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#98: Financial Secrecy Index: who are the world's worst offenders?

Tax Justice Network - 20. Februar 2020 - 16:58

In this special extended Taxcast, Naomi Fowler takes you on a whistle-stop guided tour on an express train around the world, looking at the worst offenders selling secrecy services. What can nations can do to protect themselves and their populations from the corruption that results from financial and legal secrecy?

Kategorien: english

C20 Face to Face Meetings

#C20 18 - 20. Februar 2020 - 16:26
Kategorien: english, Ticker

Reciting the constitution

D+C - 20. Februar 2020 - 15:45
Muslim women are leading India’s nation-wide movement to protect the constitution

Winter nights are cold in New Delhi, the national capital. Nonetheless, a large number of women have been staying at a protest camp in Shaheen Bagh, a south-eastern neighbourhood, for over two months. Braving chilly winds, sitting on rugs on the road, with just a tarpaulin sheet over their heads, the women show courage and resilience.

Shaheen Bagh has become a national symbol, and similar camps have popped up in many places. Not all participants are Muslim, but many are. Provocateurs have tried – but failed – to trigger violence several times. Nonetheless, at least two dozen protestors have allegedly been killed in police violence in various Indian states, with BJP-run Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state, topping the list with 19 deaths.  

How the women articulate their cause is impressive too. Alima, a young mother with a baby in her arms, told me in Shaheen Bagh: “If we do not protest today, we might lose our citizenship tomorrow. Our constitution gives us the power to fight for our rights. We cannot allow Modi to change our constitution. People of all religions co-operated to give us this constitution.”

The women have ample reason to be concerned. Current government policies indeed add up to putting at risk the citizenship of many poor Muslims who lack proper documents. The recent Citizenship Amendment Act and plans for an National Register of Citizens show this quite clearly (see box). Indeed, the informal marginalisation of the Muslim community is increasingly giving way to targeted Islamophobic action by the national government. The founders who wrote the constitution wanted India to be a pluralistic and democratic nation. By constrat, the politics practiced by ruling party BJP in the past six years gives enough evidence that it wants India to be a Hindu nation.

Many cities have seen huge rallies opposing discriminatory legislation in recent weeks, often with hundreds of thousands of participants. People of all communities were involved. There is no doubt, however, that Muslim women are playing a leading role. Their protest camps have become permanent symbols of non-violent resistance. 

The self-confident assertiveness of Muslim women was iconic right from the start of what fast became a nation-spanning movement. When, in mid-December, the police attacked peacefully rallying students at a Delhi-based university with tear gas and batons, two female students in hijab, Ladeeda and Ayesha, confronted officers to protect a male friend. Video clips of their brave intervention went viral (see my interview with them, which includes footage), and in a matter of few hours, thousands of students across university campuses in India were protesting against police brutality. 

Muslim women are often considered an oppressed group who are taught to be submissive. This image is prevalent not only in India, but the Indian government has a particular pattern of faking concern for their fate. In Shaheen Bagh, however, Muslim women in headscarves are proudly holding up the national flag. They recite the preamble of the constitution, demand “azadi” (freedom), and refuse to be treated as second-class citizens. Fearless women in hijab are thus challenging the prime minister, undermining his carefully crafted strong-man image. Some are old, some are young, and most are homemakers protesting for the first time.

To what extent the movement will succeed in forcing the government to backtrack remains to be seen. What is obvious, however, is that the constitution still enjoys mass support. The majority of Indians know that India is a diverse nation and cannot be anything else. The BJP won its dominant parliamentary majority with only about 38 % of the vote in last year’s general election. In absolute numbers, that share amounts to half of the Hindu population at most.

To tell by the results of the recent assembly elections in Delhi, the BJP’s grip on India may be weakening. Modi’s party won a little over 10 % of the seats. It had tried to mobilise anti-Muslim sentiments, for example, by stoking fear of Shaheen Bagh protests being geared to establishing an Islamic state.

It is encouraging that most people in Delhi did not buy that hateful propaganda. The plain truth is that the protest movement is firmly based on India’s constitution, and that the majority of India’s citizens appreciate our constitution.

 

Arfa Khanum Sherwani is senior editor with the independent news website TheWire.
Twitter: @khanumarfa
TheWire: https://thewire.in/

Update, 21 February 8 am Frankfurt time: We added the numbers of killed protestors in the second paragraph.

Kategorien: english

Muslims’ grievances in Modi’s India

D+C - 20. Februar 2020 - 15:05
How India’s government is targeting the country’s largest minority

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) grants refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh a fast track to Indian citizenship if they fled for religious reasons. The problem is that the CAA explicitly excludes Muslims, even though Islamic minority groups such as Shias or Ahmadias often suffer hardship in the countries concerned. India’s constitution forbids faith-based discrimination, but the government does not care.

The CAA fits a pattern. In the second half of last year, the national government pioneered a scheme to identify illegal immigrants with a particular focus on Bangladeshi Muslims in the state of Assam (see my comment in the Debate section of D+C/E+Z e-paper 2019/11). There are plans to roll out the scheme all over India. The buzzwords are National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) (see blogpost on D+C/E+Z website). Poor people who lack proper birth certificates or similar documents would be at risk of losing their citizenship. As most Indian Muslims tend to belong to low income groups, they would be affected in particular.

Since Modi first became Prime Minister in 2014, harassment of – and violence against – Muslims has mostly been informal, though certainly systematic. For example, Hindu-supremacists, who argue that cows are holy to them, have accused Muslims having eaten beef and killed them. After Modi’s party, the BJP, again won general elections last year, repression has increasingly become official government policy.

For example, the national government stripped Kashmir, previously the only Muslim-majority state, of its special rights and turned it into two separate union territories under its direct control. Large parts of Kashmir have not had access to the internet since August 2019. Recently, it was reported that the Kashmir police was using the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against those who are using a VPN (virtual private network) or proxy servers to access social media websites. According to the government, this was done to stop ‘‘misuse of social media sites by miscreants to propagate the secessionist ideology and to promote unlawful activities’’.

It adds to the worries that India’s independent Supreme Court recently cleared the way for a Hindu temple in Ayodhya on the very plot of land where the historic Babri Mosque stood until 1992. It was torn down by a mob of Hindu fanatics. The event triggered deadly riots all over India, as well as Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Supreme Court case concerning what to do with the land had been pending for decades. Hindu supremacists regularly demanded that the temple must be built (see my article in the Focus section of D+C e-Paper 2018/05). (aks)

 

Kategorien: english

Cameroon Has Been Lead by the Same Man For Nearly 40 Years. Is Democratic Change Possible?

UN Dispatch - 20. Februar 2020 - 14:36

The President of Cameroon is named Paul Biya. He’s been the president of Cameroon since 1982. Before that, from 1975, he was prime minister. Depending on how you count it, Paul Biya of Cameroon is one of — if not the —  longest serving world leader.

My guest today, Maurice Kamto, challenged Paul Biya for the presidency in national elections in 2018. Kamto lost in what he plausibly claimed were rigged elections. He subsequently lead a peaceful protest movement against the government of Paul Biya —  until January last year when he was arrested and thrown in prison for ten months.

