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

GDI Briefing - 19. Januar 2038 - 4:14

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

Kategorien: english

Digital life and work: future-ready youth

ODI - 4. November 2020 - 0:00
Drawing on youth perspectives, we explore what is needed to help young people prepare for life and work in an increasingly digital world.
Kategorien: english

Digital youth peacebuilding: why it matters

ODI - 3. November 2020 - 0:00
How are young people using digital spaces to practice political and civic participation to foster peacebuilding in fragile contexts?
Kategorien: english

Why gender matters to internal displacement

ODI - 26. Oktober 2020 - 0:00
How is gender a fundamental building block for durable solutions to internal displacement?
Kategorien: english

US foreign policy toward Africa: An African citizen perspective

Brookings - 23. Oktober 2020 - 19:05

By E. Gyimah-Boadi, Landry Signé, Josephine Appiah-Nyamekye Sanny

Despite the Trump administration’s announced December 2018 Africa strategy, a significant gap between the lofty blueprint and the concrete actions needed to turn it into reality remains. U.S. interests in the region are being increasingly undermined as China, Russia, and other powers move to fill the policy spaces left vacant by the United States and other Western nations. Admittedly, attention to what has crucial value for African publics may not be a typical priority in the crafting of U.S. foreign policy; however, attention to African preferences and policy priorities should be of heightened attention if the U.S. is serious about successfully countering the $10 billion Chinese soft power initiative and better competing with other global players.

Overall, as AfroBarometer survey data shows, the value preferences of African publics and policy priorities—such as subscription to democratic norms (7 out of 10 Africans in the sample countries express support for democratic governance and government accountability) and desire to see more investment in health and education (health, education, and infrastructure were most frequently cited by respondents after unemployment when asked where leaders’ priorities should lie)—broadly align with traditional U.S. values as well as recent U.S.-Africa development cooperation initiatives. At the same time, however, Africans’ opinions do not always align with U.S. policy priorities, most notably regarding the attachment of economic or political conditionalities to development assistance and national control over development spending. Given China’s increased unconditional spending and attention to the region, as well as emphasis on Africa’s stated priorities such as improved infrastructure, it’s no wonder China and partners with similar strategies have been gaining influence on the ground so quickly.

But all is not lost for the U.S. programs, as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the President’s Malaria Initiative, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Power Africa, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), among others, have clearly made their mark, and such initiatives provide a roadmap for charting a foreign policy course that aligns with the aspirations and values of African publics, and is, at the same time, consistent with American values. We believe this is the best way to build a durable alliance with the people of the continent, and, through them, with their governments. In short, this strategy is a smart approach for making America a more competitive global player while safeguarding its geopolitical interests.

So, what do Africans want from their government?

When it comes to policy priorities, the most recent round of Afrobarometer surveys (conducted in 18 African countries between late 2019 and 2020) reveals that Africans want their governments to prioritize jobs and health, followed by physical infrastructure/roads, education, and water (Figure 1).

Note: Answers shown are from 15 countries between 2011-2020. Specifically, respondents were asked: In your opinion, what are the most important problems facing this country that government should address? Respondents could give up to three responses. The figure shows the percent of respondents who mention the issue.

U.S. foreign aid already emphasizes health: After emergency response spending, health spending (including for HIV/AIDS) constitutes the largest category of American foreign assistance to Africa. In fact, the U.S. provided close to $3.5 billion dollars toward better health outcomes in Africa in 2018 alone. Given the unprecedented public health challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of health needs to African citizens, the U.S. should consider increasing this aid.

Similarly, given the increased importance of job creation to everyday African citizen, directing more aid toward efforts that (directly or indirectly) lead to job creation—or at least making a better case for why investment in areas such as education, infrastructure, and electricity is directly tied to economic growth and jobs—might also increase positive sentiments toward the U.S. in the region.

Who should decide how aid is spent? African, Western, and Chinese approaches

Nationalist sentiments have increased in Africa in recent years, and with them has come an increased desire for control over domestic affairs. As shown in Figure 2 below, a majority of those polled agree that their government should retain full autonomy over development assistance. The poll also showed that a slight majority of Africans dislike aid conditionality, even when the rules are designed to promote democracy and human rights, which they do support (Figure 3). In other words, the majority of Africans do not wish to be dictated to by outsiders, even if this is accompanied by material assistance intended to strengthen democratic values that they support—a finding that reveals key differences in the Western approach (offer aid but use it as a bargaining chip for liberal reforms) and the Chinese approach (offer aid with no requirements of domestic policy change). Although African countries are still relatively young, African nationalism and pride are quite prominent and have real implications.

