This week, Germany, France, Italy, and the U.K. all signed up to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The AIIB, a Chinese-led multilateral fund with about $50 billion in capital to invest in public infrastructure, is opposed by the U.S. because it will compete with institutions where America has considerably more influence—organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. An Obama administration official complained about “constant accommodation” of China by the U.S.’s European allies, and the president’s National Security Council issued a statement expressing concern over the AIIB’s environmental and governance standards.
As 2015 began, the world received a sobering message. Not only have the number of Ebola cases exceeded 20,000, but in some affected countries, especially Sierra Leone, the virus is still spreading. The death toll now tops 8,000 and the usual answers to how this outbreak got so huge so quickly – poverty, bad governance, cultural practices, endemic disease in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – are giving way to a deeper questioning of the poor public health response. Critics are turning to the structural causes of weak health systems and increasingly showing that international lending policies, including and especially those employed by the IMF, should carry much of the blame.
Kingsley Moghalu, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, believes that Africa’s development potential lies in the hands of Africans themselves and that underdevelopment is due to the lack of a suitably ambitious worldview. He lays out his ideas in his book Emerging Africa and, in our latest CGD podcast, Moghalu expands on the lessons learned from his time in office in Nigeria and on Africa’s development future as a whole.
Dear friends and comrades,
Fourteen years ago, at the beginning of the new millennium, the World Social Forum came to the fore as the response of the people to the globalization of the markets. It was deliberately meant as versatile meeting of movements, trade unions and associations from around the world, looking for progressive solutions to global problems: poverty, social inequality, lack of democracy, racism, environmental destruction, and absence of economic and social justice. By using dialogue among equals, as well as horizontal processes, it provided proof that social forces from different parts of the world, which may be militant against different problems, can still converge around common goals and so formulate an alternative vision and blueprint for the planet. With values like these, condensed in such slogans as "people before profits" and "another world is possible", the World Social Forum was the space in which ideas and modes of action were born and grew which would eventually question the global neoliberal supremacy.
The World Social Forum will take place from March 24 to March 28 in Tunis.
The opening march will take place on March 24, at 4 pm, Bab Saadoun Square toward the Bardo Museum. The slogan will be : 'PEOPLES OF THE WORLD UNITED AGAINST TERRORISM'.
The United Kingdom scuttled much of its trans-Atlantic partnership with the United States this week, when it became the first G7 country to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) over US objections. European countries France, Germany, and Italy followed suit, with Australia and South Korea now re-evaluating their positions to consider joining the USD $50 billion capitalized AIIB. Japan is holding firm on its alliance with the United States in refusing to join the AIIB. United States National Security Council spokesperson Patrick Ventrell declared that “any new multilateral institution should incorporate the high standards of the World Bank and the regional development banks…we have concerns about whether the AIIB will meet these high standards, particularly related to governance, and environmental and social safeguards.”
Yesterday’s attacks in Tunis motivate us even more to come together at the World Social Forum, that will take place in Tunis next week; in the spirit of solidarity and to take a firm stand against terrorism.
In the light of yesterday’s attack at the Museum of Bardo in Tunis where 20 people were killed and 44 wounded, SOLIDAR calls for participation to the World Social Forum as the appropriate answer from all pacifist and democratic forces for a better, more fair and free world based on peaceful co-existence.
Through this attack, terrorist groups attempted to undermine the democratic transition taking place in Tunisia, while creating a climate of fear amongst citizens who aspire freedom, democracy and peaceful participation in establishing democracy.
SOLIDAR supports progressive social movements and democratic forces in Tunisia and in the wider Middle East and North Africa to oppose violence and terrorism, whilst promoting human rights, fundamental freedoms, freedom of association, peace, democracy and social justice.
Global Social Justice will be present in Tunis at the WSF from 24 to 28 March. Tomorrow we will publish our programme, with many workshops on social protection and the commons.
When a group of women in the remote village of Sadhuraks in Pakistan’s Thar Desert, some 800 km from the port city of Karachi, were asked if they would want to be born a woman in their next life, the answer from each was a resounding ‘no’.
They have every reason to be unhappy with their gender, mostly because of the unequal division of labour between men and women in this vast and arid region that forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan.
"South Asian countries need to realise the tremendous capacity for leadership women have in planning for and responding to disasters." -- David Line, managing editor of The Economist Intelligence Unit
The European Commission has outlined its ‘tax transparency package’ today. As a consequence of Luxembourg Leaks the EU Commission suggests to change only one provision in one directive. The Commission sketches out its future plans in a communication. Commenting on the proposals, Green economic and finance spokesperson Sven Giegold stated:
“What the Commission presented today as tax transparency ‘package’ is a drop in the bucket and embarassing. It reveals that the Juncker Commission has still not understood the seriousness of the situation and the need for a comprehensive response at EU level. The planned improvement on information exchange between member states is necessary and welcome. Nevertheless, it remains the smallest possible step towards more tax justice in the EU.
The UN Statistical Commission concluded its meeting in New York last March 6 without agreeing on a list of indicators to measure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The body is composed of 24 governments and it oversees the work of the UN statistical Division, the most important global agency on world indicators, in charge, among other things of defining how GDP is conceptualized and counted.
A preliminary list of indicators compiled from the suggestions of expert groups was deemed premature by the Commission, and instead a roadmap for the development and implementation of the indicator framework by the next Commission in 2016 was endorsed.
As the discussion on the Declaration of the Post-2015 Development Agenda gets underway, differences between developing and developed countries that are likely to loom over the rest of the Post-2015 negotiations became clearer.
The draft political Declaration is to set the framework for the Post-2015 development agenda and spell out the broader common principles, commitments and objectives that the agenda is founded on.