I spoke with Maurice Kamto while he was visiting Washington, D.C. And as you’ll learn from this conversation, Maurice Kamto very much credits the United States Congress with helping to secure his release from prison.

Maurice Kamto is a lawyer and professor of law with the University of Yaounde, in Cameroon. He is the leader of Cameroon Renaissance Movement, which is known by its French acronym the MRC.  We kick off this conversation discussing the circumstances of his arrest in January 2019 before having a longer conversation about the precarious nature of democracy in Cameroon today.

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The post Cameroon Has Been Lead by the Same Man For Nearly 40 Years. Is Democratic Change Possible? appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

How to manage cross-cutting issues in a think-tank

Simon Maxwell - 20. Februar 2020 - 11:26

How to manage cross-cutting issues in a think-tank

 

 

 

A cross-cutting issue in a think-tank is one which involves several departments or teams. Historically, poverty and globalisation have been examples. ‘Africa’ has been another. ‘Europe’ is one we struggled with in my time at ODI, needing input on aid, trade, finance, and humanitarian action, among others.  Climate change is a current example, and the inspiration for this piece. It goes without saying that climate change needs to be on everyone’s agenda - and that, given the complexity of the issue, people need to work together.

Cross-cutting issues are difficult to manage because they complicate management and create conflicting accountabilities. They are also often unfunded. The result can be that a leadership team decides on a cross-cutting issue, even identifies one of its number to be ‘in charge’, but then finds that people in the various teams are too busy with other projects, facing different incentives, or more accountable to their own team leaders than to the person responsible for the cross-cutting theme.

What can be done? This was the question I posed to young think-tank leaders at the Winter School for Think Tankers 2020, held in Geneva in February, and jointly sponsored by On Think Tanks, Foraus and the The Think Tank Hub.  We had already worked on a case study on linking research and policy in the field of climate change, and I then presented them with the following. It is the latest in a series of ‘pizza night’ cases: the first four (from 2018) deal with various aspects of think tank governance, the next (from 2019) deals with planning policy-relevant research (with climate change as an example). Observant readers will note that all the cases begin and end in the same way: the challenge is embedded in the body of the text.

Managing delivery

The office was closed and everyone had left, but in one corner of the building a light still burned. Cecilia wanted to go home to her family, it was pizza night, and she had hardly seen the children all week. But there was a Board meeting coming up, and as Director of the think-tank, it was preying on her mind.

At the last Board meeting, Cecilia had presented her plan for a climate change task force, focused on the Glasgow COP in 2020. The Plan was exciting and forward-looking, and the Board had loved it. But now she was worried. Time was slipping past, and the ambition she had laid out was not being fulfilled. Her colleagues faced too many distractions, and too few incentives. The Board was worried, too. ‘Cecilia’, the Chair had said, ‘You are the manager as well as the leader. You need to think about the levers you can pull, and manage your way out of this’. Cecilia sighed. The Chair was right. She needed an action plan of her own to drive change internally. But was this a strategy problem, she wondered, or business planning, or budget, or HR? What were her levers, actually? And how could she use them?

Cecilia pulled off a page from her pad, and wrote a heading:  ‘How to deliver the climate action plan’. She needed to fill that in, but it was too late to do more. She thought of the pizza and her mouth began to water. Margarita, she wondered? Or Quattro Staggioni? It was time to go home. Cecilia rose, stretched, and switched off the light.

It was interesting that the first response of the young think-tank leaders, paraphrasing, was ‘well, just tell them to do it’. It’s an obvious answer, and sometimes it works. An anecdote: I once sat next to Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, at a lunch in Davos, and asked him how he had brought about what many considered a difficult change, then in the news. ‘I just told them’, he said.

Not being either Paul Kagame, or a former General or President of any kind, I found myself telling the young leaders about Charles Handy’s wonderful book on Understanding Organisations, first published in 1976, a constant companion when I was teaching mid-career professionals at IDS in the 1980s and 1990s, and a useful resource in later roles.

If you want to change something, Handy said, think about your source of power and influence. Is it physical power, based on your size and strength? Is it resource power, based on your control of resources? Is it position power, in which ‘the manager is by right allowed to order people to do so-and-so’? Is it expert power, because you know best? Is it personal power, derived from charisma? Or is it negative power, the capacity to stop things happening?

Physical. Resource. Position. Expert. Personal. Negative. Which of these powers do think-tank leaders have, and which are they prepared to use? Not physical, obviously; and not negative, given that the project is to get something done rather than stop something happening. Probably not expert, given that think-tanks are stuffed full of experts. Probably not charisma either, given that think-tank leaders are mostly researchers (that’s a joke against researchers, but it reminds me of the definition of an economist, which is ‘just like an accountant, but without the charisma’. Oh dear: I am both a researcher and an economist.). 

The young think-tankers zeroed in on position power, but think-tank leaders face difficult constraints, and position power is not always what it is cracked up to be. For example, fund-raising is often devolved to individuals or teams, which means that their first loyalty is to their external funders – well, anyway, it means that meeting contract deadlines is a higher priority than satisfying the latest whim of the leadership team. Further, creating cross-departmental work streams immediately imposes a kind of matrix structure on the organisation, with accountabilities running both vertically (to the team) and horizontally (to the cross-cutting theme). Matrix management is notoriously difficult, creating culture clashes, as Handy describes.

These are not problems limited to think-tanks, by the way. I have written about the problem of cross-sectoral planning in the context of food security, drawing on experience from rural development, multi-sectoral nutrition planning, farming systems research, poverty planning, and industrial organisation. I also thought a lot at ODI about role cultures and task cultures: people mostly wanted the problem-focused characteristics of the latter, but found themselves working in the more hierarchical structures of the former.

There’s a literature on delivering strategic change, of course. Duncan Green cited this diagram by Delores Ambrose in a recent blog (Figure 1), making the point that vision was of little use on its own, without strategy, skills, incentives, resources and an action plan. Personally, I find the Dorling Kindersley management handbooks a useful introduction to lots of topics. There is a Dorling Kindersley compendium called The Essential Manager’s Handbook, which provides useful advice. There is a separate little volume on Strategic Management, and another on Strategic Thinking: both deal with implementation challenges relevant here, like managing resistance to change, using targets and motivating people.

Figure 1

The Delores Ambrose model of managing complex change

Source: cited by Duncan Green - https://oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/does-strategic-planning-make-a-difference/

In the case of think-tanks, clues to the answer are given in the case study: strategy, business planning, budget, and HR are all involved. Charisma plays a role too. Some pointers:

First, ‘cross-cutting’ is not the same as ‘mainstreamed’. Mainstreaming is a frequent recourse for organisations trying to highlight a common issue: gender is a frequent case, difficult enough in its own terms, and often ineffective without a strong, practical management push. Cross-cutting implies something different, not just that the issue should be a priority across an organisation, but also that teams should collaborate. Ideally, there should be shared frameworks and analysis across the organisation; even, allowing for differences of opinion, a shared ‘narrative’.