Note: Answers shown are from 18 countries between 2019-2020. The figure shows the percent of respondents who “agree” or “agree very strongly” with each statement. Respondents were asked: Which of the following statements is closest to your views?

  1. When other countries give loans or development assistance to [insert country], they should enforce strict requirements on how the funds are spent.
  2. When other countries give [insert country] loans or development assistance, they should allow our government to make its own decisions about how to use the resources.

Note: Answers shown are from 18 countries between 2019-2020. The figure shows the percent of respondents who “agree” or “agree very strongly” with each statement. Respondents were asked: Which of these statements is closest to your views?

  1. When other countries give loans or development assistance to [insert country], they should enforce strict requirements to make sure our government promotes democracy and respects human rights.
  2. Even if other countries give [insert country] loans or development assistance, our government should make its own decisions about democracy and human rights.
What political values matter to Africans?

The findings from the Afrobarometer surveys demonstrate fairly consistent support for both democratic norms and accountable governance among Africans. In fact, popular support for core democratic ideals and institutions has remained stable or increased over time. Seven out of 10 Africans express preference for democracy, and even larger percentages reject one-man (81 percent), single-party (76 percent), and military rule (73 percent). Africans have specific expectations for the ballot box as the sole legitimate method for choosing governments, indicated, for example, by their support for the two-term limit on presidential tenure (Figure 4). Indeed, Africans prefer accountable governance over “getting things done,” suggesting that democratic governance is valued by ordinary citizens across the continent, even if it comes with costs. Therefore, a values-led foreign policy that reinforces democratic norms and accountable governance would be expected to find public support in Africa, even if it rankles incumbent autocratic leaders. Conversely, the U.S. should continue to be very cautious in its dealings with dictators, even if they claim to provide effective governance.

Note: Answers shown are from 15 countries tracked from 2011/2013 to 2019/2020. Specifically, the percentage of citizens who support the following statements:

  • “Democracy is preferable to any other kind of government.”
  • “We should choose our leaders in this country through regular, open, and honest elections.”
  • “It is more important for citizens to be able to hold government accountable, even if that means it makes decisions more slowly.”
  • “Constitution should limit the president to serving a maximum of two terms in office.”
Lessons learned: Shared values can lead to shared successes

U.S. diplomatic and aid efforts focused on jobs, health, infrastructure, and education will receive the most support from African publics and will ultimately help address complex issues such as fragility, insecurity, violent extremism, and illegal immigration. U.S. efforts should also focus on democratic norms and accountable governance, both because they are strongly and consistently supported by African citizens and because they will ultimately better U.S. commercial engagement with the region. Such an approach would be efficient, effective, and impactful, without necessarily having to match China’s pledged $60 billion in loans, aid, and broader financial support to the region. All in all, the incorporation of the citizen perspective should be important for shaping U.S. foreign policy toward Africa as it makes America more competitive on the continent and advances mutual U.S.-Africa interests.

       
Kategorien: english

2020 Hilton Humanitarian Prize Ceremony

Devex - 23. Oktober 2020 - 19:01
Kategorien: english

Like it or not: coercive power is essential to development

OECD - 23. Oktober 2020 - 16:39
By Erwin van Veen, Lead Levant Research Programme, Senior Research Fellow, Conflict Research Unit at Clingendael Understanding the political economy of coercion is essential to achieving developmental gains in countries at the lower end of stability and institutional performance. Surprisingly, this matter rarely features on the development agenda, which means the implementation of the Sustainable … Continue reading Like it or not: coercive power is essential to development
Kategorien: english

Exclusive inclusive business: Tracing inclusivity among the Dutch private sector in Kenya

INCLUDE Platform - 23. Oktober 2020 - 9:42

The Dutch private sector operations in Kenya can contribute to (some) poverty and inequality reduction, and, consequently, to inclusive development (ID). This was one of the key findings of Agnieszka Kazimierczuk, who recently completed her PhD research in the frame of the INCLUDE’s research for inclusive development in sub-Saharan Africa (RIDSSA) programme. Yet, while private sector actors can contribute to ID, it is necessary to distinguish between their inclusive development outcomes and inclusive development processes, and be realistic about the degree of inclusivity they can realise. Kazimierczuk’s research shows that Dutch multinational companies (MNCs) in Kenya (in the sector of tea, flower and renewable energy) generated inclusive outcomes in different dimensions of ID, but never reached their full potential in terms of inclusiveness. Moreover, the inclusive outcomes were preceded by lengthy and exclusive political processes. These processes were not only exclusive, but also ‘occlusive’ in nature: i.e. they happen behind closed doors among groups of carefully selected strategic actors. Overall, support given to the private sector in developing countries by the Dutch government is important, but private sector development (PSD) policies, as well as the global community, need to be more realistic about the extent in which the private sector can actually contribute to inclusive development in a country of their operations.

