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Urbanisation and human mobility: fact sheets

ODI - 8. Juli 2020 - 0:00
An overview of existing research and evidence on some key dimensions of sustainable urban development and human mobility.
Kategorien: english

Adolescent experiences of covid-19 in Jordan

ODI - 8. Juli 2020 - 0:00
Kategorien: english

China and global development: 12 things to read and watch in July

ODI - 8. Juli 2020 - 0:00
Covering how Covid-19 affects China’s role in the global economy, Chinese debt to developing countries, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and more.
Kategorien: english

‘New dynamic’ needed to overcome negative impacts of COVID-19 worldwide 

UN #SDG News - 7. Juli 2020 - 20:37
The dramatic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, have laid bare “weaknesses in our systems and societies”, a top official told the UN’s key international forum on sustainable development which began on Tuesday, warning that “a new dynamic” is needed to overcome the negative shocks. 
Kategorien: english

How Different Countries Have Handled COVID-19, Ranked

UN Dispatch - 7. Juli 2020 - 18:34
How Countries Responded to COVID-19

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries have deployed drastically different responses. According to a new UN report, we’re still in the early phase of this crisis, but so far, South Korea has had the most effective response and the United Kingdom the worst.

The report, published last week by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranks the 37 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) based on how well they’ve been able to contain COVID-19 and also minimize damage to their economies. South Korea topped the list, followed by Baltic countries and countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. and several western European countries rank on the bottom of the list.

The OECD’s member countries and key partners make up about 80 percent of world trade and investment, according to the group, so their ability  (or not) to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 has big global implications.


Specifically, the index compared the countries’ death rate per 1 million population, which range from below 10 per 1 million people in countries like Australia (3.88 – the lowest), New Zealand (4.34), Slovakia (4.77) and South Korea (5), to above 100 per 1 million, like in Belgium (761.55 – the highest), Spain (575.26), Sweden (319.99) and the U.S. (246.98).

The index also looked at how well countries have suppressed the pandemic during this early phase. Some countries, like South Korea and New Zealand managed to suppress transmission of the virus in March and April. In others, transmission is ongoing, like in the U.S., which has the highest “effective reproduction rate” of the countries analyzed.

Finally, the index assessed the efficiency with which countries have been able to control the pandemic. South Korea, for example, was able to suppress transmission with minimal economic fallout by employing a more targeted strategy, including isolating or quarantining infected individuals, contact tracing, quarantining people exposed to carriers of the virus and wearing face masks. Other countries, like the U.S. and Italy have had to “resort to the cruder and costlier approach of economic lockdowns,” the report’s authors wrote. Although the economic disruption has been “enormous,” they say, strict and prolonged lockdowns on social and economic activities was “most probably the right policy response for countries lacking [personal protective equipment] and with lower testing and hospital intensive care capacities,” and likely saved thousands of lives.

Although countries at the top of the index have performed better than others, the report makes clear that all countries are still highly vulnerable to new outbreaks, because no country has acquired “herd immunity” yet. Just this week, South Korea has reported several consecutive days of more than 60 coronavirus cases.

COVID-19 and the Sustainable Development Goals

The report also notes that COVID-19 will likely have “severe” short-term negative impacts on most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially progress toward no poverty (SDG 1), no hunger (SDG 2), good health and well-being (SDG 3), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8) and reduced inequalities (SDG 10). The only silver lining, though the impact is still unclear, is that the economic lockdowns seem to have been a reprieve on the environment. As economic activity resumes, it’s important that we don’t revert to our “old patterns of environmental degradation,” the report’s authors wrote.

In terms of how well countries are progressing overall toward the SDGs, the report also includes its annual ranking of all 193 UN member states. Since the SDGs were adopted in 2015, East and South Asia as a region has earned the title of most improved, while Venezuela, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo have regressed the most because of conflicts and other economic and social problems. As in previous years, Sweden, Denmark and Finland topped the index, yet even these countries are not on track to achieve all the SDGs. The U.S. ranked 31, behind Italy, Spain and others. Additionally, the report found that high-income countries are severely undermining other countries’ ability to achieve the SDGs because of their trade and consumption practices.