Second, it definitely helps if the think-tank Director articulates a cross-cutting priority and is insistent. I remember Mike Faber, Director of IDS in the mid-1980s, drawing our attention to the growing crisis in Africa, when structural adjustment became a big issue, and asking us to focus on the topic. No resources were available, but most of us adjusted our work programmes. That was when I began to work on food security in Africa. So a combination of charisma and position power had an effect.

Third, the cross-cutting theme needs to be visible in the five year strategy, because it sends a signal and creates expectations, not least among the Board. A strategy document may also commit to creating an Innovation Fund, which can provide seed-funding for new cross-cutting themes.

Fourth, it is important to have the right person leading cross-cutting work. This should be someone senior enough to work across programmes and teams, probably a member of the senior leadership team; conceivably, for a major issue like climate change, the chief executive personally. Appointing someone too junior can mean that the issue disappears in management terms: for example, it may not appear with sufficient regularity on the agenda of senior management meetings.

Fifth, work on the cross-cutting theme should not just be driven top-down, but should also engender and build on energy from below. Creating a task force may be a good way to do this, with representatives of different teams. However, beware endless meetings and high transactions  costs. An internal series of brown-bag lunches can be a good idea. In the case of climate change, internal change may also drive externally-focused research and policy work: develop an environmental plan, monitor and reduce flights, recycle, reduce bottled water, even (in one case with which I was associated) reduce or ban meat from the canteen.

Sixth, more detailed research and policy planning takes place in the context of the annual Business Plan. The structure of these varies, but it is usual to have chapters for both teams and cross-cutting themes, and for all of these to specify the big questions, the work streams and the expected outputs. Normally, also, the Business Pan will identify which staff will contribute to different activities. The Plan never survives contact with reality, of course, especially if there is no funding, but again provides a template against which to assess progress. If an Innovation Fund has been created, then the Business Plan can be the point at which resources are committed.

Seventh, personal incentives need to be built into individual work plans, both for the cross-cutting theme leader and for individual researchers. Usually, a sketch of next year’s work programme is produced at the time of the annual appraisal. Does this include work on the cross-cutting theme? Are there specific outputs? Is it clear to the individual researcher that increments, bonuses and promotions are dependent on delivering for the cross-cutting theme as well as other work?

Eighth, management can help create opportunities to work with others on the cross-cutting theme. A model I have used is one of hubs and spokes: a wheel where each researcher pursues their own line of work, the individual spoke, but all come together at the hub from time to time, for joint projects. For example, there could be a shared series of public meetings, or a co-edited edition of a journal, a book even, or a Briefing Paper summarising the state of thinking on the cross-cutting theme. It is better, of course, if these are funded, and there may be scope to apply for new funding. However, cheap options need to be kept in mind: it costs very little, for example, to organise a series of public meetings. Joint activities need to be in the Business Plan. In all cases, working together helps to create a shared narrative.

Ninth, don’t forget to celebrate success – at the Board, in staff meetings, on the website, in Annual Reports, and in one-to-one encounters. Even better if the think-tank’s work can be recognised as having produced real change.

What else? Who has tried this? Comments welcome.

Image: https://www.123rf.com/stock-photo/wagon_wheel.html?oriSearch=spokes&sti=n0p176vzdq7ujy3j6n|&mediapopup=62443840

Kategorien: english

Council of Europe’s Co-Management of the Youth Sector

futurepolicy - 20. Februar 2020 - 11:01

The Council of Europe’s Co-Management System is the longest-standing practice of participatory decision-making in the world, and one of the very few examples of shared decision-making between governments and young people with power shared in full 50:50 parity. Through its constant training and education, as well as its continuous grant-making, the Council of Europe has influenced and improved the youth sector profoundly. Its model for co-management has been applied in a wide range of other governance and/or policy contexts. The Council of Europe’s comprehensive Co-Management of the Youth Sector is recognized with Future Policy Bronze Award 2019 for Political Participation and Civil Engagement of Youth, awarded by the World Future Council in partnership with UNDP and IPU and supported by ILO, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and Youth Policy Labs (YPL).

© Photo Credit: Council of Europe

At A Glance
  • The main values of the COE are human rights, democracy and the rule of law. CoE advocates for freedom of expression and of the media, freedom of assembly, equality, and the protection of minorities. The Council of Europe helps member states fight corruption and terrorism and undertake necessary judicial reforms. 
  • The Youth Department is part of the Directorate of Democratic Participation within the Directorate General of Democracy (“DGII”) of the Council of Europe. The Department elaborates guidelines, programmes and legal instruments for the development of coherent and effective youth policies at local, national and European levels. It provides funding and educational support for international youth activities aiming to promote youth citizenship, youth mobility and the values of human rights, democracy and cultural pluralism.
  • Since its inception in 1963 and institutionalisation in 1972, more than 10,000 grants were awarded to youth organizations across Europe through the co-management system, with a cumulated volume of more than 130 million Euros. In addition to these monetary grants, the co-management system has awarded study sessions in its European youth centres with more than 70,000 youth leaders and youth activists taking part as participants and multipliers.
  • Through its long traditions, the co-management system has proven to be resilient and sustainable, while at the same time also making space for new voices and integrating new youth organizations and networks as well as young people not involved in civil society associations.

Policy Reference

Council of Europe’s Co-Management of the Youth Sector, 1972

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The co-management system – as the main and only governing framework for the youth sector of the Council of Europe – is related to all thematic youth policies of the organization, as it prescribes how these policies are formulated, discussed, adopted, implemented and evaluated.

Selection as a Future-Just Policy

The Council of Europe’s Co-Management System shows how integrated and inclusive youth policymaking can be successfully formulated, discussed, adopted, implemented and evaluated. With a cumulated volume of more than 130 million Euros, its study sessions in its European Youth Centers have included more than 70,000 youth leaders and youth activists. Through its constant training and education, as well as its continuous grant-making, the Council of Europe has influenced and improved the youth sector in Europe profoundly.

In its 56 years of existence, the programme has expanded and proven to be resilient and sustainable, while at the same time also making space for new voices and integrating new youth organizations and networks as well as young people not involved in civil society associations. For its noteworthy accomplishments, the Council of Europe’s Co-Management of the Youth Sector is recognized with Future Policy Bronze Award 2019 for Political Participation and Civil Engagement of Youth.

  Future-Just Policy Score Card
  • Our “Best Policies” are those that meet the Future Just Lawmaking Principles and recognise the interconnected challenges we face today. The goal of principled policy work is to ensure that important universal standards of sustainability and equity, human rights and freedoms, and respect for the environment are taken into account. It also helps to increase policy coherence between different sectors.
  Sustainable use of natural resources
  • Addressing all SDGs comprehensively through a variety of formats.
  • Strong commitment by young people as well as to young people.
 Equity and poverty eradication
  • Included vulnerable youth groups in the policy development process.
  • Based on human rights and special focus on rights of young people.
  • Considers gender equality, minority youth, and socially excluded youth.
  Precautionary approach
  • Holistic and comprehensive view on youth issues and youth policy.
  • Has mechanisms for impact assessment, data collection and data sharing.
  Public participation, access to information and justice
  • Has become longest standing tradition of equal decision-making globally.
  • Empowerment and training not only for young people but also civil servants.
  • Transparent, accessible and understandable information material and reports.
  Good governance and human security
  • Co-designed by young people and governments with equal power.
  • Thematic coordination mechanisms allow for cross-sectorial implementation.
  • Rules and procedures are clear and transparent and can be changed easily.
  • Special ombudsperson for specific patterns of exclusion such as gender exist.
  Integration and interrelationship
  • Co-management is about mainstreaming youth into all policymaking
  • Entire logic has mainstreaming and cross-sectoral cooperation at its core.
  • Good practice examples at various governance levels exist across Europe.
  Common but differentiated responsibilities
  • Acknowledges existing inequalities and seeks to reduce many of them.
  • Focuses on the needs and aspirations of young people as articulated by them.
  • Very inclusive: special support for vulnerable and minority groups.