Kenyan development in three cases

In her research Kazimierczuk looked at three cases – Unilever Tea Kenya Limited, the flower sector and Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) project – to investigate the potential contribution of the Dutch private sector and Dutch Private Sector Development (PSD) policies to inclusive development in Kenya. Due to their economic importance and scale, the three studied cases have always been of high political and economic interests in Kenya: Tea is the second-biggest and floriculture the fourth-biggest source of foreign-currency earnings (in 2017, after remittances and tourism). These two sectors alone generated 3 million (2006) and 600,000 (2010) in direct and indirect jobs respectively. Their development took place with help of Dutch and international investors, yet over the years, both sectors have matured and are increasingly taken over by Kenyan-owned farms. The third case, Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) is among the most ambitious large-scale renewable energy projects in Africa and one of the most prominent examples of a private renewable energy investment at the pastoral margins. Initiated by a group of Dutch entrepreneurs in 2006 and completed in 2017, LTWP is located on the south-east side of Lake Turkana in Marsabit County, one of the most remote, underdeveloped and poor regions of Kenya – so far excluded and seriously neglected by the government and investors. This 310 MW wind energy project, with a budget of €620 million, is the largest private investment in Kenya. Illustrated by these three representative case studies, Kazimierczuk’s thesis takes the reader on a historical journey through the main stages of the Kenyan economy as well as the corresponding global development order in the 20th and 21st century.

The private sector and inclusive development

Inclusive development (ID) is broadly understood as development that “aims to reduce poverty and inequality”. It is also important to distinguish between inclusive development outcomes and inclusive development processes. According to the literature, the private sector can contribute to inclusive development in a number of ways and their operations generate processes and outcomes that can, in principle, be sorted into five dimensions of ID:  economic, socio-cultural, spatial, ecological and political dimensions.[i] Examples of such processes and outcomes can be found in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Identified inclusive outcomes of the private sector operations classified in four main dimensions of ID. Source: own elaboration by the author

Agnieszka Kazimierczuk’s research indeed confirmed that the private sector, encouraged by appropriate policies in both ‘home’ and ‘host’ countries, has the capacity to contribute to some inclusive development outcomes and can be an important development agent. For instance:

  • The presence of Dutch investors directly and indirectly contributed to substential employment creation in Kenya.
  • The Dutch investors, through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, supported the local communities in which they operated.
  • In the case of UTKL, the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) co-funded the Farmers Field Schools (FFS) contributed to knowledge transfer and greater inclusion of the smallholder tea farmers.
  • In the flower industry, Dutch support to the Kenya Flower Council (KFC) to drive an update of the national horticulture standard for flowers and ornamentals (KS 1758 Part 1), pushed for more appropriate environmental conditions and safer use of chemicals in the whole sector.
  • In the case of LTWP, the direct contribution of the Dutch government to the local road construction and upgrade, as well as a loan provided by the Netherlands Development Financing Company (FMO), opened up the long-neglected area where the windfarm is located. In this sense, it contributed to alleviating its territorial exclusion and to economic and political inclusion of some local groups.

As the inclusion can take different forms[ii] and can have different scopes,[iii] none of these initiatives came without a degree of controversy.

The other side of the coin

The role of the private sector in achieveing inclusive development is not straightforward.

  • The employment provided by the Dutch companies could not always be considered fully productive and not yet at the level of living wage.
  • The CSR activities of the Dutch companies were often fragmented or not yet at full capacity.
  • FFS have been criticised for their exclusive character, as only being accessible for ‘frontrunner farmers’ and certified farmers. Additionally FFS encountered problems in achieving the necessary scale. They are also seen as a contributing factor to the decreasing numbers of permanent workforces and increasing casualisation of employment on the tea estates.
  • In the flower sector, Dutch PSD support went predominantly to companies operating in the flower sector supply chain, including some breeders and propagators. Given their already strong position, this may have led to slow inclusion, and further exclusion in terms of knowledge transfer, of smallholder farmers.
  • With regard to the road and LTWP itself, the road and the wind farm construction caused one local village (Sarima) to be resettled in a process that has been contested by local opponents of the project. The process of land acquisition for the project, as well as issues related to equitable distribution of benefits (employment and CSR) during the construction phase sparked a number of controversies at the local and national level.

