate-resilient future. Beyond governments, however, we see a groundswell of actions by businesses, investors, civil society organizations, and local communities, each stepping up with promises to accelerate decarbonization and adaptation.”

Founded in 2017, the GCA brokers solutions to accelerate action and support for adaptation, from the international to the local level, in partnership with the public and private sectors, to ensure mutual learning and collaboration towards a climate resilient future.

 

As senior researcher at the GCA, Sander Chan will aim to build strong collaborations:

The challenge to adapt to climate change features a myriad of complex interactions and requires interdisciplinary and multi-method approaches to address knowledge gaps. Global research collaborations will be key to fill these gaps.”

Chan will remain affiliated with DIE, collaborating on research on transnational climate governance. He will also remain affiliated with the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University as adjunct assistant professor.

Der Beitrag Sander Chan to join the Global Center on Adaptation erschien zuerst auf International Development Blog.

Learning in times of the virus – A different way of entering international development cooperation

DIE Blog - 27. August 2020 - 15:34

The 56th course of the Postgraduate Programme at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) will begin on 1 September 2020. At this time, 18 young professionals in international development cooperation will start their nine-month training course, which DIE has been running since 1965. Confronted with the pandemic, DIE has had to cancel numerous events in the past months or move to the digital space. With the course, a small piece of normality is now returning to the institute’s premises, albeit under tightened security and hygiene guidelines. However, the course will be conducted as a blended learning format.

The participants will meet as usual for their plenary phase at the DIE. Thanks to the large premises – the junior staff meet in a hall designed for more than 100 people – an adequate safety distance will be guaranteed at all times. The hygiene rules are monitored by a team of representatives who change on a weekly basis.

In addition, digital lectures by external speakers are planned. New technical equipment will enable the exchange of information with guests and lecturers during the events, despite contact restrictions. The further worldwide course of the pandemic will show whether a core aspect of the renowned postgraduate programme can take place: the participants‘ departure to the research teams‘ original target countries. As usual, this year’s course will also provide intensive training in methodological work. The upcoming research work will be carried out in close digital cooperation with the local partners in the target countries. As an alternative to the research stays in the target countries, a series of site visits to International Organisations based in Europe are also planned.

“The current exceptional situation means a high level of responsibility for the Institute as well as for the young researchers themselves,” says Dr Regine Mehl, head of the Postgraduate Programme, with a view to the course start. Despite the difficult circumstances, the course participants are motivated. The tenor is: “We accept the challenge,” says Mehl.

Every year, the nine-month Postgraduate Programme at DIE prepares 18 German and European university graduates for a career in international development cooperation. The participants deal with the practical challenges of sustainable development in a globalised world.

Watch a video about the programme here:

Read more about the building blocks of the programme in this flyer

Der Beitrag Learning in times of the virus – A different way of entering international development cooperation erschien zuerst auf International Development Blog.

Lernen in Zeiten des Virus-Der etwas andere Einstieg in die internationale Entwicklungszusammenarbeit

DIE Blog - 27. August 2020 - 15:27

Am 1. September 2020 beginnt der 56. Kurs des Postgraduierten-Programms am Deutschen Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE). 18 Nachwuchskräfte der internationalen Entwicklungszusammenarbeit starten zu diesem Zeitpunkt ihren neunmonatigen Ausbildungskurs, den das DIE seit 1965 durchführt. Konfrontiert mit der Pandemie, hatte auch das DIE in den vergangenen Monaten zahlreiche Veranstaltungen absagen oder in den digitalen Raum verlegen müssen. Mit dem Kurs kehrt nun ein kleines Stück Normalität in die Räumlichkeiten des Instituts zurück, wenn auch unter verschärften Sicherheits- und Hygienerichtlinien. Der Kurs wird jedoch als Blended-Learning-Format durchgeführt.

Die Teilnehmer*innen treffen wie gewohnt zu ihrer inhaltlichen Plenarphase im DIE aufeinander. Dank der großen Räumlichkeiten – die Nachwuchskräfte tagen in einem Saal ausgelegt für mehr als 100 Personen – kann jederzeit ein ausreichender Sicherheitsabstand gewährleistet werden. Über die Einhaltung der Hygieneregeln wachen wöchentlich wechselnde Beauftragte.