Context

The Council of Europe is the smaller, yet older, of the two main supranational organizations in Europe. Founded in 1949, its main role is the protection and safeguarding of human rights in Europe, based on the European Convention on Human Rights, through independent monitoring mechanisms  and the European Court of Human Rights. The Council of Europe has played a pivotal role for youth policy and youth work in Europe and beyond. The organization’s youth sector has its roots in the 1960s, when the Parliamentary Assembly suggested the creation of a European Youth Centre in its resolution 186 (1960).  In 1963, an experimental European Youth Centre was set up, at first without a dedicated physical building. The programme was designed and overseen by a board comprised of six governments and five youth NGOs. In those early days of co-management, there was not quite a 50:50 parity between governments and civil society. 

That parity was introduced with the opening of the first permanent residential European Youth Centre in Strasbourg on 1 June 1972. The Governing Board consisted of eight governments and eight youth NGOs (of which four were national youth councils – NYCs and four international non-governmental youth organizations – INGYOs).  In 1972, the Committee of Ministers also established the European Youth Foundation, with a Governing Board again consisting of eight governments and eight youth NGOs (of which four were national youth councils – NYCs and four international non-governmental youth organizations – INGYOs). In 1988, the co-management structures were reformed for the first time, merging the separate governance structures of the European Youth Centre and the European Youth Foundation. The new Governing Board was composed of 12 governments and 12 youth organizations. By that time, both sides also had their own dedicated spaces, the European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ) and the Advisory Council (AC). 

Ten years later followed another reform, that shook up the structures on the side of civil society in particular, because it reformed the Advisory Council to include youth organizations and youth structures that were not members of the European Youth Forum, in an attempt to broaden the inclusiveness of the co-management system. The Joint Council and Programming Committee were also introduced.  Following a proposal put forward in 1990, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers decided in 1993 to open a second European Youth Centre in Budapest, Hungary. The centre opened in 1995 as the first permanent service of the Council of Europe in a country of Central and Eastern Europe, and has since been governed by the co-management system of the Council of Europe’s youth sector. More than 55 years after it was initiated, the co-management system remains fully functional, and has become one of the world’s longest lasting examples of participatory democracy in the context of a supranational institution.  The co-management approach has been mirrored at international, national, regional and local level across and beyond Europe.

Objectives

The Council of Europe describes its co-management system with these words: 

“The Council of Europe’s ground-breaking co-management system is a living example of participatory democracy. It is a place for common reflection and co-production, combining the voice of young Europeans and that of public authorities responsible for youth issues, leading to a sharing and evaluation of experience. Thanks to this dialogue, where each party has an equal say, ideas and experiences can be exchanged, in a spirit of mutual understanding and respect, giving legitimacy to the Joint Council on Youth’s decisions.”

Methods of Implementation

Co-management started right away with the commencement of youth activities, in 1963. Co-management as it is known today, with full 50:50 parity between governments and civil society, was institutionalized in 1972.

Both sides of the aisle, governments and civil society, have their own space for exchange and discourse, the European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ) and the Advisory Council (AC), respectively. For their common reflection and co-production of policy priorities, the Joint Council exists, whereas the smaller Programming Committee is responsible for the translation of these policy priorities into the youth sector’s programming. Each of these bodies has terms of reference and rules of procedure that are public. The terms of reference can only be changed by decision of the Committee of Ministers, whereas the rules of procedure are adopted and adjusted by each body directly.

For each member of each body, the Council of Europe bears the travel and subsistence expenses in full. In addition, training and education opportunities are frequently offered to members of these bodies, through summer schools for governmental representatives and training courses for civil society representatives. All reports of all bodies are publicly available, in abridged versions for the general public and in full length on a website with restricted access  for all members of the various co-management bodies.

Co-management is widely expected to continue to exist by every stakeholder group. It could be further strengthened by adjusting the size of the non-governmental Advisory Council, currently consisting of 30 members, to the size of the governmental European Steering Committee for Youth, currently consisting of 50 members, which would also broaden and deepen the diversity of youth representation in the Council of Europe’s Co-Management system. Another idea to improve and strengthen the co-management system, and in particular its transfer to other governance and policy contexts, is to develop a quality label for co-management, similar to the existing quality label for European youth centres.

Impact

Co-management was part of the core principles during the foundation of the Council of Europe’s youth sector. While a radical idea at the time – an institutionalized form to share power with young people – it has never been at risk of being eliminated, and is in substance or value not questioned by any stakeholder of the organization or the wider youth sector. 

Between 2008 and 2017, the co-management system awarded 2,350 grants through the European Youth Foundation with a total value of 29,484,000 Euros for activities that have involved 3,646,000 young people directly and benefitted 8,944,000 young people indirectly. In the same period (2008-2017), the co-management system awarded study sessions involving 18,267 young people as participants, equalling a total of 91,953 participant days. 

Between 1972 and 2008, the co-management system awarded an estimated 8,000 grants through the European Youth Foundation with an overall value of more than 100 million Euros.  In the same period (1972-2008), the co-management awarded study sessions involving more than 50,000 young people as participants.

A particularly powerful effect of the co-management system is that is has enticed young people with minority backgrounds to organize themselves in order to have a voice, and that it has not only encouraged, but also actively supported, these new organizations – including the Forum of European Roma Young People (FERYP), Young Women from Minorities (YWFM), the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO), and – most recently – the Voice of Young Refugees in Europe (VYRE).

Potential as a Transferable Model

The substantive approach to co-management modelled by the Council of Europe can be easily transferred to other policy contexts as well as other governance – all it takes is the political will to share power equally between policymakers and young people, in the context of the youth sector, or between policymakers and citizens, in the wider context of policy governance. 

There are a range of contexts to which the model has already been transferred, for example: the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has adopted the co-management model for its new field of youth programming;  the Regional Youth Cooperation Office for the Balkan region (RYCO) operates a co-managed governance system; Croatia, Lithuania and Finland have all adopted a co-management system for their youth policy programming at national level;  and local and regional authorities in more than a dozen European countries are governing their youth programming through co-management systems, including municipalities in Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland and Portugal.

Additional Resources

Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights, 2019

Council of Europe. Resolution 186, 1960

Council of Europe. Resolution 72 – On A European Youth Foundation, 1972

Council of Europe. The Council of Europe and youth – Thirty years of experience, 2002

European Comission. Erasmus + Programme Guide 2019, 2019

The post Council of Europe’s Co-Management of the Youth Sector appeared first on futurepolicy.org.