In addition to these downsides and controversies, the private sector operations were clearly influenced by political considerations, having great impact on the extent to which the goal of inclusive development will be achieved or not. Achieving inclusive outcomes was possible but it was preceded in all cases by lengthy and exclusive, at times ‘occlusive’, political processes

‘Occlusive’ development

In the studied cases, ‘occlusive’ processes occurred during the initial stage of foreign private sector establishment in Kenya. These processes were ‘occlusive’ in nature, as they happened behind closed doors among groups of carefully selected strategic actors. They required strong personal networks, as well as an active engagement of the studied Dutch companies  with the international, national and local governments. For instance, in the flower sector, a small group of international breeding companies took over the key regulatory role in the sector. This led to the creation of an exclusive and ‘occlusive’ governance structure within the sector. In the case of LTWP, it was the local networks built over the years by the project’s ‘founding fathers’ that proved to be a critical factor in the project’s success. The LTWP chronology illustrates a number of ‘occlusive’ processes in the political dimension that took place on the local, national and international level during the project development. These exclusive and ‘occlusive’ processes – which occurred in the case of LTWP, but also in the two other studied cases – did, however, lead to some inclusive outcomes in the longer-term. Concequently, these findings confirm that ‘occlusive’ processes constitute an integral and (so far) inseparable part of the development process that lead to inclusive outcomes.

From ‘occlusive’ to inclusive development

Dutch companies in Kenya in three sectors of high national importance – floriculture, tea and renewable energy – have played a crucial role in the sectors’ establishment and development and generated a number of inclusive development outcomes. Yet, it must be generally acknowledged that the bigger and more profitable companies, such as MNCs like Unilever Tea or companies operating in the sectors of high national importance are of interest to local elites in terms of potential rent-seeking and patronage. Furthermore, some of the companies, like, for instance, LTWP, cannot operate without state approval. That immediately makes them a target of political interests. As their survival depends heavily on this so-called ‘political embrace’, as well as on the existing business environment in general, the companies must adapt and play by the national rules of the game. In the Kenyan context, this means navigating within a complicated political ‘occlusive’ economic set-up characterised by patrimonialism and (ethnic) clientelism, with only some enclaves of bureaucratic expertise. The private sector is not in a position to challenge this status quo, whilst the risk is high that it will actually promote and reproduce the existing power structures in order to ensure its own survival.

It is of utmost importance that business in Africa, but also globally, is done in a responsible and ethical way. To paraphrase Friedman, in this new era: business’ business should be responsible business, yet it remains business. It is therefore up to national and international governments to provide a framework and conducive environment for the private sector to thrive, while ensuring that they uphold ethical and sustainability standards. The Dutch economic diplomacy should thus focus on promoting policies that encourage inclusive development. Moreover, support given to the private sector in developing countries is important, but Dutch PSD policies need to be more realistic about what the private sector, in the specific context, can actually do to contribute to inclusive development. It is therefore recommended that PSD programmes establish internal learning mechanisms for their private sector grantees to identify the challenges and on-going dynamics and swiftly adapt to the local context. They should also tap into the knowledge of Dutch business(wo)men already experienced in doing business in developing countries. Finally, it is the governments’ responsibility – not the private sector’s – to provide social protection and welfare for their people as well as space for civil society who can keep actors in check. The policies and programmes should not operate in a vacuum, but rather holistically support the ‘host’ country’s national government, sectoral organisations, trade unions, and civil society organisations to jointly create a conducive and inclusive business environment.

The private sector is a key strategic partner in global developmental efforts and surely the SDGs cannot be achieved without it. Equally, the private sector cannot do it alone either.

The doctoral thesis by Agnieszka Kazimierczuk entitled ‘TRACING INCLUSIVITY. Contribution of the Dutch private sector to inclusive development in Kenya. Case study of Unilever Tea Kenya Ltd., the flower sector and Lake Turkana Wind Power project’ is part of a larger research project entitled “Dutch Multinational Businesses, Dutch government and the promotion of productive employment in Sub-Sahara Africa: a comparative study of Kenya and Nigeria”. This comparative study is a joint effort of the African Studies Centre Leiden University (ASCL), the University of Nairobi (UoN), the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), African Heritage Institution and Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture. The project is part of the research agenda of the Knowledge Platform on Inclusive Development Policies (INCLUDE), funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through NWO-WOTRO.