Because of the delay in data, the SDG index doesn’t account for the impact of COVID-19. But according to another UN report published Tuesday, the pandemic is reversing decades of progress:

An estimated 71 million people are expected to be pushed back into extreme poverty this year – the first increase in global poverty since 1998.

Disruptions to health, vaccination and nutrition services means deaths of children under age 5 could increase by hundreds of thousands this year, and maternal mortality could jump by tens of thousands. Global education has also been severely disrupted as school closures have kept 90 percent of students out of classrooms – with that, more than 370 million children have missed out on school meals they depend on. Additionally, as families fall below the extreme poverty line, their vulnerability to exploitation will rise. Child labor, for example, is likely to increase for the first time in 20 years.

However, both reports note that the SDGs offer a framework for recovering from the pandemic in a way that builds back better. Specifically, if countries cooperate with each other and focus on transforming (1) education and skills, (2) health and wellbeing, (3) clean energy and industry, (4) sustainable land use, (5) sustainable cities and (6) digital technologies, they can achieve all 17 SDGs. Achieving the SDGs will, in turn, prepare the world to better respond to future crises, including other pandemics and perhaps the greatest crisis of all – climate change.

Want to learn more about what accounts for different countries’ responses to COVID-19? Listen to this podcast interview with a political scientist who specializes in comparative politics

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

The post How Different Countries Have Handled COVID-19, Ranked appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Overcoming Developmentalism

EADI Debating Development Research - 7. Juli 2020 - 13:54
By Henning Melber It might be a platitude but is a reminder for all we say and do: solidarity in its true meaning cannot be confined to words only. Unless these are also reflected in what we do and how we do it, solidarity remains a rather meaningless tokenism or lip service. Declarations are not …
Kategorien: english, Ticker

Rebuilding the world post-COVID-19

T20 - 7. Juli 2020 - 10:19

In his closing address, Dennis J. Snower, President of the Global Solutions Initiative, highlights three key insights from over 800 contributions to the Digital Global Solutions Summit 2020: the need for value-driven policymaking, economies that protect the natural world and support for multilateralism.

Economic value needs to be brought into harmony with our values.

The heroes of the pandemic are people, who surprisingly, have not been held in particularly high regard in our economies and societies – nurses, carers of the elderly, delivery personnel and immigrant agricultural workers. These can be people on low salaries in precarious jobs, whose most important service lies in the civility and kindness for which they are not paid.

It is necessary to find new and better ways of according social esteem, political voice and economic reward to people who should be valued, not just in times of current need, but always.

This awareness gives new urgency to calls for reforming capitalism, measuring economic performance beyond GDP, and measuring business performance by stakeholder value rather than shareholder value.

Human beings are not merely creatures that seek to maximize their consumption as efficiently as possible. Human beings seek to lead meaningful lives and these are lives lived in accordance with our values. To do so, humans need to be empowered not only to pursue immediate self-interest, but to learn and adapt, to shape our environment sustainably, to give and receive care and respect in our social communities. These are all value-driven activities.

The time has come to say farewell to the view that economics is “value-free,” concerned merely with the means whereby resources are allocated and distributed; business activity is value-free, concerned merely with the maximization of shareholder value; economic growth is accepted as a value-free measure of economic performance; and policy making is concerned primarily with value-free economic efficiency, making contact with values only by influencing the distribution of income and wealth.

A sense of purpose in policy making and business, as well as measures of economic and business performance, must be value-driven.

Related Global Tables

Opening Panel: Global Problem-Solving at a Crossroads

Fahad Alturki, T20 Saudi Arabia and KAPSARC, Colm Kelly, PwC, Gabriela Ramos, G20 Sherpa OECD, Dennis J. Snower, Global Solutions Initiative, hosted by Journalist Declan Curry

Rebuilding Macroeconomics after the Pandemic

Wendy Carlin, University College London, Paul Collier, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, Alan Kirman, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociale, Henrietta Moore, Institute for Global Prosperity, University College London, hosted by Angus Armstrong, ESRC’s Rebuilding Macroeconomics

The role of civil society and businesses for fostering recoupling

Marc Fleurbaey, Princeton University and Global Solutions FellowAmandine Lepoutre, Thinkers & Doers, Joost Minnaar, Corporate Rebels, Arnaud Mourot, Ashoka


There needs to be new appreciation of our responsibility towards the natural world.