Daneben sind digitale Vorträge von externen Referent*innen vorgesehen. Neue technische Ausrüstung soll trotz Kontakteinschränkungen den Austausch mit den Gästen und Lehrenden in den Veranstaltungen ermöglichen. Der weitere weltweite Verlauf der Pandemie wird zeigen, ob ein Kernaspekt des renommierten Postgraduierten-Programms stattfinden kann: eine Ausreise der Teilnehmer*innen in die ursprünglichen Zielländer der Forschungsteams. Auch der diesjährige Kurs wird wie gewohnt intensiv im methodischen Arbeiten geschult. Die anstehenden Forschungsarbeiten sollen in enger digitaler Kooperation mit den lokalen Partner*innen in den Zielländern entstehen. Auch sind als Alternative zu den Forschungsaufenthalten in den Zielländern eine Reihe von Ortsbesuchen bei in Europa ansässigen Internationalen Organisationen geplant.

„Die aktuelle Ausnahmesituation bedeutet eine hohe Verantwortung für das Institut wie auch für die Nachwuchskräfte selbst“, stellt Dr. Regine Mehl, Leiterin des Postgraduierten-Programms mit Blick auf den Kursstart fest. Trotz der erschwerten Umstände sind die Kursteilnehmer*innen motiviert. Der Tenor sei: „Wir nehmen die Herausforderung an!“, so Mehl.

Das neunmonatige Postgraduierten-Programm am DIE bereitet jährlich 18 deutsche und europäische Hochschulabsolvent*innen auf den Berufseinstieg in der internationalen Entwicklungszusammenarbeit vor. Die Teilnehmer*innen setzen sich mit den praktischen Herausforderungen nachhaltiger Entwicklung in einer globalisierten Welt auseinander.

Lesen Sie in diesem Flyer mehr über die Bausteine des Programms.

Der Beitrag Lernen in Zeiten des Virus-Der etwas andere Einstieg in die internationale Entwicklungszusammenarbeit erschien zuerst auf International Development Blog.

Die Wahrung der Freiheit der Schifffahrt im Indo-Pazifik: Welche Rolle für europäische Seestreitkräfte?

GIGA Event - 27. August 2020 - 15:09
Online Veranstaltung Berlin GIGA Gespräch Referent*innen Dr. Christian Wirth (GIGA), Prof. Dr. Alexander Proelss (Universität Hamburg) Moderation

Dr. Carolin Liss (Vesalius College)

Kommentar Dr. Eva Pejsova (Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique), Dr. Sebastian Bruns (CAU) Adresse

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Forschungsschwerpunkte Macht und Ideen Regionen GIGA Institut für Asien-Studien Anmeldung erforderlich

Building Back Better: MGG Network draws common lessons from the Covid-19 crisis

DIE Blog - 27. August 2020 - 13:44

MGG partners from National Schools of Public Administration of Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa at a network meeting in July 2018 in New York. ©DIE

Facilitated by the Managing Global Governance (MGG) Programme  of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), the National Schools of Public Administration (SPA) of Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa have been collaborating over the past few years in order to strengthen knowledge exchange and learning among them. On 14 July 2020, a group of 16 participants attended the online workshop ‘Building Back Better’. The participants shared experiences and developments related to the current Covid-19 pandemic and planned activities for the implementation of the initiative ‘Building Back Better’. Coordinated by the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) and DIE the initiative is part of the ‘New York Programme of Action’ (NYAP) that was set up by the group in July 2018. Further activities will combine online trainings in a so-called ‘train-the-trainer’ format, a research of national training schemes for the public sector and the SPAs online conference on October 27-29, 2020.

The schools involved are the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), the National Institute of Public Administration, Indonesia (NIPA), the National Institute of Public Administration, Mexico (INAP), the National School of Government, South Africa (NSG), the National School of Public Administration, Brazil (ENAP), the Institute of International Strategic Studies Party School, China (CCPS), the Shanghai Institute of International Studies (SIIS).

The activities focus on developing key learnings on how training institutions can address the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and align their training activities to the change of needs and structural conditions. This includes the exploration of the opportunities of digital training formats.

Der Beitrag Building Back Better: MGG Network draws common lessons from the Covid-19 crisis erschien zuerst auf International Development Blog.