The summary of the research, together with further recommendations to the Dutch Government on how to enhance the contribution of the Dutch private sector to inclusive development in Kenya and other developing countries, can be downloaded here.

This blog was originally published commissioned and published for our consortium parner, The Broker. Access the original article here.

Het bericht Exclusive inclusive business: Tracing inclusivity among the Dutch private sector in Kenya verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Concepción in lockdown

D+C - 23. Oktober 2020 - 8:51
Constitutional referendum amidst coronavirus restrictions raises questions

Concepción is about 500 kilometres away from Santiago, the capital, and is the most important city in the southern part of the country. It lies on the Biobío River, which forms the border to the indigenous territories of the Mapuche, and has both major strategic as well as symbolic significance. It is considered the antithesis of Santiago.

The differences, political and otherwise, between the two metropolises are likely the reason why the Ministry of Health has placed Concepción under  quarantine, which means that people may only leave their homes for important reasons. At least that is what the residents believe, having completely lost faith in the responsible members of government.

In June, the mayor of Recoleta, who belongs to the opposition, took legal action against President Sebastián Piñera and the Minister of Health at the time, Jaime Mañalich, who was responsible for the pandemic response. In the course of the investigation, it has recently become known that the Ministry of Health attempted to manipulate the official Covid-19 mortality figures.

Shortly before the Chilean Independence Day on 18 September, the new Minister of Health, Enrique Paris, decided to allow family gatherings. The mayor of Concepción, who is himself a government official, criticised the move publicly by pointing out that Paris's policy contradicted the general order to isolate. Following heated discussions in the media, Paris withdrew his permission. Relations broke down even more after that.

In Concepción, like in the rest of the country, it is difficult to follow the Covid-19 guidelines. Political squabbling, social tensions and a lack of clear communication have contributed to Chile's unsettling situation: the country of 19 million has registered around 17,500 deaths in connection with the pandemic.

The places where curfews are in place today experienced mass demonstrations one year ago. These began in October 2019 in Santiago as a protest against an increase in the price of metro tickets and ended as a popular uprising that swept the entire country and also resulted in violence and human-rights abuses (see Katie Cashman in D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2020/01, Debate section).

This social uprising forced those in government to clear the way for a new constitution. The current constitution is a relic of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. On 25 October, a referendum will be held to ask voters whether a new constitution should be drafted.

Polls indicate that the majority favours change. Questions remain, however, with regard to voter participation. While election authorities have put guidelines in place to protect voters, many people are wary of gatherings where they could be infected. In Concepción, they are also wondering whether the quarantine will be lifted before the referendum, or whether it will proceed under the current restrictions. The latter situation could call the legitimacy of the election into question.

Javier A. Cisterna Figueroa is a journalist living in Concepción.
cisternafigueroa@gmail.com

 

Kategorien: english

Recent attention to critical issues

Postgraduates - 23. Oktober 2020 - 1:44

SPRING Alumni Conference 2020 “SPRING Cross-Regional Dialogue:

Responding to the Global Pandemic towards a Sustainable and Resilient Future”

In July 2019, SPRING Alumni held their first Winter School, an event organized by the SPRING Alumni (LAC) and members of the SPRING International Association for Development Planning in Valdivia, Chile. The theme was Evolving Dynamics, Processes and Linkages to support the achievement of 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals 11 and 13 (Sustainable Cities and Climate Action).

In 2020 we continue this endeavour with an online conference about a more pressing matter.

This year the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 Pandemic and its implications. SPRING Alumni remain committed to yielding opportunities for inter-regional dialogue and the open exchange of ideas, so we understand the new normal by supporting and learning from each other.

The conference “SPRING Cross-Regional Dialogue: Responding to the Global Pandemic towards a Sustainable and Resilient Future” brings together practical experience and theoretical reflections on planning policies, guidelines and practices. Its main aim is a deeper understanding of how these practices contribute to emerging transformative planning approaches and resilient regional spatial development.”

Spring Conference Brochure

 

 

 

Kategorien: english, Jobs, Ticker

The world will remember the UN as success story of the 21st century. Or there won’t be a world that remembers.

weitzenegger.de - 23. Oktober 2020 - 0:09
UN Survives a World Turned Upside Down

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 16 2020 (IPS) – As the United Nations plans to commemorate its annual UN Day, come October 24, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is presiding over a world body which has remained locked down since last March because of the spreading coronavirus pandemic.

