An interesting report named “Illicit financial flows, human rights and the post-2015 development agenda” has been submitted to the Human Rights Council on 9 March 2015 under the agenda item “Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, in political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development”.
The report outlines how illicit financial flows undermine the enjoyment of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights and emphasizes the need for political action.
It’s time to broaden the debate on how to fund a universal basic income by including options for sharing resource rents, which is a model that can be applied internationally to reform unjust economic systems, reduce extreme poverty and protect the global commons.
Few debates highlight the many complex issues around how governments should share a nation’s wealth and resources as much as the current discourse on basic income. Also referred to as a citizen’s income, the policy generally refers to the unconditional and universal payment of a regular sum of money to a country’s residents, usually as a replacement for a range of existing state benefits such as pensions, child allowances, tax credits and unemployment payments. Unlike many other policies that challenge the status quo, the scheme commands substantial support across the political spectrum – from progressives who hope it can reduce inequality and improve social justice, to neoliberals seeking to further diminish the role of the state in delivering a full range of welfare services. The idea also has a long historical precedent, with Thomas Paine, John Stuart Mills, Martin Luther King and Milton Friedman featuring among the numerous prominent figures who have supported the idea, in one form or another, since the late 1800s.
Following the 2015 report of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, chaired by the former South African President Thabo Mbeki, there has been much greater awareness across Africa of the magnitude of illicit financial flows and their implications.1 Now, more than ever, policymakers at the national, regional and global levels must address the core issues surrounding illicit financial flows, which reduce Africa’s ability to finance its development: unfavourable natural-resource governance models, tax avoidance and tax havens, as well as weak national financial institutions. The upcoming Third International Conference on Financing for Development, to take place in Addis Ababa from 13 to 16 July 2015, is an important opportunity to address illicit financial flows, their drivers and the resulting governance challenges.
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