Kategorien: english

Estonia’s Youth Field Development Plan 2014–2020

futurepolicy - 20. Februar 2020 - 10:47

The Estonian Youth Field Development Plan 2014–2020 is a comprehensive government policy for young people and the youth sector. It is knowledge-based and evidence-informed, participatory in development and implementation, gender-responsive, employs a holistic approach to youth development, and is fully resourced. It is one of the first youth policies globally to fully respect the Baku Principles for Youth Policy, and one of very few to emphasize the link between public policies for young people and sustainability and the environment. Despite Estonia being one of the smallest and least populous European countries, and one of the youngest democracies on the continent, it has a rich history of youth work, youth research and youth policy, and an overall framework and strategy for the youth sector that is exemplary. The Estonian Youth Field Development Plan 2014–2020 is recognized with Future Policy Gold Award 2019 for Political Participation and Civil Engagement of Youth, awarded by the World Future Council in partnership with UNDP and IPU and supported by ILO. UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and Youth Policy Labs (YPL).

© Photo Credit: Ministry of Education and Research of Estonia

At A Glance
  • Youth policy in Estonia is organized as a cross-sectorial, multi-stakeholder and multi-governance-level field, involving municipalities, counties and ministries as well as youth representatives, youth organizations, youth workers, youth researchers, and youth policymakers. The Parliament is actively involved in youth policymaking.
  • The overarching goals of the Estonian Youth Field Development Plan 2014–2020 is phrased as ensuring that each “young person has ample opportunities for self-development and self-realisation, which supports the formation of a cohesive and creative society
  • The Youth Field Development Plan 2014-2020 primarily contributes to the wider strategic framework and objectives of the ‘Estonia 2020’ Competitiveness Strategy, while its implementation is understood as necessary in order to achieve the goals set in other policy domains, such as family and population policy, labour market and social security policy, sports and integration policy. In this context, one of the four main perspectives of the document refers to the current situation of the youth field, including youth work and youth policy. 
  • The development plan is based on four main perspectives adopted for setting goals: 1) situation of young people and the trends of change; 2) developments in society and the challenges the state is facing, including goals in coherent policies; 3) current situation of the youth field, including youth work and youth policy: work done so far, principles and development needs; 4) trends in Europe and around the world, including objectives of the EU. The focal points, goals and measures described in the development plan are also based on analysis of these perspectives.

Policy Reference

Estonia’s Youth Field Development Plan 2014–2020

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Strategy Sustainable Estonia 21 

Estonian Lifelong Learning Strategy 2014-2020

Estonian Regional Development Strategy 2020

The Estonian Youth Work Act 2010

Youth Work Strategy 2006-2013 

Children and Families Development Plan 2012-2020

Public Health Development Plan 2009-2020

Estonian Entrepreneurship Growth Strategy 2014-2020

Integrating Estonia 2020 Strategy

Civil Society Development Plan 2015-2020

Rural Development Programme 2014-2020

Selection as a Future-Just Policy

The Estonian Youth Field Development Plan 2014–2020 shows how a knowledge-based, and evidence-informed government policy can holistically support and develop young people and the youth sector. It is one of the first youth policies globally to fully respect the Baku Principles for Youth Policy, and one of very few to emphasize the link between public policies for young people and sustainability and the environment.

In its 5 years of existence, the programme has provided an integrated youth policy, with fully resourced, coordinated and focused activities in different spheres of life based on the actual needs and challenges young people face. For its noteworthy accomplishments, the Estonian Youth Field Development Plan 2014–2020 is recognized with Future Policy Gold Award 2019 for Political Participation and Civil Engagement of Youth.

  Future-Just Policy Score Card
  • Our “Best Policies” are those that meet the Future Just Lawmaking Principles and recognise the interconnected challenges we face today. The goal of principled policy work is to ensure that important universal standards of sustainability and equity, human rights and freedoms, and respect for the environment are taken into account. It also helps to increase policy coherence between different sectors.
  Sustainable use of natural resources
  • Addresses needs and challenges of young people based on research & evidence. 
  • Connects public policies for young people with public policies for sustainability.
  • Strong and consistent legal as well as financial commitment to young people.
  • Emphasizes the link between public policies for young people, sustainability and the environment
 Equity and poverty eradication
  • Exemplary use of global and regional youth policy frameworks & instruments.
  • Rooted in human rights and recognizing the specificity of child & youth rights.
  • Pays specific and knowledge-based attention to rural and minority youth.
  Precautionary approach
  • Rich knowledge-base is continuously grown for iterations and adaptations.
  • Annual implementation reports with indicator progress are publicly available.
  • Annual Youth Monitoring Yearbooks on the lives of young people are produced.
  Public participation, access to information and justice
  • Based on a year-long, open participatory process with a range of youth and civic organisations and methods.
  • Youth workers, youth leaders and youth policymakers co-shape the policy. 
  • Multilingual access to a wide pool of relevant information is excellent.
  Good governance and human security
  • Cross-sectorial governance structures involves all ministries in implementation.
  • Local and regional authorities are involved in all policy structures and processes.
  • Involves young people as experts of their own lives meaningfully in policy.
  Integration and interrelationship
  • Considered existing and upcoming related policies from the very outset.
  • Comprehensive involvement of stakeholders of related ministries & policies.
  • Wide range of quantifiable benefits for young people, society & environment
  Common but differentiated responsibilities
  • Particular attention is being paid to historically rooted sociocultural minorities.
  • Uses current level of youth research as well as societal and family research well.  
  • Highly inclusive: education as well as youth work provisions are provided for free.

Context

Youth policy in Estonia is organized as a cross-sectorial, multi-stakeholder and multi-governance-level field, involving municipalities, counties and ministries as well as youth representatives, youth organizations, youth workers, youth researchers, and youth policymakers.  The roles and functions of each actor are described in the Estonian Youth Work Act . The Parliament is actively involved in youth policymaking, having passed the Youth Work Act and the two most recent national youth policies, the Estonian Youth Work Strategy 2006-2013 and the Estonian Youth Field Development Plan 2014–2020.

Over the past 25 years, dedicated organizations and structures for youth workers (Estonian Youth Work Centre) , young people and their organizations (Estonian National Youth Council) , youth centres (Association of Estonian Open Centres)  and youth programmes (Estonian National Youth Agency) were created to translate the goals and ambitions of the national youth policy into youth work at local and regional levels.

A particular strength of Estonian youth work and youth policy is that alongside traditional youth work spaces, such as youth clubs, there are also hobby schools, which are best described as hybrid spaces – often run by schools but sometimes run by civil society associations – that bring together and bridge formal and non-formal education and learning.

Objectives

The overarching goals of the Estonian Youth Field Development Plan 2014–2020 is phrased as ensuring that each “young person has ample opportunities for self-development and self-realisation, which supports the formation of a cohesive and creative society.” 

To translate this goal into policy measures, the Estonian Youth Field Development Plan 2014–2020 defines five policy focal areas:

  • increasing opportunities for the creativity development, initiative, and collective actions of young people; 
  • reducing the effects of unequal circumstances on the development opportunities of young people, and preventing exclusion;
  • supporting the active involvement of young people in community life and decision-making processes; 
  • ensuring labour market success for young people; and 
  • developing high-quality youth policy and youth work. 