The pandemic shows clearly how humans have displaced, captured and misused ever more wildlife, the pathogens in these animals can lead to zoonotic infections. Worldwide zoonoses give rise to an estimated 1 billion cases of human illness and millions of human deaths annually.

In many ways, nature has benefitted from the current worldwide recession: clean air and clear waterways around major cities. However, the pandemic makes clear humanity’s ever-present capacity for natural destruction under the current economic and political regimes, as deforestation, wildlife poaching and illegal mining has increased in Latin America, Asia and Africa. At the same time, COVID-19 emphasized that despite all the cities that have built, humans remain embedded in the natural world.

These observations strengthen the impetus to fight climate change, reform land use, protect oceans, and preserve biodiversity. Economic performance should be measured not just in terms of the goods and services that we produce and consume, but also in terms of how these production and consumption activities affect the life-sustaining powers of our ecosystems. Along the same lines, business performance measures must take account of natural capital and ecosystem services.

Related Global Tables

What can the G20 do to support green investment in emerging and developing economies?

Michael Dittrich, German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU), Mafalda Duarte, Climate Investment Funds, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF International, hosted by Journalist Conny Czymoch

What can the G20 do to promote a sustainable bioeconomy and stable food systems?

Julia Klöckner, German Minister of Food and Agriculture, Alexander Bonde, German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU), Franziska Schünemann, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Maximo Torero, Food and Agriculture Organization, Robert Vos, IFPRI, hosted by Journalist Conny Czymoch

Why sustainable and smart urbanization matters for the G20

Hazem Galal, Cities and Local Government Global Leader, PwC, Amal Fatani, Saudi S20 Sherpa, Kobie Brand, ICLEI, Nicolas J.A. Buchoud, Grand Paris Alliance; Global Solutions FellowSusan Parnell, University of Bristol, hosted by Evan Davis, BBC

What can the G20 do to prepare the road to COP26 and ensure functioning global carbon markets?

Svenja Schulze, German Minister for the Environment, Laurence Tubiana, European Climate Foundation, Amar Bhattacharya, Brookings, USA, Ottmar Edenhofer, PIK, Germany, hosted by Journalist Conny Czymoch

There needs to be a new appreciation of our vital need for multistakeholder and multilateral cooperation.

Despite the many differences in outlooks and convictions among the people of the world, a new and better future can only be shaped together. In this age of the Anthropocene, all people are finally being called collectively to account. Humans being have become so plentiful and so powerful that our activities dominate the health of our planet. We are coming face to face with our responsibilities.

Our actions have consequences that extend far beyond our immediate goals, in both time and space. We are interdependent economically and environmentally, and thus also politically and socially, beyond anything we could possibly have imagined even a generation ago. We are encountering a common vulnerability that has arisen because we have thus far failed to recognize the terrible implications of acting independently in pursuit of short-sighted goals.

We are beginning to appreciate the interdependence of our needs, despite all our national, religious and cultural differences. The interconnected vulnerabilities of our health systems show us that we are not sustainably well when others are ill. The interdependence of our food systems indicates we cannot be sustainably full when others starve. The looming refugee crises are beginning to reveal to us that we cannot be sustainably free when others are in chains.

Related Global Tables

What can the G20 do to reinvigorate multilateral cooperation in a new global order?

Danilo Türk, Club de Madrid; Former President of Slovenia, Julia Pomares, CIPPEC, Argentina, Blair Sheppard, PwC, Ngaire Woods, the University of Oxford, hosted by Homi Kharas, Brookings Institution

What can the G20 do to improve social cohesion and trigger responsibility in business and politics?

Paul Collier, University of Oxford, Gianluca Grimalda, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Colm Kelly, PwC, Claudia Sanhueza, Universidad Mayor, hosted by Marc Fleurbaey, Princeton University and Global Solutions Fellow

More Global Tables are available online.

The Global Solutions Summit, with its recommendations and visions, is meant to provide support for the G20 and beyond in envisioning a new world, where we share a common awareness of global goals, common respect for local differences and the recoupling of economic prosperity with social and environmental prosperity.

DENNIS J. SNOWER is President of the Global Solutions Initiative and Professor at the Hertie School.