Building Back Better: MGG-Netzwerk zieht gemeinsame Lehren aus der Covid19-Krise

DIE Blog - 27. August 2020 - 13:43

MGG-Kooperationspartner*innen aus den nationalen Verwaltungshochschulen Brasiliens, Chinas, Indiens, Indonesiens, Mexikos und Südafrikas; hier bei einem Treffen in New York im Juli 2018. ©DIE

Im Rahmen der Wissenskooperation des Managing Global Governance (MGG) Programms hat am14. Juli ein Online-Treffen von Vertreter*innen der nationalen Verwaltungshochschulen des MGG-Netzwerks und des Wissenszentrums für Nachhaltige Entwicklung der Fortbildungsakademie des Systems der Vereinten Nationen (UNSSC) stattgefunden. Es diente dem Austausch zwischen den Partnerinstitutionen über die durch Covid-19 veränderte Situation in Brasilien, China, Indien, Indonesien, Mexiko und Südafrika. Bei dem Treffen wurden die Folgen der Pandemie für die Aus- und Fortbildung im öffentlichen Dienst sowie für die Umsetzung der Agenda 2030 für nachhaltige Entwicklung thematisiert. Die 16 Teilnehmer*nnen der beteiligten Institutionen – Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), National Institute of Public Administration, Indonesia (NIPA), National Institute of Public Administration, Mexico (INAP), National School of Government, South Africa (NSG), National School of Public Administration, Brazil (ENAP), Institute of International Strategic Studies Party School, China (CCPS) und Shanghai Institute of International Studies (SIIS) – erarbeiteten die Umsetzung und Weiterentwicklung des von UNSSC und DIE initiierten Maßnahmenpakets „Building Back Better“. Es gehört zum 2018 vereinbarten „New York Aktionsprogramm“. Zu den geplanten Aktivitäten zählenein Online-Training für die Ausbildenden der Hochschulen (sogenannte ‚Train-the-trainer‘-Formate), ein Forschungsprojekt zu nationalen Ausbildungssystemen für Beamt*innen und Angestellte des öffentlichen Dienstes sowie die Jahreskonferenz der Kooperationsgemeinschaft, die vom 27. bis 29. Oktober 2020 online stattfinden soll. Ziel der Aktivitäten ist es, im internationalen Austausch, gemeinsam Lehren aus der Covid-19-Krise und den daraus entstandenen Herausforderungen für Aus- und Fortbildung zu ziehen und die Chancen digitaler Angebote für eine stärkere Nachhaltigkeitsorientierung zu nutzen.

Der Beitrag Building Back Better: MGG-Netzwerk zieht gemeinsame Lehren aus der Covid19-Krise erschien zuerst auf International Development Blog.

BMZ supports the creation of the “Global Tax Expenditure Database” (GTED)

DIE Blog - 27. August 2020 - 13:32

Since the beginning of July 2020, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supports the creation of the first global database on tax expenditures. The project is implemented by the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in partnership with the Swiss think tank Council on Economic Policies (CEP). The term “tax expenditures” refers to tax incentives, reliefs or exemptions granted by governments in order to, for instance, attract investments, facilitate access to basic goods and services or support specific economic activities. Those may be noble causes, but more often than not the real dimension of these mechanisms and their effective benefit for the general public remain completely unknown. Most governments do not report the totality of tax expenditures granted, or they do not report them at all. In those cases where data is made available it becomes obvious that this is not a minor issue. Governments may forego tax revenues of up to seven per cent of the GDP – in some cases even more.

DIE project lead and senior researcher Christian von Haldenwang observes:

Christian von Haldenwang, ©DIE

“For the first time, the Global Tax Expenditure Database  will enable researchers, government officials and civil society to get a clear picture on the extent to which states release information on tax expenditures. Data on individual countries can be contrasted with information from other sources, or compared to other countries in the region and worldwide. Our ambition is to improve the informational basis for research and public debate. In addition, we want to incite governments to produce regular, encompassing and public reports on tax expenditures.”

GTED will be made public on a website in early 2021, at the latest.

Der Beitrag BMZ supports the creation of the “Global Tax Expenditure Database” (GTED) erschien zuerst auf International Development Blog.