“In a world turned upside down, this General Assembly Hall is among the strangest sights of all,” said Guterres last month, describing the venue of the UN’s highest policy-making body.

At its 75th anniversary last month, the UN resembled a ghost town, with not a single world leader in sight. But an overwhelming majority did address the UN—remotely via video conferencing, for the first time in the history of the 193-member Organization.

Still, the United States was notoriously missing in action (MIA).

“It was like staging Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark,” remarked one delegate, using a Shakespearean metaphor.

The US, which is traditionally given pride of place as host country to the UN, was not represented either by the President, the Secretary of State or the Permanent Representative to the UN (in that pecking order).

The designated speaker for the commemorative meeting was a deputy US Permanent Representative—way done the political hierarchy.

Vijay Prashad, Director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, told IPS the United States stands almost alone in its disdain for the UN and for the goals of the UN Charter of 1945.

Disrespect to the UN at the 75th anniversary meeting comes alongside US withdrawal or pledges to withdraw from UNESCO, UNICEF, UNRWA, and the WHO.

Keep in mind, he said, that the US government has sanctioned senior members of the International Criminal Court (ICC), while US unilateral sanctions against countries such as Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela are a violation of international law.

There is no surprise that no senior official came for the anniversary meeting; in fact, it is to be expected, he added.

The United Nations remains one of the most important institutions committed to international peace and development, declared Prashad, author of thirty books, including Washington Bullets, Red Star Over the Third World, The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World and The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South.

Meanwhile, as the lock down continued, the overwhelming majority of over 3,000 staffers at the UN, and its affiliated agencies in New York, are working from home.

Speaking of the 75th anniversary meeting, Barbara Adams, chair of the board of Global Policy Forum and former Chief of Strategic Partnerships and Communications for the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), told IPS: “Yet again people around the world were witnesses to the enormous gap between the well- articulated diagnosis of where we are and what needs to be done not only in the face of COVID-19 but also of pre-existing inequalities, vulnerabilities and multi-dimensional violence.

Could it be, she asked, that the UN has been “captured” as the President of Equatorial Guinea lamented: “We cannot accept [either] that after so many years, the Charter of the UN continues to preserve the primacy of the major powers who trample on the legitimate aspirations of the weak so that they can enjoy the advantages of the UN system.””

Joseph Chamie, a former director of the UN Population Division, and currently an independent consulting demographer, told IPS: “In my opinion I did not hear any significant or noteworthy contributions from world leaders who addressed the meeting.

Their statements were not informative, insightful or inspiring. In brief, their remarks were disappointing and unmemorable, he pointed out.

Chamie said the lofty goals, ideals and accomplishments of the United Nations should have been highlighted and stressed.

During the past 75 years, he argued, the United Nations has accomplished much and contributed greatly to many critical areas, including peace, security, human rights, health, education, women’s equality and development.

“In the next 75 years, the United Nations must promote and expand its essential work for a world population now approaching nearly 8 billion, four times its size when the United Nations was established”.

While many challenges remain, including the current pandemic, this is an opportune time for world leaders to support and strengthen the United Nations and work together on effectively addressing the critical issues of today and tomorrow, said Chamie.

“The spirit, leadership and vision of 1945 can be rekindled and the United Nations revitalized for its indispensable role in the 21st century”, he declared.

The final declaration, which was adopted by the 193 member nations, singled out the UN as the only global organization with the power to bring countries together and give “hope to so many people for a better world and … deliver the future we want.”

https://www.un.org/en/un75

“No other global organization gives hope to so many people for a better world and can deliver the future we want. The urgency for all countries to come together, to fulfil the promise of the nations united, has rarely been greater,” the declaration said.

Mandeep S.Tiwana, Chief Programmes Officer at CIVICUS, a global civil society alliance, told IPS statements by world leaders at the meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary were mostly along expected lines reflecting their governments’ political priorities, and in some cases, their personal predilections.

Notably, there was significant support for international cooperation through multilateralism. The continuing relevance of the key principles of the UN Charter was affirmed even as their realization remains a work in progress, he said.

In a sign of the times, Tiwana pointed out, the United States despite being the host country and as the country whose leaders and visionaries played a key role in establishment of the UN chose to downgrade its representation at the high-level meeting.