About the Global Solutions Summit

The Global Solutions Summit – The World Policy Forum – is hosted by the Global Solutions Initiative, a global collaborative enterprise that proposes policy responses to major global problems, addressed by the G20, the G7 and other global governance fora. The policy recommendations and strategic visions are generated through a disciplined research program by leading research organizations, elaborated in policy dialogues between researchers, policymakers, business leaders and civil society representatives. Most recently, the GSI proposed an alternative to measuring prosperity through GDP, the Recoupling Dashboard. The Global Solutions Summit 2021 will take place in Berlin, Germany on May 27th and 28th.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

The post Rebuilding the world post-COVID-19 appeared first on G20 Insights.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Ensuring no one is ‘left behind’ in health: an evidence review of constraints and ways forward

ODI - 7. Juli 2020 - 0:00
This paper provides a review of impediments to accessing quality healthcare for at-risk groups
Kategorien: english

What next for UK international development?

ODI - 7. Juli 2020 - 0:00
We explore the recent announcement by the UK Government to merge DFID with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the implications on UK aid.
Kategorien: english

C20 Releases a Statement for Effective G20 Agenda on Finance and Health

#C20 18 - 6. Juli 2020 - 20:18
The C20 official Engagement Group of the G20 submitted a list of policy priorities for the upcoming G20 Finance Ministers & Central Bank Governors meeting on July 18th and the G20 Extraordinary Sherpa Meeting on July 24th. The proposed recommendations take into account complimentary policy areas at the intersection of health and finance policy-making; including [...]
Kategorien: english, Ticker

A sustainable future for all depends on ‘resolve to act together in solidarity’

UN #SDG News - 6. Juli 2020 - 20:11
The United Nations vision for a sustainable future for all “will depend on our policy choices today, and our resolve to act together in solidarity”, a senior UN official told delegates on Monday at a meeting to discuss post-pandemic recovery.
Kategorien: english

A sustainable future for all depends on ‘resolve to act together in solidarity’

UN ECOSOC - 6. Juli 2020 - 20:11
The United Nations vision for a sustainable future for all “will depend on our policy choices today, and our resolve to act together in solidarity”, a senior UN official told delegates on Monday at a meeting to discuss post-pandemic recovery.
Kategorien: english

Lessons from LDCs’ responses to COVID-19: From crisis to opportunities?

OECD - 6. Juli 2020 - 17:43
By Ratnakar Adhikari, Executive Director, Enhanced Integrated Framework This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide. This blog is also a part of a thread looking more specifically at the … Continue reading Lessons from LDCs’ responses to COVID-19: From crisis to opportunities?
Kategorien: english

Sustainable Finance for Peace and Climate Security | Climate Security Series – Taped Live

UN Dispatch - 6. Juli 2020 - 16:24

This episode is part three of a six-part series examining the relationship between climate and security, produced in partnership with CGIAR, the world’s largest global agricultural innovation network. This episode was taped live in front of a virtual audience and featured five panelists discussing how sustainable finance can support peace and climate security.

In the context of our conversation, sustainable finance is something of an umbrella term for harnessing private sector capital in the service of social and environmental goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals. The conversation that unfolds over the course of about 50 minutes includes examples of innovative financial products, a discussion of the role of traditional development aid, and a broad conversation about what else needs to be done to scale up private sector investment in climate security.


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


The post Sustainable Finance for Peace and Climate Security | Climate Security Series – Taped Live appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

PRESSEMITTEILUNG - Nachhaltigkeitsziele & Menschenrechte müssen Bestandteil aller Anti-Corona Krisen-Pakete sein

Global Policy Forum - 6. Juli 2020 - 13:59

Vereinte Nationen: Hochrangiges Forum für Nachhaltige Entwicklung (High Level Political Forum, HLPF) tagt ab morgen Dienstag, 7. Juli bis 16. Juli (virtuell)

Kategorien: english, Ticker

New approach to conflict prevention

D+C - 6. Juli 2020 - 12:40
Realignment of UN peace work and conflict prevention

Teresa Whitfield, director of Policy and Mediation of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, says the new concept will require a radical organisational transformation at the UN: “There will be no more sharp cuts between preventive diplomacy and linear peacebuilding aimed at enduring peace.” The UN now takes an integral approach to thinking through peace processes.