BMZ-Förderung für die „Global Tax Expenditure Database“ (GTED)

DIE Blog - 27. August 2020 - 13:26

Seit Anfang Juli 2020 fördert das Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) den Aufbau der weltweit ersten globalen Datenbank für Steuersubventionen. Das Vorhaben wird vom Deutschen Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) gemeinsam mit dem schweizerischen Think Tank Council on Economic Policies (CEP) durchgeführt.

Der Begriff „Steuersubventionen“ (Global Tax Expenditure) bezeichnet steuerliche Vergünstigungen, die von Regierungen gewährt werden – beispielsweise, um Investitionen anzulocken, den Zugang zu Gütern des Grundbedarfs zu erleichtern oder bestimmte wirtschaftliche Aktivitäten gezielt zu fördern. Der Zweck mag nobel sein, aber das tatsächliche Ausmaß der Vergünstigungen sowie ihr Nutzen für die Allgemeinheit bleiben oft völlig im Dunkeln. Die meisten Regierungen berichten gar nicht oder nur unvollständig über die von ihnen bewilligten Vergünstigungen. Vorliegende Daten zeigen allerdings: Hier handelt es sich nicht um Kleinigkeiten. Den Staaten können auf diesem Wege Steuereinnahmen in Höhe von bis zu sieben Prozent des Bruttoinlandsprodukts – in Extremfällen sogar mehr –entgehen.

 

Christian von Haldenwang, ©DIE

Christian von Haldenwang, der das Projekt DIE-seitig leitet, meint dazu:

„Mit Global Tax Expenditure Database (GTED) erhalten Forschung, Regierungen, aber auch die Öffentlichkeit, erstmals Klarheit darüber, über welche Steuervergünstigungen die Staaten berichten. Sie können diese Daten mit Informationen aus anderen Quellen abgleichen und mit anderen Ländern in der Region oder auch weltweit vergleichen. Damit wollen wir nicht nur die Forschungs- und Informationslage verbessern, sondern auch die Regierungen dazu anspornen, regelmäßig, umfassend und öffentlich über Steuervergünstigungen zu berichten.“

Spätestens Anfang 2021 soll GTED über eine Webseite der Öffentlichkeit zugänglich gemacht werden.

Der Beitrag BMZ-Förderung für die „Global Tax Expenditure Database“ (GTED) erschien zuerst auf International Development Blog.

From our doctoral candidates: Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Finance

DIE Blog - 27. August 2020 - 12:37

Christoph Sommer, ©DIE

How should financial systems be designed to allow small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access external finance?  Christoph Sommer, researcher at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) investigates this in his dissertation. SMEs play a crucial role in low- and middle-income countries as they account for most firms and more than half of the formal jobs (even significantly more when considering informal jobs as well). Furthermore, SMEs foster inclusive development and thus contribute to reduce poverty and income inequality. Yet, SMEs face particular challenges in accessing finance as they often cannot meet the requirements of the standard credit assessment such as securities (certified ownership of land and buildings), audited financial statements, credit histories and the like.

Development and trends like a growing microfinance sector or increasing digitalisation change the landscape of actors and instruments in the financial system. It is pivotal to understand the consequences of these changes for SMEs and to shape them in a positive manner. In the first part of his dissertation, Christoph Sommer explores the interactions between microfinance and the SME financing activities of conventional financial institutions. The purpose of his research is to examine how microfinance can be reconciled with functioning SME finance in the conventional financial system. In his second paper, he studies the importance of longer-term finance (‘patient capital’) for SMEs since the share of short-term finance further increases because of the promotion of digital finance – potentially with unintended negative consequences for SMEs.

The findings of his dissertation can support decision-makers in designing respective policies that improve SMEs’ access to finance and thus foster inclusive economic development.

Christoph Sommer works in the research project Social Cohesion in Africa at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) and writes his dissertation at the Heidelberg University. He studied Economics at the University of Tübingen, University of Botswana and Yale University.

Der Beitrag From our doctoral candidates: Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Finance erschien zuerst auf International Development Blog.