The country’s statement was delivered by its deputy permanent representative to the UN whereas other countries were represented by their presidents, prime ministers or foreign ministers.

Tiwana said “one thing we’d like to see as an outcome from 75-year celebrations is the creation of an office of a Civil Society Envoy to champion peoples and civil society’s organisations’ participation in the affairs of the UN”.

Such an office could help in enabling (i) more consistent civil society participation across UN forums, agencies and departments, (ii) more inclusive convenings by the UN of various kinds of civil society actors, and (iii) better outreach by the UN to civil society across the globe.

“You’ll probably agree that the call has enhanced significance in light of the 75-year celebrations of the UN Charter and its commitment to ‘We the Peoples’. Coalitions such as UN 2020 and Together First with whom we’re closely associated are pushing for such an office.’

The links follow:
https://together1st.org/blog/together_first_launches_new_report_stepping_stones_for_a_better_future
https://together1st.org/storage/novapages/SteppingStones_Final.pdf

As Adams, of the Global Policy Forum, pointed out the Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Amor Mottley, expounded in detail the failure 75 years later to move forward to close the gap between disaster and recovery:

“Surely reconstruction of the COVID shattered economies of our countries is a priority now. Unless we forget financing was found in the form of a Marshall Plan for the rebuilding of Europe and financial space was given to war-indebted Britain for over 50 years through bilateral loans and lines of credit at exceedingly low interest rates”.

“It is not beyond the international community’s capacity to develop mechanisms to ring-fence and differentiate COVID related debt and to treat to it with the far-sighted realism that was shown then to the British debt.

“In the absence of such an approach, my friends, it is clear that the debt to GDP ratio of our region and many small island states will be unsustainable and there will be no fiscal room to build the resilience that we need as we stand on the front line of the climate crisis.”

 

Kategorien: english

Linking constituent engagement and adaptive management: lessons from practitioners

ODI - 23. Oktober 2020 - 0:00
A discussion of how development programmes can ensure that constituent engagement informs meaningful adaptation.
Kategorien: english

12 leaders’ perspectives on supporting Africa’s health systems through Covid-19

ODI - 23. Oktober 2020 - 0:00
Perspectives from leaders from Africa and the global health community on the key priorities for African governments in the Covid-19 response.
Kategorien: english

Can middle income countries rise up to their citizens’ expectations?

OECD - 22. Oktober 2020 - 19:17
By Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre and Special Advisor to the OECD Secretary General on Development[i] A call for a new social contract Despite significant economic growth over the past years, middle-income countries (MICs) face increasingly complex challenges related to, among others, a growing demand from their new and still vulnerable middle-classes. … Continue reading Can middle income countries rise up to their citizens’ expectations?
Kategorien: english

Classroom crisis: Avert a ‘generational catastrophe’, urges UN chief

UN #SDG News - 22. Oktober 2020 - 19:05
The world is at risk of suffering “a generational catastrophe” as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the education of students globally, the UN chief said on Thursday. 
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COVID-19 | A conversation with Steve Davis

Devex - 22. Oktober 2020 - 18:51
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Are we on track to end global hunger?

Brookings - 22. Oktober 2020 - 16:33

By Matt Cooper, Homi Kharas, Benjamin Müller

A Global Picture of Hunger

Food insecurity has been increasing in recent years, and has been further exacerbated in 2020 by the coronavirus. But what can we expect for the next decade? What will current trends in climate change, economic growth, and demographic shifts mean for food security throughout the 2020s? With data from the Food and Agriculture Organization in partnership with Gallup World Poll, the World Data Lab has used machine learning techniques and the latest forecasts of global change to estimate the dynamics of food insecurity for the coming decade. This forecast is displayed at subnational spatial resolution on the World Hunger Clock, allowing policymakers to explore the data and answer important questions about hunger.

Scientists have been studying food security for decades, and for many years, they relied on crude metrics, such as food available per capita, or the rate of stunting among children. However, these methods come with a variety of problems. Looking at the amount of food stored in national reserves does not account for inequalities in access to that food, while population level metrics like rates of stunting are confounded by things like infectious disease and parasites.

Today, scientists use a new metric called the Food Insecurity Experience Scale, which measures people’s lived experiences of hunger, rather than just crude proxies for hunger. It involves questions about skipping meals, running out of food, and worrying about having enough to eat over the previous year. As one of the most informative and cross-culturally valid metrics of food insecurity, it was selected as one of the key indicators for the second Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger. Now, with the World Hunger Clock, it is possible to explore this important metric at high spatial resolution including projections into the future for the entire world.