Methods of Implementation

The Estonian Youth Field Development Plan 2014–2020 is based on a set of five principles, which are iterations of the principles underpinning the previous national youth policy of the country. 

  • Youth as a target group is not homogenous. For this reason, the planning and implementation of activities and measures must be based on the actual circumstances and needs of particular young people and should take into account differences arising from gender, ethnicity, culture, health, place of residence, socioeconomic situation and the like. 
  • Throughout its measures, youth work supports the health of young people as well as values and attitudes that promote healthy lifestyles. This requires consistent development of the resources available for youth workers and of their competence and is rooted in a knowledge-based approach to target groups, training, resources and interventions. 
  • The youth field contributes to social cohesion, including the promotion of gender equality, the prevention of discrimination and the fostering of caring attitudes towards the surrounding environment.
  • While planning and implementing youth policy and youth work measures it is important to help young people gain self-confidence and the ability to cope in important spheres of life such as education, career and family.
  • Youth field is part of an existing network of cooperation between policy areas that impact on the lives of young people. Systematic cooperation should be initiated and supported. 

To operationalize the above-staged goal, the Estonian Youth Field Development Plan 2014–2020 defines four sub-goals with key measures, key activities, and a set of indicators with base levels and target levels. 

Impact

Throughout the comparatively short history of Estonia as an independent democracy, the youth field has achieved very impressive results. In less than 30 years, a nuanced and varied system of youth policy and youth work institutions has been built up that offers many lessons to older and larger countries in Europe and beyond. Estonia ranks very high in the Human Development Index (0.871, Rank 30, in 2018) and the World Press Freedom Index (12.27, Rank 11, in 2019). In this generally favourable environment, the country has managed to establish a youth policy framework that is widely considered among the best in the world.

Already the previous strategy’s implementation was measured and publicly reported on in great detail, a practice which the current Estonian Youth Field Development Plan 2014–2020 has continued. Some of the goals had already been achieved by the end of 2017, chief among them the aim to reduce youth unemployment to 12%. Moreover, uniquely in a European as well as the global context, more than 50% of all young people are involved in youth work activities in any given year since launching the strategy.

Potential as a Transferable Model

The overall approach of Estonia to its development of youth policy, youth work and youth research could well serve as a model for other countries, big and small, and has already been recognized as a model to learn from and learn on.  It is in particular the approach of Estonia to facilitate the recognition of the informally gained experiences of youth workers, which has helped to professionalize and strengthen the Estonian youth sector, that other countries could benefit from learning from as quickly and as substantively as possible.

Additional Resources

Estonian Youth Agency, About Us, 2019 

Council of Europe, Needles in haystacks. Finding a way forward for cross-sectoral youth policy, 2017 

Republic of Estonia Ministry of Education and Research, Youth Work, 2017

Republic of Estonia Ministry of Education and Research, YOUTH FIELD

DEVELOPMENT PLAN 2014-2020 

UN, Baku Commitment to Youth Policies, 2014

The post Estonia’s Youth Field Development Plan 2014–2020 appeared first on futurepolicy.org.

Kategorien: english

Digital doesn’t have to be a development issue

ODI - 20. Februar 2020 - 0:00
Digital technologies are affecting poor and rich countries alike, so we should avoid framing digital as a development issue.
Kategorien: english

At Stockholm road safety summit, UN officials join global call to end ‘scourge’ of preventable deaths

UN #SDG News - 19. Februar 2020 - 23:43
Road traffic accidents take some 1.35 million lives every year and cost most countries three per cent of their gross domestic product, the top UN health official said on Wednesday as the Third Global Ministerial Conference On Road Safety kicked off in Stockholm, Sweden.
Kategorien: english

UN Statistical Commission 2020. From Measurement to Management: highlights of 51st session might be the pre-session seminars

Global Policy Watch - 19. Februar 2020 - 18:03

Download UN Monitor #12 (pdf version).

By Barbara Adams and Karen Judd

How to capture and manage big data? This is a question that will confront the 51st session of the UN Statistical Commission in March 2020 as they review the official reports. The four-year process of finalizing the global indicator framework to measure the 169 targets of the SDGs is drawing to a conclusion with the acceptance by the IAEG-SDGs of 8 additional indicators, 14 replacement indicators, 8 revised indicators and 6 deleted indicators. The framework has gone to the Commission for approval in March and the focus of different players in the data and statistics community is shifting to the management and use of data to influence and shape development policy agendas.

Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the statistics community has sought steadily to shift from compiling data and statistics to influencing policy-making. This has intensified with the explosion of sources and initiatives on Big Data and the need to reconcile official and unofficial sources of data and statistics. Data partnerships of all sorts have sprung up, both inside and outside the UN. These include the Global Working Group on Big Data for Official Statistics set up by the UN Statistical Commission, the Development Solutions Network, outside the UN but aligned with the Secretary-General, as well as the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, which includes UN agencies, a number of Member States and corporate data producers. The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data is in many ways a UN competitor, for funds if nothing else. As the private generators of Big Data jumped onto the 2030 Agenda band wagon, data has been variously anointed the new oil (by the UN Statistics Division) and the new gold (by the business press. See GPW briefing #19, Data Is the New Gold).

Whither National Statistics Offices (NSOs): from data producer to data steward?

This marketplace of data, money and influence has spurred efforts to encourage national statistics offices to manage the production of official and unofficial statistics, both nationally and globally. A recent paper by Steve MacFeely, head of statistics at UNCTAD and Bojan Nastav, University College Cork, Ireland, emphasized that in terms of resources for data collection (official and unofficial) and statistical capacity-building, the UN was vastly outspent by multi-stakeholder initiatives, and that NSOs would not be able to reconcile official and unofficial data without a change of strategy. In order to address these challenges the authors argued that NSOs need to reconceptualize the relationship between official and unofficial data sources. They suggest that an internationally recognized body could be mandated to validate not only new sources of data but also new statistics, provided they meet international standards and are widely available, which could then be certified by individual countries. They see this as a way for global and national statistical bodies to take some control over the currently unequal landscape, which favours private sector sources.

The authors acknowledge that by allowing some unofficial sources to be designated official, they risk outsourcing or privatizing the compilation of official statistics from NSOs. However, they underline the fact that “a (cold) data war is already underway. There is a growing asymmetry in the resources available for the compilation of public/official and private/unofficial statistics and indicators.”

A similar proposal is now being advanced by the UN Statistics Division. At the Monday seminar (2 March 2020) that precedes the three-day meeting of the UN Statistical Commission, the division is hosting a High-Level Forum on Official Statistics, asking, “Data stewardship, a solution for official statistics predicament?” The concept note for the forum acknowledges that new data sources have the potential of filling gaps in statistics of official statistical sources and "provide real time data on individual behavior and the environment that can drive targeted policy-making for achieving the SDGs".