Kinder in Terrororganisationen

E+Z - 27. August 2020 - 12:35
Buch analysiert, wie terroristische Organisationen Kinder für ihren Kampf rekrutieren

Kindern war es in der Vergangenheit weitestgehend verboten, aktiv an Kriegen teilzunehmen. Doch das änderte sich im 20. Jahrhundert, als Kinder bei nationalen und kolonialen Befreiungskämpfen eingesetzt wurden, schreiben Mia Bloom und John Horgan von der Georgia State University in ihrem Buch „Small Arms. Children and Terrorism“. In den vergangenen 20 Jahren habe die Zahl von Kindersoldaten und Kindern in bewaffneten Organisationen, Gangs und Guerillagruppen weltweit massiv zugenommen, und sie würden auch mehr und mehr direkt im bewaffneten Kampf eingesetzt.

Nach Angaben der Autoren hat der Einsatz von Kindern für terroristische Gruppen durchaus Vorteile: Kinder seien im Vergleich zu Erwachsenen wendiger und flexibler und könnten sich leichter zwischen den Fronten bewegen. Sie seien einfacher zu rekrutieren und zu manipulieren und gehorchten oft widerspruchslos. Außerdem würden sie in der Regel nicht bezahlt und seien somit günstiger als erwachsene Kämpfer.

Wie Bloom und Horgan ausführen, entführen Mitglieder von Terrorgruppen oftmals Kinder oder zwangsrekrutieren sie aus Flüchtlingslagern. Viele der Opfer hätten keine Verwandten mehr, die sich um sie kümmern, oder sie würden gezwungen, ihre eigenen Familienmitglieder zu töten, damit es für sie kein Zurück mehr gibt. Dafür nennen die Autoren das Beispiel der Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Liberia.

Manche Organisationen füllen demnach ihre Reihen mit Kindern auf, weil ihnen schlichtweg die Kämpfer ausgehen, andere schicken Kinder aus taktischen Gründen in den Krieg. Im Iran-Irak-Krieg (1980–1988) setzte der Iran Kinder als Kanonenfutter und Minenräumer ein. Die irakischen Truppen schreckten davor zurück, auf sie zu schießen – was den iranischen Truppen einen Vorteil verschaffte.

Auch Terrorgruppen wie ISIS oder Boko Haram setzen Kinder den Recherchen der Autoren zufolge strategisch ein, da sie bei Sicherheitskräften weniger Misstrauen erwecken als Erwachsene. Die Organisationen schreckten nicht davor zurück, Kinder – aber auch Menschen im Rollstuhl oder alte Menschen – als Selbstmordattentäter auf einen belebten Markt zu schicken.

Vor allem in Gebieten ohne staatliche Versorgung kann es Familien auch sinnvoll erscheinen, ihre Kinder freiwillig zu einer bewaffneten Gruppe zu schicken, wenn diese etwa die Versorgung mit Nahrungsmitteln und Medikamenten kontrolliert. Und nicht immer werden Kinder direkt in den Kampf gezwungen. Gerade in Konflikten, die über Generationen andauern, ist es für Terrororganisationen sinnvoll, Jugendcamps oder -organisationen aufzubauen, wie Bloom und Horgan erläutern. Dort würden Kinder über einen längeren Zeitraum ausgebildet und auf ihre Aufgaben vorbereitet.

Als Beispiel nennen sie die „Cubs of the Caliphate“, die Kinder- und Jugendtruppe von ISIS, die im Juli 2015 traurige Bekanntheit erlangte, als ihre Mitglieder vor laufender Kamera gefangene syrische Soldaten mit einem Genickschuss hinrichteten. In Online-Kanälen, mit denen ISIS Kinderzimmer auf der ganzen Welt erreiche, würden die Cubs als Helden dargestellt, Märtyrer gefeiert wie Rockstars. So rekrutierten Terroristen im Internet weltweit Kinder für ihren grausamen Kampf.

Die Autoren weisen darauf hin, dass der Einsatz von Kindern in Terrororganisationen Auswirkungen auf die Zivilbevölkerung und die Organisation von Machtstrukturen hat. Er stelle Hierarchien in Frage und zerrütte gesellschaftliche und familiäre Strukturen. Eine Reintegration dieser Kinder nach Beendigung des Konflikts stelle Gesellschaften vor große Probleme. Die Kinder seien einerseits Opfer ihrer traumatischen Erfahrungen, andererseits stellten sie als Täter ein großes Sicherheitsrisiko dar und würden oftmals stigmatisiert. Für eine adäquate Behandlung der Kindheitstraumata fehle es in den meisten Ländern an qualifiziertem Personal. Dementsprechend groß sei auch die Gefahr, dass diese Kinder wieder in kriminellen Organisationen landen.