To map world hunger, we trained a machine learning model with the best data available today on variables like wealth, education, demographics, urbanization, and the climate. Our model was able to predict recent historic rates of food insecurity with very high accuracy. Then, based on how those variables are likely to change in the coming years, we estimated rates of food insecurity in the future.

We used our model to predict both moderate food insecurity—eating less than you would like, as well as severe food insecurity—going an entire day without eating. The figure below shows our results aggregated for the whole world. In recent years, our model confirms that both moderate and severe food insecurity have been on the rise in terms of absolute numbers. Due to the impact of the coronavirus on the global food system, 2020 and 2021 will see the highest levels of hunger in over a decade. Today, nearly 2.5 billion people—almost one-third of the world’s population—have some level of hunger, due to lacking the resources to purchase the food they would like, while 800,000 people are severely food insecure, going entire days without eating at least once.

Figure 1. Hunger is declining but very slowly

Number of people with moderate and severe food insecurity

Source: World Data Lab, World Hunger Clock

Where Things Are Getting Worse and Where They Are Getting Better

Breaking down our model’s predictions by world region shows a dynamic picture. East Asia has been continuing a pattern of increasing development and access to food, so the number of food insecure people has decreased and will continue to do so. Not only are people leaving a state of food insecurity and poverty, but people are achieving a middle-class lifestyle. Increasingly, the challenge people and policymakers face in this region is not the challenge of eating enough but rather eating well—having diets that do not lead to obesity and that do not have an excessive impact on the environment.

In sub-Saharan Africa, on the other hand, the number of food insecure will continue to rise. While economic development will continue rapidly, in many parts of Africa, population growth will outpace the improvements in food security. Many lower-middle-income African countries will make large strides in decreasing the rate of food security, particularly Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia, but in absolute numbers, food insecurity will continue to increase throughout the continent.

Finally, South Asia is predicted to turn a corner on food insecurity. Having seen the number of hungry people increase throughout the last decade, the number of both moderate and severely food insecure people will begin to decrease in the early 2020s. This is due to a combination of economic growth bringing people out of poverty as well as the fruits of long-term trends in reduced stunting and malnutrition.

As the recent well-deserved Nobel Peace Price received by the World Food Programme shows, ensuring that all people on earth have access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food is an important goal to strive for, and many organizations are currently paying attention to global hunger. The novel World Hunger Clock will contribute to global efforts to achieve this goal and help policymakers to better understand where hunger still exists and how it is changing.

Disclaimer: The World Hunger Clock is supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

       
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Nachhaltigkeitspolitik in Deutschland

GDI Briefing - 22. Oktober 2020 - 15:46

Wie werden die 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) heute umgesetzt, fünf Jahre nach Verabschiedung der Agenda 2030? Dieser Beitrag fasst zusammen: In Deutschland ist zwar einiges erreicht worden, insbesondere beim Ausbau erneuerbarer Energien und bei der Verringerung von Schadstoffen in Luft, Gewässern und Böden. Aber das Gesamtbild macht deutlich, dass Fehlentwicklungen dominieren. Zunehmende Belastungen des Grundwassers und der Luft sowie ein enormer Verlust an Insektenpopulationen durch die Ausdehnung der intensiven Agrarwirtschaft und zu langsam sinkende Treibhausgasemissionen sind nur vier Beispiele. Unzureichende öffentliche Investitionen in die Daseinsvorsorge, in Bildung und Digitalisierung sind weitere. Das große Versprechen der Konferenz der Vereinten Nationen über Umwelt und Entwicklung, die Lebensbedingungen auf dem Planeten umweltverträglich zu gestalten und zu verbessern, wurde nicht eingehalten. Gelingt es der deutschen Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie nun, diesen Zustand für Deutschland und seine Rolle in der Welt zu verändern und die notwendigen strukturellen Transformationen tatsächlich zu erwirken? Dieser Beitrag sucht Antworten und skizziert ein realistisches Bild der zukünftigen deutschen Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie. Fest steht: der Druck auf Deutschland steigt mit einem Europäischen Green Deal und einer jungen Wählerschaft, die gegen den Klimawandel angeht.

Kategorien: english

C20 Chair Intervention-G20 Anti-Corruption Ministers Meeting

#C20 18 - 22. Oktober 2020 - 14:51
Click here to review. 
Kategorien: english, Ticker

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