Echoing MacFeely and Nastav, the forum concept note highlights the gaps in statistics from official statistical sources, and the potential of new sources to fill these gaps. Pointing to an urgent need to “update the vision, strategy and role of statistical offices”, it says that “leaders of national statistical offices are rethinking the overall role of official statistics in the new data ecosystem”. Digital strategies are being developed for NSOs, “envisioning the role of the statistics office as curator of official statistics, as a repository and custodian of government data and as able to utilize and integrate the new private data sources.” It concludes that ‘the government data steward would be tasked with setting standards and guidelines for the collection, management and use of government data and with ensuring that government agencies adopt common capabilities” in order to facilitate a “comprehensive and integrated government data system”.

In organizing this forum, the UN Statistics Division, catching up with private sector enthusiasm for mining new data veins, adds that the role of NSOs is related to “overall efforts of governments to utilize data as the new ‘oil’ in an information and technology-based economy and society.” Ultimately governments are rethinking data governance with the view to “better utilize government and private data for policy-making, policy execution and the delivery of government services”.

Indeed, policy influence is a long-sought goal of the Division. The UN Statistics Division, which acts as secretariat to the IAEG-SDGs, has sought and to some extent achieved a greater role and profile in policy recommendations, both at the national level and globally at the HLPF (see GPW Briefing #22, The Ups and Downs of Tiers; #29, Who Influences Whom in the Policy Arena).

When it comes to policy-making the question will be to what extent these statistical measures can highlight trade-offs and external constraints, all central to policy-making. These issues, missing in the Secretary-General’s report of the SDGs in 2019 were placed squarely on the UN and 2030 Agenda by the Global Sustainable Development Report 2019, during the HLPF Summit (premier policy-setting arena) in September 2019.

From producers to consumers of data

The challenges confronting the UN system and its different entities in terms of data and statistical analysis are echoing throughout the system as it seeks to support countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda, in particular how they engage with non-state actors in the for-profit sector.

A recent initiative, Data4Now, launched in September 2019 by the UN Deputy Secretary-General and reported on in a submission to the Statistical Commission, is designed to bring some of these diverse initiatives under the same umbrella (E/CN.3/2020/3. Jointly convened by the UN, the Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), the World Bank and the Solutions for Sustainable Development Network, Data4Now has asked NSOs to "identify their priority areas where they most urgently need to address measurement issues, data availability and timeliness and the core team facilitates the matching with partnerships that can offer innovative data solutions to address those priorities". On the face of it, the ability of NSOs to access ‘innovative data solutions’ tailored to their priorities appears positive, but it is not clear how this would address their capacity- building needs, and risks their becoming dependent on private data suppliers for critical data and analysis, thereby turning them into consumers of data rather than either producers or managers. Does this direction seem like an end run around national ownership?

In this connection the UN Statistics Division, together with the Inter-Secretariat Working Group on Household Surveys is organizing a Friday Seminar before the official session of the Statistical Commission on Household Surveys in a Changing Data Landscape”. In this case the organizers recognize that the growing demand for data has resulted in household surveys being “too-often framed as obsolete when compared and contrasted with other data sources such as ‘Big Data’ and administrative data”, adding that soon, “Big Data may eliminate the need for surveys altogether”.

Coming at a time when the targets and indicators for the SDGs require data from the perspective of people rather than administrators, the organizers ask “How do we improve the effectiveness of household surveys and their contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” The seminar will provide a platform for NSOs, international organizations and the research community “to debate and discuss strategies to realize the full potential of household survey in this new environment” Such engagements reveal the need for a more robust framework and accountability structure for adherence to the UN mandate to protect and promote the public good.

The post UN Statistical Commission 2020. From Measurement to Management: highlights of 51st session might be the pre-session seminars appeared first on Global Policy Watch.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Massive swarms of desert locusts are devouring their way through East Africa. The UN is very worried.

UN Dispatch - 19. Februar 2020 - 16:41

Massive swarms of desert locusts are devouring their way through East Africa and have just made landfall in South Sudan, the country’s agriculture minister announced on Tuesday, sparking fears of a severe food crisis in a country where nearly 60 percent of the population already faces food insecurity.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that right now, the pest invasion in the region is an “upsurge,” but if it isn’t controlled and spreads, it’ll become a literal “plague” of locusts, which can take years to control.

“This is not the first time the Greater Horn of Africa has seen locust upsurges approach this scale, but the current situation is the largest in decades,” Qu Dongyu, the FAO’s director-general, and Mark Lowcock, the UN under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, wrote in an op-ed for the Guardian last week.

Before reaching South Sudan, the infestation hit eight other countries in the region (Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda), destroying crops, pastures for livestock and other vegetation. It’s reportedly the worst locust outbreak Kenya has seen in 70 years, and the worst in 25 years for Ethiopia and Somalia. It’s South Sudan’s first locust invasion in 70 years.

According to the UN, desert locusts are the world’s oldest and most destructive migratory pest.

Location of locust swarms and infestations. Credit: UN Food and Agriculture Organization

They can travel up to 150 km (93 miles) in a day, eating their weight in food. In northeast Kenya, the UN reported spotting a swarm that was three times the size of New York City (2,400 km). On average, a swarm that size containing about 96 billion locusts can consume enough food in one day to feed 90 million people.

An FAO representative told AFP that so far, 2,000 locusts have been spotted in South Sudan. Since gaining its independence in 2011, South Sudan’s resilience has been battered by relentless civil war, drought and flooding. As a result, nearly 1.5 million people have been displaced from their homes and live in temporary camps with basic shelter and limited, if any, sanitation. Even before the locusts arrived, UNICEF projected that 1.3 million children under age five will suffer from acute malnutrition this year in South Sudan.

“A swarm of locusts could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” Save the Children’s Country Director in South Sudan, Rama Hansraj, said in a press release.

The locusts entered Africa late last year from the Middle East, where Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are battling their own infestations. Normally, the pests are solitary brown grasshoppers, but when the conditions are right (usually after heavy rains and cyclones), they form swarms, turn bright yellow and go on a “sex and eating binge,” as NPR’s Eyder Peralta described it. During its three-month life cycle, a locust swarm can lay enough eggs to breed a new generation up to 20 times larger than the previous one.

In their op-ed Dongyu and Lowcock linked the current upsurge to climate change, as it follows usually heavy rains last autumn – one of the wettest rainy seasons in the region in four decades – and an increase in frequency in cyclones in the Indian Ocean.

“Warmer seas mean more cyclones, generating the perfect breeding conditions for locusts,” they wrote.

The outbreak is expected to continue until June. But the FAO says that if it’s not brought under control by the beginning of March, when rain and planting season begins, the locust numbers in East Africa could increase 500 times by June. That’s why Dongyu and Lowcock are urging immediate action to avoid a “full-blown catastrophe.”

In Kenya, the BBC reported on Tuesday that the outbreak is “under control,” according to the country’s agricultural minister, as they’re spraying pesticides from aircrafts. Meanwhile, Uganda has deployed soldiers to do the same, Ethiopia has called for “immediate action” and Somalia has declared a state of emergency. South Sudan’s Agriculture Minister Onyoti Adigo Nyikuac told AFP that the government is training people to spray pesticides, but their limited resources are an issue.

“We need chemicals for spraying and also sprayers. You will also need cars to move while spraying and then later if it becomes worse, we will need aircraft,” he said.