According to Whitfield, this implies there can be no peace without development or without respect for human rights. Peace work needs to take into account new issues such as climate security and root-cause analysis as well as conflict mediation. Aspects such as development and poverty reduction also need to be integrated. But, as Whitfield points out: “Practical implementation is a major challenge, especially in an organisation where a silo mentality prevails.”

However, as the researcher told participants in a Development and Peace Foundation (SEF) online conference on “Crisis Prevention: From Ambition to Action. New Pathways for the UN” in June, she believes the UN has already made considerable progress. The organisation has significantly improved its mediation work, she said, analysing conflicts more intelligently and involving not only governments in crisis intervention and peace work but now also civil society and non-governmental organisations. She also sees a positive sign in the UN leadership’s strong commitment to inclusion and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the pledge to “leave no one behind”.

But Whitfield also explained to the conference that the conflicts ongoing today are much more complex and harder to resolve than those in the past. Conflict resolution is complicated by the following:

  • Many internal conflicts have an international dimension, which makes them impossible to resolve by traditional methods.
  • The armed groups involved are highly fragmented. There are no longer just two conflicting parties such as government and opposition; there are a whole range of players, with different objectives and financial backers.

Examples include the civil wars in Libya, Yemen and Syria. Problems in the UN Security Council make matters worse. All five permanent members have a power of veto, so they can block important decisions. The other, non-permanent members do not have this power and can do practically nothing about it.

Adriana Erthal Abdenur from the Instituto Igarapé, an independent security and development think tank based in Rio de Janeiro, praised the new UN approach at the SEF conference. In her opinion, however, the UN should do more to promote South-South cooperation. So far – she said – South-South cooperation has been understood in extremely narrow terms as technical assistance. At the same time, new actors such as China, India, Indonesia, Turkey and even small states like Timor-Leste are taking innovative approaches to conflict prevention. A vast amount of knowledge and resources is available but not being sufficiently harnessed in the UN process, Abdenur says.

The researcher points to other major innovations at the UN such as the Climate Security Mechanism (CSM), an inter-agency cooperation between the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, UN Development Programme and UN Environment Programme. The CSM is designed to facilitate a more comprehensive UN response to climate-related security risks. Abdenur believes this topic needs to be spread “on a broad base within the organisation”, meaning that all measures and programmes must take climate-related security risks into account.

A great deal has been done in the UN to make processes inclusive. Many measures, such as mediation, have been shifted from governmental level to different actors. One example is Colombia, where after long negotiations and lots of pressure from civil society, a peace agreement was finally reached in 2016 between the government and the country’s largest rebel group, FARC.

Abdenur stressed one point in particular at the online conference: “UN member states and other relevant actors need to be convinced that conflict prevention is not only more economical but also much more effective and saves more lives than a reactive approach.” There is lots of evidence for this, she claimed, referring participants to the UN and World Bank study “Pathways for Peace”.

In a research paper, Abdenur points to another major change that is needed if conflict prevention is to be more than just a buzzword: risk assessment methodologies need to be improved. New technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) should be harnessed for this. The UN is currently working on innovative techniques that use big data and AI to help assess national crisis situations. The experts hope that with these new methods they will be able to predict crises and conflicts faster and more precisely and ideally prevent them in advance.


Whitfield, T., 2019: Mediating in a Complex World.

Abdenur, A., 2019: Making Conflict Prevention a Concrete Reality at the UN.

UN and World Bank, 2018: Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict.

Kategorien: english

A battle for the soul of Islam

D+C - 6. Juli 2020 - 12:16
A feature film shows the threat of violent Islam coming to Senegal

The Islamist fundamentalists came into town softly at first, bearing cash and gifts. They slowly won the favour of townspeople and gained authority. And then they took control – imposing a harsh and violent rule on unsuspecting people who had practiced a gentle form of Islam for centuries.

That is the main story line of a gripping new film by a young Senegalese filmmaker, Mamadou Dia. The film was shown in February at the Film Museum in Frankfurt in the presence of the director, who spoke with the audience afterwards about what he has to say in this film, and why.

On one level the film, titled “Baamum Nafi” (“Nafi’s father”), is a family drama. It concerns two brothers, one known only as “the Tierno”, the town’s long-serving Imam, who leads his people with a gentle hand. The Tierno, a much-loved but somewhat weak figure, has lived in the town all his life.