Buch
Bloom, M., und Horgan, J., 2019: Smalls Arms. Children and Terrorism. Ithaca, Cornell University Press.

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Doktorand*innen berichten Finanzierung von kleinen und mittleren Unternehmen

DIE Blog - 27. August 2020 - 12:34

Christoph Sommer, ©DIE

Wie sollten Finanzsysteme ausgestaltet sein, um kleinen und mittleren Unternehmen (KMU) einen guten Zugang zu externer Finanzierung zu ermöglichen? Dieser Frage geht Christoph Sommer, wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Deutschen Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in seiner Doktorarbeit nach. KMU kommen in Niedrig- und Mitteleinkommensländern eine besondere Rolle zu, da sie einen Großteil der Unternehmen ausmachen und für mehr als die Hälfte der formellen Jobs verantwortlich sind (deutlich mehr sogar, wenn man informelle Jobs berücksichtigt). Zudem tragen KMU dazu bei, wirtschaftliche Entwicklung inklusiver zu gestalten und dadurch Armut und Einkommensungleichheiten zu verringern. Gleichzeitig aber stehen KMU vor besonderen Herausforderungen, externe Finanzierung zu bekommen, da sie häufig die üblichen Bedingungen für eine Kreditprüfung wie Sicherheiten (verbriefter Grundstück- und Immobilienbesitz), geprüfte Jahresabschlüsse, Kredithistorien und ähnliches nicht erfüllen.

Entwicklungen und Trends wie zum Beispiel ein wachsender Mikrofinanzsektor oder die zunehmende Digitalisierung im Finanzbereich verändern die Akteure und Instrumente im Finanzsystem. Es gilt, die Folgen dieser Veränderungen für KMU zu verstehen und durch entsprechende Politikinterventionen positiv zu gestalten. Im ersten Teil seiner Doktorarbeit betrachtet Christoph Sommer die Wechselwirkungen zwischen dem Mikrofinanzsektor und der KMU-Finanzierung von konventionellen Finanzinstitutionen. Ziel der Forschung ist es, zu beleuchten, wie ein starker Mikrofinanzsektor mit funktionierender KMU-Finanzierung durch konventionellen Finanzsystem vereinbart werden kann. In seinem zweiten Papier untersucht er die Bedeutung von längerfristiger Finanzierung („geduldigem Kapital“) für KMU, da durch die Förderung von „digital finance“ der Anteil an kurzfristiger Finanzierung weiter zunimmt – möglicherweise mit unbeabsichtigten negativen Folgen für KMU.

Mit den Erkenntnissen aus seiner Doktorarbeit können Entscheidungsträger unterstützt werden, entsprechende Politiken auszugestalten, die KMU-Finanzierung und damit den inklusiven wirtschaftlichen Fortschritt fördern.

Christoph Sommer arbeitet im Forschungsprojekt Soziale Kohäsion in Afrika am Deutschen Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) und schreibt seine Dissertation an der Universität Heidelberg. Er hat VWL an der Universität Tübingen, University of Botswana und der Yale University studiert.

Der Beitrag Doktorand*innen berichten Finanzierung von kleinen und mittleren Unternehmen erschien zuerst auf International Development Blog.

27.08.2020 BMZ und Continental machen Kautschuklieferkette erstmals digital rückverfolgbar

BMZ - 27. August 2020 - 12:00
Das BMZ und das Technologieunternehmen Continental machen erstmals eine Kautschuklieferkette lückenlos elektronisch rückverfolgbar – vom Anbau in Indonesien über die Weiterverarbeitung bis zur Reifenproduktion. Bundesentwicklungsminister Gerd Müller: "Wir brauchen ein Umdenken in der globalen Wirtschaft, um Mensch und Natur besser zu schützen. Ich freue mich, dass Vorreiter wie Continental zeigen: Im digitalen Zeitalter können soziale und ökologische ...
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Wenigstens eine Mahlzeit