The UN has launched a $76 million appeal to control their spread, but as of February 10, only $20 million has been raised.

“We call on the international community to respond with speed and generosity to control the infestation while we still have the chance,” wrote Dongyu and Lowcock.

The post Massive swarms of desert locusts are devouring their way through East Africa. The UN is very worried. appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Geopolitics - Chapter 34

GDI Briefing - 19. Februar 2020 - 12:04

This book chapter sketches the history of the term geopolitics and maps the application of the concept in politics particularly in the Americas. It differentiates between classical, critical and radical geopolitics and investigates geopolitics in the context of colonialism and the Cold War.

Kategorien: english

Look North: the Arctic Council as an example for the management of transboundary challenges?

GDI Briefing - 19. Februar 2020 - 11:10

In times during which multilateralism is often perceived as being in crisis and nationalism is on the rise, the Arctic Council seems to be a refreshing governance setting that encourages cooperation and the acceptance of shared responsibilities. In that regard, it serves also as a telling example in discussions on how to improve transnational cooperation to achieve shared goals as defined in visions such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Kategorien: english

Polar entanglements: a new perspective to explain political dynamics in the polar regions

GDI Briefing - 19. Februar 2020 - 11:07

Despite the disparities of the Polar Regions, many of the geopolitical imaginaries and interpretations that concern the Arctic and Antarctic are not only similar but also overlap. In my new book “Critical Geopolitics of the Polar Regions: An Inter-American Perspective” (Routledge), I investigate the different actors involved in the politics of the Polar Regions and the discourses that they shape to explain why similar patterns of interpretation have become dominant in regard to the Arctic and Antarctic and why these interpretations are prioritised differently today. By applying a new polar entanglement-perspective and by focusing specifically on policy making in regional settings (in the Arctic Council and in the Antarctic Treaty System) and in the American polar-rim states (Argentina, Canada, Chile and the US), the book provides evidence to three main explanations to the question under analysis.

Kategorien: english

Do environmental provisions in trade agreements make exports from developing countries greener?

GDI Briefing - 18. Februar 2020 - 17:20

Environmental provisions in preferential trade agreements (PTAs) are increasing in terms of their number and variety. The economic effects of these environmental provisions remain largely unclear. It is, therefore, necessary to determine whether the trend to incorporate environmental provisions in PTAs counteracts the goal to spur economic development through trade via these PTAs. This is the first article in which the trade effects of environmental provisions in PTAs are thoroughly investigated. The spotlight is put on developing countries for which the assumed trade-off between economic development and environmental protection is particularly acute. This article buses a new fine-grained dataset on a broad range of environmental provisions in 680 PTAs, combined with a panel of worldwide bilateral trade flows from 1984 to 2016. We show that environmental provisions can help reduce dirty exports and increase green exports from developing countries. This effect is particularly pronounced in developing countries with stringent environmental regulations. By investigating how environmental provisions in PTAs affect trade flows, this article contributes to the literature on the following topics: international trade and the environment; design and impacts of trade agreements; and greening the economy in developing countries. It also shows that the design of trade agreements matters. Environmental provisions can be used as targeted policy tools to promote the green transformation and to leverage synergies between the economic and environmental effects of including environmental provisions in trade agreements.

Kategorien: english

These are the Top Hunger Crises to Watch in 2020 According to the UN World Food Program

UN Dispatch - 18. Februar 2020 - 16:45

At the start of the year, the World Food Program issued a forecast of where it expects to find the worst hunger crises this year. The report, called Global Hotspots 2020, identifies 15 major food emergencies that are deteriorating at an alarming rate and demand greater worldwide attention.

Arif Husain, is the Chief Economist and Director of the Food Security Analysis and Trends Service at the United Nations World Food Programme. He is on the Global Dispatches podcast to discuss what is driving food insecurity around the world and what can be done to reduce hunger worldwide.

We kick things off by discussing what is meant by “food insecurity” and also how he collects data around hunger before having a longer conversation about the relationship between climate change, conflict, migration, and food security.

If you have 20 minutes and want to learn where the World Food Program believes the world’s hunger hotspots will be this year and the consequences and causes of those food emergencies, have a listen.

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

The post These are the Top Hunger Crises to Watch in 2020 According to the UN World Food Program appeared first on UN Dispatch.

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Indicators for energy transition targets in China and Germany: a text analysis

GDI Briefing - 18. Februar 2020 - 14:52

Indicators are an essential component of national strategies and policies relating to energy transition and regulation. Both China and Germany are expected to take the lead on the global effort to achieve clean energy and a reduction in GHG emissions. A better understanding of the institutional environment in both countries will guide those who follow them. By using text analysis, we have examined the main energy indicators used in official strategies and policies and divided them into ten categories. We have found that both countries value renewable energy as a solution to energy transition, although in China “non-fossil energy” appears more often in political documents, and “nuclear energy” is valued as an important source. In Germany, short-, medium- and long-term indicators are clearly stated and are consistent over time and between documents. Meanwhile, in China the indicators and targets are updated every five years, which fits with the rapid domestic development of the country but fails to provide a clear long-term vision. We argue that the roots of such differences can be found in governance systems, the global energy market, and national political and economic priorities, and that international cooperation is needed to standardize energy indicators so that the global energy transition can be navigated more effectively.

Kategorien: english

Social construction of pastureland: changing rules and resource-use rights in China and Kyrgyzstan

GDI Briefing - 18. Februar 2020 - 14:48

A fundamental problem in governing natural resources is how to design institutions, particularly property rights regimes, that support sustainable use and management of common property resources. Privatization of natural resources was a widespread solution to the “tragedy of the commons” during the 1980s and 1990s. But many such efforts failed to achieve sustainable use of resources, and policymakers are now experimenting with new types of policy interventions. We examine recent changes in pastoral institutions and their outcomes regarding resource-use rights and the sustainability of resource use in China and Kyrgyzstan. Interpreting changing property rights as a process of social construction, we examine altered rules and rights relations and the ensuing changes in legal correlates between various actors in selected choice settings. The article contributes to the literature regarding the impacts of such reforms on property rights and their development in pastoral contexts.

Kategorien: english

Who is energy poor? Evidence from the least developed regions in China

GDI Briefing - 18. Februar 2020 - 14:45

Energy poverty has become one of the major challenges faced by the world's energy system. However, there is no consensus on the measure of energy poverty. Several approaches have been proposed, among which the energy poverty line has been defined as the minimum quantity of energy required for basic life, particularly for cooking and heating. This paper estimates the relationship between energy expenditure and household income and identifies the energy poverty line based on the threshold above which the energy share becomes insensitive to household income using household survey data from rural Qinghai, China. Considering the ongoing energy transition and the negative impacts of biomass energy consumption for the environment and health, the study sets a scenario in which all bioenergy consumption is replaced with electricity. The findings show that 57% of rural households in rural Qinghai are energy poor. The phase of energy poverty in terms of basic energy access has passed, so increasing the share of efficient modern energy in household energy consumption requires more attention. Considering the existence of a population that is not income poor but is energy poor, a conventional policy design that primarily targets income-poor households may be inappropriate in this case.

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