His older brother, Ousmane, on the other hand, received their father’s support to travel abroad and expand his horizons. Ousmane became a follower of a radical fundamentalist known only as “the Sheikh”. He returned to his home town as an agent of the Sheikh, bringing with him the violent jihadist’s cash and gifts with which to buy influence, and a band of thugs with whom to take control.

Complicating matters is that the two brothers are also fathers, and their teenage children – the Tierno’s daughter Nafi and Ousmane’s son Tokara – are in love and wish to marry. In view of their traditionalist families, the kids are quite avant-garde: the beautiful and intelligent Nafi wishes to study medicine in Dakar and become a doctor, and the gentle and talented Tokara wishes to study dance and become a professional dancer. They support each other in their aspirations.

The two fathers are unaware of these modernist winds blowing through their own homes. They are focused on their struggles with each other: the Tierno’s bitterness that he did not have Ousmane’s opportunities in the world; their differences over how the wedding of their children should be conducted; and their battle to control the town and determine how Islam will be practiced there.

The Tierno is clearly the more sympathetic of the two brothers. But the towns­people, blinded by cash gifts and by arguments about “true Islam” meant to undermine the Tierno’s authority, gradually shift to Ousmane’s camp.

Then the dark side of Islamist fundamentalism starts to appear. Women are required to cover themselves from head to toe with chadors. Forced marriages take place in a mass ceremony. Girls skipping rope run away when the religious overseers approach, knowing that anything that looks like fun is against the new rules. Unmarried couples holding hands in public are seen as a problem.

It gets worse. A petty thief is punished harshly; one sees a sword coming down, and while a severed hand is not shown, viewers get the idea. A town that was previously easy-going and tolerant turns into a fearful place gripped by corrupt, power-mad rulers using religion to impose a reign of terror.

Clearly, a new interpretation of Islam has taken hold. The townspeople are ambivalent; many were taken by surprise. At one point the two brothers debate what Islam actually means. Is it a religion of tolerance and charity, as the Tierno understands it? Or is it a harsh system of rules based on strict interpretation and punitive application of Koranic precepts, as seen by Ousmane?

The film ultimately is a tragedy. To be able to marry, Nafi and Tokara carry out a trick to get around Islamist rules. The gambit ends badly. But towards the end, Nafi does go off to the University and one gets the sense that many townspeople have come to see the reign of terror for what it is, and turn against it.

Interestingly, this film was made in Mamadou Dia’s home town of Matam, in northeastern Senegal, right on the border of Mauritania. Only two professional actors were in – those portraying the two brothers. Every­one else in the film is a resident of Matam.

That arrangement gives the film a documentary aspect – showing daily life in a small town – while weaving in fictional elements to show how violent Islamism can infiltrate a peaceful town. It also meant Dia – who previously worked as a journalist across Africa – could produce his first feature-length film on a low budget.

In his comments to the audience in Frankfurt after the screening, Dia explained why he made this film. “In 2014 I went to New York to study film. Every time I said I am a Muslim, people had a certain idea of what that is, and I had to explain, ‘no, Senegal is different, that is not how we live Islam.’” Senegal is officially a secular state and it outlaws violent fundamentalism. In local towns, the practice of Islam is often mixed with pre-Islamic traditions.

Dia noted that fundamentalism is an interpretation of Islam and is not necessarily linked to violence. “There are a billion Muslims in the world. There is not just one type of Muslim; there is a whole range. In Senegal, we call Muslims who eat pork and drink alcohol ‘Muslims of the left’, and there are many other types as well. The one percent of Muslims who go around killing people, the so-called Jihadists, kill more Muslims than any other religion.”

In response to an audience member from Mali, who noted that violent Islamism has infiltrated much of the Sahel region including Mali, Dia said: “Senegal is not safer or stronger than Mali or Burkina Faso. We all want to live in peaceful places. Senegal is secular and extremism hasn’t happened yet. I wanted to tell the people of Senegal not to wait for extremism to hit before we talk about it. That is why I made the film: to get the debate started.”

Baamum Nafi (Nafi’s father), 2019, Senegal, director: Mamadou Dia.

Kategorien: english


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