Welthungerhilfe - 27. August 2020 - 11:33
In der indischen Hauptstadt Delhi unterstützt die Organisation Jan Pahal, als Teil des Netzwerkes, mit dem die Welthungerhilfe zusammenarbeitet, tausende Tagelöhner*innen und Saisonarbeiter*innen mit regelmäßigen Mahlzeiten. Sie haben aufgrund der Ausgangssperre ihre Einkünfte, oft auch ihr Dach über dem Kopf verloren. Fotoreporter Florian Lang begleitete die Teams. Sein Bericht erlaubt einen Blick auf Lebensrealitäten, deren Härte die Corona-Krise schonungslos enthüllt.
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ETC/WMGE Report on Electronics and Obsolescence in a Circular Economy is Published

SCP-Centre - 27. August 2020 - 11:26

The stock of electrical and electronic equipment has increased to the extent that the number of internet-related electronics produced annually exceeds the number of humans on earth (WEF, 2019). Such rapid increase of the amount of electronics is indicative of growing demand, but also of shorter lifetimes and increasing obsolescence of such products. The European Topic Centre’s on Waste and Materials in a Green Economy (ETC/WMGE) report “Electronics and Obsolescence in a Circular Economy“ offers a state-of-the art analysis as well as examines potential circular business models and policy measures for increasing lifetimes of electronics.

The report shows that, in practice, electronic products have an average lifetime that is at least 2.3 years shorter than the manufacturer’s claim (designed lifetime) or the consumer’s expectation (desired lifetime). Through four different case studies – smartphones, washing machines, vacuum cleaners and televisions – it is shown how increasing the product lifetime is essential for reducing environmental impacts of electronics. In support of that, the report examines potential circular business models and policy measures that lead to longer lifetimes of electronic products.

The ETC report “Electronics and Obsolescence in a Circular Economy“ provides the analytical underpinning for a respective briefing of the European Environment Agency (EEA). It is published in the memory of Sunny-Yang Deng, co-author of the report and late CSCP project manager, whose expertise in obsolescence has greatly contributed to it.

The report is available for download at the CSCP’s library.

For further information, please contact Nora Brüggemann.

Der Beitrag ETC/WMGE Report on Electronics and Obsolescence in a Circular Economy is Published erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

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Schwieriger Wiederaufbau

E+Z - 27. August 2020 - 10:55
Wiederaufbau in Syrien – Herausforderungen und Handlungsoptionen

Obwohl die Kampfhandlungen noch andauern, sei der Krieg in Syrien längst militärisch zugunsten des Regimes entschieden, schreibt Muriel Asseburg von der Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP). Im Frühjahr 2020 kontrollierte das Regime von Baschar al-Assad mit seinen Verbündeten bereits zwei Drittel des Landes, und es sei absehbar, dass sie auch das verbleibende Gebiet zurückerobern würden.

Eine Stabilisierung des kriegsgebeutelten Landes sei allerdings nicht in Sicht. Es gäbe weder eine verhandelte Konfliktregelung noch Befriedung und Aussöhnung. Der nun seit über neun Jahren andauernde Krieg, der im Januar 2011 mit der gewaltsamen Niederschlagung einer Demokratiebewegung begann, hat katastrophale Folgen, betont die Autorin. Hierzu zählen, neben der Zerstörung von Häusern und Infrastruktur, der beträchtliche Verlust an Arbeits- und Fachkräften, der Zerfall der Wirtschaft und der Zusammenbruch staatlicher Versorgungsleistungen.

Doch angesichts der Politik der syrischen Regierung, der geopolitischen Interessen der Regional- und Großmächte, aber auch aufgrund der wirtschaftlichen Auswirkungen der Covid-19-Pandemie sei es unwahrscheinlich, dass für den Wiederaufbau des Landes ausreichend Mittel zur Verfügung stünden – und vor allem, dass diese dem Bedarf der Bevölkerung entsprechend eingesetzt werden.

Andererseits habe der Wiederaufbau längst begonnen, schreibt die Autorin – allerdings nicht im Sinne der gesamten syrischen Bevölkerung. Für das Assad-Regime habe die Festigung der Herrschaft oberste Priorität. Ziel sei es, ein Patronagenetzwerk aus alten und neuen Regime-Unterstützern aufzubauen und zu festigen und so den in Gang gesetzten Bevölkerungsaustausch zu zementieren. Dieser punktuelle Aufbau sei vielmehr eine Fortsetzung des Krieges auf anderer Ebene. Anstatt zu versöhnen, vertiefe er alte, soziopolitische Konfliktlinien. Auch die in Syrien involvierten Regional- und Großmächte verfolgten ihre eigenen geostrategischen Interessen und setzten ebenso den Krieg mit anderen Mitteln fort.

