Reform — Greece sorely needs it. Cash — the government is running desperately short of it. So it is time for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to do what’s best for Greece and accept its creditors’ reform demands in exchange for much-needed cash. That is how the Greek situation is usually framed. It is utterly misleading.
Imagine you’re in prison for not being able to pay your debts. (You’re right, it’s almost unthinkable — civilized societies no longer lock up bankrupt individuals. But bear with me.) After five years of misery, you lead a rebellion, take control of the prison, and demand your release. The jailers respond by cutting off your water supply. Should you back down and return to your cell, perhaps negotiating for slightly less unpleasant conditions, in order to obtain a little liquidity? Or should you keep fighting to be free? That, in essence, is what the standoff between an insolvent Greece and its eurozone creditors is really about.
At the panel to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the World summit for Social Development, Social Watch coordinator Roberto Bissio said that “as we advance into the post-2015 agenda, some key ideas endorsed by the Social Summit are being reaffirmed. Inequalities are back in the agenda, after having disappeared for 15 years, and universality is recovered, with a strong sense of social protection floor. It is urgent, though, to make serious progress in the implementation of those agreed aspirations. Inequalities are in the title of a goal but nowhere to be found on the proposed indicators and a clear financing commitment on social protection floors (cash transfers/benefits for children, for people of working age in cases of maternity, unemployment, disability or work injury, and pensions for older persons, and other schemes) is still missing, even when now as in 1995, the resources are there." Read his complete intervention:
10 UN experts issued a statement last week expressing strong concerns regarding the adverse effects of trade agreements and ISDS on human rights. They criticize the secret nature of the negotiations and more specific the Investor – State Dispute Settlement mechanism. ISDS chapters are anomalous in that they provide protection for investors but not for States or for the population. They allow investors to sue States but not vice-versa.
BOTH THE SIZE and composition of the world working class have changed dramatically over the past four decades. But these massive shifts are not reflected in the strength of workers’ organizations.
In what was traditionally called the global South, capital accumulation has resulted in the fast growth of the number of wage-earners in industry, building, services, and transport. A recent International Labor Organization (ILO) study revealed that in the period 1980-2005, the labor force in the Middle East and North Africa region had grown by 149%. In Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean it had roughly doubled, in South Asia it had increased by 73%, and in East and South East Asia by 60%. (Kapsos 2007)
The Gulf States are among the world’s worst countries for workers’ rights, while workers under European austerity measures endured the starkest deterioration of standards, according to the 2015 Global Rights Index.
The ten worst countries for working people are Belarus, China, Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland and United Arab Emirates.
See the full report
Global Financial Integrity (GFI) expressed disappointment in world leaders Monday for failing to advance efforts to curtail illicit financial flows—particularly in the context of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The G7 failure comes despite a new GFI study released on Wednesday showing the outsized-impact that illicit financial flows (IFFs) have on the poorest countries in the world, and notwithstanding a Friday pledge by UK Prime Minister David Cameron to put corruption on the agenda of the G7 Summit, which concluded today in Germany.
The majority of the world’s rural populations continue to live and work without essential healthcare services, in stark contrast to their urban-dwelling counterparts, according to a new report released today by the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO).
The ILO’s findings – published in the Global Evidence on Inequities in Rural Health Protection Report – show that 56 per cent of people living in rural areas worldwide remain bereft of critical healthcare access, with the most acute instances being in Africa where an overwhelming 83 per cent of rural inhabitants are uncovered. The most affected countries are also those which face the highest levels of poverty, the report observes.
Let us start by expressing our humble thanks to the organisers for the honour of inviting us to come and share our perspective, on the range of issues that affect Black people in Afrika and other parts of the world. And for also affording us the privilege to be here and be in a position to learn from the many enlightening perspectives of others.
Allow us to also acknowledge the leaders of the various organisations of our people, our guests from the various parts of the Black world, and each and every Black sister and brother, here present. It is always heart-warming to be in the company of our own and freely and to honestly discuss all the issues that concern us as a people. This is an intellectual space we rarely afford ourselves and we definitely need to create more such spaces.
We meet here today on a very special and significant day, which as you know, was initially designated for the 15 of April and referred to as “Africa Freedom Day” and only became “Afrikan Liberation Day” on the 25 of May, 1963, after a historic meeting of Afrikan leaders in Ethiopia.
This June 2015 report, the latest in a series by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), highlights the outsized impact that illicit financial flows have on the world’s poorest economies. The study looks at illicit financial flows from some of the world’s poorest nations and compares those values to some traditional indicators of development—including GDP, total trade, foreign direct investment, public expenditures on education and health services, and total tax revenue, among others—over the period 2008–2012.
The report also produces several scatter plots in which illicit flows values for all developing and emerging market nations are compared to key trade indicators and various development indices, such as human development, inequality, and poverty, to determine if correlations exist between the two.
To fix global poverty, you first need to acknowledge where it comes from.
Bill and Melinda Gates just released their annual letter, “Our Big Bet for the Future,” with their thoughts on the current state of global poverty and the suite of projects they are funding to tackle it. While their hopeful tone and a good deal of what they are proposing is excellent, the story they tell about poverty obscures far more than it reveals. These are not “big bets,” but rather small technical fixes that can’t solve the real, underlying problems.
For decades, development policy was shaped by the notion that the poor countries of the Global South needed money from the wealthy North in order to advance in their development. At the latest since the 2008/09 financial crisis this view of things has, it seems, begun to change. In the current Global Governance Spotlight, Wolfgang Obenland, Program Coordinator of the Global Policy Forum, analyses the negotiations on the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, scheduled to take place from 13 to 17 July 2015 in Addis Ababa, and shares his assessment regarding its progressiveness.