Die EU hatte ihr bisheriges Engagement für einen Wiederaufbau in Syrien von der politischen Öffnung des Landes abhängig gemacht und sich auf die Notversorgung der Bevölkerung sowie auf Sanktionen beschränkt. Diese Strategie hätte allerdings nicht zu der gewünschten Verhaltensänderung der Regierung geführt. Vielmehr stünde sie einem Wiederaufbau sogar im Weg, resümiert Asseburg. Angesichts der kata­strophalen Lebensbedingungen und der Not der Bevölkerung in weiten Teilen des Landes sei es dringend geboten, diese Haltung zu überdenken.

Die Studie empfiehlt der EU unter anderem:

  • auf eine bessere Koordination der internationalen Hilfe zu dringen, deutlich stärker diplomatisch aktiv zu werden und zum Schutz der Zivilbevölkerung auf ein Krisenmanagement und temporäre Arrangements hinzuwirken;
  • sektorale Sanktionen abzubauen, die einem Wiederaufbau im Weg stehen, und stattdessen Unterstützung bei der Rehabilitierung von Basisinfrastruktur (z. B. Bildung, Gesundheit, Strom und Wasser) auch in den Gebieten anbieten, die unter der Kontrolle des Regimes stehen.

Da eine nachhaltige Stabilisierung nur durch tiefgreifende Reformen zu erreichen sei, sollte die EU ihren 2017 vorgestellten „More for more“-Ansatz – das heißt europäisches Entgegenkommen im Gegenzug zu Verhaltensänderungen auf Seiten des syrischen Regimes – weiter vorantreiben und einen Pfad der Annäherung aufzeigen.

Die Studie stellt klar, dass es keine völlige Normalisierung des Verhältnisses zu den Spitzen des Regimes geben sollte. Die EU müsse auf eine strafrechtliche Aufarbeitung von Kriegsverbrechen, schweren Menschenrechtsverletzungen und den Einsatz international geächteter Waffen dringen.

Link
Asseburg, M., 2020: Wiederaufbau in Syrien. Herausforderungen und Handlungsoptionen für die EU und ihre Mitgliedstaaten. SWP-Studie
https://www.swp-berlin.org/fileadmin/contents/products/studien/2020S07_Syrien.pdf

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Pressemitteilung Initiative Lieferkettengesetz

agl - 27. August 2020 - 10:42

 

Lieferkettengesetz muss Menschenrechte wirksam schützen - Altmaier darf Verhandlungen nicht an die Wand fahren.

Bündnis von über 100 Organisationen fordert Bundeswirtschaftsminister auf, Blockadehaltung zu beenden.

 

Berlin, 26.08.2020. Die für Ende dieses Monats angekündigten Eckpunkte für ein Lieferkettengesetz verzögern sich. Grund dafür ist nach Informationen der Initiative Lieferkettengesetz die fortgesetzte Blockadehaltung des Bundeswirtschaftsministeriums, das mit inakzeptablen Vorschlägen das Gesetzesvorhaben torpediert. Dazu erklärt Johanna Kusch, Sprecherin der Initiative: „Wirtschaftsminister Altmaier lehnt alle Elemente ab, die ein Lieferkettengesetz erst wirksam machen würden. Er will ein Lieferkettengesetz offensichtlich mit allen Mitteln verhindern."

 

Die agl e.V. ist im Trägerkreis der Initiative Lieferkettengesetz.

Die vollständige Pressemitteilung finden Sie hier.

 

 

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"Wir sind stark genug, um die Politik zu verändern.“ - Interview mit dem Aktivisten Abel Rodrigues aus Brasilien

reset - 27. August 2020 - 6:42
Brasilien, einst weit vorne, wenn es um Maßnahmen gegen den Klimawandel ging, wird unter der aktuellen Führung zunehmend zur Gefahr. Die Arbeit brasilianischer Umweltaktivist*innen ist herausfordernder - und notwendiger! - denn je. Wir sprachen wir Abel Rodrigues über sein Engagement.
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